Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now (Anglais) Broché – 15 octobre 1998
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Not only did he lose a former best friend and half of the best songwriting team of all time, but the resultant rush to eulogise Lennon was often done at the expense of McCartney, whose own contribution was often trivialised.
This is McCartney's version of the history of the Beatles and their music. It is hard to imagine McCartney being insecure about anything, but he certainly seems territorial, protective and sensitive of his own legacy.
Perhaps the greatest injustice to McCartney was being inducted to Rock and Roll Hall of fame seven years after Lennon, in spite of being an equal contributor to the Beatles, and having a far more commercially successful solo career.
As far as the Lennon McCartney compositions go, there are a few surprises, for instance, he says he wrote the music to 'In My Life' a song which is obviously very Lennon but this actually makes sense. On many of the other Lennon songs he wrote the middle eight or the words of the last verse and vice versa. At times this seems petty, but to be fair he does give Lennon credit on some songs that are obviously strongly McCartney compositions such as the middle sections of Michelle and She's Leaving Home, and a 50/50 credit on I saw her standing there. On Eleanor Rigby he credits Lennon some of the lyrics to the final verse, although in the Anthology documentary he says the song is 100% his. The key to crediting any Lennon McCartney song is he who sung it wrote it or most of it.
The most interesting portions of this book are the direct quotations by McCartney about his life, his relationship with John and the other Beatles and his relationship with Linda, and his insights into John and the meaning of many of his songs which are the best I've read. He is surprisingly candid and open, compared to tv interviews where he has rarely allowed interviewers to get behind the McCartney persona.
Some of his comments about John are quite touching. The history of how he met Linda, and how their relationship developed is a compelling love story.
For instance we get to hear about the death of Paul's mother when he was 14, the tragic death of John's mother the business relationship with Brian Epstein, the Apple fiasco,the wrangling, the naivety of the Beatles in business matters, the loss of ownership of their songs and so forth.
As for Mr Miles himself, he is not the world's greatest writer, which is why I only give it 3 stars. The chapter on avantgarde London is the most boring thing I have ever read. He could easily have edited 100 pages out of this book without compromising the content.
In addition, he is obviously biased towards McCartney and disses Lennon by act and omission. He zeroes in on McCartney as a painter making him out to be a better artist than Lennon, and making the most pretensious comparisons between McCartney's art and classic painters.
He doesn't seem to understand that by undermining Lennon he is also undermining McCartney's credibility. Fortunately, McCartney's own comments are far more respectful, and seemingly objective.
In Mr Miles favour, I must say there are very few questions about McCartney that are left unanswered, and in spite of all its obvious flaws this is still the best psychological insight into Paul McCartney and John Lennon that I have read, so I would recommend this book. I would strongly recommend the books by Hunter Davies and Philip Norman. I hope this review was helpful.
The book is full of insider information about the genesis and sources of each of the songs and albums along the way, ranging from the creation of "I Saw Her Standing There" all the way to the "Long And Winding Road", at a time when the members of the group could barely stand to inhabit the same space for any period of time. We come to understand how the arrival of fame and fortune changed each of them forever, and although Paul's perspective is the only one aired here, one marvels at just how fair-minded and self-effacing he seems to be in assessing the values, contribution, and failings of each of the Beatles, himself included. It also shows just how instrumental the guidance of the so-called fifth Beatle, George Martin, was to both their initial breakthrough as well as to their successful riding of the wave-crest of fame that swept over them with such an enormous impact.
It also illustrates just how versatile and intelligent Paul has been, masterfully managing and orchestrating both his music and his fortune to become one of the wealthiest and most successful of the rock luminaries emerging from the sixties. And while his later music may have been disappointing in more critical terms, there is no doubting that he has been a continuing critical influence in the continuing evolution of popular music in the thirty years since the Beatles disbanded. Paul has had a rich and rewarding life, and has become a well-known benefactor of worthy causes and sometimes-reclusive widower of his long-time love and wife Linda, who died several years ago, succumbing to cancer. Still, the McCartney magic seems to shine, and this biography of him is both an interesting read and a privileged look behind the tall walls that he has built around himself in the last several decades. Given the crazed attack that fellow Beatle George Harrison suffered from a deluded fan, perhaps his concern about privacy and protection are all too well advised. Enjoy!
Donald Gallinger is the author of The Master Planets
First, he doesn't believe the popularly held idea that the death of Brian Epstein was anything but an accident.
Second, he says that the Beatles were never angry at the Maharishi. They didn't consider him a fraud as popularly reported. They had just learned everything they needed to learn from him and they wanted to get back to real life. Paul says he still meditates using the mantra taught to him by the Mararishi. John's song Sexy Sadie was indeed about some disillusionment with the spiritual leader, but the feelings weren't lasting.
Third, the collaboration between John and Paul lasted into the later years of the Beatles when most people assumed that they were writing their songs solo and tacking on the other's name. Paul talks about John's help with Hey Jude and his own contribution to the Ballad of John and Yoko.
Fourth, Paul is very fair with everyone. He doesn't blame Yoko for breaking up the Beatles. He thinks that Yoko probably saved the H addicted John's life and thus extended the life of the Beatles. He surprisingly doesn't blame Yoko for his conflicted relationship with John after the breakup.
People can argue on whether McCartney's vision is the reality or what he wants to portray. Either way, you won't get a complete picture of the Beatles without reading this book.
This is why I'm happy about this McCartney book. Of course there's a slant to it, but how could one resist doing so? Lennon's memory has been getting glossed over in book form for decades. I don't favor one over the other (unfortunately, the great partnership of Lennon/McCartney now has people choosing up sides!) but I don't want the people managing John's image (who weren't even there!) to have the final word in the Beatle history books!
McCartney's book is exceptionally interesting. He gets into what it was like to be the biggest star, most eligible bachelor and total rich guy with the world at his feet in the swingin' sixties. How cool, boppin' around London in his Aston Martin! Trendy clubs, willing women, drinks in the wee small hours. He was James Bond, but carried a guitar intead of a gun! While I hold Lennon and McCartney in equal esteem, I believe it was Paul who had more occasion to widen his views on music, art and the world in general during this time, and thus affect the Beatles music.
It is widely known that John and George tired of the fame game quickly. Paul used it as a learning tool. And while I care little for the avant-garde scene of the time, it's cool to learn just how involved in it Paul was, at a time when John was risking becoming an acid casualty. I feel McCartney has the right to set the record (no pun) straight regarding the Beatle's music. First, he was there, and second because the stereotypes are so overwhelming. John, the artistic/experimental? Well, Paul did this or that on his own or on John's tunes. Paul the romantic? Well John wrote this sweet ballad.
Paul doesn't dis Yoko in this book, in fact he's quite kind to her, and clearly still loves John. Paul doesn't deserve to be considered the lesser of the two, which seems to be a minor trend, simply because he was the more musical, which usually came out as more polished, less edgy.
This book gave me more of a clue as to what it was actually like to be a Beatle than any other. On occasion you get a great sense of "being there". And dang, then and now, the guy is cheerful! Throughout, he marvels at how cool it was and how fortunate they all were.
I've read a great number of Beatle books, and have always gotten the impression that early on fame overwhelmed Lennon, and he let go of the "leadership" role, willingly. Clearly, McCartney was the most gung-ho of the four, as well as being the most naturally musically inclined.
The saddest thing I found was, as in accounts about Lennon's Dakota years, even while a Beatle Lennon wasted a lot of time, being wasted and laying about the house, in apparent depression. Even so, at this time he still had the motivation to meet Paul's creative juices head on.
Lennon/McCartney was an incredible force, and this book gives one half of that force the chance to toot his own horn. Is that so wrong? People who've achieved a fraction of what Paul has have written much more boastful books. I can't even justify using the word "boastful" in this case.
PR men and women have written John's story, unfortunately. Paul deserves his say, and does so taking care, seemingly, to be fair to all! Cheers, Paul!