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1 rating: 3.0
A book by Christopher Sandford

McCartney's success has long affronted rock aesthetes as proof that facile talent and showmanship trump soulfulness, an opinion that will be complicated, but not reversed, by this serviceable biography. Sandford, a music journalist and biographer of … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Christopher Sandford
Genre: Entertainment
Publisher: Da Capo Press
1 review about McCartney

The Enduring Beatle

  • Jun 26, 2007
Paul McCartney is the enduring remnant of The Beatles. Surely the other three have assured legacies, but McCartney represents the continued flourishing of the Beatles' success story. Christopher Sandford's biography 'McCartney' is excellent for bringing The Beatles' (and McCartney's) legend thoroughly to the reader. After having read the groundbreaking 'Shout' by Philip Norman, an insider's account with Peter Brown's 'The Love You Make,' and John Swenson's primer 'The Beatles Yesterday and Today,' Sandford's story is still a find. The content is formidable, chock-full of quotes, accounts of bickering and reconciliation, his love life, and any backstage summations of touring and recording.

Taking some familiar paths, the author manages to break new ground mostly by being comprehensive and exhaustive with his research. The greatest merit of his book is his ability to vividly show McCartney's childhood and the historic meetings of the other three of the fab four. Sandford visually and almost audibly transports us to that primitive time and place before they were famous. His details of McCartney's musical father and his heartwarming mother are fascinating. To his credit even the familiar stories don't feel like retread. Later the format changes for most of the solo career. He gathers press conferences, anecdotes, and reviews to stock up his presentation. Overall, I believe he is fair to a point. He injects both enthusiasm and criticism for the superstar Beatle, but he always gives him his due. Even when the text gets highly critical, he cleverly lets others do most of the talking. (This is no small factor given the fact that most writers are hyper-critical of the most commercially successful Beatle.) Admirably, Sandford does a yeoman job of separating rumor from fact and dispenses evidence on every claim and counter-claim he makes.

Although mainly a lucid and fascinating read, Sandford at times becomes unnecessarily convoluted. At times he will make statements that require one to reread a passage, making it unnecessarily opaque. (For the grammarian, tracing pronouns to their antecedents is sometimes a chore. In other words it's occasionally difficult to keep track of those for whom he speaks.) However, this is the exception rather than the rule. Capturing the enthusiasm, the thrills, and the chasms, Sandford creates a comprehensive and engaging read for Beatles and/or McCartney fans.

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