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Announced on this day, and released in November 2021, “The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present” covers Paul McCartney’s early Liverpool days, the Beatles, Wings, and solo careers, by pairing the lyrics of 154 of his songs with first-person commentaries of the circumstances in which they were written, the people and places that inspired them, and what he thinks of them now.
From paulmccartney.com, February 24, 2021:
Liveright / W. W. Norton and Allen Lane / Penguin Press announce the publication of…
THE LYRICS: 1956 to the Present
by Paul McCartney
Edited and Introduced by Paul Muldoon
Publishing 2nd November, 2021
Pre-Order ‘THE LYRICS: 1956 to the Present’: https://smarturl.it/thelyrics
Over two volumes, Paul recounts his life and art through the prism of 154 songs from all stages of his career.
‘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, The Lyrics
In this extraordinary book, with unparalleled candour, Paul McCartney recounts his life and art through the prism of 154 songs from all stages of his career – from his earliest boyhood compositions through the legendary decade of The Beatles, to Wings and his solo albums to the present. 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. Presented with this is a treasure trove of material from McCartney’s personal archive – drafts, letters, photographs – never seen before, which make this also a unique visual record of one of the greatest songwriters of all time.
We learn intimately about the man, the creative process, the working out of melodies, the moments of inspiration. The voice and personality of Paul McCartney sings off every page. There has never been a book about a great musician like it.
‘I hope that what I’ve written will show people something about my songs and my life which they haven’t seen before. I’ve tried to say something about how the music happens and what it means to me and I hope what it may mean to others too’ – Paul McCartney
‘Based on conversations I had with Paul McCartney over a five year period, these commentaries are as close to an autobiography as we may ever come. His insights into his own artistic process confirm a notion at which we had but guessed — that Paul McCartney is a major literary figure who draws upon, and extends, the long tradition of poetry in English.’ – Paul Muldoon
Sir Paul and I met regularly over a period of five years for two or three hour sessions in which we talked in a very intensive way about the background to a half dozen songs. In a strange way, our process mimicked the afternoon sessions he had with John Lennon when they wrote for the Beatles. We were determined never to leave the room without something interesting.Paul Muldoon – From The Guardian, February 24, 2021
He’s one of the most buoyant, upbeat people I know, but his general demeanor shouldn’t suggest that he’s anything but a deep thinker. He looks long and hard into every aspect of life and I believe readers, old and new, will be struck by a book that will show that side of him. He’s going to come out of this book as a major literary figure. His insights into his artistic process confirm a notion at which we had but guessed: that Paul McCartney is a major literary figure who draws upon, and extends, the long tradition of poetry in English.Paul Muldoon – From The Guardian, February 24, 2021
Last updated on August 1, 2023