Out now is "Living the Beatles Legend: The Untold Story of Mal Evans" by Beatles scholar Kenneth Womack. Written with the full participation of Evans' family, it's the first in-depth look at the life of an indispensable part of the Beatles' history. Evans started as one of the band's roadies and went on to become a confidant as well as a contributor to their music; he "played" the anvil for "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," the tambourine on "Dear Prudence," trumpet on "Helter Skelter" and more and offered lyric for several songs suggestions. Evans is particularly visible in Peter Jackson's "Get Back" docuseries and later worked privately for Paul McCartney.
Womack was recruited for the project by Evans' son Gary Evans, on the recommendation of Simon Weitzman, who's been working on a documentary about Evans. Womack tells us the best part about doing the project was being given access to Evans' extensive diaries as well as the manuscript for an Evans memoir, of the same title, that was slated for publication during the mid-70s:
"I've been thinking of him lately as the Beatles' first historian. he kind of realized earlier than most that this was gonna be really important someday, right? So quite early on he's saving receipts and documents, keeping the diary from 1963, filling notebooks wit points and discoveries about the Beatles, taking all those photographs — more than they could ever use for the Beatles' books or any of those other outlets which Mal trucked. So he really was acting in a kind of historical fashion. He was a pack rat, but he was a pack rat with a purpose."
In addition to his direct contact with the Beatles Evans also worked at the Beatles' Apple Records with bands such as Badfinger and the Iveys.
Evans was fatally shot on January 5th, 1976 in Los Angeles during a domestic disturbance. He was 40 years old.
Womack is a professor of English and Popular Music at Monmouth University in New Jersey, where he teaches a fall semester course on the Beatles. He's also lectured about the Beatles at Harvard, Princeton, the Grammy Museum and the Smithsonian Institution, among others. His previous Beatles books include "The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles" and "John Lennon 1980: The Last Days of His Life."