For fans of the Beatles, as well as any musicians or producers who inhabit recording studios, this book should be required reading. For starters, its a wealth of information on just went on in the recording studios where musical history was made. Additionally, the book is filled with rare photos, studio memos, EP and LP artwork, newspaper clippings, you name it. However, the real reason to buy, study, peruse, and ponder the book, is that you will gain a clear understanding on just HOW each song was recorded. Not just the songs they released, but ALL the studio work, which means the unreleased takes, mixes, and unused songs. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it lets you in on the complete story behind all the Beatles music, that we know from their bootlegs. These are the recording sessions, not the BBC radio shows, the live shows, or the Twickenham Film studio recordings. (The book picks up on the LET IT BE recordings on January 22 1969, when they moved back to the studio from the film stage.) Also if you need information on the recording of solo work, or their various demos, including the incredible White Album demos recorded at George's house in 1968, you wont find that here either. The COMPLEATE BEATLES RECORDING SESSIONS provides a day by day overview of everything the Beatles did IN THE STUDIO, along with recollections by the band members, George Martin, studio session players, guests, or the recording engineers. Mark Lewisohn wrote another book, THE COMPLETE BEATLES CHRONICLE, which is similar in layout. "Chronicles" provides a day by day overview of the Beatles work in the studios, as well as TV appearances, their film work, live shows. Its a more thorough overview of their career, tho far less specific concerning their studio recordings. If you aren't as interested in their studio work, as you are by their whole output (Radio, TV, Film, stage shows, etc), then I'd recommend buying Lewisohn's COMPLETE BEATLES CHRONICLES, instead of the Recording Sessions book.
A typical entry in RECORDING SESSIONS can be found on WEDNESDAY 1 JUNE 1966, when they were working on YELLOW SUBMARINE. On May 26, the Beatles began work on the number by recording 4 takes of the song, until they laid down a suitable rhythm track. Ringo recorded his vocal, and the song sat til the first of June. That's the day Mal Evans wore a marching band bass drum, and marched around the studio leading Brian Jones, Marianne Faithful, Neil Aspinall and the Beatles girlfriends, while singing the chorus. (So you see, Beatle girlfriends were IN THE STUDIO, and ON THE RECORDINGS, years before Yoko was around.) This day also saw the recording of all the ship sound effects, marching feet, and Ringo's spoken intro, which was never used. Lewisohn had complete access to the multitracks to write the book, as well as the Abbey Road session notes, and on this particular day, recollection by the engineer Geoff Emerick. Sessions like this don't often happen in rock music, and when they do, we should be grateful to have documentation on how this magic happened. All the fun, the silliness, as well as the ingenuity and the genius that went into the best of the BEATLES recordings is on display on this June 1st entry. If knowing about this helps you understand and appreciate the BEATLES' recordings better, then you'll definitely enjoy this book. In contrast, Lewisohn's COMPLETE BEATLES CHRONICLES also talks about this day in the recording studio, altho edited down to just a couple paragraphs, omitting juicy info like Mal Evan's star studded parade. Personally, I'm so enthralled by the Beatle's work, that I want to know everything worth knowing, about the recording of these songs. So I own Lewisohn's BEATLES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS. IF I had to pick between the two, that's the one I'd recommend. However, most fans buy Lewisohn's other book, COMPLETE BEATLES CHRONICLES, at some point as well. Both books are incredibly informative about the Beatles, without getting bogged down in biographical information.