by McCartney, Paul
Publisher:Secker & Warburg
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
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