“The world’s most famous living Liverpudlian” speaks.
McCartney has never been shy of speaking his mind. Here, he opens up, repeatedly and over several decades, to longtime NME correspondent and founding Mojo editor Du Noyer (Deaf School: The Non-Stop Pop Art Punk Rock Party, 2013, etc.) on all manner of topics, not least of them “the world’s most famous dead Liverpudlian,” he being, of course, fellow Beatle John Lennon. Sir Paul’s not just a Beatle, though he will go to his grave with that designation first and foremost. To judge by Du Noyer’s portrait, he is the cheeky and cheerful fellow of popular depiction, though he is also deeply thoughtful and capable of self-criticism, if not always very trenchant. Since Lennon’s murder 36 years ago, McCartney has labored to rebuild his image as the lite-pop Beatle against Lennon’s rocker, and here his conversations sometimes turn to such things as his Little Richard shout and penchant for blistering rockers like “Helter Skelter.” There are surprises aplenty for Beatles casualists; who knew that Linda sang the highest of the high notes on “Let It Be”? Du Noyer’s book has a slightly slapped-together feel, as if raw material for a more cohesive biography in times to come, but for all that, it contains bits and pieces that are suggestive and illuminating. At one point, McCartney recounts, for instance, being stuck in writing the song that would become “Drive My Car,” which well illustrates his thesis that the whole business of songwriting involves “some kind of mystery as to whether you’re going to pull it off.” Happily, Du Noyer concentrates on the substantive in these conversations, which are both thematically and chronologically arranged, avoiding celebrity fluff to get into the meat—beg pardon, Sir Paul being a vocal vegetarian and all—of his work.
A welcome contribution to a growing body of serious but not solemn work about The Fabs before and after, the cute bassist in particular.