- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Reynolds & Hearn Ltd; 1st edition (7 Nov. 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1903111366
- ISBN-13: 978-1903111369
- Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 15 x 1.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,340,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
The Unknown Paul McCartney: McCartney and the Avant-garde Paperback – 7 Nov 2002
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From the Publisher
Undertaking extensive research for this book, Ian Peel interviewed many of McCartney's intimate musical associates from this less-familiar side of his career, including:
Super Furry Animals - on their carrot chewing percussion and electronic sound collage collaborations.
Youth - the three-times BRIT-nominated producer speaks in depth for the first time ever on his two albums of techno ambient and chill-out recorded with McCartney as The Fireman.
Nitin Sawhney - on McCartney's first tentative steps into drum & bass, holed up in Sawhney's London bedsit.
Richard Hewson - breaks a 20-year silence on the Thrillington project and pseudonym.
David Vaughan - the renowned psychedelic artist and organiser of 60s 'happenings' airs his strong views on Carnival of Light, The Beatles' most legendary unreleased track.
Other interviewees include Yoko Ono, bassist Herbie Flowers, Gong's Daevid Allen, Frank Zappa's guitarist Mike Keneally, JJ Jeczalik (Art of Noise) and members of Wings.
From the Author
The book covers all eras of McCartney's creative life:
1960s: This is the first McCartney/Beatles book to examine in detail the avant-garde influences that weighed into their music, examining artists such as John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, the late Delia Derbyshire and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and Max V. Matthews (who made the first ever computer music in 1957). To say nothing of Ray Cathode (George Martin's electronica alter ego).
The Unknown Paul McCartney also looks at how the influence of these early 20th century composers resonates across modern pop music as a whole.
1970s: I look above the mullets and drug busts and examine the more credible side of McCartney's music in the 1970s. The work of Percy 'Thrills' Thrillington - his bizarre easy listening alter ego - comes under the microscope for its most detailed analysis to date. Wings guitarist Laurence Juber tells of freaking out David Bowie with radio/dialogue/funk jams. The avant-garde act of vegetable chewing in a Brian Wilson/Beach Boys session also comes out of the hazy mists of time.
1980s: Although critically his most reviled period to date, the '80s saw McCartney begin to play with synthesizers, samplers and remixes. While tracing the story of a Beatles' first faltering steps into 12" singles and New York clubs, I find time for one of the most in-depth histories of remix culture ever to appear in print.
1990s: It may not get covered in the mainstream press but the 90s have been McCartney's most avant-garde period to date. I cover his secret jam sessions with Yoko Ono, ambient sound collage with the Super Furry Animals, pure white noise and chainsaw recordings for an art gallery installation, and guitar/poetry performance with Allen Ginsberg.
Top Customer Reviews
Lennon has usually been seen as the avant gardist because of Revolution No 9 and the Zapple records but it would seem McCartney had his own ideas long before.
Not even that many Beatles fans are going to "get it"-and some of this music is not easy to find as the Fireman and the Liverpool Sound Collage are deleted with Twin Freaks only available on CD from Russia!
More available to the masses is Qui est la Soleil-a track on Flowers in the Dirt-to show what the Fireman things sounded like
But really you only have to think of Beatles ideas which were translated by George Martin-himself no stranger to the weird end of music when he cut a single under the name of Ray Cathode the same year as Love me do.
In the field of the avant garde and ambience its McCartney who was able to make it work in ways Lennon could never have done.
While touching on McCartney's avant-garde musical roots with John Cage and Stockhausen, you are also taken on a journey through the genesis of what we know today as House, Trance, Ambient and other dance sub-genres. With interviews from many of the people who worked with Paul in his experimental recordings, we get a sense of the interest and growth of a style of music that only rarely pokes its collective head into the mainstream.
Indeed, at times the focus seems to drift from McCartney entirely, but it serves to show that his interests in music outside what he's usually known for are deep and far-reaching.
If you think you know Paul McCartney and his music, this book may surprise or even shock you. It helps to fully round out the image of a composer who may yet emerge as one of the seminal figures in 20th century music, even beyond his work with his three buddies. As such, this book needs to be on the shelf of every serious McCartneyphile.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In his book "The Unknown Paul McCartney", Ian Peel goes in deep to reveal a not-so-well-known side to Paul's musical personality.
It is a fascinating revelation to Paul's experiments and fascinations with avant-garde music. Many of his unusual musical experiments such as the tapeloops The Beatles "Tomorrow Never Knows" all the way up to The Fireman albums, "Liverpool Sound Collage" and his forays into orchestral music are explained in full detail in this book. It is wonderful and eye-opening.
Ian Peel has done some excellent research in compiling the information for this book. After reading this book, you will no doubt have a greater appreciation for Paul McCartney's more experimental musical side. Also, one may listen to his avant-garde work with a different set of ears. Excellent book!!
Paul can never attain John's status. For one thing, he's alive and John is not. Macca should count his considerable blessings that he's not a martyr and he should get over the fact that a large segment of intelligent, discerning Beatles fans will always prefer John's style and John's songs. John was the Avant Garde pioneer of the group, Paul wrote beautiful, catchy melodies. They complimented one another to a degree never seen before or since in popular music. McCartney can never win in any posthumous competition with Lennon and all of these self-serving books merely addresses his own insecurities.
I adore Paul, but enough is enough. The book is a waste of time and merely rehashes everything from the Miles book. Anyone who seriously buys into the clap-trap that the lyrics to C Moon are as great as I am the Walrus or Come Together needs to get some therapy.