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Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney Paperback – 23 Jun 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (23 Jun. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007293194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007293193
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 283,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘The best Beatles book since Revolution in the Head. Thumbs up’ Classic Rock

‘As an exhaustive account of McCartney’s life, FAB is unparalleled.’ Q Magazine

‘The definitive take on an extraordinary career’ Record Collector

‘Intrigues all the way through’ The Times

‘Difficult to put down’ Mojo

About the Author

Howard Sounes is the author of several acclaimed non-fiction books including the bestselling Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan (2001), an equally well-regarded life of the cult writer Charles Bukowski, as well as the true crime classic Fred & Rose (1995). He lives in London.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm a little ambivalent about this book. I didn't like its style: I felt the author was trying too hard to sound like an 'insider' at times: I can tolerate calling Ringo Starr 'Richie,' but addressing Linda McCartney 'Lin' struck me as a bit, well, overly intimate, and referring repeatedly to The Beatles' colleague Tony Bramwell as 'Measels' Bramwell (just because, as far as I can tell, John Lennon once used the nickname) seems far too forced. I'm surprised the author didn't call Brian Epstein 'Eppy'! A biographer is surely wise to maintain a certain distance, rather than 'go native' like this.

Some of the writing also seems to strain too hard at times like a Dad trying to dance in a trendy fashion: for example, 'Lin dug rock 'n' roll...' "DUG"?? Also: sometimes the author works hard to empathise with the various figures, while at other times he sounds so dismissive one wonders if he's really that interested (e.g. Yoko Ono's writing appealed to John Lennon, according to the author, because of his 'weakness for twaddle'). As far as judgments go, the author tends just to make them rather than explain them: The Beatles' single 'Rain' is dismissed as 'weird'; George Harrison apparently only really started writing good songs on Abbey Road (what about 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'?); etc etc. This stretches on as McCartney goes it alone: the author says some songs are great, some are so-so and some are awful, but he rarely even attempts to explain his reasoning. He just states his opinions as facts.

One more - I admit - very pedantic point: surely a biographer of any member of The Beatles should know that the band is called 'The Beatles,' not 'the Beatles'?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very interesting book. Deals with his schooldays onwards. Gives an insight to his character , maybe he is not the completely charming individual that we were led to believe from the early days of the Beatles. So what it makes him a more rounded character. It also shows what a kind generous person he was to his relatives in Liverpool. Conversely the writer has shown that maybe some of those relatives were not as grateful as they should have been and took his generosity for granted
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
POSITIVES: The book does give equal space to Macca's Wings / solo years, unlike most which tend to dwell on the Beatles years only. And, if you're fairly new to his work, there are a lot of details here you might not have heard about.

NEGATIVES: If you've followed Macca throughout his career (as I have), and especially if you've kept all the press and magazine clippings, then you're not likely to find much here you don't know already. The reviews are disappointing in as much as the writer seems simply to agree with whatever the media said "at the time" about each album release. Consequently, old critical opinions which were often flavoured by "thumbs aloft" cliches from the "hip" music press, go unchallenged. (If anyone's superb body of work is in need of public re-assessment it's Paul McCartney's. For example, the masterpiece "Ram"). These reviews more than anything give the book a "cut and paste" feel rather than be a work of fresh insight.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Try and get a copy of "The Unknown Paul McCartney" by Ian Peel. It takes an independant look at Macca's more obscure, avant-garde works. Well worth a read.
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Format: Hardcover
For anyone wanting to re-live the 60s and subsequent decades or to find out what these times were like,this is the book for you.Howard Sounes has produced a well-balanced book showing the private side of McCartney,his qualities and his shortfalls.It's not easy to document the Beatles early years in a fresh and interesting way but Sounes achieves this commendably,making this part of the book entertaining and informative.I got so engrossed in the book that I found myself slowing down because I didn't want it to end.That was ironic because the latter part of the book is probably the best part.This is a must-read for Beatles,Wings and McCartney fans and popular music lovers in general.It is painstakingly reearched,well written and eminently readable.I thoroughly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
I think this is a great book; a very thorough and imapartial biography which stands favourable comparison with others on the same subject that I've read (and I've read a few!)

The one irritation, mentioned in the title of this review, relates to how Ringo is referred to in the book. When Ringo enters the picture the author states that as he was, and still is, referred to by his friends and family as Ritchie, this is the name he will use throughout the book. I can't understand why he decided to do this. I mean, everyone reading this book will be familiar with the nickname Ringo. I don't see the point in using "Ritchie". If that weren't bad enough he didn't stick to that anyway, alternating between Ringo and Ritchie for the remainder of the book. Although a minor quibble in itself it did tend to irritate and distract.

But, all in all, a recommended read.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a huge fan of The Beatles and their solo years and i feel that i know alot about the band and their history but it has been a while since i sat down with a biography on them so i thought i would give FAB a go.
The book is written in a style that is very easy to read and a credit to the writer that the prose flows well and you don't feel like you are trudging through certain parts of the story to get to the more interesting bits.Each part of Paul's life are given due time and attention.
Various interviews from other sources that are familar to fans(ie The Anthology) are included here and while you know they are not direct quotes they fit in well with the book.
The reason that i am not going to offer the book 5 stars is there is a few parts when the author contradicts himself,the worst being on the same page when he describes Linda as having money and comfortable in company with those who are in the same position but then a paragraph or so later telling us how she set her sights on Paul as was fed up earning a pittance as a photographer.
Calling Ringo "Ritchie" as well grates after a while and i found myself refusing to read it as Ritchie..While he may be Ritchie to Paul he isn't to us and i imagine that there is a reason why only close friends call him that ie cause they are close friends.
Those gripes aside it is a well written book and one i very much enjoyed and doesn't shy away from showing both sides of McCartney's personality and not judging him with it.
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