Beatle Books

In my vainglorious attempt to write a biography of John Lennon, I have of course accumulated a substantial of books on the Beatles, and the man himself. I must have a pile of about twenty sitting on my desk directly concerning Lennon and the Fabs; other general related books – for example on the 1960s, on the development of the album, on Timothy Leary and his psilocybin experiments, are plentiful, but no need to rope them in – too many! The books I divide, as any historian would, into primary and secondary sources. Unfortunately the former aren’t as substantial as one would have hoped. This is often the trouble with writing about the pop star or celebrity, compared with, say, the politician or writer, where letters and written documents are ample. But anyway, here’s what I’ve got, and a brief rating (out of 5 stars).

Primary Sources

  1. Allan Williams, The Man Who Gave Away The Beatles     ****
  2. Cynthia Lennon, John    ***
  3. Pete Best, Beatle! The Pete Best Story    ****
  4. Pauline Sutcliffe, The Beatles’ Shadow: Stuart Sutcliffe & His Lonely Hearts Club    ***
  5. George Martin, All You Need Is Ears    ****
  6. Julia Baird, Imagine This: Growing Up with My Brother John Lennon    ***
  7. Pete Shotton, John Lennon In My Life    *****
  8. George Harrison, I Me Mine    ***
  9. Mark Lewisohn, Complete Beatles Chronicle    *****
  10. Mark Lewisohn, The Beatles Recording Sessions    *****
  11. Peter Brown, The Love You Make    ***

I am still looking for A Cellarful of Noise and It Was Twenty Years Ago Today. (If you’ve got a copy to spare… you know what to do :-D).

Secondary Sources

  1. Tim Riley, John Lennon: The Definitive Biography    **
  2. Barry Miles, Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now    ****
  3. Philip Norman, John Lennon: The Life    ****
  4. Philip Norman, Shout! The Story of The Beatles    ****
  5. Albert Goldman, The Lives of John Lennon    **
  6. Ray Coleman, Lennon: The Definitive Biography    ***
  7. Iain MacDonald, Revolution In The Head    *****
  8. Tim Riley, Tell Me Why: The Beatles: Album By Album, Song By Song, The Sixties And After    ***
  9. Pete Dogget, You Never Give Me Your Money: The Battle For The Soul of The Beatles    ***
  10. Ken McNab, The Beatles In Scotland    **
  11. Mike Evans, The Beatles Literary Anthology    ***
  12. Jon Weiner, Come Together: John Lennon In His Time    **
  13. Paul Trynka (ed.), The Beatles: Ten Years That Shook The World    *****

I really better write this fucking book! Am at 20,000 words, and have only got to August 1960 (the book will cover Jan 1960-Dec 1970). Think it’s gonna be a big one, if I ever get it done.

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2 thoughts on “Beatle Books

  1. Karen Mok is seeking to reinvent herself as a lounge jazz diva with her latest album, which was being heavily advertised on television in Hong Kong when I was down there last week. The album includes a cover of While My Guitar Gently Weeps which might be labelled a crime against humanity.

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