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Author Topic: McCartney Blew His Talent  (Read 8416 times)

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Bobber

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McCartney Blew His Talent
« on: October 12, 2010, 10:11:38 AM »

Well, according to FAB that is. Read the book review below. Your thoughts?

Book Review - FAB: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney
Live and let die
Paul McCartney, the most ambitious Beatle, blew his great talent when he went solo, writes Liz Thomson
FAB: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney By Howard Sounes

   

Reading this book, listening to his post-Beatles music, it's hard to disagree with David Puttnam – that Paul McCartney is a man of "immense, immense, immense talent" unable to make the crucial extra effort that would transform the merely good into the exceptional. "Was it that it was too hard, was it that it was too challenging? Or was it that he was a reasonably contented guy and he didn't think it was worth putting himself through that amount of pain? But the difference between good and great is that last 15%."

A natural musician with an astonishing gift for melody, McCartney has indeed got by on talent rather than effort. Moreover, he has (like many celebrities) surrounded himself with yes-men whose place at "court" depends on their paying suitable obeisance.

In Beatle days, competition with the outspoken John Lennon was a healthy game-raiser, and the schoolmasterly George Martin was always in the control room. After the Beatles, McCartney appears rarely to have felt the need for advice: members of Wings were hired hands, paid (mostly poorly) to obey His Master's Voice, while wife Linda, scarcely a musical bone in her body, acted as cheerleader-in-chief. The vast quantities of dope they consumed surely blunted their critical faculties. Linda arrived at the hearing for one of their many drug busts "stoned out of her mind", according to their lawyer, Len Murray.

Puttnam and Murray are among some 220 people with whom Howard Sounes talked or corresponded for what he believes is "a better-balanced, more detailed and more comprehensive life" than any so far. Some provide further fragments for the jigsaw (Ravi Shankar, John Tavener, Carla Lane) but others (Ken Dodd, Bruce Forsyth, Jeffrey Archer) have nothing illuminating to offer.

The likes of Astrid Kirchherr and Jûrgen Vollmer are long talked-out, though we haven't previously heard from Imelda Marcos, whose treatment of the Beatles in the Philippines led to their decision to quit touring.

Those most likely to add to the story – Ringo Starr, the McCartney children, Jane Asher – remain silent. It's a credit to Asher that she has said nothing since 21 July 1968 when, questioned about her engagement by chat-show host Simon Dee, she replied: "I haven't broken it off, but it's finished."

McCartney was, from the get-go, the most ambitious Beatle, convinced from an early age that he would be famous. He was arrogant, turning up late for the meeting with Brian Epstein that would seal their future.

He found happiness with Linda Eastman, a groupie who determined she would marry him, and his grief at her death propelled him into the chilly embrace of Heather Mills. Their brief entanglement occupies fully 10% of Fab.

This is little more than a thorough scissors-and-paste study which draws heavily on Barry Miles's authorised biography. Still, it's a good read for those seeking a Pauline perspective on the Beatles plus a look at his solo career.

FAB: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney
By Howard Sounes
Harper Collins, £20, 563PP
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Kevin

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2010, 12:23:54 PM »

I guess he has some points. But how does he differentiate between good and exceptional. Like always it's a matter of taste. He doesn't really say why.
I think McCartney peaked as a songwriter between 65 and 67. As the 70's progressed almost all of the sixties greats found their music declining in popularity (and I guess relevance) as they grew older.
But yes - Macca is almost universally criticised for the supposed lack of substance in hios work. But really, find me any great sixties act turning out exceptional music in 1976. Weren't Paperback Writer, Eleanor Rigby, Sgt Pepper, Penny Lane and Hey Jude exceptional enough>
IMO McCartney, Harrison and Lennon were all off the boil by the mid 70's. The difference with McCartney, despite him being one the uncoolest, ridiculed acts of the decade, was that he still sold records.
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Bobber

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2010, 12:58:32 PM »

...got by on talent rather than effort...

I feel I can go along with that opinion. I sometimes feel that Paul could have given us music that really mattered more than most of his catalogue now. But maybe that's just wishful thinking.
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stevie

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2010, 10:09:36 PM »

The Beatles set the bar too high for the acts that followed in th e70's, so their solo stuff was never gonna be as good.

Ok, you can pick a great album from the best of each solo Beatle but none of the songs - IMHO - are better than any of the best Beatle songs.

Granted, I only have a couple of John's solo albums and Wing Greatest and Flaming Pie. I've never heard much of any of Macca's output in the last 2 decades, only the singles.
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Bobber

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2010, 01:03:06 PM »

Still I'm wondering who those people are that were interviewed for this book. John Tavener, Carla Lane, Jeffrey Archer? Why didn't they ask me?
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carlacundari

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2010, 09:32:52 AM »

Well, according to FAB that is. Read the book review below. Your thoughts?

Book Review - FAB: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney
Live and let die
Paul McCartney, the most ambitious Beatle, blew his great talent when he went solo, writes Liz Thomson
FAB: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney By Howard Sounes

   

Reading this book, listening to his post-Beatles music, it's hard to disagree with David Puttnam – that Paul McCartney is a man of "immense, immense, immense talent" unable to make the crucial extra effort that would transform the merely good into the exceptional. "Was it that it was too hard, was it that it was too challenging? Or was it that he was a reasonably contented guy and he didn't think it was worth putting himself through that amount of pain? But the difference between good and great is that last 15%."

A natural musician with an astonishing gift for melody, McCartney has indeed got by on talent rather than effort. Moreover, he has (like many celebrities) surrounded himself with yes-men whose place at "court" depends on their paying suitable obeisance.

In Beatle days, competition with the outspoken John Lennon was a healthy game-raiser, and the schoolmasterly George Martin was always in the control room. After the Beatles, McCartney appears rarely to have felt the need for advice: members of Wings were hired hands, paid (mostly poorly) to obey His Master's Voice, while wife Linda, scarcely a musical bone in her body, acted as cheerleader-in-chief. The vast quantities of dope they consumed surely blunted their critical faculties. Linda arrived at the hearing for one of their many drug busts "stoned out of her mind", according to their lawyer, Len Murray.

Puttnam and Murray are among some 220 people with whom Howard Sounes talked or corresponded for what he believes is "a better-balanced, more detailed and more comprehensive life" than any so far. Some provide further fragments for the jigsaw (Ravi Shankar, John Tavener, Carla Lane) but others (Ken Dodd, Bruce Forsyth, Jeffrey Archer) have nothing illuminating to offer.

The likes of Astrid Kirchherr and Jûrgen Vollmer are long talked-out, though we haven't previously heard from Imelda Marcos, whose treatment of the Beatles in the Philippines led to their decision to quit touring.

Those most likely to add to the story – Ringo Starr, the McCartney children, Jane Asher – remain silent. It's a credit to Asher that she has said nothing since 21 July 1968 when, questioned about her engagement by chat-show host Simon Dee, she replied: "I haven't broken it off, but it's finished."

McCartney was, from the get-go, the most ambitious Beatle, convinced from an early age that he would be famous. He was arrogant, turning up late for the meeting with Brian Epstein that would seal their future.

He found happiness with Linda Eastman, a groupie who determined she would marry him, and his grief at her death propelled him into the chilly embrace of Heather Mills. Their brief entanglement occupies fully 10% of Fab.

This is little more than a thorough scissors-and-paste study which draws heavily on Barry Miles's authorised biography. Still, it's a good read for those seeking a Pauline perspective on the Beatles plus a look at his solo career.

FAB: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney
By Howard Sounes
Harper Collins, £20, 563PP

well, I completely agree- what a waste, he was too contented and Linda was a real groupie who  got pregnant on purpose to get married, Jane A. was too honest....
Paul's talent, nothing more after Abbey road and Two of us.
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Kevin

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2010, 02:54:36 PM »

well, I completely agree- what a waste, he was too contented and Linda was a real groupie who  got pregnant on purpose to get married, Jane A. was too honest....
Paul's talent, nothing more after Abbey road and Two of us.
Come come. In his solo career he has amassed 21 top ten uk albums (7 at #1) and 15/6 in the US. He has had 24 top ten UK singles (4 at #1) and 18/9 in the US.
He has recieved 4 American Music Awards, 8 Brits and 10 Grammys.
And all this has included rock songs, ballads, childrens songs, soundtracks, classical and avante garde releases.

It's safe to say Paul has never wanted, or tried to be, judged as either a guru or political spokesman. He has always wanted to be judged as an entertainer, and I think his record shows him as being very successful. He has never wanted to give us any kind of message (except the one-off Give Ireland back To The irish), so any accusations of triteness (which the bugger can achieve with annoying regularity) just aren't relevant when talking about his talent. If popularity is where his talents have been directed, then we must deduce from the evidence available  that he has been very talented indeed.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2010, 09:05:32 AM by Kevin »
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Kevin

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2010, 03:11:26 PM »

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« Last Edit: October 21, 2010, 03:17:51 PM by Kevin »
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Ovi

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2010, 04:45:09 PM »

well, I completely agree- what a waste, he was too contented and Linda was a real groupie who  got pregnant on purpose to get married, Jane A. was too honest....
Paul's talent, nothing more after Abbey road and Two of us.

Yeah right....
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Kevin

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2010, 08:44:21 AM »

Thought about this a little. Bearing in mind that measuring the "quality" of music is a very subjective thing, I think it's safe to say that in most people's minds the bulk of The Beatles solo efforts fall short of the standard they reached when they were together.
I think it's also safe to say that most people would hesitate to say that the decline in Lennon and Harrison's work was due to lack of effort. We probably would site other factors. Therefore I don't see how it's so easy to level this accusation at McCartney.
Now here's what I think. Beatles music is so enjoyable because the band was in the unique position of having two top drawer songwriters and singers, both at the top of their game at the same time. Other bands with songwriting duo's seem to be either collaboraters like Jagger/Richards or  Waters/Gilmour where one is always dominant over the other. But with The Beatles we never had to endure an album filled entirely with McCartneys mawkish sentimentality, Lennon's self-pitying dirges or Harrison's sanctimonous preaching.
I think the truth is that outside the pressure pot of The Beatles all three are exposed as being very human and for the first time their musical shortcomings are exposed. McCartney can be a crooning, twee little bugger, Lennon can be a squeeky self-obsessed prat and Harrison really was only good for two decent songs a year.
The only real difference is that McCartney continued to sell. That might be the only measure of quality (and therefore talent) we have. And in 1966 Herman's Hermits were outselling The Beatles by bucket loads. Tis a dangerous road to tred.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2010, 09:08:33 AM by Kevin »
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tkitna

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2010, 09:03:56 AM »

He has never wanted to give us any kind of message (except the one-ogg Give Ireland back To The irish)

Lets not forget 'Looking Out For Changes'. Paul really grew some nuts with that one.  ha2ha

Nah, i'm enjoying your posts Kevin and seemingly agreeing with them too. You've pretty much hit the nail on the head in this thread. (damn, that rhymed. Maybe I should be a song writer)

glass onion

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2010, 03:56:23 PM »

Come come. In his solo career he has amassed 21 top ten uk albums (7 at #1) and 15/6 in the US. He has had 24 top ten UK singles (4 at #1) and 18/9 in the US.
He has recieved 4 American Music Awards, 8 Brits and 10 Grammys.
And all this has included rock songs, ballads, childrens songs, soundtracks, classical and avante garde releases.


i think i agree with this bit here..............














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carlacundari

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2010, 10:02:26 AM »

I guess he has some points. But how does he differentiate between good and exceptional. Like always it's a matter of taste. He doesn't really say why.
I think McCartney peaked as a songwriter between 65 and 67. As the 70's progressed almost all of the sixties greats found their music declining in popularity (and I guess relevance) as they grew older.
But yes - Macca is almost universally criticised for the supposed lack of substance in hios work. But really, find me any great sixties act turning out exceptional music in 1976. Weren't Paperback Writer, Eleanor Rigby, Sgt Pepper, Penny Lane and Hey Jude exceptional enough>
IMO McCartney, Harrison and Lennon were all off the boil by the mid 70's. The difference with McCartney, despite him being one the uncoolest, ridiculed acts of the decade, was that he still sold records.

have u noticed thAT HE NOWADAYS PERFORMS MOSTLY HIS bEATLE SONGS, ONLY 2 OR 3 FROM wINGS TIME.
iT MEANS HE KNOWS THAT THAT STUFF WAS JUST CRAP.
i WATCHED HIS 2002 TOUR IN us ON tv YESTERDAY.
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carlacundari

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2010, 10:07:56 AM »

Come come. In his solo career he has amassed 21 top ten uk albums (7 at #1) and 15/6 in the US. He has had 24 top ten UK singles (4 at #1) and 18/9 in the US.
He has recieved 4 American Music Awards, 8 Brits and 10 Grammys.
And all this has included rock songs, ballads, childrens songs, soundtracks, classical and avante garde releases.

It's safe to say Paul has never wanted, or tried to be, judged as either a guru or political spokesman. He has always wanted to be judged as an entertainer, and I think his record shows him as being very successful. He has never wanted to give us any kind of message (except the one-off Give Ireland back To The irish), so any accusations of triteness (which the bugger can achieve with annoying regularity) just aren't relevant when talking about his talent. If popularity is where his talents have been directed, then we must deduce from the evidence available  that he has been very talented indeed.


i'M TALKING ABOUT TALENT, NOT POPULARITY-i ALSO LOVE wE CAN WORK IT OUT
AND i LOVE HER AND SOME OTHERS-

mcCARTNEY I ,TOO-
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Kevin

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2010, 10:09:20 AM »


i'M TALKING ABOUT TALENT, NOT POPULARITY-i ALSO LOVE wE CAN WORK IT OUT
AND i LOVE HER AND SOME OTHERS-

mcCARTNEY I ,TOO-

And how do you measure talent then?









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Kevin

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2010, 10:13:25 AM »

have u noticed thAT HE NOWADAYS PERFORMS MOSTLY HIS bEATLE SONGS, ONLY 2 OR 3 FROM wINGS TIME.
iT MEANS HE KNOWS THAT THAT STUFF WAS JUST CRAP.
i WATCHED HIS 2002 TOUR IN us ON tv YESTERDAY.

Really? A quick check of a recent setlist shows that just over half the songs performed were from The Beatles, with several of those being John and George songs.

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Kevin

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2010, 10:21:29 AM »

A set list from that tour (2002). Maybe you were watching an edited version?

Hello Goodbye
Jet
All My Loving
Getting Better
Coming Up
Let Me Roll It
Lonely Road
Driving Rain
Your Loving Flame
Blackbird
Every Night
We Can Work It Out
Mother Nature's Son
Vanilla Sky
You Never Give Me Your Money/ Carry That Weight
Fool On The Hill
Here Today
Something
Eleanor Rigby
Here There and Everywhere
Band On The Run
Back In The U.S.S.R.
Maybe I'm Amazed
C Moon
My Love
Can't Buy Me Love
Freedom
Live and Let Die
Let It Be
Hey Jude

First "Encore":
The Long and Winding Road
Lady Madonna
I Saw Her Standing There

Second "Encore":
Yesterday
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band
The End
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Bobber

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2010, 11:07:11 AM »


i'M TALKING ABOUT TALENT, NOT POPULARITY-i ALSO LOVE wE CAN WORK IT OUT
AND i LOVE HER AND SOME OTHERS-

mcCARTNEY I ,TOO-

Can you please switch off your caps lock? It looks as if you're shouting.
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Kevin

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2010, 11:16:34 AM »


i'M TALKING ABOUT TALENT, NOT POPULARITY-i ALSO LOVE wE CAN WORK IT OUT
AND i LOVE HER AND SOME OTHERS-

mcCARTNEY I ,TOO-

I will reiterate a point I made earlier. It seems to be the general view that much of McCartneys solo work doesn't measure up to the dizzying heights of what he produced with The Beatles. But the same is true with almost every act from the sixties - Lwennon, Harrison, Dylan, The Stones, Beach Boys......
Yet no one accuses them of "wasting their talent." I would guess that most people would agree that the sad truth is that all of them were getting old and had passed their creative peak.
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glass onion

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Re: McCartney Blew His Talent
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2010, 02:09:01 PM »

surely nobody who appreciates good music could say that pauls' output in the days with wings was 'crap'?.it is a well worn out expression,but paul along with the other 3 really did have a lot to live up to after the beatles days.i cannot think of a single person who does think that pauls' work with wings is actually better than his work in the beatles.but i tell you something-give me 'mccartney',or 'ram',or 'london town'to listen to, over 'for sale'or ' with the beatles' any day of the week.there is a lot to be said about pauls' songwriting during his solo and wings career.talent is getting to the top and bloody staying there.a pretty face may last a year or two?i'd say macca lasted a few years longer than that,and though he may not be selling as many of his new albums nowadays,but from 70'thru till maybe 78' the releases were still there or thereabouts and the top end of record sales were they not?i do not believe that is down to popularity alone,it must have something to do with decent songwriting.

p.s-i am a huge paul fan-my views are gonna be biased for him,and i don't like all of his stuff,granted-but the good outweighs the bad.
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