Paul McCartney to tell life story through his lyrics in epic new book

Image Credit: Charanjeet Dhiman

A two-volume autobiography examining 154 song lyrics, McCartney’s “The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present” runs close to 1,000 pages.

Paul McCartney is publishing a memoir for the very first time. Rather than a traditional autobiography, the book won’t be chronological but chronicle the course of his life with his lyrics as a framework – 960 pages of them.

In The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, McCartney recounts all stages of his career, from songs he wrote as a boy to the Beatles, Wings and his three solo albums, delving deep into his own artistic process.

The book, split into two 480-page hardbacks, is edited by poet Paul Muldoon, who also penned an introduction. The project was based on conversations between the two over a span of five years, and as Muldoon commented: “It’s as close to an autobiography as we may ever come.” Included in the volumes will be artistic material from McCartney’s personal archive including never before seen letters and photographs.

The 78-year-old ex-Beatle said:

More often than I can count, I’ve been asked if I would write an autobiography, but the time has never been right. The one thing I’ve always managed to do, whether at home or on the road, is to write new songs. I know that some people, when they get to a certain age, like to go to a diary to recall day-to-day events from the past, but I have no such notebooks. What I do have are my songs, hundreds of them, which I’ve learned serve much the same purpose. And these songs span my entire life.

Paul McCartney from The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present

The Lyrics is due out on the 2nd November. UK publisher Allen Lane described how the song lyrics are presented throughout the book: “Each arranged alphabetically to provide a kaleidoscopic rather than chronological account, it establishes definitive texts of the songs’ lyrics for the first time and describes the circumstances in which they were written, the people and places that inspired them, and what he thinks of them now.”

It’s not the first book McCartney has written, the latest being picture book Hey Grandude! which was illustrated by Kathryn Durst. Previous publications include The Meat Free Monday Cookbook written with Mary and Stella McCartney.

Last December McCartney released his third solo album after a gap of 40 years. McCartney III took advantage of a year of lockdowns in a burst of creativity that was well-received by critics and fans.

The Lyrics will be published simultaneously in the UK, US and Germany and has an RRP of £75.

I write about music for RouteNote, sharing fun stuff, news, and tips and tricks for musicians and producers. Also a saxophonist and hater of marmalade.

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2 comments

    No, no, no, not alphabetical! Chronological – in order to see clearly, his growth – a way to see him in real life (not that anyone reading it would have had a life anywhere near the same while still going through some life happenings that most or, a lot of, people live through

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