Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Beatles lyrics - a Book review

After reading George Harrison's I me Mine,  I became interested in learning more about the Beatles hand-written lyrics.   I recalled a book that came out a few years ago that I never got around to reading, Beatles Lyrics:  The Stories Behind the Music, Including the Handwritten Drafts of More than 100 Classic Beatles songs by Hunter Davies.

The handwritten lyrics of "A Hard Day's Night" by John Lennon were written on a birthday card for Julian's 1st birthday

Hunter Davies was the official Beatles biographer, and as part of his research for his book, he was able to get ahold of many of the hand-written lyrics of the Beatles songs.  He kept these over the years and has them displayed at the British Museum in London.  He wrote a book on the Beatles lyrics, not just to show his collection, but also to highlight the collections of others to have a comprehensive book of Beatles handwritten lyrics. 

Having all of the Beatles' song lyrics that were handwritten in one book is great.   It is so neat to see the words of the songs written out by one of the guys and to see what they had laying around to scribbled the new thought out words.   It is fascinating to see what they scratched out and decided not to use in the song. 

Davies goes through each song in the Beatles' canon chronologically. He breaks down the reasons why the song was written and whatever stories go along with each song. For serious Beatles fans, this will be old hat and I found myself skimming through it.  I don't need to read yet again that Yesterday was originally "Scrambled Eggs."  But there are also some gems hidden in the book.  Since Davies was the Beatles biographer, he spent quite a bit of time in the studio with them in 1967. There is a section in the "Sgt. Pepper" part of the book where he prints his notes from some of the sessions. I really enjoyed reading about John and Paul working on writing "with a little help from my friends."  Davies also includes quite a bit of humor in this book, but you have to catch the subtlety of it.  

This is a book fans really need to have on their bookshelf, however it isn't one that I see anyone picking up and reading over and over again.  It is great to flip through and look at the Beatles' handwriting and read some of the stories, especially on your favorite songs.  I am glad that Davies took the initiative and time to track down all of this information and put it in book form.

The link below is the affiliate link to Amazon, where you can purchase this book.  I get a small percentage of anything purchased through this link.  Money made from the Amazon Afflication is used to pay the annual fee to keep this site online.  Thank you for your support.  Sara


  1. Where is this postcard from ?....from a book ?

  2. Sara re: Wed reviews, you must see I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND dvd if you haven't already as it is a riot

  3. Hi- some of these lyrics are on display at the British Library as Hunter Davies kindly loaned them