Expert says The Beatles’ full story still to be told.

There are a million books about the Fab Four.  There are a ton of them out there.  They run the gambit between exquisite, and a shambles.  There is one scholar who time and time again has really set himself apart though.  There are Beatle authors, and then there is Mark Lewisohn.  His work really sits above all the rest.  There are no other Beatle books like his.  They define essential.

Beatles expert Mark Lewisohn gives a talk at the Beatles story exhibition

Mark Lewisohn is raising the bar yet again.  His upcoming tome on the history of The Beatles will stand as the definitive work on the Fab Four.  It’s a three-volume set, and a chronological history of our beloved group.  This title, to me, is the most anticipated Beatle-related release since the Anthology itself.  It will keep all of us fans busy for some time to come.  I, for one, cannot wait.  Maybe it’s the librarian in me, yes folks, I am a librarian by day, but I cannot wait for thsi book.  Maybe I’ll camp out on the night of its release.  

Here’s a question for you then, dear reader’s. 
What’s on your Beatle required reading list? 
Please share your favorite Beatle books in the comments below.

Here’s what we’ve read.

Their impact was felt way beyond the musical world. For that reason alone, there has probably been more written about the Beatles than any other group.

But renowned Beatles expert and professional historian Mark Lewisohn believes the full story of the four guys from Liverpool has still yet to be told.

Last night, he told an audience at the city’s first Beatles literary festival how he has undertaken a mammoth 17-year project to tell the definitive history of the group and of the times in which they lived.

Mr Lewisohn is currently hard at work on the first of what will eventually be a three-volume biography of the Fab Four, the first time any pop or rock group has been subjected to such in-depth scholarly treatment.

As well as trawling the archives for original documents, he has interviewed literally hundreds of people who lived through that momentous period, many of whom have never spoken before.

The first volume is due to appear in 2010, with the next two appearing at four-yearly intervals after that.

“It’s mad, but I’m loving every minute of it,” he told the audience at The Beatles Story exhibition centre at the Albert Dock last night.

“The story has been told so often it’s become a bit of a cliche. I want to make it rise off the page.

“It’s got every ingredient you could want – the highest highs and the lowest lows.”

And while Mr Lewisohn said he welcomed the regeneration of Liverpool, on another level he regretted it because important historical sites associated with the individual Beatles were being swept away.

In conversation last night with Beatles Story press officer Jamie Bowman, Mr Lewisohn said he undertook the daunting project because no-one had attempted such a comprehensive history before, and he was also dissatisfied with the quality and accuracy of many of the works already on the market.

He also believes the Beatles fully justify such a monumental work.

“To say the Beatles were just a pop group is like saying Mozart was only another composer, and Churchill just another politician,” he said.

“Their impact was huge, and is still being felt today. We’re talking about the most important group of all time. They didn’t just change music, they changed society.

“It’s a story so extraordinary, it would seem like fiction if it were not true. It doesn’t need to be embroidered, and I believe it’s far more interesting than has ever been put down on paper.”

Mr Lewisohn said the three-volume history would tell the story in chronological order, going right back to the family backgrounds of each of the individual Beatles.

“It’s got to be done now before it’s too late, as the numbers of people who were around at that time, and witnessed history at first hand, are steadily declining,” he said.

“The first volume – which goes as far as the end of 1963 – will be very much about 20th century Liverpool.

“As a non-Liverpudlian, especially one who wasn’t there in the 1950s, I’m keenly aware of the difficulty of writing about the city at that time, so I’ve absolutely steeped myself in it over the past few years. The second and third volumes will be more global in their reach, as they will deal with the period when the Beatles achieved worldwide fame.”

Mr Lewisohn – who has spent much of the past 30 years researching and writing reference works on the Fab Four – already has a formidable reputation as a Beatles scholar.

This includes being the first to identify the correct date of the fateful meeting between John Lennon and Paul McCartney at Woolton village fete: July 6, 1957. And he says his detailed work has in no way impaired his ability to enjoy the Beatles’ music.

“I was five when I first heard them and they went straight into my bloodstream and my heart, and that’s where they’ve remained ever since.

“But though I have this lifelong passion for their work and the story, these books are being written without favour or agenda, as an independent historian.

“To me, it’s crucial this is understood. These won’t be books saying ‘Hey weren’t the Beatles great!’ They’ll be thorough, balanced, comprehensive histories.”

* THE Paperback Writer literary festival runs throughout May and features an appearance by John Lennon’s half sister Julia Baird. Details at

Source: Liverpool Daily Post


5 Responses

  1. Hey….Start saving your Beatles Bucks…There will NEVER be a better, researched, set of volumes, ever, then Mr. Lewishon’s effort. And, you know what……he was and is a great fan of what the Fab Four were all all about..

  2. I have used both of Lewisohn’s books in my class about The Beatles at the University of Oklahoma, as well as in my research for the class using other books as text. They are full of information and great pics. There are about 10 great books on the history and/or music of the group. I regularly use Andy Babiuk’s BEATLESGEAR book in my class, partially for the ‘gearheads,’ but mostly for the unique approach. This year I also used CAN’T BUY ME LOVE by Jonathan Gould and found it to be the best all around book about The Beatles and the world they lived in. The only drawback is the lack of photos, but I use Mac’s Keynote presentations so I am able to insert hundreds of photos/videos into the lectures. The students really liked the Gould book. I’ve used the Spitz book, but found it to be a it too much for the class, as it focuses too much on the family histories too much. I also have used, in the past, books by Alan Kozinn, Mark Hertsgaard, Barry Miles, Hunter Davies, and Ian MacDonald as texts. I own over 275 books related to them or their solo careers and use several for research. I stay away from any books that are fictional ‘what if’ books or clues to Paul is Dead, even though every year I have a student who wants to waste time with the latter. Paul Saltzman’s BEATLES IN RISHIKESH (INDIA) is an excellent source for the time with the Maharishi and has some of the greatest intimate photos of Johm, Paul, George, and Ringo. I plan to continue using the Babiuk and Gould books next year.

    Carl Rath
    Assoc. Prof.
    University of Oklahoma

  3. I like Mark Hertsgaard’s A Day in the Life, which is a readable, accessible intro to the Beatles, their history, and their musicianship.

    Ian McDonald’s Revolution in the Head is a book I’ve turned to time and again.

  4. I love Lewisohn’s books and consider them essential. Still, I have a hard time thinking that we won’t read the complete volumes until 2018!! Is he serious? What is taking him so long? For someone who has been researching the group for 30 years already this is ridiculous. Of course I’ll buy them..if I’m still around by then.

  5. i thought the beatles anthology written by them was the definitive

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: