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Book Review: Paul McCartney
by Lang Reid
magic of the Beatles has survived for almost half a century, and a large
part of that magic has to be (Sir) Paul McCartney, so he would have been a
natural selection for Christopher Sandford, a man who has written
autobiographies of other famous musicians, including Mick Jagger, Eric
Clapton, David Bowie, Sting, Bruce Springsteen and Keith Richards.
The book, simply entitled “Paul McCartney” (ISBN 0-09-947130-2, Arrow Books
2006) begins by relating the (in)famous drug bust when McCartney was
arraigned in Japan in 1980 for being in possession of a small amount of
marijuana. An excellent beginning to the book that has already taken you
into the drug world of the famous ex-Beatle by page 4.
The early part of the book then runs into the McCartney youth history, his
interest in music and his meeting with John Lennon and George Harrison and
then into the formation of the Beatles as we knew them, and their
relationship with manager Brian Epstein. As you turn the pages, you see the
slow maturing of the ‘Fab Four’ and the influences upon them, which all
helped to create the phenomenon which has left an indelible mark in the
musical history of the world. It is also noted that Decca Records turned the
Beatles down in 1962, with their representatives saying they would never
make it. How wrong can you be? But for Paul McCartney, Epstein made him
famous and he was only 20 years old. It is a small wonder he did not go
further off the rails than he did.
Reading through the book is a window on the life of a true artist with
prodigious output. Whilst he and John Lennon combined on many numbers, you
can see that many were more McCartney than Lennon, and of course his output
continued long after the Beatles’ and Lennon’s unfortunate demise.
The financial machinations behind the once free-wheeling, free-spending
Beatles reads like a fantasy, showing just how far removed from reality, the
four musicians had come. At one stage Lennon remarking that they had to earn
20,000 pounds to have one thousand to spend.
Like so many creative people, both Lennon and McCartney had their mania and
their depressions, with McCartney’s down side being much deeper, but
possessing a totally indomitable ego.
The book is comprehensive and will take you right through to today and the
Heather Mills separation. It is Paul McCartney.
Christopher Sandford has painstakingly collected the information and has
written McCartney’s biography in a clear and lucid style, not pandering to
his famous subject, nor attempting to explain a very deep and complex
character in minutiae. The book also details the bibliography, sources and
quotes and an index, plus some ‘family album’ photographic pages, which
really does little for the book, as Sandford’s words do not need them in any
At B. 450, this is an excellent book for any fan of McCartney’s, or even as
a reference book for those researching the history of modern music. I found
it fascinating. He was a man who experienced sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll,
and lived through it!
Mott’s CD review: Motorhead
No Sleep ‘till Hammersmith
Rocked by Mott The Dog Rolled by Meow The Cat
LOUD Stars *****
Now with all these extra tracks laid onto the CD, this is an absolute
must for all fans of hard drivin’ rock, but it all started over thirty
years ago, with a slight misunderstanding.
In 1975 Space rockers Hawkwind made the nearly terminal mistake of
firing their charismatic bass player Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister in the middle
of a North American tour. ‘Hawkwind’ brought in a replacement and still
keep going to this day with original guitarist Dave Brock still at the
Meanwhile Lemmy slunk back to England with his tail between his legs,
which lasted about ten minutes and a bottle of his favorite Jack
Daniels, before he decided to form his own band.
When asked what the new band would be like Lemmy replied, “We will
concentrate on very basic music, loud, fast, raucous, arrogant,
paranoid, rock ‘n’ roll... It will be so dirty that if we move in next
door to you, your grass will burn”. Not forgetting this was a full year
before anybody like The Damned or The Sex Pistols were even formed.
At first the name Bastard was chosen, but after their first management
pointed out it might not be that easy to get on Top Of The Pops with
that name Motorhead was chosen. Which just happened to be the name of
the last song that Lemmy wrote for Hawkwind.
Lucas Fox was selected on drums, and ex Pink Fairy Larry Wallis selected
himself on guitar. If Deep Purple, the loudest band in the world, and
played at ten, and Spinal Tap played at eleven, Motorhead were a
definite twelve, and would still get fans like Trevor Masters and Mark
Winslade down the front with their heads in the bass speakers screaming
The Melody Maker reviewed their first concert as “Avoiding any
potentially confusing variation in tone and key ... You won’t enjoy this
band until you have had a frontal lobotomy.” No one gave them a remote
chance of success / popularity / playing in tune.
Nevertheless, United Artists signed them up and put them in the studio.
During the recording of this album Lucus Fox was pushed off the drum
seat by a chap by the name of Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor. When United
Artists heard the results of the recordings they completely freaked, and
shelved the whole project. (These recordings were later released four
years later as ‘On Parole’ when the scene had changed somewhat and jolly
good they are to.)
The band starts gigging almost every night to keep body and soul
together to an ever growing loyal, but going slightly deaf fan base.
The next major change was brought about by the band deciding they needed
a second guitarist, so ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke was brought in for an
audition. The facts have never been made exactly clear, but when the
session finished ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke was the guitarist for Motorhead,
and Larry Wallis went back to the Pink Fairies. Motorhead carried on as
With such a large following packing out all their concerts, somebody had
to swallow the bullet and sign the band up on a recording contract.
Bronze records got the band to sign on the doted line. The first
release, Motorhead (1978) went top 50. A year later and after their
first headlining tour, with an appearance on Top Of The Pops, their
second album Overkill (1979) reached the top thirty. In the same year
they released Bomber (1979), which went to the top half of the top
twenty. The following year they released their trump card The Ace Of
Spades (1980), smashing its way up to number four in the charts. The
band was now huge, still totally unfashionable, but with an ever growing
army of fans.
In 1981 they toured the world and its neighboring planets, headlining
everywhere they went and inspiring a whole new generation of heavy metal
hard rockin’ bands. Recordings from the tour were put out as a live
album No Sleep ‘till Hammersmith. It entered the charts at number one,
Motorhead’s first number one and the first live album to enter the
charts at number one.
It simply roars from start to finish. All the classics are there from
the first four albums, starting at break neck speed with Ace Of Spades
and staying that way until the band finally thunder into Motorhead.
After you have listened to this album, you know why Lemmy dedicates the
song The Hammer to Philthy Animal, and why Eddie Clarke is called
‘Fast’. As for Lemmy, his bombastic bass leads from the front and his
graveled vocals leave you wondering if he can make it all the way to the
end of the show. (Of course he does, as he has done now at over a
thousand shows.) Definitely one of the best Live rock albums ever put
out. As it says in the Tahitian Queen, “If It Is Too Loud, You Are Too
After one more album, Iron Fist (1982), another top tenner, ‘Fast’ Eddie
Clarke threw a wobbler and left, being replaced by firstly Brian
Robertson of Thin Lizzy fame then by two guitarists Phil Campbell and
some bloke called Wurzel who also left, leaving Phil Campbell in charge
of all things six stringed. Philthy Animal left, then came back, and
then left again to be permanently replaced by Mickey Dee. There have
been another thirteen studio albums, plus numerous live albums,
compilations, DVDs etc., along with too many concerts to count. Lemmy is
now in his seventh decade and his only signs of slowing down are a few
more ice cubes in the Jack and Coke to help with the dehydration.
Motorhead are always good. Inferno from 2004 is a class rock album, but
always at the pinnacle for me will be their 1981 live album No Sleep
Ian “Lemmy’ Kilmister: Bass and Growls
Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor: Drums
‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke: Guitar
Ace Of Spades
(We Are) The Road Crew
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