An In-Depth Examination Of The Best (And Worst) Songs From The World’s Most Successful Singer/Songwriter
I like John Cherry, he is an entertaining character and when he asked if I would be interested in viewing an early galley of Paul McCartney’s Solo Career I jumped at the chance. His first Beatles oriented book Better Than Lennon put forth the heretical view that McCartney was the better musician. A view incidentally that I am in complete agreement with.
In fact I enjoyed Better Than Lennon so much that donned my Don King persona and arranged a 15 round, no holds barred, fight to the death, radio panel discussion on the subject. I lured my good friend Billy James of Glassonyon PR (and ardent Lennon fan) to join us, It was undoubtedly one of the most lively discussions I have ever had. If you missed it, you can always catch the recording. Oh, and I feel a rematch is about due!
In Paul McCartney’s Solo Music Career 1970-2010 John Cherry has taken a less adversarial approach and focuses squarely on Paul McCartney. It is a critical look at McCartney’s post Beatles career.
John Cherry is without doubt a huge Paul McCartney fan, but, he also is very objective. Musicians have their ups and downs, a chart topping wonder can be followed by a huge “What the hell was that?” moment.
Even within a single album there are always ‘filler’ tracks, songs best left on the editing studio floor. I like to call it the rule of three, one third is really really good, one third is mediocre, and one third is OMG, what were they thinking?
John Cherry seems to take the same approach in his analysis of the four decades 1970-2010 of Paul McCartney’s post Beatles career.
There are few that would not agree that the break up of the Beatles was a somewhat acrimonious event, one that led to some serious grudges between the members. Those grudges tended to surface in the early years of their solo careers by way of lyrics in their songs.
John Cherry is fairly critical about McCartney’s first albums, I get the sense that he feels they seemed rushed and incomplete.
Paul McCartney’s Solo Music Career is a surprisingly compact 200 pages, however it is compendious in the amount of information that it contains.
I was previously unaware that McCartney had fallen foul of the BBC censors with his song ‘Big Boys Bickering’, which was a song about politics, in the lyrics he dared to use the dreaded F word! The BBC and MTV put the song on the DO NOT PLAY list.
What I found most interesting in John Cherry’s latest book is the diverse set of musicians that Paul McCartney has worked with over the years. While this may be old hat to McCartney fans, to a casual observer like myself it makes for fascinating reading. From Dave Mattocks (Fairport Convention), Dave Gilmour (Pink Floyd), to Elvis Costello, he has worked with them all.
I was also unaware of McCartney’s interest in classical music, he has released four albums in the genre, the latest being Ecce Cor Meum. McCartney is hardly the first rocker to play in that genre, yet he does not fit the usual mold of coming from being a music schooled prog rocker.
It was with some amusement that I read John Cherry’s comment:
As with his previous classical releases, I have neither the knowledge nor interest to do a review..
Oh John, take a leaf out of Lou reed’s playbook Take a walk on the wild side:)
Actually, that simple statement tells me that John Cherry cares a great deal about the accuracy of his book. Rather than produce a couple of pages of waffle on a subject that he knows little about, he prefers to confess his lack of knowledge.
I read many books, and regardless of the subject I always ask myself the same question, was this written from the heart? It is easy to become an expert, anyone can put in the time to gain expertise, but do they really believe?
John Cherry cemented the answer in his final chapter Yesterday … And Today “Absolutely Amazing”. It is a retelling of the concert he attended in Charlotte NC, for once he had insider access. A peek behind the scenes. His words leap out at you from the page, this is a kid in a candy store! Reading his description makes you feel as if you were there. This book was written from the heart.
You can order your copy of Paul McCartney’s Solo Music Career 1970-2100 by using the Amazon link at the top. Or through his web site Betterthanlennon.com
Note to John Cherry: Billy James is rounding up his posse, they want to have a Gun Fight at high noon. I’ll keep you informed.