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Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now Hardcover – October, 1997

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Editorial Reviews Review

If you think John Lennon was the smart, arty Beatle while Paul was an empty head twittering prettily, this book will hip you to the facts. While John sat in the suburbs getting stoned to numb the pain of his imminent divorce, bachelor Paul was feeding his head by immersion in the London avant-garde. He pioneered the Beatles' experimental stuff, though his witty song-by-song account proves that it really was a 50-50 partnership--and some of the best innovations, like the snarling 1964 feedback intro to "I Feel Fine," happened by pure accident. Paul's insight into John's genius, which sprang from howling paranoia and a stark childhood, is still deeper than his insight into himself, but the book's true glory is its inside info on all those songs--the six tunes about John's marriage on A Hard Day's Night; Paul's heist of the "I Saw Her Standing There" bass line from Chuck Berry's "I'm Talking About You" (found on Berry's The Chess Box); the true meanings of "Norwegian Wood" (pine paneling, which the song's narrator burns to avenge the girl's refusal to have sex with him), "Got to Get You into My Life" ("you" is marijuana), and "Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da" ("life goes on" in Yoruba). This book is even better than A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles' Song and Revolution in the Head. Here is the last word on the Beatles, inevitably slanted toward McCartney but generally more convincing than Lennon's own recollections. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

McCartney in his own words.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 654 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Co; 1st American ed edition (October 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805052488
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805052480
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 6.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

127 of 132 people found the following review helpful By Inkhorn VINE VOICE on June 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
John Lennon's untimely death was one of the great tragedies of Paul McCartney's life.

Not only did he lose a former best friend and half of the best songwriting team of all time, but the resultant rush to eulogise Lennon was often done at the expense of McCartney, whose own contribution was often trivialised.

This is McCartney's version of the history of the Beatles and their music. It is hard to imagine McCartney being insecure about anything, but he certainly seems territorial, protective and sensitive of his own legacy.

Perhaps the greatest injustice to McCartney was being inducted to Rock and Roll Hall of fame seven years after Lennon, in spite of being an equal contributor to the Beatles, and having a far more commercially successful solo career.

As far as the Lennon McCartney compositions go, there are a few surprises, for instance, he says he wrote the music to 'In My Life' a song which is obviously very Lennon but this actually makes sense. On many of the other Lennon songs he wrote the middle eight or the words of the last verse and vice versa. At times this seems petty, but to be fair he does give Lennon credit on some songs that are obviously strongly McCartney compositions such as the middle sections of Michelle and She's Leaving Home, and a 50/50 credit on I saw her standing there. On Eleanor Rigby he credits Lennon some of the lyrics to the final verse, although in the Anthology documentary he says the song is 100% his. The key to crediting any Lennon McCartney song is he who sung it wrote it or most of it.
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on January 28, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Those of us who grew up watching the evolution of the Beatles and Paul McCartney will find this authoritative biography written by longtime friend Barry Miles a thought-provoking and interesting glimpse into many aspects of McCartney's otherwise quite private and personal life story. The view is startling, given the fact that so many in the media have forwarded the view that Paul was the lesser of the two main creative forces within the group. The account delivered here via a long-running series of interviews with Paul puts the lie to that notion, showing just how influential and fateful were Paul's contribution to the Lennon and McCartney writing genius. It also gives the fascinated reader a mind-boggling glimpse into the creative forces behind the individual songs, and travels knowingly along the historic path leading each of the "Fab Four" from poverty and obscurity to fabled fame and fortune. The result is a marvelous biography and an immensely entertaining reading experience.
The book is full of insider information about the genesis and sources of each of the songs and albums along the way, ranging from the creation of "I Saw Her Standing There" all the way to the "Long And Winding Road", at a time when the members of the group could barely stand to inhabit the same space for any period of time. We come to understand how the arrival of fame and fortune changed each of them forever, and although Paul's perspective is the only one aired here, one marvels at just how fair-minded and self-effacing he seems to be in assessing the values, contribution, and failings of each of the Beatles, himself included.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Donald Gallinger on June 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
Barry Miles' biography of Paul McCartney (Many Years from Now) is distinctive from other Beatles's biographies for its detailed look at how all that iconic music came together. As one example, McCartney gives an insider's view of where he was and what he was doing when he composed "Here, There, and Everywhere," as well as the off hand remark that playing one particular chord led to "Fool on the Hill." Improvisation and luck appeared to have influenced so many wonderful Beatles' tunes. By the time you've finished Miles' book, you'll begin to wonder whether some higher power was also a Beatles' fan.

Donald Gallinger is the author of The Master Planets
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Stamper VINE VOICE on May 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
You're not going to find a better book that points out Paul's contributions to the Beatles. Paul's cooperation and reflections are the bulk of the book. Between passages of history, McCartney adds long quotes about his memories and experiences of specific events. He disagrees with the public record on some pretty interesting things.
First, he doesn't believe the popularly held idea that the death of Brian Epstein was anything but an accident.
Second, he says that the Beatles were never angry at the Maharishi. They didn't consider him a fraud as popularly reported. They had just learned everything they needed to learn from him and they wanted to get back to real life. Paul says he still meditates using the mantra taught to him by the Mararishi. John's song Sexy Sadie was indeed about some disillusionment with the spiritual leader, but the feelings weren't lasting.
Third, the collaboration between John and Paul lasted into the later years of the Beatles when most people assumed that they were writing their songs solo and tacking on the other's name. Paul talks about John's help with Hey Jude and his own contribution to the Ballad of John and Yoko.
Fourth, Paul is very fair with everyone. He doesn't blame Yoko for breaking up the Beatles. He thinks that Yoko probably saved the H addicted John's life and thus extended the life of the Beatles. He surprisingly doesn't blame Yoko for his conflicted relationship with John after the breakup.
People can argue on whether McCartney's vision is the reality or what he wants to portray. Either way, you won't get a complete picture of the Beatles without reading this book.
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