Synopses & Reviews
More than a rock star, more than a celebrity, Paul McCartney is a cultural touchstone. As one half of the legendary Lennon-McCartney songwriting duo, he helped transform popular music, moving from the simplistic pop of "Love Me Do" to the avant-garde symphonics of "A Day in the Life" to generation-binding anthems such as "Hey, Jude" and "Let It Be". Along the way the Beatles ascended from the dank basements of working-class Liverpool to heights of fame and wealth no previous entertainer could ever have imagined.
McCartney's own ambitions fueled much of the group's progress. But even as he steered himself from childhood tragedy to his meeting with John Lennon to the gestation of the Beatles and their rise to international acclaim, the same appetites that drove the group to its greatest creative and commercial heights also served to tear the band members apart.
Still, McCartney's career didn't end with the Beatles' breakup. Nor, for that matter, did the bonds between the Beatles. And 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, capable of crafting pop gems such as "Band on the Run" and "Maybe I'm Amazed". But he also reveals a layered and often conflicted figure, as haunted by his 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 facets of Paul McCartney and paints a vivid portrait of one of our era's living legends.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"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." Kirkus Reviews
"This is the kind of book that Paul McCartney's solo work deserves...a clear-eyed overview of the Beatles period as a part of a very active, creative, and personal life that endures." Dave Marsh, author of Bruce Springsteen on Tour: 1968-2005
A biography of musician Paul McCartney, spanning from his years with The Beatles to his solo albums today.
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 McCartneys 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 McCartneys entire life, Carlins lively biography captures the many faces of the living legend.
About the Author
Peter Ames Carlin was born in Syracuse, NY in 1963. The son of a psychologist and an arts administrator, he was a freelance writer in Portland for many years, then worked as a senior writer at People magazine in New York City. He has been the TV columnist for The Oregonian newspaper since 2000, and is the author of Catch A Wave: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson. Published in 2006, Catch A Wave was acclaimed by Wilson collaborator Van Dyke Parks as "the essential Beach Boys saga." Peter lives with his wife and three children in Portland, Oregon.