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Paul McCartney: The Life -- biography by Philip Norman
14 March 2016
10.09am
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Little Piggy Dragonguy
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I'll definitely be buying this book, but I've still never fully read Many Years From Now, so maybe I should start with that one.

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14 March 2016
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DrBeatle
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unknown said
I'll definitely be buying this book, but I've still never fully read Many Years From Now, so maybe I should start with that one.

I'd recommend that one. It'll be the next review on my site and I've already reviewed the two unauthorized books (Sounes and Carlin, dunno if you've seen those

@Little Piggy Dragonguy?). This will be the next Beatle bio once it comes out

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14 March 2016
10.51am
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Little Piggy Dragonguy
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@DrBeatle said

unknown said
I'll definitely be buying this book, but I've still never fully read Many Years From Now, so maybe I should start with that one.

I'd recommend that one. It'll be the next review on my site and I've already reviewed the two unauthorized books (Sounes and Carlin, dunno if you've seen those

@Little Piggy Dragonguy?). This will be the next Beatle bio once it comes out

Yeah, I've read both the Sounes and Carlin books, and I started reading Many Years From Now a couple years ago, but I had to return it to the library before I finished it. 

And I look forward to reading that review. Your reviews are always so interesting and very well thought out. 

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14 March 2016
12.02pm
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DrBeatle
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unknown said

@DrBeatle said

unknown said
I'll definitely be buying this book, but I've still never fully read Many Years From Now, so maybe I should start with that one.

I'd recommend that one. It'll be the next review on my site and I've already reviewed the two unauthorized books (Sounes and Carlin, dunno if you've seen those

@Little Piggy Dragonguy?). This will be the next Beatle bio once it comes out

Yeah, I've read both the Sounes and Carlin books, and I started reading Many Years From Now a couple years ago, but I had to return it to the library before I finished it. 

And I look forward to reading that review. Your reviews are always so interesting and very well thought out. 

Aw, thanks for the kind words! 🙂

 

Many Years From Now is good, my only complaint is that Paul stops it after the Beatles split (except for a brief discussion of his painting work in the 1980s/90s and a epilogue for Linda's death. Wish he'd have gone at least into the 1970s and discussed Wings, but I believe his original impetus was to counter the prevailing wisdom post-1980, and especially during the Anthology years, that John was the dominant creative force in the band.

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18 April 2016
7.57am
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I got my advance copy of this to review on Friday...BIG book! Had a quick flip and glad to see the Beatles split is around page 475 so there's still another 400 or so pages after of Paul's life since then...I loved Norman's Lennon bio but he only used the last 125 pages for John's life 1971-80 (granted he lived less than Paul did after the Beatles but it still felt rushed).

I've read the foreword to the book so far and in it, Norman explains how Paul was his favorite of the Beatles when he interviewed them back in the 1960s but he felt so betrayed by their split and Paul's (supposed) role in it that he spent the next few decades torching Paul (he almost seemed like a jilted lover, it was weird to read!) before realizing the error of his ways only in the last decade or so. Very strange...

Still, bring on the rest of the book!

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18 April 2016
9.49am
pickles
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I will be very interested to read your review, Dr. Beatle. This in particular interested me:

DrBeatle said 

I've read the foreword to the book so far and in it, Norman explains how Paul was his favorite of the Beatles when he interviewed them back in the 1960s but he felt so betrayed by their split and Paul's (supposed) role in it that he spent the next few decades torching Paul (he almost seemed like a jilted lover, it was weird to read!) before realizing the error of his ways only in the last decade or so. Very strange...

I confess, I have a very hard time swallowing Norman's justification of why he was so blatantly biased against Paul for decades. Now that he's writing a biography of Paul -- one whose main audience will presumably be Paul fans -- Norman suddenly really liked Paul! He just felt betrayed by the breakup-era version of events and is now admitting the error of his ways. This smacks of authorial revisionism to me, as Norman desperately attempts to salvage his reputation as a Beatles authority by attempting to backtrack from his previously admittedly biased and "unfair" depiction of Paul in every edition of Shout!   

This isn't what Norman was saying in 1981, when he was declaring on television that John was "75% of the Beatles," or when he was writing facetious poems arguing that they "should bury (Paul) soon" ... "in the middlemost middle of the road." It wasn't what he was saying in 2005 when he admitted, in the revised edition of Shout!, that he was an admitted "John" person, and that he didn't like either Paul's 70's personae or music, or in later interviews with the NYT that he had been admittedly unfair to Paul in Shout! (To say nothing of how he depicted George, who might as well have been a scowling, useless lump in Norman's eyes). So Norman's mistaken feeling of betrayal over Paul's perceived role in being solely to blame for the breakup is supposed to justify Norman's decades-long bashing of Paul, and Linda, and even Stella -- who according to Norman, the great fashion expert, has no talent whatsoever. What's his justification for his rotten depiction of George, then? And his total lack of interest in Ringo? Even if this is Norman's justification for why he was admittedly pro-John and anti/Paul/George for the last four decades, it's a crummy one. It's pretty obvious by 1973-- when John, George, and Ringo refuse to renew their contracts with Klein and then sue him -- that Paul wasn't the mustache-twirling sole villain of the breakup, so how can Norman use that justification for a biography that was written in the late 1970s?

I think Norman is trying to save face. I'm still fascinated to see how he's going to approach the Paul bio, but I'm going to have my salt-shaker ready.  

   

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18 April 2016
3.25pm
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^I agree with you, I think he's trying to atone for his abysmal writing of Paul up until maybe 10 years ago. Paul *did* help him directly for his Lennon book, so there was definitely some rapprochement at some point...we shall see...

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23 April 2016
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Ron Nasty
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The Beatles Non-Canon Poll List

23 April 2016
10.38pm
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O Boogie
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Do we ever get to read anything positive in any serialisation? It should be called sensationalisation instead.

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23 April 2016
10.44pm
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Ron Nasty
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I don't believe the whole serialisation will be on the negative aspects, @O Boogie, but given how controversial and recent the Heather Mills involvement was, I'm not surprised at the Mail making it their first extract.

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23 April 2016
10.49pm
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O Boogie
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Perhaps not, but most of the serialisations (not Beatle related) I've read usually are about something negative as they are more headline grabbing. 

 

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23 April 2016
11.08pm
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Guess Paul was thinking, "Anyone with a reputation that bad really can't be all that bad."

Remember that statement? a-hard-days-night-john-6

 

For tomorrow may rain, so I'll follow the Sun

24 April 2016
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Ron Nasty said
The first of The Daily Mail's serialisation of the book:

Why DID Paul McCartney marry such a lying money grabber? Launching an unmissable series from a top biographer, a jaw-dropping insight into the greed and lies of Heather Mills

Every time I read about Heather I like her a hell of a lot less. 

Yuck-Bad-Taste-Euw.gifImage Enlarger

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25 April 2016
5.34am
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Extract number two from The Daily Mail:

A four in a bed romp and the pregnancy that nearly ended Macca's career before it began (and how a girlfriend's mum used to brush his hairy legs to relieve his stress): The truth behind Sir Paul's success

Looking like you were right, @O Boogie, but then it is The Daily Mail... Though I wouldn't say negative, maybe the more salacious aspects...

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25 April 2016
5.56am
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Yeah, that's the word. Not negative per se..

Anyway, nothing jaw droppingly new for fans, and I think even the non-Beatle fans are a little aware of their trysts with girlfriends, groupies, etc. I would've preferred it if it were something touching  - like his reconciliation with George or his meeting with John where John told him something like, "Think of me every now and then, old friend," etc.

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25 April 2016
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I'm halfway through the book and so far, so good. He's fair to Paul in the main, critical when it's deserved but very complimentary when it's warranted, as well. Nothing too salacious or sensational as a lot of folks here (and elsewhere) seemed to fear.  I don't want to read biographies that whitewash their subjects, which is why I liked Norman's Lennon and Jagger bios, and Johnny Rogan's recent Ray Davies bio, all of which were savaged by cultist fans of those figures who won't even hear one negative word said about their heroes. I'm not interested in that shit...for me, the more real the portrait of their lives and the acknowledging of flaws as well as virtues, the more I admire and respect their talents and work. But maybe that's just me.

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25 April 2016
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Norman's Lennon was sort of a whitewash. The man was cruel to Cynthia, and not very complimentary of Paul either.

 

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25 April 2016
9.16am
pickles
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DrBeatle said
I'm halfway through the book and so far, so good. He's fair to Paul in the main, critical when it's deserved but very complimentary when it's warranted, as well.

What do you think about his depiction of George? Norman's work has been pretty uniformly negative regarding both George's personality and musicianship, and that didn't really change very much in the 2008 Lennon bio. Has George been granted a basic level of impartial analysis, or is he still a perpetually scowling grump and "average guitarist" who can only produce great work by imitating John?     

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25 April 2016
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pickles said

DrBeatle said
I'm halfway through the book and so far, so good. He's fair to Paul in the main, critical when it's deserved but very complimentary when it's warranted, as well.

What do you think about his depiction of George? Norman's work has been pretty uniformly negative regarding both George's personality and musicianship, and that didn't really change very much in the 2008 Lennon bio. Has George been granted a basic level of impartial analysis, or is he still a perpetually scowling grump and "average guitarist" who can only produce great work by imitating John?     

He's definitely softened on George as a musician...he still describes him as grumpy and humorless, mainly after the Beatles split, but honestly I can't say that I disagree...that's always how I've seen George (much as I dig him) and the recent books about him have only strengthened that conviction.

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25 April 2016
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How's he treating John, @DrBeatle ?

How does it compare with the Lennon bio? Does he go back on a few things, or is it consistent with his claims on there?

 

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