1. Love Me Do: The Beatles’ Progress by Michael Braun
Braun was a 27-year-old New Yorker working in London, who presciently joined the Beatles’ 1963-64 British tour and so was on hand for their first breakthrough in the US with I Want to Hold Your Hand. Though American, he was no greilnicker but a gifted reporter whose fly-on-the-wall account prefigured many later scenes in A Hard Day’s Night. Braun paid a high price for this amazing access: John later admitted the Beatles had been “bastards” to him and photographer Dezo Hoffman remembered them throwing him a lamb chop from a room-service trolley “as if he was a dog”.
2. Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now by Barry Miles
An authorised biography. Formerly known simply as “Miles”, the author was a co-founder of Indica, the art gallery and bookshop that became the epicentre of London’s underground scene in the mid-60s (and where John famously met Yoko Ono). Initially, Paul intended the book to deal solely with his “London years”, proving how he, not John, was the first to explore the avant garde, but Miles convinced him to include his childhood as well. The result is part-biography, part-autobiography, with long, fascinating first-person reminiscences by its subject. But there’s little about his marriage to Linda and nothing about their much-criticised career in Wings.