Books: Magical Mystery Tour

The Beatles trace, in their own words, their evolution from lovable mop tops to squabbling icons of rock

Even before the history of the Beatles was recorded in The Beatles Anthology (Chronicle Books; 367 pages; $60), it was written on the faces of John, Paul, George and Ringo. Just look at the comedy-musical A Hard Day's Night (1964), from the dawn of Beatlemania: the footage is black and white, the lads are all in proper-looking suits, their hair cut just below their ears, their faces bright and clean shaven (except for McCartney's fake goatee in the opening scene). Then screen the edgier Let It Be (1970), the documentary that recorded the Fab Four's final days: the film is in...

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