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on 22 July 2014
This is about Paul, from the Paul camp, but not *by* him - let's be clear about that. It's funny actually, when it claims to be based on 'hundreds of hours of interviews', the things Barry Miles didn't think to ask him about - eg his ideas on the Let It Be sessions seem to be based solely on having watched the film. Nor is it anti-John. It's anti-Yoko, perhaps, but I think no less of it for that. It would be wrong to blame her for the breakup; the responsibility was really John's, as he eventually acknowledged, and it was he that drew her (albeit without any evident reluctance on her part) into the band's space. Still, it was his band to mess up if he wanted, not hers. The role she played was obtuse, vain and insensitive at best. The idea that Lennon hired the unscrupulous and divisive Allen Klein just because he had promised her a New York exhibition - which the Beatles ended up paying for - is enough to make you fume.

However, mentions of her are few. This isn't a book of gossip; it's largely about the music, and as such makes a horses-mouth companion to Revolution In The Head (a book Miles quotes with approval). Only at the end does the book, like the group, get tangled up with Klein And All That. What comes through is that McCartney's chief fault was to remain committed to the Beatles when the others no longer were. Yet still, after all these years, he doesn't appear to recognise that he wanted two incompatible things: to remain in a group of democratic equals, and to do things his own way. By insisting too much on the latter, he was effectively making the same choice as the others - to be master of his own ship - and unwittingly helping to break the group up.

It doesn't delve all that deeply. The man himself refers to the 'idiot McCartney myth', and it has to be said that it's partly his own fault for hanging on to his larky Beatle persona, and often obscuring the meaning of his songs (especially compared to Lennon's neon-lit shopfront). As he says, when on dangerous ground 'a veiling takes place' so that the subject is not too obvious. One shock is the description of Helter Skelter, the group's heaviest song and precursor of grunge, as being about 'the demise, the fall of the Roman Empire'. That carries the startling implication that 'you' in the song might be John, or all the Beatles. Actually it makes good sense: do they want to be in the band or not? But, there and elsewhere, Miles doesn't follow up the hint.

Does it claim more for McCartney than is his due? No-one can say for sure, because no-one else knows just how much of each Lennon-McCartney song was contributed by him. You do wonder at times. In one case, where he works on John's idea, it's 'but the difficult thing is to make more of it'; but then where John works on his idea it's 'but it was all basically there'. On the other hand he gives John credit on a lot of songs where you might not have expected it, eg for contributions to Birthday, Here, There & Everywhere and Drive My Car.

But you know what, I don't really care if he does overstate his case slightly in places. Basically the point of this book is that, as McCartney says, 'it really did pan out about equal'. If Paul feels that fact has been insufficiently recognised over the years, certainly by the muso world, he has a point.

It's true there's too much about Swinging London, man, probably because the author was part of the scene (he confusingly refers to himself in the third person as 'Miles'). It's also true that it's sometimes a bit cavalier over the details; Paul surely can't think that Revolution 1 was 'the hottest recording we ever made'? Someone must be getting confused with the Single version. And it's a shame that there's virtually no coverage of McCartney's post-Beatles work, other than his experiments in other mediums (painting, classical etc). The book ends movingly with his eulogy for Linda, who had then died recently.

Nothing will convince me, though, that 'the movement you need is on your shoulder' is a great line...
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on 10 December 2014
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on 29 March 2010
If you're interested in The Beatles and where the ideas for their songs came from, this is a very interesting read. I'm sure the facts could be disputed by other individuals, but as the author, Barry Miles, writes in a conversational manner (mostly McCartney's narrative) it is very easy to read. Recommended.
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on 2 September 2006
I think this is the closest to a McCartney autobiography we are ever likely to get. There are extensive interviews throughout the book, and I mean on every page, about every single subject and aspect of Paul McCartney's life. You can open it at any page and discover something interesting, and the Macca Man tells his stories in his usual upbeat, humourous character.

I have got the hard back copy, but either is fully recommended.
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on 16 October 2003
I liked this book because I am a huge Beatles fan. This book went into detail about the early
years of the Beatles, the later years of the Beatles and personal issues of Paul McCartney. I
found it uncomparable to any other Beatles book.
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on 8 September 2003
A sensitive and honest account of Pauls life as a boy, with the Beatles and beyond. A very interesting read - even for those who think they've read everything there is to read on The Beatles! Highly recommended.
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on 24 January 1999
I believe Many Years from now is one of the finest examples of high profile autobiography I have read last year. If you are a keen beatles fan (who isn't) this really as a must have as 95% of the book is about the whole sixties and how Macca remembers every song, album, event that shaped the beatles carrer and mtythology. He doesn't actually write it rather he gives his account in the form of interviews. The novel is split into about 7 or 8 chapters and a few examples are his childhood, then later Hamburg, The Cavern, The whole American experience, The Whole Drug experience, Sgt. Peeper, ect. One of my favourite chapter is called John were he describes the relationship he had then and how he remembers now. He talks very openly about the friendship, the breakup, the riverly and the love he had and has for John. The book dicusses practacally every song they wrote togther and influnces that shaped the song. it is and aborbing read with no beatles event overlooked. Its really a rememberence and it seems as Paul McCartney is finally at grips with his past and in this book he show us how hes came througth the wole experience still believing th at the love he took was equal to the love he made. Before I read this book I always believed McCartney to be a Iron willed, extremelly wealthy, 55yr old, egotistical genuis of pop when reading this book u see he has many strings to his bow and the overall message is "hey I was in The beatles too u'know" and we are left in no doubt of the fact but he does it with a grace, thoughtfullness and most emgrossing way that u can't poosibly not admire. A showman to the end. the Walrus really was Paul!
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on 30 September 2015
Essential reading, of course, as all of the Beatles output is commented upon by Paul, and much detail of his life is revealed, but the book is also somewhat boringly written. It only trancends ground level when the writer, Barry Miles, who refers to himself as 'Miles', talks about himself, their mutual friends and their bookshop related endeavours. Only then, some irony and lightheartednes is introduced. The rest is a fairly serious writing job. And very strange it is, for all the childhood detail we're given, that we only get to hear that McCartney has a sister when we're over halfway into the book.
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on 14 December 2000
Exhilerating honesty on Paul's part, I didn't know about half of the things he related and what eyeopeners they were! For an ex-Londoner who was around in the sixties and seventies this book is a time travel machine to nostalgia, an absolute must for any Beatles fan and a great companion to the new Anthology book released earlier this year. The stories and history surrounding Paul's interviews are informative, interesting and very well written, it is a book that is hard to put down!
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on 13 October 2013
Quality Hard back book. Fascinating insight into not only McCarneys life but into the birth of the greatest band the world has ever seen.A must have read for fans.
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