Paul McCartney: A Life

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Overview

The bestselling author of Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson now presents an in-depth biography of the legendary musician and icon Paul McCartney, exploring his impact on music and culture, his personal triumphs and defeats, and his post-Beatles relationships with John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. The book explores McCartney through the perspective of his lyrics, spanning his career from his years with the Beatles to his solo...

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Paul McCartney: A Life

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Overview

The bestselling author of Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson now presents an in-depth biography of the legendary musician and icon Paul McCartney, exploring his impact on music and culture, his personal triumphs and defeats, and his post-Beatles relationships with John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. The book explores McCartney through the perspective of his lyrics, spanning his career from his years with the Beatles to his solo albums today.

The composer of "Yesterday," "Hey Jude," "Eleanor Rigby," and "Let It Be," Paul McCartney is one of the most famous men in the world, yet one of the most elusive. An international superstar for more than forty years, he has not only sold hundreds of millions of records but has also altered the course of popular culture. He has been worshiped and ridiculed, his work revered and reviled. Governments have celebrated him, persecuted him, thrown him in prison, and knighted him.

More than a rock star, more than a celebrity, McCartney is a cultural touchstone. Yet no book has revealed the headwaters of his genius or, for that matter, explained why the Beatles' talented and adventurous musician seemed to abandon his position as an innovator, trading the daring of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" for an endless procession of what even he has called silly love songs. But McCartney never lost the spark of genius. His songs are rarely less than hummable and often unforgettable. And at any given moment, McCartney can reach into himself and pull out something phenomenal.

Drawing on years of research, Paul McCartney: A Life spans McCartney's roots in England's working class to his life in the present day, performing around the world and working for causes he believes in. Informed by new, exclusive interviews with friends, bandmates, and collaborators, the book describes McCartney's many triumphs as well as his failures, from the Beatles era through his decade with Wings and his subsequent solo career.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The best thing about Peter Ames Carlin's book is the way he entangles the music and the life, so that we begin to understand them as what they are—-inextricable." —-Dave Marsh, author of Bruce Springsteen on Tour: 1968–2005
Publishers Weekly
Despite the famous rumors of his death in 1969, Paul is alive and well in Carlin's hagiographic portrait of the creative genius behind the Beatles, the lead man of Wings and the brilliant though sometimes insecure solo artist still filling stadiums. Drawing on recent interviews with friends and McCartney's former band mates from Wings as well as on fresh research on the Liverpool lad, Carlin chronicles McCartney's life from his childhood love of music and his youthful entry into rock and roll with John Lennon in the Quarrymen to his meteoric rise to fame as one of the Beatles, his breakup with the band, his marriage to Linda Eastman and her death, and his recent marriage to and divorce from Heather Mills. Carlin rehearses the well-known story of the Beatles' breakup and Paul's disenchantment with Yoko Ono's role in leading the musical directions of the band. Feeling lost after the band dissolved, McCartney channeled his grief into his music, much as he did when his mother died when he was only 12, though critics both panned and praised his solo records. Since Barry Miles's definitive biography, Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now), goes only up to Linda's death in 1998, Carlin's study brings the musician's life to his most recent solo album, Electric Arguments (2008). McCartney emerges from Carlin's admiring biography as a brilliant musician who provided the creative direction for the Beatles, who taught John Lennon how to play the guitar and who continues to create new musical challenges for himself even now, when he's moving past 64. What's missing are interviews with McCartney himself. (Nov.)
Library Journal
In this comprehensive and well-balanced biography informed by new, exclusive interviews with friends and insiders, Carlin (Catch a Wave) chronicles pop music legend McCartney's well-known and oft-recounted accomplishments as a Beatle along with his years with Wings and as a solo artist, delving also into his childhood, his marriages, and his mercurial bond with John Lennon. Multiple Audie Award winner John Lee's smooth narration is refreshingly unobtrusive. An intimate and entertaining portrait that should satisfy Macca's many fans; recommended for listeners interested in all aspects of Macca's life and career, not just his Beatles years. [The Touchstone hc was recommended for those wanting "a solid but fast-paced, easy-to-read overview of McCartney's life and career," LJ 9/15/09.—Ed.]—Douglas King, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia
Kirkus Reviews
Thorough portrait of "the Cute Beatle," from his working-class childhood in Liverpool through his raucous years with the Fab Four and his continued musical output. The Beatles are one of the most beloved rock bands of all time, and each member's personal legacy is shaped by adoration, gossip and myth. This is especially true of McCartney, who receives long-overdue fair treatment in this insightful biography based on original interviews and careful research. Former People senior writer and current Oregonian pop-culture contributor Carlin (Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, 2006, etc.) firmly establishes McCartney's role as the Beatles' music director and formal taskmaster. He also exposes the nuances of his brilliant yet highly competitive personal and professional relationship with John Lennon and debunks several myths regarding his role in the band's dissolution and the bitter lawsuits that followed. Along with Yoko Ono, McCartney has often been construed in Beatles lore as the villain, while Lennon is elevated to sainthood. The reality was much more complicated, and Carlin's balanced portrayal of all the Beatles' virtues and flaws is commendable. He not only debunks several unflattering myths about McCartney, but is also just to Ono and shows Lennon at times to be quite cruel. Carlin's metaphor for the band as a family-with McCartney as the hardworking, underappreciated mother, Lennon as the magnetic but ne'er-do-well father, George as the sulky teen and Ringo as the small child with a toy train-feels apt. While the book loses some of its tension and momentum in the later chapters, parts are still emotionally fraught, most notably McCartney'slast moments with his wife Linda, his messy divorce from Heather Mills and his reaction to Harrison's death. Carlin intersperses the narrative with snippets of song lyrics, which are fitting at times but occasionally stall the narrative flow. An excellent pop-culture biography. Agent: Simon Lipskar/Writers House
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400113859
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/3/2009
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

British narrator John Lee has read audiobooks in almost every conceivable genre, from Charles Dickens to Patrick O'Brian. He has won numerous Audie Awards and AudioFile Earphones Awards, and he was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile in 2009.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 25 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 20, 2010

    Paul McCartney is a very complicated and complex man.

    I have always been more of a John Lennon and George Harrison fan. So I was not really sure that I wanted to read about Paul but since I had access to the book after my son completed a school project, I decided to give it a try.

    At first, the book just helped confirm some of the thoughts and feelings that I had about Paul in terms of his never ending ambition, ego, and difficulty sharing money and credit. However, after I finished this book and compared it to the recent biography of John, I decided that they were both very complex and talented individuals. I really believe that John and Paul needed each other to push them to the top, otherwise a Paul led Beatles band (without John) would have been just another British pop band. John clearly needed Paul to make his music popular but Paul also needed the gritty and rough edges that John had to push their music to the highest level.

    I believe that this book did a good job of showing all of the different sides of Paul, warts and all - it made him human. Clearly a man with a real drive and passion for music. At the same time, very insecure and in some ways self-destructive.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2010

    Review Paul McCartney A Life

    I found the book overall enlightening regarding many aspects of Paul's life.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 2, 2010

    As, a devoted,original,first generation "BEATLE" fan,i am enjoying this book.

    This is a wonderful book on Paul McCartney.It is very interesting & enjoyable for a PAUL McCartney/"BEATLE" fan

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2012

    Great!

    Refreshing read and wonderfully written. Probably one of the better Beatle books out there, especially since there aren't too many on Paul. Worth the buy!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 26, 2010

    great read

    KICKASS BOOK DAWG

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2014

    "SIR" PAUL IS #1!!!!!!!!:):0

    "SIR" PAUL IS #1 N 1 OF MY FAVE SINGERS!!!!!!!!:0:) LONG LIVE PAUL MCCARTNEY!!!!!!!!:):0 FROM YOUR #1 FAN TANNER TAN-MAN LESUEUR OF MESA, AZ.!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2014

    MJ10

    WHY ARE HE AND MICHAEL NOT FRIENDS ANYMORE?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Paul, not as Yoko sees him

    A seemingly honest look at things from his point of view. A little image polishing here and there, but still worthy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 10, 2012

    That's kinda BS that the hardcover is on sale for $2.99 but the

    That's kinda BS that the hardcover is on sale for $2.99 but the Nook version is $12.99. How about some love for your eReaders?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2010

    Great Book for a Gift

    This was for my son-in-law who is a Beattles fan and album collector.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted May 30, 2011

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    Posted January 24, 2010

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    Posted January 7, 2010

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