Today The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide looks at books about The Beatles.

In the wake of the release of “Now and Then,” which is proclaimed to be the last Beatles song, the fab four are once again topping the charts, and interest in the band is at a new peak.

Today we have two brand-new books, and one new edition of a previous Gift Guide entry that has bonus material in it now.

For the best gifts for the Beatles fan in your life, read the news today and in the end you’ll take a magical mystery tour to some cool gift ideas…

Living the Beatles Legend: The Untold Story of Mal Evans
by Kenneth Womack
Dey Street Books
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0063248526
$50 (discounted at Amazon)

I have been wanting to read a book like this since I first found out who Mal Evans was, over forty years ago. Living The Beatles Legend is the first full-length biography of Mal Evans, the Beatles’ beloved friend, confidant, and roadie.

Malcolm Evans, the Beatles’ long-time roadie, personal assistant, and devoted friend, was an invaluable member of the band’s inner circle. A towering figure in horn-rimmed glasses, Evans loomed large in the Beatles’ story, contributing at times as a performer and sometime lyricist, while struggling mightily to protect his beloved “boys.” He was there for the whole of the group’s remarkable, unparalleled story: from the Shea Stadium triumph through the creation of the timeless cover art for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the famous Let It Be rooftop concert.

Leaving a stable job as telecommunications engineer to serve as road manager for this fledgling band, Mal was the odd man out from the start—older, married with children, and without any music business experience. And yet he threw himself headlong into their world, traveling across the globe and making himself indispensable.

In the years after the Beatles’ disbandment, Big Mal continued in their employ as each embarked upon solo careers. By 1974, he was determined to make his name as a songwriter and record producer, setting off for a new life in Los Angeles, where he penned his memoirs. But in January 1976, on the verge of sharing his book with the world, Evans’s story came to a tragic end during a domestic standoff with the LAPD.

For Beatles devotes, Mal’s life and untimely death have always been shrouded in mystery. For decades, his diaries, manuscripts, and vast collection of memorabilia was missing, seemingly lost forever…until now.

Working with full access to Mal’s unpublished archives and having conducted hundreds of new interviews, Beatles’ scholar and author Kenneth Womack affords readers with a full telling of Mal’s unknown story at the heart of the Beatles’ legend. Lavishly illustrated with unseen photos and ephemera from Mal’s archives, Living the Beatles’ Legend: The Untold Story of Mal Evans is the missing puzzle piece in the Fab Four’s incredible story.

This is a goldmine for Beatles fans. Evans was so important in the lives of The Beatles that, when when Peter Jackson developed the audio “demixing” program that was used on The Beatles Get Back and more recently on “Now and Then,” he named it “Mal,” in Evans’ honor.

This book offers new insight into one of the hidden heroes of The Beatles story.  Available from any bookseller by using the ISBN code.

The Beatles Please Please Me to With The Beatles (Beatles Album Series)
by Bruce Spizer
498 Productions, LLC
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8986319063
$39.98 (discounted at Amazon)

The Beatles Please Please Me to With The Beatles is the latest installment in Bruce Spizer’s Beatles Album Series, covering the first two albums recorded by the Beatles.

I just discovered Spizer’s incredible work a couple of years ago, and I became an instant fan. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to books about The Beatles, and unless it’s a book by Mark Lewisohn I tend to pick up a new Beatles book, flip through it and find a dozen mistakes. That’s not the case with Bruce Spizer, whose books are meticulously researched, and who presents the material like an updated and vastly expanded version of The Beatles, An Illustrated Record, one of the most fun books about The Beatles every written (back in the 70s).

Please Please Me and With The Beatles, along with their associated singles, introduced the Beatles first to England and then to several countries across the world, including Canada and the United States. Although often overlooked due to the excellence of the group’ s later albums, these early albums contain the exciting songs that fueled Beatlemania.

These albums showcased the songwriting talents of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, as well as incredible cover versions of songs from the group’ s stage show. Had the Beatles not evolved and matured, the group would still be well respected for the quality of the recordings on these two albums.

In addition to the usual chapters on the British, American and Canadian perspectives, the book contains chapters on the Decca audition and the EMI artists test session. There are also chapters on the recording sessions and album covers, as well as on the news, music and films of the era to place these albums in their proper context. It is a 9″ x 9″ hardcover book to match the other books in Bruce Spizer’s Beatles Album Series. It is 272 pages long and contains over 290 color and original black and white images.

Honestly, I’m hooked on these books, and I’m hoping that once he completes his series of Beatles albums, that he moves on to cover their solo years. Available from any bookseller by using the ISBN code.

The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present (Paperback)
by Paul McCartney
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1324094098
$30 (discounted at Amazon)

I recommended this book in The 2021 PopCult Gift Guide, and normally wouldn’t bother suggesting it again now that it’s in paperback, but…something new has been added!

Sir Paul has updated the book with the full accounts of the creation of seven additional songs. I guess now that he’s really a “paperback writer” he wanted to give the fans a little extra.

The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present celebrates the creative life and the musical genius of Paul McCartney through his most meaningful songs.

From his early Liverpool days, through the historic decade of The Beatles, to Wings and his long solo career, The Lyrics pairs the definitive texts of dozens of Paul McCartney’s songs with first-person commentaries on his life and music. These commentaries reveal how the songs came to be and the people who inspired them: his devoted parents, Mary and Jim; his songwriting partner, John Lennon; his “Golden Earth Girl,” Linda Eastman; his wife, Nancy McCartney; and even Queen Elizabeth, among many others. Here are the origins of “Let It Be,” “Lovely Rita,” “Yesterday,” and “Mull of Kintyre,” as well as McCartney’s literary influences, including Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, and Alan Durband, his high-school English teacher.

With images from McCartney’s personal archives―handwritten texts, paintings, and photographs, hundreds previously unseen―The Lyrics, spanning sixty-four years, becomes the definitive literary and visual record of one of the greatest songwriters of all time.

Finally in paperback and featuring seven new song commentaries, the #1 New York Times bestseller celebrates the creative life and unparalleled musical genius of Paul McCartney at a lower price, in a physical format that’s easier to handle than the deluxe hardcover edition.  This handsomely designed volume pairs the definitive texts of over 160 songs with first-person commentaries on McCartney’s life, revealing the diverse circumstances in which songs were written; how they ultimately came to be; and the remarkable, yet often delightfully ordinary, people and places that inspired them.

This is a great gift for any die-hard fan who passed on the pricey hardcover edition, or just anybody who’s interested in the art of songwriting.