Paul McCartney: A Life

Paul McCartney: A Life

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by Peter Ames Carlin
     
 

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From the acclaimed biographer who brought you the rock biography of Bruce Springsteen comes the life of musician Paul McCartney—from his groundbreaking years with the Beatles to Wings to his work as a solo artist and activist.

More than a rock star, more than a celebrity, Paul McCartney is a cultural touchstone who helped transform popularSee more details below

Overview

From the acclaimed biographer who brought you the rock biography of Bruce Springsteen comes the life of musician Paul McCartney—from his groundbreaking years with the Beatles to Wings to his work as a solo artist and activist.

More than a rock star, more than a celebrity, Paul McCartney is a cultural touchstone who helped transform popular music as one half of the legendary Lennon-McCartney songwriting duo. In this definitive biography, Peter Ames Carlin examines McCartney’s entire life, casting new light not just on the Beatles era but also on his years with Wings and his thirty-year relationship with his first wife, Linda McCartney. He takes us on a journey through a tumultuous couple of decades in which Paul struck out on his own as a solo artist, reached the top of the charts with a new band, and once again drew hundreds of thousands of screaming fans to his concerts. Carlin presents McCartney as a musical visionary but also as a layered and conflicted figure as haunted by his own legacy—and particularly his relationship with John Lennon—as he was inspired by it. Built on years of research and fresh, revealing interviews with friends, bandmates, and collaborators spanning McCartney’s entire life, Carlin’s lively biography captures the many faces of the living legend.

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Editorial Reviews

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
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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416562238
Publisher:
Touchstone
Publication date:
11/03/2009
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
202,061
File size:
3 MB

What People are saying about this

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

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