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The definitive Paul McCartney biography, written with his approval by bestselling biographer Philip Norman. Since the age of twenty-one, Paul McCartney has lived one of the ultimate rock-n-roll lives played out on the most public of stages. Now, Paul's story is told by rock music's foremost biographer, with McCartney's consent and access to family members and close friends The definitive Paul McCartney biography, written with his approval by bestselling biographer Philip Norman. Since the age of twenty-one, Paul McCartney has lived one of the ultimate rock-n-roll lives played out on the most public of stages. Now, Paul's story is told by rock music's foremost biographer, with McCartney's consent and access to family members and close friends who have never spoken on the record before. Paul McCartney reveals the complex character behind the favßade and sheds new light on his childhood -- blighted by his mother's death but redeemed by the father who introduced him to music. This is the first definitive account of Paul's often troubled partnership with John Lennon, his personal trauma after the Beatles' breakup, and his subsequent struggle to get back to the top with Wings -- which nearly got him murdered in Africa and brought him nine days in a Tokyo jail. Readers will learn about his marriage to Linda, including their much-criticized musical collaboration, and a moving account of her death. Packed with new information and critical insights, Paul McCartney will be the definitive biography of a musical legend.


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The definitive Paul McCartney biography, written with his approval by bestselling biographer Philip Norman. Since the age of twenty-one, Paul McCartney has lived one of the ultimate rock-n-roll lives played out on the most public of stages. Now, Paul's story is told by rock music's foremost biographer, with McCartney's consent and access to family members and close friends The definitive Paul McCartney biography, written with his approval by bestselling biographer Philip Norman. Since the age of twenty-one, Paul McCartney has lived one of the ultimate rock-n-roll lives played out on the most public of stages. Now, Paul's story is told by rock music's foremost biographer, with McCartney's consent and access to family members and close friends who have never spoken on the record before. Paul McCartney reveals the complex character behind the favßade and sheds new light on his childhood -- blighted by his mother's death but redeemed by the father who introduced him to music. This is the first definitive account of Paul's often troubled partnership with John Lennon, his personal trauma after the Beatles' breakup, and his subsequent struggle to get back to the top with Wings -- which nearly got him murdered in Africa and brought him nine days in a Tokyo jail. Readers will learn about his marriage to Linda, including their much-criticized musical collaboration, and a moving account of her death. Packed with new information and critical insights, Paul McCartney will be the definitive biography of a musical legend.

30 review for Paul McCartney: The Life

  1. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Having been a fan of the Beatles, and Paul McCartney in particular, for most of my life, I was more than a little surprised when I first heard that Philip Norman had embarked on a biography of McCartney. The author of, “Shout!” and “John Lennon: The Life,” had always seemed to put Lennon at the centre of the Beatles story and was, I felt, unsympathetic to McCartney. Indeed, from the first page of this book, it seems that Norman himself was pretty astounded when Paul McCartney, if not making this Having been a fan of the Beatles, and Paul McCartney in particular, for most of my life, I was more than a little surprised when I first heard that Philip Norman had embarked on a biography of McCartney. The author of, “Shout!” and “John Lennon: The Life,” had always seemed to put Lennon at the centre of the Beatles story and was, I felt, unsympathetic to McCartney. Indeed, from the first page of this book, it seems that Norman himself was pretty astounded when Paul McCartney, if not making this an authorised biography, gave him tacit approval to speak to friends and family. What emerges, considering the access he had, is something of a disappointment. Admittedly (and thankfully) McCartney has had a long career and it is difficult to cover everything, even in a book this long. Once I had read about Norman’s initial meeting with the Beatles as a young man, his jealousy of McCartney and his own feelings about writing this book, he embarked on the story proper. One of my first thoughts during the early period of Paul’s life was that I had certainly read everything before – most of the childhood/early Beatles years seemed to be culled directly from Mark Lewisohn’s magnificent, “Tune In,” (I hope Lewisohn is being paid something for HIS extensive research, as I found the same thing in the recent biography of Ringo Starr too, “Ringo: With a Little Help”). It seemed Norman also took much from the brilliant Barry Miles biography of Paul’s Beatle period, “Many Years From Now,” although that was an authorised biography and a much more entertaining read, and also from Michael McCartney’s, “Thank U Very Much” which I would love to see re-issued, as it is such a good book. At times, Norman’s story jumps about and is contradictory in nature. For example, he will say that George Martin wanted the Beatles to record Lennon/McCartney songs and helped push their song-writing (although it was Brian Epstein who was far more encouraging of this) and then go on to say that Martin wanted them to record Mitch Murray’s, “How Do You Do It,” which was later given to Gerry and the Pacemakers, with no explanation. Or he will mention John Lennon’s first visit to Yoko Ono’s art exhibition and then tail off; not returning to that part of the story until much later. Overall, this is a patchy and difficult book to review. On the plus side, Norman takes us through much of McCartney’s life which is not normally covered in biographies. He gives proper credence to Paul’s embracing of the counter culture and he acknowledges the enormous, essential part that he played in the Beatles story. I think, in essence, Tony Sheridan encapsulated that by saying bluntly that Paul probably would have made it without John, but John would not have made it without Paul. Does Paul have faults? Well, everybody does. He is certainly driven, often vulnerable and has an enormous work ethic. Yet, much of this book is soulless and it does not feel that Norman’s heart was really in this project, whatever he says. Also, he relies too much on the people who agreed to speak to him. So, there is much from Angie McCartney (who married Paul’s father) and yet we know he had a very difficult relationship with her, so you do wonder how much of what she says you can truly believe. Likewise, there is a lot of emphasis on his relationship with Maggie McGivern, as she was obviously happy to be interviewed, whereas Jane Asher prefers to keep her relationship with Paul private and so you get the odd emphasis on an affair, when he was living with Jane Asher for most of the Sixties. Some of the interviews in this book, most notably with friends and family of Linda, are worth reading. Still, it is an odd read, as though the author is desperate to show fans his hostility has ended and he is grudgingly admiring of Paul. I assume he is thinking of profit making visits to Beatles conventions, where his anti-Paul stance would not be welcomed, particularly in the States. At the end of the day, you will want to know whether this book is worth reading. If you know nothing about Paul McCartney, this book will give you the facts; but I feel most fans will feel it does not give you a real understanding beyond those.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Revill

    I am so glad that I listened to this audiobook as it covered so much about Paul McCartney's life that I didn't know. The narration was absolutely wonderful as was the story of Paul McCartneys rise to fame with the Beatles. From the formation of the Beatles to recent years the book makes compelling reading. Paul McCartney has also suffered some very sad times in his life with the death of John Lennon and George Harrison and also his soul mate Linda McCartney which had a devastating effect on Paul. Pa I am so glad that I listened to this audiobook as it covered so much about Paul McCartney's life that I didn't know. The narration was absolutely wonderful as was the story of Paul McCartneys rise to fame with the Beatles. From the formation of the Beatles to recent years the book makes compelling reading. Paul McCartney has also suffered some very sad times in his life with the death of John Lennon and George Harrison and also his soul mate Linda McCartney which had a devastating effect on Paul. Paul went on to marry a further two times and his second marriage was a complete disaster. I have only just highlighted some of the topics in this book as I don't want to spoil this story for anyone who might read this book. A very talented man who has never forget his humble beginnings and who has quietly done so much for others. I sincerely wish I could give this book ten stars as to rate this book at a mere five stars is definitely not enough. Very highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Steven Walle

    This was an excellent read on Paul Mccartney's life as a Beatle and as himself. It was a fair look at the life of a pop star. This book didn't gloss over any of the blemishes of life nor did it dwell on them. I would recommend this book to all Beatle fans as well as Wings fans. Be Blessed Diamond This was an excellent read on Paul Mccartney's life as a Beatle and as himself. It was a fair look at the life of a pop star. This book didn't gloss over any of the blemishes of life nor did it dwell on them. I would recommend this book to all Beatle fans as well as Wings fans. Be Blessed Diamond

  4. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    I have been a Beatles and Paul McCartney fan for as long as I can remember and when Paul came to Verizon Arena in Little Rock, Arkansas this year I had to go see him. His musicianship was like no one I've ever seen before - Paul is an absolutely professional musician and entertainer, and he puts on an awesome show (even at 73!) A week or so after that concert, this book was published and the marketing timing couldn't have been better. Paul McCartney The Life by Philip Norman is a great biography I have been a Beatles and Paul McCartney fan for as long as I can remember and when Paul came to Verizon Arena in Little Rock, Arkansas this year I had to go see him. His musicianship was like no one I've ever seen before - Paul is an absolutely professional musician and entertainer, and he puts on an awesome show (even at 73!) A week or so after that concert, this book was published and the marketing timing couldn't have been better. Paul McCartney The Life by Philip Norman is a great biography of Paul's life, and I felt that I got to know Paul as a living, breathing person. The feat that Norman accomplished in this book is quite impressive to me in that he never actually interviewed his subject directly for this book. Rather, it is obvious that he thoroughly did his research and he interviewed people close to and around Paul. Surprisingly to me, the end result was probably a more complete picture of Paul the person than Paul maybe could have provided the writer himself. Norman provided all the details of things I wanted to learn about Paul - the formation of the Beatles, the break up of the Beatles, Paul's subsequent rocky on/off relationship with the former Beatles, the take off of Paul's solo and Wings career, the sad death of his first wife Linda, and his unfortunate quick marriage to Heather Mills - like Prego sauce - "It's in there". Paul McCartney is hardly infallible, but he is an interesting person to read about because his story is the history of rock and roll and his accomplishments and stardom are second to none in my opinion. This is a well written biography and highly recommended if you want to learn about Paul McCartney.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Donna Cianciosi

    So after 35 years of trashing Paul by this author He finally gets around to writing the 'definitive' biography. A pity that there are so many mistakes....even photographs are incorrectly labeled. Pity I can't ask for a refund. I've read much better works than this. A real disappointment - but can't say I'm not surprised. So after 35 years of trashing Paul by this author He finally gets around to writing the 'definitive' biography. A pity that there are so many mistakes....even photographs are incorrectly labeled. Pity I can't ask for a refund. I've read much better works than this. A real disappointment - but can't say I'm not surprised.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    Philip Norman, in his 3rd Beatle-related biography, has proven that he is unable to write about one Beatle without diminishing another. He all but eliminates George Harrison from the story of McCartney’s life. When Harrison is mentioned, it is often in a way that belittles his role in the Beatles, dismisses his talent, and misinterprets his character. In discussing the Beatles’ interest in transcendental meditation, Norman describes Harrison as “leaving behind most of his sense of humour.” And l Philip Norman, in his 3rd Beatle-related biography, has proven that he is unable to write about one Beatle without diminishing another. He all but eliminates George Harrison from the story of McCartney’s life. When Harrison is mentioned, it is often in a way that belittles his role in the Beatles, dismisses his talent, and misinterprets his character. In discussing the Beatles’ interest in transcendental meditation, Norman describes Harrison as “leaving behind most of his sense of humour.” And later, in the 1970s, he says “it was becoming clear that whatever talent George possessed had largely rubbed off them [Lennon and McCartney] and, without their stimulus, was already fading fast.” These statements are not merely unnecessary, they also show a gross misunderstanding of Harrison as a man and musician. Unlike some other reviewers, I actually applaud Norman’s decision to not detail every event of the Beatles’ career during the 60s, but rather to focus on McCartney’s personal life during that time. For one thing, this is a biography of the man, not of the band. But also, the story of the Beatles has been told in great detail by so many writers before. That said, there was very little new information—or even old information with a new perspective—in the first 400 pages. As Norman states in the introduction, this is the first “serious” biography of McCartney that covers his entire career. Because of that, I was primarily interested in the discussion of his post-Beatles life. Norman does a good job of detailing McCartney’s philanthropic work and giving an overview of his musical career after 1970, but it still doesn’t feel like it is quite enough. And often the weight he puts on certain aspects of McCartney’s life seems out of balance. For instance, Norman devotes approximately 100 pages to the seven years McCartney was married to Heather Mills. This leaves 300 pages for the other 35+ years. The McCartney-Mills relationship/debacle was certainly an important, if difficult, period in his recent life, but that ratio seems out of proportion to the importance of Wings, Linda, the Anthology, etc. If you have never read a book about McCartney or the Beatles before, this is a reasonable place to start. If, however, you are looking for new insights or a fresh perspective on the man or the band, you probably need to look elsewhere.

  7. 5 out of 5

    David Glaser

    Very Disappointing The Beatles have had a profound impact on music and on society. So writing a book about them is a kind of sacred act. Unfortunately, this author misses the mark entirely. He is focused on telling his own story with the Beatles as a backdrop. The overall tone is shallow and self-serving. For example, “George found Indian religion and lost his sense of humor . . . John dumped his pleasant wife for a Japanese performance artist and went off on weird tangents.” This is an authorize Very Disappointing The Beatles have had a profound impact on music and on society. So writing a book about them is a kind of sacred act. Unfortunately, this author misses the mark entirely. He is focused on telling his own story with the Beatles as a backdrop. The overall tone is shallow and self-serving. For example, “George found Indian religion and lost his sense of humor . . . John dumped his pleasant wife for a Japanese performance artist and went off on weird tangents.” This is an authorized biography? If you want a serious book on the Beatles, start with Mark Hertsgaard’s A Day in the Life or any of the biographies by Ray Coleman; or Tim Riley, who dissects the songs brilliantly in Tell Me Why.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Christine Irvin

    I just finished reading this book yesterday. It took me a week to get through it. It's over 800 pages long! The pages are packed with information and tidbits about Paul McCartney - his life before being a Beatle, his life after the Beatles ended, and his life since then. This icon of pop music has lead an amazing life. Author Philip Norman does a great job of telling McCartney's life story. Although the book is very long, the writing is interesting and not dry. It's a must-read for any diehard Be I just finished reading this book yesterday. It took me a week to get through it. It's over 800 pages long! The pages are packed with information and tidbits about Paul McCartney - his life before being a Beatle, his life after the Beatles ended, and his life since then. This icon of pop music has lead an amazing life. Author Philip Norman does a great job of telling McCartney's life story. Although the book is very long, the writing is interesting and not dry. It's a must-read for any diehard Beatle fan, or any fan of Paul McCartney.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Troy Blackford

    This comprehensive book covers Paul's life up until the beginning of the tour that he is actually still on, so, unlike many other books, it doesn't basically end at the point where the Beatles broke up. A great, extremely in-depth look at one of the most important contemporary figures. A lot of this is pretty surprising: there are anecdotes aplenty. Much of the rest provides depth and background to things many people will already know. But it was a great read and well-handled. This comprehensive book covers Paul's life up until the beginning of the tour that he is actually still on, so, unlike many other books, it doesn't basically end at the point where the Beatles broke up. A great, extremely in-depth look at one of the most important contemporary figures. A lot of this is pretty surprising: there are anecdotes aplenty. Much of the rest provides depth and background to things many people will already know. But it was a great read and well-handled.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    In the intro to Philip Norman's new McCartney bio the author acknowledges he wants to set the record straight after having given Paul short shrift in his 1980s Beatles bio "Shout", a book which (particularly in the wake of Lennon's murder) helped perpetuate the stereotype of John having been the group's avant-garde risk taker with Paul portrayed as the safe-as-milk fluffy sentimentalist. Thus this book comes off as sort of an apology, though in Norman's eagerness to make amends he perhaps goes t In the intro to Philip Norman's new McCartney bio the author acknowledges he wants to set the record straight after having given Paul short shrift in his 1980s Beatles bio "Shout", a book which (particularly in the wake of Lennon's murder) helped perpetuate the stereotype of John having been the group's avant-garde risk taker with Paul portrayed as the safe-as-milk fluffy sentimentalist. Thus this book comes off as sort of an apology, though in Norman's eagerness to make amends he perhaps goes too far in the other direction, this time leaving a rather unfavourable impression of Lennon. One almost suspects a Harrison bio cum apology will be next as Norman also has very little commendable to say about George. In the Epilogue, Norman states he's "been able to uncover a Paul McCartney very different from the one the world thinks it knows". But for the ardent Beatles / McCartney fan there's really very little here that's new, save for the odd previously unknown story (such as the punk rock fan who accosted Paul in a seemingly condescending manner, only to end up gushing over Mull of Kintyre). Despite Norman's boast of having eleven expert fact-checkers, there remain a few irritating gaffs, mainly the reference to the "effects" on Eleanor Rigby (I'm sure he meant the tape loops on Tomorrow Never Knows); and listing Joni Mitchell among the performers at Woodstock (she composed the song but was not in attendance). But I suppose these are small details that probably only bother obsessives like myself. On the plus side Norman is to be commended for not skimming over the post-Beatle years as most books tend to do. But if you're looking for details or insights into Paul's music, look elsewhere. Album releases and chart placements are mentioned only as part of the chronology of McCartney's life, but there is hardly any analysis beyond what everyone already knows: Beatle albums were consistently great, Wings and solo records uneven. And while there are almost 100 pages dedicated to the Heather Mills fiasco, virtually zero mention is given to McCartney's influence and innovation as a bass guitarist. Overall, I found the 800 pages a bit of a slog and have to admit to a feeling of relief having finally finished.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Maja

    Every now and then I forget just how much I love the Beatles... Then I come across something like this and the mania is all there again :D Need I mention I loved this book? I really liked how the author focused on Paul's life post-beatles, something which is often only handled as a short epilogue in biographies. It was also well written, even if at times I would have preferred for the storytelling to be a bit more objective. Still, a great biography and definitely worth the read! Every now and then I forget just how much I love the Beatles... Then I come across something like this and the mania is all there again :D Need I mention I loved this book? I really liked how the author focused on Paul's life post-beatles, something which is often only handled as a short epilogue in biographies. It was also well written, even if at times I would have preferred for the storytelling to be a bit more objective. Still, a great biography and definitely worth the read!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marjorie

    I was 12 years old when the Beatles came to the US in 1964, a perfect age to become a Beatlemaniac. In reading teen magazines prior to their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, my favorite was George. But that changed the night of February 9, 1964, when glued to the TV set as were 73 million other people, I fell under Paul McCartney’s spell. For the rest of the 60’s, I read anything and everything written about him and the other Beatles. True Beatlemania had set in. But over the years, I can’t sa I was 12 years old when the Beatles came to the US in 1964, a perfect age to become a Beatlemaniac. In reading teen magazines prior to their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, my favorite was George. But that changed the night of February 9, 1964, when glued to the TV set as were 73 million other people, I fell under Paul McCartney’s spell. For the rest of the 60’s, I read anything and everything written about him and the other Beatles. True Beatlemania had set in. But over the years, I can’t say that I’ve read all that has been written and actually this is the first biography that I’ve read about Paul. So I can’t compare it to other biographies about him and I can’t really say whether there’s new information contained in it or not. A lot of it was old to me but a lot of it I didn’t know before reading this book. What drew me to this particular book was that I had read that the author, Philip Norman, was quite against Paul in his 1980’s book “Shout”, saying that “John Lennon was three quarters of the Beatles” but has since then changed his opinion of Paul and wanted to set the record straight. In this book, the author had tacit approval from Paul, meaning that, while Paul wasn’t actually cooperating in the writing of the book, he wasn’t interfering either and that opened doors to Mr. Norman. At the end of the book, the author says that he uncovered a different McCartney than the world thought they knew, a man who was a perfectionist and a workaholic. But that’s the McCartney I’ve come to “know” over the years. How else could he have accomplished what he has? So I didn’t actually discover a “new” Paul but rather the book confirmed what I already thought about him. This is a very comprehensive biography, starting off with the births and upbringings of his parents and ending in present day. The author is a very good storyteller and I found the book to be readable and entertaining. I gulped when I first saw the 849-page figure on my e-reader but there are many photos (many of which I’ve never seen) and the book just flew by. The author also does a fine job detailing the history behind many of Paul and John’s songs and the meaning of the lyrics, which I found to be very interesting. All in all, it seems to be an honest portrayal of my fav Beatle and I enjoyed reading it. This book was given to me by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lissa00

    Paul McCartney is one of the most well-known, often written about musicians alive, yet I somehow inhaled this 800 plus page biography in a matter of days. The author had an early encounter with Paul over 50 years ago and was none too impressed. He was even a touch hard on him in his biography of John Lennon (which has been added to my list), so it is interesting that he wrote this book with Paul's tacit approval. Much of the first half of this concerning the Beatles origin story, I've already re Paul McCartney is one of the most well-known, often written about musicians alive, yet I somehow inhaled this 800 plus page biography in a matter of days. The author had an early encounter with Paul over 50 years ago and was none too impressed. He was even a touch hard on him in his biography of John Lennon (which has been added to my list), so it is interesting that he wrote this book with Paul's tacit approval. Much of the first half of this concerning the Beatles origin story, I've already read before (although to be honest the story of the Beatles just never gets old to me) but this was still an interesting take from the perspective of Paul's influence. I think this book does a good job of balancing the different facets of Paul's personality and the reality of the crazy existence he lived. I think the second half of the book is summed up pretty good by this Paul quote about John "he died a legend and I'm going to die an old man.". Paul has had to accept the Beatle mantle while still continuing on with the majority of his life and career and this book does a excellent job of following the many years following the band's dissolution. I love the Beatles, and I loved this book. Received through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dan Merrill

    Very Interesting take on a musical genius! A good read, covering the highs and rough spots of a brilliant life.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Neil Bostock

    Paul McCartney: The Life is 800 pages long. I like biographies, but there are few people I'd spend that kind of time or focus on, and I wasn't sure "Macca" was one of them. Superlative melody writing aside, I doubted his life, especially his post-Beatle life, could hold my attention for that long. But Philip Norman has put together an eminently readable tome that illuminates very familiar stories, like the John-Yoko-Paul emotional triangle, and sheds fascinating light on more prosaic matters lik Paul McCartney: The Life is 800 pages long. I like biographies, but there are few people I'd spend that kind of time or focus on, and I wasn't sure "Macca" was one of them. Superlative melody writing aside, I doubted his life, especially his post-Beatle life, could hold my attention for that long. But Philip Norman has put together an eminently readable tome that illuminates very familiar stories, like the John-Yoko-Paul emotional triangle, and sheds fascinating light on more prosaic matters like the business machinations surrounding the breakup of The Beatles, and the strangeness of the Heather Mills debacle. So the book succeeds, but more on the strength of its subject matter, like Paul's surprising involvement in avant garde music and art, than it does on the actual writing. Mr. Norman is a music bio veteran, but I found the editing sloppy, for example reiterating previously mentioned stories; the rare attempts at metaphor or some other literary device somewhat clumsy; and his opinionated and dismissive views on other musical genres just downright annoying. If he truly believes that Mull of Kintyre was a more important rock song in 1977 than God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols, then I have to conclude he really doesn't like rock music all that much. But that aside, I would recommend this biography. When Mr. Norman leaves himself out of it and let's the story tell itself, it's a highly entertaining read. McCartney is an untouchable music genius, but also seems like a decent chap. Lennon-McCartney was a team with no parallel in popular music, and Lennon's solo career was tragically cut short, but McCartney's melodic gifts have continued to dazzle for the 47 years (!) since The Beatles broke up. Go and listen to "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard" from 2005 to understand just how this man understands a good tune. This book, despite its flaws, helps us understand why.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    For readability I give this book 4 stars. For those who've read Norman's other Beatles books, there could very well be a "cut and paste" for much of the Beatles material. Yet Norman explores the post-Beatles McCartney in detail. What makes the "thumbs-up" smiling diplomatic Macca tick? Norman writes about Paul's upbringing, his father's influence, and Paul's desire and ambition to make something of himself. The Beatles story is well-documented, but Paul's depression once it was over and building For readability I give this book 4 stars. For those who've read Norman's other Beatles books, there could very well be a "cut and paste" for much of the Beatles material. Yet Norman explores the post-Beatles McCartney in detail. What makes the "thumbs-up" smiling diplomatic Macca tick? Norman writes about Paul's upbringing, his father's influence, and Paul's desire and ambition to make something of himself. The Beatles story is well-documented, but Paul's depression once it was over and building a life with Linda is a big part of the second half. Although Norman is generally perceived to be on the side of "Team John-Yoko", he does endeavor to present Paul's side of the story. Sadly Norman seems determined to dismiss the contributions of George and Ringo to a distressing degree. In fact he injects himself into the story at various points; a biographer's point of view comes with the territory but maybe a bit too much here. At times it gets gossipy, especially when Heather Mills enters the scene. Was it really necessary to go on for pages and pages of her accusations against Paul? (Which the judge found to be non-credible). The Japan drug bust is illustrated as a major turning point; it spelled the end of Wings and a new direction for McCartney, including his many collaborations with various people, which never lasted long. Finally his recent band which has been supporting him for the last 15 years or so, where Macca finally came full circle and gave the people what they wanted. A flawed book at times but eminently readable. But Mr. Norman, why are you dissing the epic White Album?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    I learned so much! And had my heart broken several times. I don't usually read biographies, but I'm glad I read this one—it opened up not just Paul's life, not just the Beatles' career, but the entire 60s and 70s in pop culture. I learned so much! And had my heart broken several times. I don't usually read biographies, but I'm glad I read this one—it opened up not just Paul's life, not just the Beatles' career, but the entire 60s and 70s in pop culture.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Grosser

    A very thorough and well written biography of Paul McCartney. I highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Paul, The Beatles, or a lover of the history of great music!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Deacon Tom F

    Superb book. Well written and not overly star struck nor tell all. A perfect balance from my view

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sunny Shore

    When I was 11, the Beatles came to NY and performed on the Ed Sullivan Show. My world suddenly changed. Their music rocked my world and I literally fell in love with the handsome Beatle, Paul McCartney. I remember so much of it distinctly. I finally got to see them in 1966 at age 13. The whole idea of seeing the Beatles was enough, although you couldn't hear a thing at Shea Stadium in NY. It was the first time I stood up to my mother and said, "I'm going" against her wishes and she stood outside When I was 11, the Beatles came to NY and performed on the Ed Sullivan Show. My world suddenly changed. Their music rocked my world and I literally fell in love with the handsome Beatle, Paul McCartney. I remember so much of it distinctly. I finally got to see them in 1966 at age 13. The whole idea of seeing the Beatles was enough, although you couldn't hear a thing at Shea Stadium in NY. It was the first time I stood up to my mother and said, "I'm going" against her wishes and she stood outside and waited for me and my friend. As I got into my upper teens, I dated real boys and Paul was less of a reality for me that I pined so hopelessly for. It was painful for us girls who loved Paul. My mind was elsewhere as I found out the Beatles broke up, Paul got married, chaos ran amuck in their business dealings with Apple, Paul kept performing and writing and so on. A few years ago, I saw Paul McCartney perform and then again with my husband, son and his wife last year. I can only say I have the utmost respect for this man. He is a true icon and earned this label with the strongest work ethic anyone can have and huge talent, not only in music but in a variety of areas. He is 75 and I am 65. I feel we have followed our journeys and following Paul's in this excellent biography was riveting. Paul, I was away and wasn't aware of your doings but thanks to Philip Norman, I learned about your extraordinary life. My "I Love Paul" button has been rusting in my garage for many years and when I looked at it, I had tears in my eyes. Thank you, Mr. Norman, for this look at one of the most interesting and talented men of our century.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mell

    2.5 stars This is my first biography of Paul McCartney, so I have nothing against with to judge the facts/accuracy of Norman's work. His tone as a biographer is snarky and judgemental. Much like journalism, I think biographies benefit from being neutral. If the subject behaves badly, then present the facts and let the readers decide. The author can't seem to decide whether McCartney is a generous patron, coworker, and spouse or a tight-fisted micromanager. I most enjoyed reading about McCartney's 2.5 stars This is my first biography of Paul McCartney, so I have nothing against with to judge the facts/accuracy of Norman's work. His tone as a biographer is snarky and judgemental. Much like journalism, I think biographies benefit from being neutral. If the subject behaves badly, then present the facts and let the readers decide. The author can't seem to decide whether McCartney is a generous patron, coworker, and spouse or a tight-fisted micromanager. I most enjoyed reading about McCartney's early life, his loving mother and father, and his long relationship with his extended Liverpool family. I was least familiar with details from his childhood, his marriage to Linda Eastman McCartney, and the Wings years. The section on Hamburg and The Beatles offers nothing new. The whole book unfortunately suffers from the author's unsubstantiated judgements and egotism. Norman comes across as a total jerk, repeatedly criticizing George Harrison and Ringo Starr as ugly, untalented, etc. I think many people would disagree. Harrison had an especially acclaimed career. Norman seems to lament the age of feminism and miss the days when the ladybirds of rockstars were relegated to cooking and child rearing. He offers his own random opinion on whether various works of art and song are any good. And the whole biography is book ended by his own (and unnecessary) story with brief and unimportant encounters with Sir Paul. I once personally met Gloria Steinem, and even heard her speak. That doesn't mean I'm qualified to write a good biography about her.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michael Platt

    A quality biography. Not sycophantic but quite fair. Some new information and a good look at the actual character of the subject. Disappointed that very little attention is given to the actual music, which is the only reason a biography of McCartney should be interesting. Written well and holds your attention - which is important as I would suspect that most people reading it are fans and have a pretty broad knowledge of the subject already.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Peter Jackson made all three of the Tolkien trilogy movies at the same time. I believe that is also what Philip Norman did with this book about Paul and the one I recently read about John Lennon. I enjoyed reading both of the books and recommend them both to you. My first inclination was to give this book only three stars. That was because much of the text was information I had just read in the John book. Also, at times it seemed to me that I was re-reading the text from the Beatles Anthology. T Peter Jackson made all three of the Tolkien trilogy movies at the same time. I believe that is also what Philip Norman did with this book about Paul and the one I recently read about John Lennon. I enjoyed reading both of the books and recommend them both to you. My first inclination was to give this book only three stars. That was because much of the text was information I had just read in the John book. Also, at times it seemed to me that I was re-reading the text from the Beatles Anthology. This book is also over eight hundred pages and also used song titles and themes cleverly to keep the writing interesting to this Beatles fan. Like the book of John, this book of Paul contained much previously recorded material. And too, it also contained information about Paul's ancestors and other family members that I found interesting and informative giving a more comprehensive picture of who Paul is. Forgiving the redundancy of the two books, I am happy to suggest that you read both. They are welcomed additions to my extensive Beatles library. I thought the post Beatle story of Paul was better reading than that of John. Enjoy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    This is a well balanced biography of Paul McCartney. It does not stop after the Beatles! I learned a great deal about him, his love of music and the painful parts of his life. I only had a vague knowledge of the breakup of the Beatles, I never knew how truly painful it was on all concerned. I could have lived without the last chapters on Heather Mills, but I am sure he feels the same way too! Since I do not follow the tabloids, I had no idea what had happened. I am happy that there was a light a This is a well balanced biography of Paul McCartney. It does not stop after the Beatles! I learned a great deal about him, his love of music and the painful parts of his life. I only had a vague knowledge of the breakup of the Beatles, I never knew how truly painful it was on all concerned. I could have lived without the last chapters on Heather Mills, but I am sure he feels the same way too! Since I do not follow the tabloids, I had no idea what had happened. I am happy that there was a light at the end of that tunnel for him. This was an incredibly interesting book. I recommend it to any fan of Paul McCartney.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Ferrari

    I liked this book much more than I expected. I'm not generally drawn to pop star biographies and to be honest, don't feel the need to be privy to a celebrity's private life. This book came out at the right time, as I'm headed to a annual Beatles festival, so I procured it from the library to read in advance of my trip. It was well written and edited, something that is no longer to be taken for granted. I feel that knowing the flavor of Paul the man does not detract from my respect from Paul the I liked this book much more than I expected. I'm not generally drawn to pop star biographies and to be honest, don't feel the need to be privy to a celebrity's private life. This book came out at the right time, as I'm headed to a annual Beatles festival, so I procured it from the library to read in advance of my trip. It was well written and edited, something that is no longer to be taken for granted. I feel that knowing the flavor of Paul the man does not detract from my respect from Paul the talent.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth Banasik

    There are some great and detailed reviews about this book out there so I don’t have to go such a “scientific” route and comment on how well researched which part is etc. I came here to say one thing: If you want to be robbed of any magic attached to the Beatles as a band or the four members as individuals whatsoever - read this book. And I really don’t like how the author can’t manage to make one person look good without making everybody else around him look bad. Many years from now was a much m There are some great and detailed reviews about this book out there so I don’t have to go such a “scientific” route and comment on how well researched which part is etc. I came here to say one thing: If you want to be robbed of any magic attached to the Beatles as a band or the four members as individuals whatsoever - read this book. And I really don’t like how the author can’t manage to make one person look good without making everybody else around him look bad. Many years from now was a much more entertaining read as well. What a drag.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kate Sumner

    Fab. I feel like I've been hanging out with Paul for the last month or so, and I now I'm missing him! There was one clumsy error however, where Phil Norman writes about Paul's birthday "in July", when even an amateur McCartney admirer knows he was born on 18th June. However, I forgive you Phil, as this was overall such a great read, the best and most factual McCartney bio I've read to date - Put it There, Phil ;) Fab. I feel like I've been hanging out with Paul for the last month or so, and I now I'm missing him! There was one clumsy error however, where Phil Norman writes about Paul's birthday "in July", when even an amateur McCartney admirer knows he was born on 18th June. However, I forgive you Phil, as this was overall such a great read, the best and most factual McCartney bio I've read to date - Put it There, Phil ;)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cameo

    Really well-researched and thoroughly depicting the musical and personal life of sir Paul McCartney. But it has a ridiculous amount of typos and it gets a bit tedious after the first 500 or so pages. I'm not a McCartney fan per say, I enjoy listening to the old Beatles hits and the occasional Wings track, so 700+ pages of a systematic rundown of his entire career and love life was a bit much. Interesting - but a bit much when you're not THAT big a fan of the man. Really well-researched and thoroughly depicting the musical and personal life of sir Paul McCartney. But it has a ridiculous amount of typos and it gets a bit tedious after the first 500 or so pages. I'm not a McCartney fan per say, I enjoy listening to the old Beatles hits and the occasional Wings track, so 700+ pages of a systematic rundown of his entire career and love life was a bit much. Interesting - but a bit much when you're not THAT big a fan of the man.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Repeats much of the (admittedly fine) material from the earlier Lennon biography, which was told with a lot more fizz than this. Interesting on the growth of The White Album, which I rate higher than even Sgt. Pepper. Glad the Fab Four never actually did get round to filming The Lord of the Rings (with John as Gollum).

  30. 5 out of 5

    martha Boyle

    Too long. How can you make the BEATLES and Paul McMartney boring?

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