Fans of The Beatles have been long awaiting the release of “The Beatles: Get Back”, their new documentary on Disney+. As the biggest band of all time, here has been no shortage of research done on the band. This new three part series is unique in that it presents the raw footage of them creating their final album “Let It Be”. It also shows audiences the lead up to the band ultimately breaking up. And no, it was not their failed attempt to star in a Lord of the Rings film.
With minimal voiceover or commentary, fans get to see for themselves what made tensions so high. If the nearly eight hours of new footage isn’t enough to scratch your Beatles history itch, check out these five books about the iconic band.
You Never Give Me Your Money by Peter Doggett
If you enjoyed the documentary, this is the perfect place to start as you undertake more Beatles history. Although most books take a look at the band’s early years, this one begins telling their story in 1967. But this story doesn’t end when the band does, it continues to look at their relationships and legacy for the decades since their split.
From looking at how Lennon and Harrison’s early deaths affected these relationships to the many lawsuits that followed the band, this book has it all. Choosing to focus on some of the more logistical aspects of the band, rather than just the music, this title has all the drama that comes with preserving the legacy of the greatest band to ever live.
The Fifth Beatle by Vivek Tiwary
Although “The Beatles: Get Back” does a great job at showcasing the group’s brillant song writing, unique relationships, and the pressure from people they work with, it shows true fans one thing: how much the band needed Brian Epstein. Epstein discovered the band at the Cavern Club in 1961 and began managing the group in 1962. Under his leadership, the band quite simply blew up.
Unfortunately, in 1967 Epstein dies of an accidental overdose, leaving the Beatles without someone to manage them. Instead of choosing someone to replace him, the Beatles choose to manage themselves. There are several conversations in the documentary where the band members discuss not only missing Epstein as a friend, but how much he guided them as a group. Without his leadership, the band seems lost and unsure of how to make a decision.
This graphic novel not only chronicles his life with the band, but his struggles with drug addiction and his sexuality. For fans who think they know everything about the band, this is a great way to look at the group through a new lens and medium.
Revolution in the Head: The Beatles’ Records and the Sixties by Ian MacDonald
The comprehensive nature of this book is what makes this book stand out from the rest. MacDonald gives the reader an in depth analysis of each Beatles song. He isn’t afraid to tell his readers that crowd favorites are rubbish or truly worth their salt. But this work is just more than just a Yelp page for the band’s body of work, it also looks at how the band influenced not only the entire 1960s, but the decades to come.
What makes this volume truly unique is that his been revised twice, as if it were the official textbook on the band. The final revision comes in 2005, two years after MacDonald’s death.
Love Me Do! The Beatles Progress by Michael Braun
Unlike many of the other books on this list, Love Me Do! is published in 1964, six years before the band goes their separate ways. It chronicles their early fame and Beatlemania as it swept across the United States. Michael Braun doesn’t deify the Fab Four, but chooses to show them as honestly as possible.
By taking a journalistic approach to the group, Braun doesn’t fall into the traps of a reminiscent super fan. John Lennon even cited this book as the best at capturing the lightning in the bottle feeling of their early success. Brimming with personality, this Beatles book places the reader at the height of their fame, allowing them to come along for the ride.
Beatle!: The Pete Best Story by Pete Best and Patrick Doncaster
Although this book may not technically be about The Beatles, it almost is; just like Peter Best is almost a Beatle. For new fans, Pete Best is the original drummer for the group before Ringo Starr comes into the picture. Beatle! shows fans what could have been and celebrates the formative years of the band.
“The Beatles: Get Back” skims over this part of the band’s history in the first episode, never mentioning Best. So this is a great read for someone who wants to see not just how the band falls apart, but how they “Come Together”.
Image via Live for Live Music