On February 9, 1964, The Beatles’ historic U.S. debut on The Ed Sullivan Show shook up the industry and started one of the most revolutionary eras in music. Browse below to find must-read books about the Fab Four.
Beatle Invasion by Bob Spitz (on order)
The Beatles by Hunter Davies (Find this book in our catalog). “During 1967 and 1968 Hunter Davies spent eighteen months with the Beatles at the peak of their powers as they defined a generation and rewrote popular music. As their only authorized biographer, he had unparalleled access—not just to John, Paul, George, and Ringo but also to friends, family, and colleagues. Davies collected a wealth of intimate and revealing material that still makes this the classic Beatles book—the one all other biographers look to. He remained close with the band and had access to more information over the years. This edition brings the story up-to-date with new material on the Beatles’s solo careers and lives, as well as the stories of many other people who appear in the book. Drawing on new material from the author’s archives and from the Beatles themselves, including a newly discovered song lyric by George Harrison, this edition brings new insights to the Beatles legend.” – (Norton Publishing)
The Beatles are Coming!: the birth of Beatlemania in America by Bruce Spizer ; foreword by Walter Cronkite (Find this book in our catalog).
The Beatles are Here!: 50 years after the band arrived in America, writers and other fans remember by Penelope Rowlands (Find this book in our catalog). “The arrival of the Beatles was one of those unforgettable cultural touchstones. Through the voices of those who witnessed it or were swept up in it indirectly, The Beatles Are Here! explores the emotional impact—some might call it hysteria—of the Fab Four’s February 1964 dramatic landing on our shores. Contributors, including Lisa See, Gay Talese, Renée Fleming, Roy Blount, Jr., and many others, describe in essays and interviews how they were inspired by the Beatles.
This intimate and entertaining collection arose from writer Penelope Rowlands’s own Beatlemaniac phase: she was one of the screaming girls captured in an iconic photograph that has since been published around the world—and is displayed on the cover of this book. The stories of these girls, who found each other again almost 50 years later, are part of this volume as well. The Beatles Are Here! gets to the heart of why, half a century later, the Beatles still matter to us so deeply.” – (Workman Press.)
Can’t Buy Me Love: the Beatles, Britain, and America by Jonathan Gould (Find this book in our catalog). “Nearly twenty years in the making, Can’t Buy Me Love is a masterful work of group biography, cultural history, and musical criticism. That the Beatles were an unprecedented phenomenon is a given. In Can’t Buy Me Love, Jonathan Gould seeks to explain why, placing the Fab Four in the broad and tumultuous panorama of their time and place, rooting their story in the social context that girded both their rise and their demise.
Beginning with their adolescence in Liverpool, Gould describes the seminal influences––from Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry to The Goon Show and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland––that shaped the Beatles both as individuals and as a group. In addition to chronicling their growth as singers, songwriters, and instrumentalists, he highlights the advances in recording technology that made their sound both possible and unique, as well as the developments in television and radio that lent an explosive force to their popular success. With a musician’s ear, Gould sensitively evokes the timeless appeal of the Lennon-McCartney collaboration and their emergence as one of the most creative and significant songwriting teams in history. And he sheds new light on the significance of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as rock’s first concept album, down to its memorable cover art.
Behind the scenes Gould explores the pivotal roles played by manager Brian Epstein and producer George Martin, credits the influence on the Beatles’ music of contemporaries like Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, and Ravi Shankar, and traces the gradual escalation of the fractious internal rivalries that led to the group’s breakup after their final masterpiece, Abbey Road. Most significantly, by chronicling their revolutionary impact on popular culture during the 1960s, Can’t Buy Me Love illuminates the Beatles as a charismatic phenomenon of international proportions, whose anarchic energy and unexpected import was derived from the historic shifts in fortune that transformed the relationship between Britain and America in the decades after World War II.
From the Beats in America and the Angry Young Men in England to the shadow of the Profumo Affair and JFK’s assassination, Gould captures the pulse of a time that made the Beatles possible—and even necessary. As seen through the prism of the Beatles and their music, an entire generation’s experience comes astonishingly to life. Beautifully written, consistently insightful, and utterly original, Can’t Buy Me Love is a landmark work about the Beatles, Britain, and America.” – (Random House, Inc.)