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Paul McCartney: the Life by Philip Norman

Published on Monday, June 20, 2016

Paul McCartney: the Life by Philip Norman

Maybe I'm Amazed

I just finished reading this great BIG comprehensive biography of the (still unfinished) life of ex-Beatle and international superstar Paul McCartney.  This isn’t my first go-round with a Macca bio, so there were lots of stories in here that I’ve heard before, but with additional nuanced information that author Philip Norman gleaned from interviewing hundreds of people and poring over years of McCartney interviews and news stories. 

I was concerned about Philips as a sympathetic biographer as he took pains to trash McCartney in his previously published bio of the late-John Lennon. This time around, he starts off with an apology for all that, admitting to being jealous of the so-called “cute Beatle.”  What follows is a thorough look at McCartney’s humble beginnings in working class Liverpool, England; his early success as a polite, hardworking school boy, and his fierce devotion to his loving nuclear as well as his large extended family.  

Through McCartney’s tough teen years when he lost his mother and built around himself a shell, he was salved by the music he began writing as early as age 14.  Follow him through his rough and tumble start with the Beatles, their astronomical success, their breakup, his faithful 30-year marriage to the love of his life, Linda Eastman, and a resurgent career that has surpassed the success of the Beatles in terms of audience demand and earning capacity. You will get to know a complex, sometimes conflicted man with a bottomless work ethic, an enormous capacity for love and humanity, and a stone-cold musical genius. 

I loved this book. But beware, you are committing to 864 pages.  However, if you take the leap, you will be rewarded with the story of an extraordinary life set against the backdrop of three quarters of a century of enormous social, political, and cultural change in which McCartney is a major agent of that change.   Center stage to it all is one imperfect yet extraordinary human being who deserves a lot of respect and admiration. 

Paul McCartney; the Life by Philip Norman

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