4. 'The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions,' by Mark Lewisohn
You wouldn't think you'd be able to turn what's basically a log book of every Beatles session at EMI studios – running down who the producer was, who the engineer was, what songs, backing tracks or overdubs were put on tape – into a page-turning wonder, but so it goes here. Lewisohn, whose gargantuan Tune In – the first of a three-volume Beatles series – came out a few years ago, has never been good at discussing why a song functions as well or not as well as it does, but he does have a knack for situating you in a spot. Reading Recording Sessions, you practically find yourself sitting in the studio as the band start up the next take. This was also the first time readers got a sense for the treasures locked away at Abbey Road, the gems that would surface on a lot of bootlegs that further changed how one understood the band.