Top critical review
Reviewed in Australia on 5 November 2021
Paul McCartney, arguably the most influential composer of the 20th century with a treasure-trove of truly great songs. 'Lyrics' is beautifully presented with the lyrics in A-Z order over two large volumes, many original drafts, photos. I would have preferred it in time order, to track his development.
Only just opened it - checked out a few songs. 'Too Many People' (from the LP Ram with the beetles copulating on the cover) is a detailed, funny and powerful attack on John and in this book Paul justifies it by saying that John had attacked him first with songs like 'How Do You Sleep'. Those who know the Beatles' chronology know that 'Ram' pre-dates John's 'Imaine' LP on which we find the track, and also that Allen Klein got John to tone down his song (unlike what Paul says here). Oh Paul - shame on you: you were over-reacting to John's co-opting the line "Say you want a revolution" for his Maoist song 'Power To The People' suggesting the Beatles had been promoting radical politics - which is why you describe him as "sharing party lines" etc. The person reaching for a piece of cake was Yoko who gets a lot of mention in the lyric but not in Paul's commentary.
I then went to check what he said about his song 'Three Legs' (the next song on 'Ram', which he wrote immediately after Yoko released her film 'Fly') and IT IS MISSING! Perhaps that's just as well.
Checked out 'She's A Woman' which even their tame Anthology acknowledges is their first song written around a drug reference ("Turns me on when I get lonely" - i.e. when there's nobody about) but unfortunately this little fact is missing here too.
Then looked at 'Things We Said Today' which is has one of Paul's greatest lyrics. It is built around the Gershwin song 'Love Is Here To Stay' which Ira wrote in memory of his brother and songwriting partner George - so many implications at this, the first really difficult time in Paul's relationship with John - and we see not a mention.
Can't wait to see what he says about 'Hey Jude' - no doubt it's all about John's little boy Julian - imagine saying that kind of stuff to a four year old! Paul's not that kind of guy.