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Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 26, 2010
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Booklist, July 2010
“Everyone knows who Paul McCartney is. And everyone can imagine how much in demand this biography will be.”
“[A] solid addition to the ever-expanding library of books about the Beatle named Paul…More than 200 interviews—and no-nonsense attention to detail…The graceful prose and superb storytelling create a riveting narrative.”
Stuff.co.nz “Blog on Tracks,” 9/14/10“
A fantastic tome…Sounes adds a lot to the story and his methodical, meticulous research style means that he's actually bringing new things out…Sounes has, through hundreds of interviews, built a book about McCartney that addresses the myth, understands the legend and is balanced; never getting anywhere near the all too common hagiography that is the bane of reading the modern music biography/ghost-written-autobiography…I found it the perfect balance of entertainment and education/research—and, as such, it's one of the best biographies I've ever read.”
Blurt Online, 10/18/10
“The portrait painted in Howard Sounes’ Fab is of a man with more to him than meets the eye or ear…Sounes' treatment of Paul is fairly even-handed though. He doesn't shy away from the bad and doesn't overstate the good…There's still a hunger for all things Beatle and Sounes' book has its place.”
“[T]he first major unauthorized biography…. Howard Sounes brings to the task the same solid journalistic values he employed in writing his Dylan biography Down the Highway,which succeeded in unearthing troves of new information through the simple expedient of diligent legwork, hunting down the right people, and asking them the right questions.”
Rolling Stone, 11/11/10
“Few Beatle biographies are as exhaustive as this 634-page epic: Sounes paints an unsparing portrait of McCartney…For fans willing to ponder their hero’s flaws, Fab delivers all you need to know—and a lot more.”
“Exceedingly thorough…A good read for those seeking a Pauline perspective on the Beatles plus a look at his solo career.”
Desert News, 10/31/10
Bookviews.com, November 2010
National Post (Canada), 11/1/10
CBC News (Canada), 11/4/10
Record Collector (UK), December 2010
Tucson Citizen, 11/8/10
Toronto Star, 11/5/10
Montreal Gazette’s “Words & Music” Blog, 11/11/10
“The first book to properly deal with McCartney's career after the Beatles.”
Kirkus Reviews website, 10/26/10
San Francisco Book Review, November 2010
“Fab lifts off…in 1967, with the introduction of its most interesting character—the rock photographer Linda Eastman, who set her sights on Paul and determined to marry him even before they had met…Sounes’s portrayal of her is complicated, fascinating in its contradictions.”
Miami Herald, 11/28/10
“The first serious biographical attempt to pay as much attention to the 40-year span that followed McCartney’s run in the Beatles as it does to his decade within the Fab Four…Sounes’ reach is commendable.”
Publishers Weekly (web-exclusive), 11/22/10
“An engaging, set-the-record-straight biography…Sounes writes knowledgeably of the Beatles' close ...
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Top Customer Reviews
Paul could be lazy, particularly on the lyrical end. And his post-73 material is a difficult slog, even for his biggest fans. Having said that, it seems criminal to read page after page dismissing Paul's contribution to music as inferior, especially to Lennon's anger. Some of McCartney's biggest and best loved Beatles' songs even come under attack. The author seems to forget that The Beatles' legacy owes a lot to McCartney's cheerful optimism. In many ways, it's what defines The Beatles.
Beyond that, Paul's work ethic and ambition, without which The Beatles' best work would never have occurred, is endlessly ridiculed. I'm sure Paul is full of himself. I'm sure he could be a real jerk at times. But using this as an excuse to reconsider his place in musical history (and The Beatles) is not only unfair, it's unfortunate. He deserves better.
If you're interested in McCartney's music, here are some books that describe and analyze it:
* Tony Bacon and Gareth Morgan, "Paul McCartney: Playing the Great Beatles Basslines"
* Vincent P. Benitez, "The Words and Music of Paul McCartney"
* Howard Elson, "Paul McCartney, Songwriter"
Benitez and Elson are justly critical of some of McCartney's work (Bacon and Morgan only discuss songs they think are great). All three of these books evince an enjoyment of his best music and an ability to illuminate it that Sounes' book does not. And John Blaney's "Lennon and McCartney: Together Alone" is a sensitive, far-ranging analysis of both men's solo work.
How can Sounes say virtually nothing about McCartney's bass playing? It's like writing a biography of Jimi Hendrix without discussing the way he plays guitar, or the life of Janis Joplin without describing how she sings. There's also very little mention of his singing, and the analysis of his songs is shallow.
Sounes seems fundamentally out of sync with McCartney's personality and music.Read more ›
The book is annotated professionally, but easily 90% of the material in the book up to the Mills trainwreck/divorce can be found elsewhere, and is sometimes taken from elsewhere. If you are one that sees McCartney no longer as a creative force, but simply a world class performer of (his own) cover tunes, then his personal life isn't of great significance. Paul, post Linda, is a bit of a shadow. Personally, I don't want to know any more about Ms. Mills. I know too much already. So the one strength of this book is not appealing to this reviewer, though in fairness I note it.
As for this book's shortcomings, these are really shortcomings of Mr. Sounces, and are vividly demonstratable. McCartney has unique talents. At one time he used them to dominate and reshape the pop music genre. After that domination, his composing talents still remained vibrant and constructive for a good 20 years. The problem with this book is that Mr. Sounces, at his core, does not like, nor can he appreciate, Mr. McCartney's great talents in general, nor their particular flavor and uniqueness in particular. Sounces denounces (a frequent habit) one of McCartney's post-Beatle songs called "Magneto and Titanium Man" (from the "Venus and Mars" album). He dares the reader to try to listen to that song now, as if it would be painful for anyone to do so.Read more ›
Yes, this is another book about Paul McCartney/THE BEATLES. But what makes this particular book even more interesting, is that the author, Howard Sounes (who has written fine biographies on Bob Dylan and Charles Bukowski), writes about McCartney in conjunction with the era when THE BEATLES were forming and went on to change music forever. Sounes also delves into McCartney's life after THE BEATLES, which, taken altogether, paint a fuller picture of McCartney's life in and out of music, including new information concerning his marriage and subsequent divorce from Heather Mills. For this biography Sounes has interviewed more than 200 people, which is obvious from the details found in this straight forward reading book.
This book is informative and entertaining, not only through Sounes writing, but various comments and anecdotes sprinkled throughout the book. There are chapters devoted to McCartney's boyhood, the forming of THE BEATLES, their time spent in Hamburg, Germany honing their musical skills, coming to America as popular artists, and McCartney's wedding to Linda Eastman. there's also much information on THE BEATLES differences and their subsequent breakup. From that point McCartney goes on to form his band WINGS, which the book goes into in some detail. After that the chapter concerning the reformation of THE BEATLES as a "threesome" is delved into along with the release of the three CD volumes and book ("The Anthology") which took an in depth look at the groups career. Linda McCartney's death is given much weight in the book and how it affected McCartney.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Highly readable, interesting and informative. Anyone interested in the McCartney story with an overview of the 60's and 70's this is the book to readPublished 17 days ago by Ron Unna
I’ve read quite a lot of books on the Beatles, collectively and individually (at least 25) and this is one of the best. Read morePublished 2 months ago by M. Glinsky
I try to avoid writing reviews because every has different opinions BUT...this book is the best biography I have read about McCartney... Read morePublished 4 months ago by John Talvitie
**Review originally appeared at https://midnighttosix.wordpress.com
At over 600 pages, Fab is an exhaustive biography of the first sixty-seven years of Paul McCartney’s... Read more
This is a very interesting account of Paul McCartney my favorite Beatle.Published 6 months ago by judy
My favorite Beatle. I enjoyed a lot about this book. It was heavy on the Beatle years but a fair amount of time was given to Wings and later solo-work. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jim
The author gives McCartney credit for 'Penny Lane' numerous times and for being generous with his money, again, numerous times, but not much else. Read morePublished 7 months ago by SomeOtherGuy
I gave it to a friend who loves Paul McCartney and his music, and is an historian...he loved it.Published 8 months ago by Twain Marie