Best Paul McCartney Biographies

Best Paul McCartney biography

Lauded across the globe as one of the most accomplished musicians of all time, Paul’s fame is owed to his diverse talents, ranging from his singing ; song-writing to his proficiency in a number of different musical instruments including guitar, drums, bass and keyboard.

While Paul has enjoyed a life of fame and recognition, his life has been a rollercoaster of sorts. The highs and lows of his life have led to him having an interesting life, to say the least.

As a result, there is a myriad of writers who have set about documenting his life throughout the years–friends, fans, and contemporaries alike. Here are some of the best Paul McCartney biographies–each is available for purchase on amazon.

Paul McCartney: The Biography by Philip Norman

Written by bestselling author and biographer Philip Norman, Paul McCartney: The Biography is easily one of the most thorough accounts of McCartney’s life. Recounting his tumultuous journey through the world of rock ; roll, the book offers an intimate narration of McCartney’s life, from his childhood to his evolution as a solo artist and everything in between.

What sets Paul McCartney: The Biography apart from other biographies is that the book was written not only with McCartney’s consent, but also with access to his close friends and family. It thus delves into intimate details of McCartney’s life that were previously not common knowledge.

Apart from offering a detailed account of Paul’s life both within The Beatles and after their separation, the book also contains interviews with friends and family members of Paul and his first wife, Linda.

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The author of the biography, Philip Norman, is known for his biographies of rock artists and bands. Apart from Paul McCartney: The Biography, Norman has written biographies of The Beatles ; The Rolling Stones, as well as individual artist biographies of John Lennon, Elton John, Mick Jagger, and more.

Fab: An Intimate Life Of Paul McCartney by Howard Sounes

Written by Howard Sounes and first published in 2010, Fab: An Intimate Life Of Paul McCartney provides a comprehensive retelling of McCartney’s life. The book offers an illustrated portrait of McCartney, unpacking the man behind the musician, as well as the journey that made him who he is today.

Beginning with McCartney’s childhood in Liverpool, the book records the formation of The Beatles and their rise to fame, as well as the band’s separation and how McCartney molded his post-Beatles career to maintain his position as one of the most accomplished musicians of all time.

Aside from McCartney’s professional career, the book also reveals much of his personal life, from his complicated relationship with The Beatles’ members to family feuds and personal dilemmas. The book also dives into McCartney’s love life, detailing his loves and losses and how his romances fueled his music.

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A chapter into Fab and readers will note that the book is written based on extensive research of both The Beatles and, more specifically, McCartney. The comprehensiveness of the book is expected, given author Howard Sounes’ repertoire of biographical successes, including Charles Bukowski: Locked In The Arms Of A Crazy Life and Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan.

Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now by Barry Miles

Reigning as McCartney’s most “official” biography, Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now is a compelling book that offers an account like no other of McCartney’s life. Unlike other biographies that tend to focus on The Beatles and McCartney’s role in it, Many Years From Now instead focuses on the parts of McCartney’s life that are not as commonly discussed.

In particular, the book covers the inner workings of the infamous Lennon-McCartney partnership, as well as McCartney’s inner turmoil after the breakup of The Beatles. It recounts the psychological distress and insecurity that plagued McCartney after the band’s separation, and his unrelenting desire to establish a legacy. The book also covers McCartney’s later embarkation into the London arts scene.

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One of the most interesting themes of Many Years From Now is Paul’s description of the Lennon-McCartney partnership. An article written by Musicology Australia outlines the collaborative spirit of the duo, as well as the tensions that came to be at play in the later years of their partnership.

In Many Years From Now, Miles and McCartney dive into the intricacies of the Lennon-McCartney partnership, offering a well-rounded description of the duo’s dynamic. The book debunks the myths that plagued McCartney, particularly after Lennon’s death in 1980.

During this time, reverence towards Lennon put forth the notion that he was the only talented Beatle, which resulted in insecurity in McCartney and a desperate urge to reinstate his reputation as a talented musician.

Although written by Barry Miles, McCartney contributed heavily to the writing of Many Years From Now, offering Miles exclusive access into his life, as well as his own perception of it. The book is written based on hundreds of exclusive interviews that have spanned over 5 years throughout the early and mid-1990s.

Man On The Run: Paul McCartney In The 1970s by Tom Doyle

First published in 2013, Man On The Run: Paul McCartney In The 1970s offers an illustrative account of McCartney’s life in the most turbulent decade of his life. The 1970s marked the end of The Beatles and the beginning of McCartney’s solo career.

During these years, Paul spent much of his time in his farmhouse in Scotland with his wife, Linda. Following the breakup of The Beatles, McCartney spiraled into a depressive episode that temporarily hindered his ability to make music.

Man On The Run recounts McCartney’s tumultuous journey during these years – it walks readers through what Paul himself believed was the end of his career as a musician, but what ended up being the beginning of an incredible career as a solo artist, namely thanks to the encouragement of McCartney’s wife Linda.

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Written by Tom Doyle, the book is the product of intensive interviews with McCartney himself, in which he reveals his endeavors in combatting critics, as well as his own insecurities, and how he reinvented himself as a solo artist.

Focusing on McCartney’s post-Beatles career, the book dives into how McCartney worked towards building a new reputation for himself that was separate from his role in The Beatles. It highlights his transition towards solo albums and his eventual formation of his new band, Wings.

Apart from his professional life, the book also reveals the complexity of McCartney’s relationship with Lennon, particularly after the breakup of The Beatles. Details about the tensions between the two following the band’s breakup reveal much about their relationship in the final years of their partnership, as well as the years leading up to Lennon’s death in 1980.  

Of McCartney’s many years in the public eye, the 1970s proved to be one of the rockiest. Man On The Run captures this rocky journey in an informative yet endearing way, offering readers true insight into McCartney’s life during these years.

Conversations With McCartney by Paul Du Noyer

Based on conversations and interviews spanning over a period of 35 years, Conversations With McCartney is one of the most candid accounts of McCartney’s life as an artist, friend, and husband. According to the Washington Independent Review of Books, the book is based on conversations dating back to 1979: it is the product of conversations “structured as interviews, but never as interrogations.”

Rather than being a transcription of these separate interviews, however, the book is a narrative reordered by Du Noyer to produce a chronological rendition of McCartney’s life based on years of their conversations.

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The book is structured in 2 main parts: the first part follows a chronological narrative of McCartney’s life throughout the years, while the second part is structured thematically, wherein Du Noyer interviews McCartney through open-end questions, allowing McCartney to reflect on his answers.

Through this two-fold structure, Conversations With McCartney offers readers a holistic understanding of McCartney’s life. Central themes include, perhaps expectedly, the Lennon-McCartney dynamic, as well as McCartney’s individual journey as a musician and his relationship with his first wife Linda.

Paul McCartney: A Life by Peter Ames Carlin

Along with Many Years From Now, Peter Ames Carlin’s Paul McCartney: A Life stands as one of the most “official” biographies of Paul McCartney. In this biography, Carlin presents a thorough account of McCartney’s life, starting from his early years with The Beatles through to his career as a solo artist today.

What puts Paul McCartney: A Life among the best Paul McCartney biographies is the way Carlin recounts and explains the story behind familiar information about McCartney’s life. In addition, the writing style and narrative flow are excellent, resulting in a well-rounded portrait of McCartney as a musician and as a person.

While a large chunk of the book focuses on McCartney’s time with The Beatles, this portion lends itself to the wider narrative that is McCartney’s personal journey as a musician. In addition, Carlin offers anecdotes from McCartney’s life, as well as bits of personal commentary that pay great attention to detail, which serve to engage readers at every page.

Not only does the book describe events from McCartney’s life, but it also offers a critical analysis of both McCartney’s work and the persona he has molded for the public. That being said, the book reveals the nuances of McCartney’s personality, as well as his musical genius.

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The main takeaway from Paul McCartney: A Life is that despite McCartney’s status as one of the greatest musicians of all time, he is, at the end of the day, a human – with faults and flaws to go along with his talent and brilliance.

Paul McCartney In His Own Words by Paul McCartney ; Paul Gambaccini

Finally, Paul McCartney In His Own Words offers an account of McCartney’s life quite literally in his own words. Written by McCartney himself and edited by Paul Gambaccini, this book is closer to an autobiography than a biography.

Having first been published in 1976, Paul McCartney In His Own Words captures the first half of McCartney’s career, namely his time with The Beatles and the years following the band’s breakup. Nevertheless, the book offers an in-depth review of McCartney’s career, ambitions and opinions at the time, conducted by McCartney himself.

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The book is a light read, consisting of funny anecdotes and conversations that reveal McCartney’s playful side. At the same time, the book offers McCartney’s own views on serious topics such as the breakup of The Beatles, the turmoil that ensued and the work it took for McCartney to get back on his feet.

It’s common knowledge that The Beatles’ breakup was messy, with ex-members pointing fingers at each other – namely John ; Paul. In fact, in an interview with Howard Stern, McCartney disclosed that towards the end, tensions had risen so much between the two that they began “weaponizing songs against each other.”

As a result, there has been much controversy regarding the real reason behind The Beatles’ breakup. In Paul McCartney In His Own Words, McCartney offers readers insight into his own personal thoughts on the band’s separation and the multiple reasons that led to it.

All in all, Paul McCartney In His Own Words is an easy and light yet informative read – perfect for fans of McCartney who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the musician’s thoughts, experiences, and opinions.

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