It’s a clickbait-ey headline, but a nice excerpt of the new Paul McCartney biography. It ought to be pretty interesting: it’s based on firsthand interviews that McCartney granted specifically for the book.
I’ve already pre-ordered it. This seems like a particularly interesting time for McCartney to be working so closely with a biographer. He’s now officially in his Seventies. Is this a time of life when someone in the public eye starts to think more seriously about the legacy that they’re going to leave behind? I suppose if people are going to talk about your thoughts, actions, and motives long after you’re gone, you might as well get your side of the story down on paper while you’ve still got all of your faculties.
This excerpt covers a particularly interesting period: McCartney figuring out how to build a new life as a former Beatle. Remember that he had been one of those since he was 15 years old. In the 70s, he was starting over again…with the added handicaps of the world’s attention. Fans and press were going to use his solo efforts to prove their own favorite theories about why the Beatles succeeded.
Great biographies, like great documentaries, try to answer the question “why did this person do what they did?” instead of just telling us what they did. If you’re the person who wrote “Hey, Jude” you’ve earned the right to hit the “snooze” button every morning for the rest of your life. McCartney also had millions, plus a family. So why form a new band and go out on tour?
Bill Watterson retired “Calvin And Hobbes.” He was content to lead a private life. But he didn’t quit doing art! He kept right on drawing and painting. He turned his creative passion into a private hobby. He felt no need at all to show his work to anybody. He’s published only twice, and both times, his motive seemed to be to raise money for Parkinson’s research.
Forget birthplace and upbringing and girlfriends and kids…the most valuable part of a biography would explain why each of those men made each of those choices.