The legacy of Mal Evans
Beatles Historian Kenneth Womack set to publish a biography on Mal Evans, along with the diaries of the road manager and personal assistant, somewhat of a “holy grail” of Beatles lore.
Beatles scholar and author Kenneth Womack, PhD, in conjunction with the family and estate of Mal Evans, is set to release a biography of the Beatles’ road manager and confidant in 2023, followed by a fully illustrated offering from the family’s archives in 2024.
The books will be published by HarperCollins’ Dey Street Books imprint.
For decades, the mystery surrounding Evans’ treasure trove of unreleased material has left Beatles fans and music historians alike longing for a glimpse into the life and times of this most devoted friend among their inner circle. Mal Evans is also seen as a central figure in the footage in Peter Jackson’s new Get Back docuseries.
In 2020, the Evans family turned to leading Beatles authority Kenneth Womack to bring Mal’s archives to the world. Evans’ vast, never before seen archive including diaries, manuscripts, and photographs associated with the Beatles is viewed as a Holy Grail when it comes to understanding the band’s unparalleled legacy. «My dad meant the world to me,» says Gary Evans. «He was my hero. Before Ken joined the project, I thought I knew the story of my dad. But what I knew was in monochrome; 15 months later it is like The Wizard of Oz (dad’s favorite film) because Ken has added so much color, so much light to his story».
«Ken has shown me that dad was the Beatles’ greatest friend. He was lucky to meet them, but they had more good fortune with dad walking down the Cavern steps for the first time.»
«What I’ve discovered in this archive is more than I could have ever truly imagined,» says Womack. «I am honored and thrilled to present this biography and accompanying materials with the historical integrity that they deserve.»
Evans himself had planned to submit his manuscripts for publication in the mid-1970s, with the written permission of the Beatles themselves, but he tragically died a month beforehand – and the project was shelved. Over the years, Mal’s legend has only grown among Beatles afficionados. Though he started off as their roadie in August of 1963, he truly became their most intimate companion, with a birds-eye view of Beatlemania as it raged across the world. He singlehandedly captained their stage show, prepping their instruments and accompanying them on tour.
After the group abandoned the stage to pursue studio work in 1966, Mal’s contributions began to loom even larger, holding a special place in the creative universe of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. When the Beatles formed Apple Corps., Mal refashioned himself as a talent scout, and developed a number of rock ‘n’ roll acts for the fledgling label—most notably, Badfinger.
The first volume of the book, which comprises a full-length biography, will be published in 2023, with a second volume, complete with Evans’ diaries, manuscripts, and numerous other artifacts, will be published in 2024.
The project has been developed by Womack in collaboration with the Malcolm Frederick Evans Estate and Matthew Elblonk, a literary agent with DeFiore and Company. Carrie Thornton at Dey Street Books secured World English rights. Harper Nonfiction will publish in the UK.
Dr. Kenneth Womack is Professor of English and Popular Music at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ. He is the author or editor of 40 books, including Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles (2007), the Cambridge Companion to the Beatles (2009), The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four (2014), and a multivolume study devoted to the life and work of Beatles producer George Martin. His bestselling book, Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles, was released in October 2019 and has received praise from The L.A. Times and Publishers Weekly amongst others. His latest book, John Lennon, 1980: The Last Days in the Life, was published in September 2020 to rave reviews.
The Music Culture writer for Salon and the host of the web magazine’s “Everything Fab Four” podcast, Womack has also written for Slate, Billboard, Variety, NBC News, Smithsonian Magazine, Time, and USA Today.
For more information about Mal Evans, see his Wikipedia entry.