Howard Sounes
  AMY, 27  
  FAB: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney  
    - Introduction  
    - Reviews  
    - Translations & Rights  
  Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney  

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Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney

‘The graceful prose and superb storytelling create a riveting narrative.’
Kirkus Reviews (US) – Best Biographies of 2010

Fab is the epic story of the musical and personal odyssey of Sir Paul McCartney, the senior surviving member of the biggest band in the history of pop, the Beatles, about which there is boundless public interest, told in forensic detail by the acclaimed biographer of Bob Dylan.

Renowned for his comparable 2001 bestseller Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan, and an equally well-regarded life of Charles Bukowski, author Howard Sounes spent more than two years investigating every aspect of Sir Paul’s life and work, including interviewing over 200 people. The result is the richest, most detailed and most comprehensive life of McCartney ever written.

Uniquely, Sounes pays equal attention to the story of Paul McCartney in the Beatles and his post-Beatles career, in a book that spans the arc of the artist’s life and work. Fab culminates with the fascinating and sensational human story of Sir Paul’s calamitous second marriage to Heather Mills, which is fully revealed for the first time. Sounes proves a judicious critic of the music of an iconic star while also delivering a superb psychological portrait of the artist.

‘Dylan comes alive,’ the New York Times wrote of Sounes’ biography of that musical legend. Sir Paul McCartney now comes alive in Fab, a detailed, lively and truly revelatory account of one of the most famous men in the world, spiced with anecdotes and candid comments from those who know him best.

The following playlist has been specially selected by Howard Sounes for his latest book FAB: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney. Each track is referred to in the book and is significant to Paul’s life.

Recommend Playlist

1. 'Can't Buy Me Love' (1964 Beatles’ single)

Arranged by the Beatles’ producer George Martin, Paul’s 12-bar blues went to Number 1 in both Britain and America in the spring of 1964. Here is the exciting sound of Beatlemania.

listen to track

2. 'I'm Looking Through You' (from the Beatles' 1965 album, Rubber Soul)

An insight into Paul’s relationship with his then girlfriend Jane Asher, who would not give up her acting career to suit her jealous boyfriend.

listen to track

3. 'Penny Lane' (1967 Beatles single)

In this sublime Beatles single Paul describes the scene he observed for years riding the bus to school in Liverpool. Beautifully arranged by George Martin, it is one of the star’s greatest songs.

listen to track

4. 'Rocky Raccoon' (from the Beatles' 1968 White Album)

Although not one of McCartney’s most famous numbers, this is a good example of where his penchant for whimsy works well. It is charming, clever and funny.

listen to track

5. ‘Get Back’ (From the Beatles’ 1970 album Let it Be)

This famous late Beatles tune, with lyrics that may relate to Linda McCartney’s first husband, shows Paul as a true rocker. Video footage of the band playing ‘Get Back’ on the Apple roof still brings a tear to the eye – the boys were so great together.

listen to track

6. 'Maybe I'm Amazed' (From PM's first solo album, McCartney, 1970)

This song from McCartney’s first solo LP, after the collapse of the Beatles, is a paradigm of his subsequent career in that there is a germ of a great song here that, for some reason, he can’t develop fully. Almost a classic.

listen to track

7. 'Hi, Hi, Hi’ (Wings’ 1972 single)

McCartney has been let down time and again in his post-Beatles’ career by the weakness of his lyrics. Seldom has he written such silly words as in this Wings song, in which he offers his lover his ‘sweet banana’. Amazingly, it was a hit.

listen to track

8. 'Let Me Roll It' (from the 1973 Wings album Band on the Run)

A simple song built around a fantastically hot guitar riff, ‘Let Me Roll It’ works brilliantly in concert.

listen to track

9. Mull of Kintyre’ (Wings’ 1977 single)

Many listeners have dismissed this modern Scottish folk song as being twee. The words, however, have a genuine poetic quality, and the tune is very strong, making this a huge hit.

listen to track

10. That Was Me’ (from McCartney’s 2007 album Memory Almost Full)

In recent years Sir Paul’s songs have become more interesting, often with better lyrics, as is the case here, with the sexagenarian artist reviewing his remarkable life in song.

listen to track

Fab is published in the UK by HarperCollins, in the USA by Da Capo, in Canada by Doubleday.

It is also available in translation in counties including Denmark, Finland, Germany and Holland, and as an e-book.

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