The Music And Talent Of Paul McCartney

I have to admit that I dropped everything when this book arrived. As a music reviewer and music lover, I do enjoy a good discussion about almost any aspect of the subject. In fact two days ago I ran a radio program on the subject of the state of rock today. I do wish that I had known about Better Than Lennon last week because I most certainly would have invited John Cherry to my panel.

I have some very strong opinions on the subject of the Beatles, most of them run contrary to the mainstream. In a nutshell, as a band I would not entertain them in a woodshed. Sure they had the odd flash of brilliance but as the band merrily headed to the inevitable self destruction their music became increasingly erratic and self serving.

John Cherry is clearly a very big fan of the Beatles, and also the careers that the four musicians carved out for themselves after they went their separate ways. He poses the question of who was the better musician, John Lennon or Paul McCartney? It is clear that when you look at the Beatles the creative talents lay in Lennon and McCartney rather than Ringo Star and George Harrison.

Lennon and McCartney had very different styles, and it likely was this difference that in part led to the band splitting up. John Cherry also adds to the fuel by talking about Lennon’s increasing dependence on recreational pharmaceuticals that effectively blurred his vision of the future. His joining forces with Yoko Ono was also a seemingly detrimental move in forwarding his career. Ono’s inclusion on his solo albums did nothing to endear Lennon to fans or critics alike.

I enjoyed Better Than Lennon a great deal. Whereas I would have just gone out and subjectively approached the subject, John Cherry has done extensive research. Although the book is a scant 130 pages long, it contains a library of information. It is broken up into chapters that discuss specific time periods, and compares the relative output both in terms of volume and quality. Certainly both had sparks of brilliance and periods in the doldrums.

Both musicians clearly had writing talent, but I have to admit that I am very much in agreement with John Cherry, Paul McCartney wins hands down in this match. In my opinion he also kept better company! His collaboration with his wife Linda produced some of the very finest music of the time. Linda’s untimely death was a huge blow to the music world.

I also learned a great deal by reading this book, as I said at the beginning of the review I was not a huge fan of the band but really did not understand the intricacies of the relationship that these two people had. It was almost a war on the airwaves. Thinly veiled references of a less that supportive nature aimed at each other through the lyrics of songs.

Another aspect that I was not aware of were some of the other musicians that Paul McCartney has at one time or another collaborated with. One name in particular caught my eye, Elvis Costello. Man that guy gets around. He is one multi talented performer, for example did you know that he was great friends with Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter Cash? In fact on the tribute album that was released following June’s death he he sings Ring Of Fire.

Better Than Lennon is a must read book for any music lover, it is non judgmental and well reasoned. Oh, and the other reason I give it very high marks indeed is that Blogger News gets a mention 🙂

You can order your copy of Better Than Lennon from Amazon, just click on the cover art above.

Simon Barrett

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