Artist News

British Library acquires archives from Beatles biographer

By | Published on Tuesday 27 September 2022

The Beatles

The British Library has acquired an archive of “notebooks, ephemera and photographs” that were pulled together by writer and journalist Hunter Davies when he wrote the only official biography of The Beatles all the way back in 1968. I don’t know about you, I’m most excited by the ephemera. Who wouldn’t be?

Says the Library: “While writing the book, Davies spent eighteen months with the band and had unprecedented access to John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, as well as to those within the orbit of one of the most influential music groups in history. The archive offers previously unseen insights into Davies’ relationship with The Beatles; it also offers a glimpse into the care, collaboration and consideration that goes into writing a book like ‘The Beatles: The Authorised Biography”.

Davies himself says of the collection: “The further we get from The Beatles, the bigger they become. I never thought all these years later my scruffy notebooks would be of such interest – and I’m pleased that they’ll be made available to a wider audience of Beatles fans and researchers through the British Library”.

And the Library’s Curator Of Contemporary Literary Archives, Greg Buzwell, adds: “We are delighted to have acquired Hunter Davies’ archive on his biography. His collection of notebooks, ephemera and photographs offers us a fascinating glimpse into the career of the Beatles at their peak”.

“The archive also provides a unique record of how Hunter went about writing what remains the only authorised biography of the group”, he goes on.

“Given unparalleled access to John, Paul, George and Ringo, along with other influential figures in their lives, Hunter’s research notes for his book are an important addition to the Library’s collections, and offer a raw, first-hand perspective into how the Beatles became icons of 1960s counterculture and changed the face of popular music forever”.

To celebrate the acquisition of the archive, Davies will be taking part in an event at the British Library on 11 Nov which people can attend either in-person or via a stream.