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The Beatles: Will You Read My Book? (May 2016): Reference Works and General Collections

By Paul O. Jenkins

Reference Works and General Collections

The number and scope of reference books on the Beatles is impressive.  Among the most valuable are Michael Brocken and Melissa Davis’s The Beatles Bibliography: A New Guide to the Literature, which is essential for scholars intent on reviewing the literatureA labor of love, this volume provides sage, concise reviews of nearly 3,000 books, articles, films, and websites.  The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles, edited by Kenneth Womack, comprises thirteen essays on the Beatles’ background, works, history, and influence; a useful appendix includes their complete repertoire from 1957 to 1962.  The Beatles Anthology comprises excerpts from the video series (broadcast on network television in 1995) and supplementary text by members of the group’s inner circle (Neil Aspinall, George Martin, and Derek Taylor).  Brief selections from the interviews are tied together skillfully and organized thematically.  Bill Harry knew the Beatles when their fame did not extend beyond Liverpool.  He has written a number of reference works on the group and the individual Beatles, including The Beatles Encyclopedia, The John Lennon Encyclopedia, The Paul McCartney Encyclopedia, and The George Harrison Encyclopedia.  Kenneth Womack contributes to the literature with The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four.  Another good source is The Mammoth Book of the Beatles, edited by Sean Egan, which covers every facet of the group concisely and clearly.  Chris Ingham’s helpful The Rough Guide to the Beatles sets about establishing a canon of the Beatles’ fifty most important songs.  Scrutiny of the Beatles even extends to the group’s daily activities.  Terry Burrows’s The Beatles Day by Day is nicely illustrated and covers all the highlights, but Barry Miles and Keith Badman’s two-volume set, The Beatles Diary, includes more detail, including where the Beatles were and what they did together and after they had gone their separate ways.  Miles wrote volume 1, The Beatles Years, and Badman volume 2, After the Break-Up, 1970–2001.  Mark Lewisohn’s The Complete Beatles Chronicle covers the group’s activities only until April 1970 but is very well done.  The Beatles even rate a concordance: Things We Said Today, edited by Colin Campbell and Allan Murphy.

Works Cited