Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

McCartney/the Definitive Biography Hardcover – March 1, 1986


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$29.90 $1.14
Paperback
"Please retry"
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 263 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; 1st edition (March 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312523696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312523695
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,030,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Beginning and ending with memories of Mary McCartney, this adequate but far from definitive biography of her son Paul suggests that her death from cancer in 1956 was the crucial event and inspiration in the life and work of "the most often imitated performer living today." McCartney contributed a high voice and a "sense of sweet, lingering, somehow archetypal melody" to the sound of the Quarrymen, the group he formed in Liverpool with John Lennon and George Harrison. Although Salewicz, a British journalist, suggests that McCartney had a feeling of purpose only when he worked with a team in close harmony, he has become the most successful of the Beatles since the group broke up in 1970. Yet less than 30 pages of this book are given over to the past 15 years. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The second successive McCartney biography self-dubbed "definitive." The first, by Chris Welch (Proteus, 1984), was little more than a fanzine treatment. Salewicz's effort, though unauthorized, is a skillfully contrived and narrated improvement. It opens with a fairly thorough scan of McCartney's family and background, enriched with some fresh information based on recent interviews with friends and mentors of his youth. The bulk of the book, of course, deals with the evolution of the Beatles, focusing on the formative (and formidable) role of Paul, from his melodic inspiration to his nagging perfectionism. A lively blend of commentary and quotationssome without attributioncharacterize the text. The book closes with rather skimpy coverage of Paul's post-Beatle career. Though not the final word, this will serve as a fair-handed interim account. Photos not seen. Paul G. Feehan, Univ. of Miami Lib., Coral Gables
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bill Slocum VINE VOICE on February 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
After his mother dies of cancer, preteen Paul McCartney puts on a seemingly untroubled face while channeling his woe into a fierce determination to succeed, not to mention an artistic sense of melancholia that will help get him there. Thus Chris Salewicz makes a compelling argument for what drove McCartney to help found the world's greatest pop music band.

A fairly skimpy bio by today's standards, "McCartney" deserves credit for raising the bar for Beatle historians back in 1986. When Philip Norman published "Shout" some years before, he credited the recently-murdered John Lennon with 90 percent of the Beatles' enduring legacy, a tack taken by many others. Salewicz makes the point that Lennon was duffing around with some chums, unaware of how to even tune a guitar, until the more disciplined McCartney appeared one day at a garden fete where Lennon's band, the Quarrymen, were playing.

"Their relationship was not so one-sided: as much as John was inspired to progress by Paul's unswerving diligence, so the younger boy was equally liberated by John's anarchic direction," he writes.

Salewicz painstakingly details McCartney's boyhood days in Liverpool, paying special attention to his schooling and teachers and the academic promise he showed before devoting himself to rock 'n' roll. There's some nice comments Salewicz brings in from interviewing everyone from his classmates to his German teacher to his next-door neighbor who recalls the misery-inducing racket of John, Paul, and their little friend George Harrison working out the rudiments of what would become a cultural revolution. "It was a terrific row to our ears - absolutely horrible," he says.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book covers Paul's youth, parents background and some background info on his family tree. A great way to get comfortable with the environment which created Paul; as a son, brother, friend & ultimatly as a musician and enertainer.
Interviews with teachers, friends from Liverpool create a well balanced look at Pauls background and the dynamics of how and where the Beatles met.
A must read for Beatle and McCartney fans.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Beatlefansincethen on May 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Actually this book is a diamond in the rough. I found a beat up copy in the library and almost passed it up because at first glance, it seemed slight. But if you look at the bibliographies of almost every Beatles book,you will find this book as one of the references. After reading it, it's easy to see why.

Like Barry Mile's Many Years From Now, this book is a character study,the difference is in Mile's book Paul tells the story in his own words,but in this book, Salewicz interviewed many people who know/knew Paul very well in many cases,before he was famous. What you get essentially, is a feeling of going back in time. Salewicz took the unusual route of concentrating on Paul's early life. He covers the years 1942-1970 and a little bit after,but about 90% of this book actually covers his childhood,and youth until about age 23. A few reviewers complained about this,calling it 'half a book',but I don't know why. There are many good books on the Beatles,and Many Years From Now is an excellent book on McCartney. Even Chris Sanford's book isn't too bad for a book on his entire life. But no one's ever told the story of his early life in this much detail. I found it facinating,and quite a nice change.

What I really loved is that Salewicz also chose to interview atypical people like Paul's teachers, his scout master, members of the Scaffold, (Mike McCartney's poetry group),and two girlfriends,Iris Caldwell,and Thelma Pickles(who was also John's old flame but Paul dated her in 1962-63). By talking to people like this,the author is able to show Paul not as a super star but as a person. Incidentally,all these people thought he was a lovely guy.

So now I know in vivid detail, what kind of student Paul was,what kind of Boyscout, what kind of boyfriend,etc. Was he brave?
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is well researched and equally well written.
I really like the way interviews with people who knew the former Beatle are included; one gets a "personal" picture of Paul McCartney. This author is skilled at bringing Paul McCartney to the forefront of his readers' collective consciousness.
This book gets three cheers and a hearty "yeah, yeah, yeah"! from me!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By SET67 on August 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are some interesting viewpoints presented here that you won't find in other Beatles bios; however, since some Beatles 'myths' are presented as fact here (ie: how Brian had never heard of the Beatles before someone requested their record), it is hard to know whether to believe the other information which I hadn't heard before. Interesting hearing quotes from people I haven't heard before though. Good enough, but not essential.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?