Yesterday & Today: 50 Years of the Beatles by the Books

Ed SullivanIt's rare that we can say with any degree of certainty that we know what most Americans were doing at a specific moment in time. But we do know that at 8 p.m. on Feb. 9, 1964 a majority of us were sitting in front of a television set. It's been 50 years since the Beatles' debut appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. And while 50 years is often a measure of time exploited to elicit exclamations of "Wow, has it really been that long? It seems like only yesterday...," in this case, it truly demonstrates the longevity of the Beatles' impact on American culture.

At the Grammys on Jan. 26, the Beatles will receive a lifetime achievement award, punctuated with a reunion performance by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Then, on Feb. 9, CBS will air "The Night that Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles."

To do our part in celebrating this legendary band, we've put together a just a few books -- old, new, and upcoming -- that explore the cultural history of the Beatles, the timelessness of the Beatles' music, the intense fandom, the bandmembers as authors, and those folks who were behind or just before the phenomenon and are known as the "Fifth Beatle." 

Beatles History

From their roots as Liverpool lads to their many appearances on BBC radio and TV; from their  U.S. invasion to the effect they had around the world.

Six Days
The Beatles:
Six Days that
Changed the World
February 1964

by Bill Eppridge
Feb. 4, 2014
Changed the World
How the Beatles
Changed the World

by Martin W. Sandler
Feb. 4, 2014
Tune In
Tune In: The Beatles:
All These Years

by Mark Lewisohn
Oct. 29, 2013
Beatle Invasion!
The Beatle Invasion!:
The inside story of
the two-week tour
that rocked America

by Bob Spitz
Jan. 7, 2014

When They Were Boys
When They Were Boys:
The True Story
of the Beatles'
Rise to the Top

by Larry Kane
July 30, 2013

BBC Archives
The Beatles:
The BBC Archives:

by Kevin Howlett
Oct. 29, 2013

Beatles Music

At the root of it all... the music. The songs they created together, the songs that inspired them, the songs they wrote on their own.

All The Songs
All The Songs:
The Story Behind
Every Beatles Release

by Philippe Margotin
and Jean-Michel Guesdon
Oct. 22, 2013
Hard Day's Write
A Hard Day's Write:
The Stories Behind
Every Beatles Song

by Steve Turner
Oct. 18, 2005
Still the Greatest
Still the Greatest:
The Essential Songs of
The Beatles' Solo Careers

by Andrew Grant Jackson
May 9, 2014
From Me to You
From Me to You:
Songs the Beatles
Covered and Covers
of the Fab Four's Songs

by Brian Southall
Feb. 11, 2014
Revolution in the Head
Revolution in the Head:
The Beatles' Records
and the Sixties

by Ian MacDonald
Sept. 1, 2007
Abbey Road Years
The Complete Beatles Recording
Sessions: The Official Story of
the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970

by Mark Lewisohn
Introduction by Paul McCartney
Oct. 1, 2013

For and About Beatles Fans

Images from within the inner circle, a two-part epic collection of facts, a look at the Beatles as a marketing franchise, and memories from the everyday and famous fans the band attracted.

Fifty Years
Fifty Years with The Beatles
by Tim Hill
May 28, 2014
Beatles Collected
The Beatles Collected
by Pete Nash, David Roberts
and Brian Southall
May 27,2014
Beatles Are Here
The Beatles Are Here!:
50 Years after
the Band Arrived in
America, Writers, Musicians & Other
Fans Remember

by Penelope Rowlands
Feb. 4, 2014
Beatles Encyclopedia
The Beatles Encyclopedia:
Everything Fab Four

by Kenneth Womack
June 30, 2014

Books by the Lads

Going straight to the source: the oft-dubbed "ultimate authority" anthology, intimate correspondance from John, memoirs from George, and an illustrated/multimedia interpratation of a classic Ringo tune. 

Beatles Anthology
The Beatles Anthology
by The Beatles
Oct. 5, 2000
Lennon Letters
The John Lennon Letters
by John Lennon
Oct. 9, 2012
I, Me, Mine
I, Me, Mine
by George Harrison
March 8, 2007
Octopus's Garden
Octopus's Garden
by Ringo Starr and Ben Cort
Feb. 4, 2014

Fifth Beatles

Manager, producer, short-time bandmates -- get to know those who have garnered the moniker "Fifth Beatle."

All You Need Is Ears
All You Need Is Ears:
The inside personal
story of the genius
who created
The Beatles

by George Martin
Oct. 15, 1994
Pete Best
Beatle!: The Pete Best Story
by Pete Best
and Patrick Doncaster
Dec. 1994
Fifth Beatle
The Fifth Beatle:
The Brian Epstein Story

by Vivek TiwaryNov. 19, 2013
Baby's in Black
Baby's in Black:
Astrid Kirchherr,
Stuart Sutcliffe,
and the Beatles

by Arne Bellstorf
February 4, 2014

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Comments (1)

Great list! I'll also add "Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now" by Barry Miles as a favorite. It's 700+ pages, but I consumed it within a weekend because there was so much insight (never even considered that Paul and John bonded over the loss of their respective mothers, for example).

Loved "The Fifth Beatle," too.

Posted by: Alex Carr | Wednesday January 22, 2014 at 2:43 PM

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