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Summary

The complete, unabridged audiobook of The Beatles - All These Years.

The Beatles have been at the top for 50 years, their music remains exciting, their influence is still huge, their acclaim and achievements cannot be surpassed. But who really were the Beatles, and how did they and everything else in the 1960s fuse so explosively?

Mark Lewisohn's three-part biography is the first true and accurate account of the Beatles, a contextual history built upon impeccable research and written with energy, style, objectivity and insight. This first volume covers the crucial and less-known early period - the Liverpool and Hamburg years of a hungry rock and roll band, when all the sharp characters and situations take shape.

This is the Beatles like you've never heard them before. It isn't just 'another book'; it's the book from the world-acknowledged authority. Forget what you know and discover the complete story.

©2013 Mark Lewisohn (P)2015 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"This is the story told in Proustian detail.... The first edited-down volume, is largely a delight, and the story is told so definitively that, after this, that really should be it. Secondary sources are comprehensively mined; letters, public records and business documents have been found in places no one else ever thought to look.... Lewisohn is a Beatles oracle." (John Harris, Guardian)
"Never previously have the Beatles' formative years been recounted in such detail. It is unlikely to be surpassed." (Michael Watts, Daily Telegraph)
"Lewisohn has done an astonishing job. I can't wait for volume two." ( Independent)
"A major event in music publishing this month as Tune In by Mark Lewisohn lands...the definitive account of The Beatles." ( GQ)

What listeners say about The Beatles - All These Years

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The only Beatles story to listen to

I've been a Beatles nut since Dec 9 1980 when I woke up to that news, and asked my mum as a 13 yr old, 'who's John Lennon'?
Since then I've learnt their songs as a musician, read more books on them than I can remember, and thought that I was an authority on them, but not until now and listening to this story. It has been 10 or more years in the making and this is the definitive story. This is 43 hours long and is only part 1, so take it in your stride and enjoy. It might only appeal to Beatles geeks like me but this is one book to have in your library, I have also ordered the book. I have always wondered why they still appeal after 50 years, and within this book you begin understand why and how they broke off the shackles of the London music industry and literally did change everything and did it there way.
Brilliantly narrated, complete with impersonating each Beatle, you get a feeling at the end that you know each and every personality in their rise. You feel like you've lived in Liverpool and especially Hamburg.
Quite a remarkable book in every sense, I can't praise it highly enough. If I had a small gripe, it would only be that part 2 might be years off.

8 people found this helpful

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One of the truly great biographies and audiobooks

What other book might you compare The Beatles - All These Years to, and why?

I got the Hunter Davies 'official' biography on Audible and I'm glad I listened to it first, because this blows it out of the water. It is incredibly detailed, but delivered with lyrical touches. Whereas Davies had to avoid all the Brian Epstein back story, Mark Lewisohn is unimpeded in his portrayal of the true background to the greatest group of all time. He interlaces the stories of all the protagonists - George Martin, Epstein, Neil Aspinall, Richie Starkey, Pete Best, Stuart Sutcliffe and the core friendship of John, Paul and George.

Have you listened to any of Clive Mantle’s other performances? How does this one compare?

In Hunter Davies's book the narrator ends up sounding like Noddy Holder when he's trying to do some of the Liverpool accents. Clive Mantle handles it brilliantly. It is not the easiest job to do four voices you know very well along with Aunt Mimi and a supporting cast of hundreds. The combination of assured narration with a great book makes it the most compelling of Audio books.

Any additional comments?

It's going to be hard waiting for the next volume,

5 people found this helpful

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Epstein is the best part of the story

I chose this book to get a clearer understanding of the band that played a huge part in shaping the British music scene.

What you get is a much more comprehensive book, not only telling the story of how each Beatle came to join the band but also the stories of those on the fringe of the band who made it all possible. Brian Epstein & George Martin etc.

The story drags in the parts about the Beatles themselves. Too much time is spent on girls / boys who followed the band in the Cavern years. Which Beatle was their favourite and why. At times it sounds like fan letters to Smash Hits!

The real gem in this book though is the story of Brian Epstein. Having no real interest in his life and past I was tempted to skip his bits but soon the complexity of his character and challenges make his story the most gripping. And for this reason alone the book is worth a listen.

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Comprehensive

Everything you ever wanted to know about the band leading up to the first album. Absolutely superb!

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Comprehensive, entertaining and brilliantly read.

I've just finished the audiobook. 43 hours and 40 minutes of the best audiobook I've ever heard.


OK, I must declare a bias. I am a huge Beatles fan. Take that as a given.


Even so, Mark Lewisohn's book is a masterpiece of scholarship and accessible writing. It covers the minutiae of their everyday personal a professional lives up to the end of 1962. I thought I knew a lot about The Beatles, and I did, but I know a lot more now. Lewisohn provides more background to well-documented events in the band's career. There were a few surprises for me, such as the initial contractual arrangements between Epstein and John, Paul, George and Pete and how they affected Best's sacking. And while I knew about Best's inadequacies as a drummer, I wasn't fully aware of the extent of his personal distance from the other band members and their unhappiness with him.


The insights into the UK recording industry of the time are fascinating. You can feel the band's frustration as they tried to become 'recording artistes'. The segments on how Epstein forged a relationship with George Martin and Dick James and sidelined other players reveal the politics and personalities of the industry at the time. The antipathy that George Martin felt towards Norrie Paramor is another good example. George Martin's own initial (and considerable) scepticism about The Beatles is also covered.


And then there are the private lives. the upbringings, the traumas, the trails, the triumphs and the relationships, not just of The Beatles, but of the other people in their lives. There's no attempt to sugar coat anything: Neil Apsinall's affair with Mona Best, George Martin's affair with his future wife, Paul's multiple concurrent girlfriends, Cynthia's unenviable position as the hidden wife. All are covered. Warts and all.


I was eight when The Beatles broke through and, although I was aware of them and liked them, it wasn't until 1968 that I became a real fan. Consequently, I have always been more interested in the second half of their career. But this book has given me a newfound enthusiasm for their earlier music, and some of its influences. It really brought home to me what pioneers the Beatles even before they became famous. I was aware of it, but this has brought it into sharper focus.


Then there's the reading. It is uniformly brilliant. Clive Mantle creates accents for each Beatle and the people around them. They bring the characters to life without ever becoming caricatures. He brings out the humour, the sadness, the frustration and the triumph without ever becoming mawkish or over the top. The section about Stuart Sutcliffe's death and the events before and after it is particularly poignant.


I cannot recommend this book enough. It's the only audiobook that I have started again as soon as I finished it. I know that makes me a bit sad, but what the hell...

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Stunning book stunning narration

Probably the best music book I have ever read. Lewisohn writes so brilliantly and the way he weaves complex threads together is awesome. His attention to Ringo, the way he describes the way George Martin changed his mind, are things you just don't get from Philip Norman. Also the way she shows relationship s at the core of everything the Beatles did. Also the reading of Clive Mantel is just drop dead brilliant. Different tones when quoting the participants. His voices for Paul and Ringo are just sublime. This book was an absolute joy to read and hear. I have a feeling in 200 years time people will accord the same status to Lewisohn as we accord to Edward Gibbon now. This is out of this world,!

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The best book about the Beatles

This is an absolute MUST for all Beatle fans. I've been a fan for over 50 years and this is the most comprehensive account of their rarly years I have come across. Excellent!

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Terrific!

I’ve read virtually everything on The Beatles but this is THE ONE! The detail is unbelievable and it’s so well read! Cannot wait for Volume 2.

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Don't be put off by the length - it's brilliant.

To echo just about everyone else who has reviewed this book as a listen or a hard copy read, it is a work of extraordinary research and diligence and written in a definitive but entertaining and compelling way, such that you think there is pretty much nothing left to say about this unique group of musicians. If you think that ending this volume at the point at which the Beatles are just breaking through means that it covers a period of marginal interest makes it less interesting than their later years this is absolutely NOT the case. These early years and all the unrelenting struggles and all the characters who come and go are utterly compelling, set against the fact that even now, just about everyone in the world knows the basic arc of the Beatles story. I had that rare sensation of being genuinely sad when this book ended, not least because I know that the next volume (2 of 3), is still a work in progress and could be years away yet. This is a uniquely interesting story with a unique and culture-shifting trajectory. Superb job Mark Lewinsohn, and please keep writing.

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  • AR
  • 05-09-21

exceptional deep dive

I am a long time fan, but I learned so much here. It is brilliantly written, well read. The worst bit is waiting for part 2!

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  • Mr. J. Welsh
  • 18-09-17

It doesn't get any better than this!!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Beatles - All These Years to be better than the print version?

This audio book is probably the best I have "ever" listened to.
If you like ''The Beatles'', this is the ''one and only'' book to get.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I have no favourite characters, as they are all done so well.
The individual Beatle accents are "spot on"!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The Stu Sutcliffe chapters were particularly moving.

Any additional comments?

I can't wait till audio Book 2 is available.
Any idea when this will be?