Daddy, I can’t sleep. Will you tell me the story of The Beatles?
As any parent who’s ever narrated a bedtime story (and every child who’s ever demanded one) knows, the primary challenge is to provide simultaneous security and novelty: to render the familiar tale both comfortably predictable and stimulatingly fresh. At a time when devotees of popular culture study the oft-recounted histories of Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe as closely as the devout of previous centuries pored over the lives of the saints, what virgin territories could possibly be discovered by yet another retracing of a path as thoroughly trampled as the saga of the Fab Four Moptops from Liverpool who somehow became first the world’s teddy bears, then the world’s gurus and finally the world’s holy fools?
With All These Years – a putative trilogy of which the present burglar-killer is merely the first volume, taking The Beatles’ story up to New Year’s Eve of 1962 – Mark Lewisohn raises the biographical bar to stratospheric heights. His narrative focuses on the gradually developing intersection of four young