cover image Living the Beatles Legend: The Untold Story of Mal Evans

Living the Beatles Legend: The Untold Story of Mal Evans

Kenneth Womack. Dey Street, $50 (592p) ISBN 978-0-06-324852-6

Biographer Womack (John Lennon 1980) provides an exhaustive chronicle of Beatles’ road manager Malcolm Evans, from his days as a patron of Liverpool’s Cavern Club, where the band got their start, to globe-crossing tours with the Fab Four between 1963 and 1966. Evans became the group’s road manager in 1963 and adopted a jack-of-all-trades role: cameoing in promotional videos; singing harmonies on recordings; briefly serving as managing director at Apple Records, the label the Beatles formed in 1968; and even co-writing such songs as 1967’s “Fixing a Hole” with Paul McCartney, though he didn’t receive credit or royalties. After the band’s 1974 breakup, Evans managed John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr and nursed dreams of becoming “a star in his own right,” though his life came to a tragic end at age 40 when he was shot by the police during a domestic disturbance. Womack’s account is full of thrilling moments—the 1973 theft of Harrison’s prized guitar “Lucy” and Mal’s efforts to get it back being a highlight—even if it’s sometimes bogged down by minutiae (every broken guitar string seems recorded) and the author’s fawning hyperbole (“For the Beatles themselves, the highlight of the European sojourn was the Italians’ wide-eyed wonder at the image of colossal Mal lugging their equipment”). Still, devoted fans of the band will find much to cheer about. (Nov.)