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BOOK REVIEW: THE McCARTNEY LEGACY Volume 1 1969-73 by Allan Kozinn & Adrian Sinclair

| 19 May 2023 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: THE McCARTNEY LEGACY Volume 1 1969-73 by Allan Kozinn & Adrian Sinclair
Dey St Books | Harper Collins Australia
February 2023
Paperback, rrp AUD$36.99
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

“The McCartney Legacy: Volume 1: 1969-73” by Allan Kozinn and Adrian Sinclair.

The McCartney Legacy Volume 1 is as exhaustively researched, meticulously documented a biography of four pivotal years in the life of one of humanity’s greatest songwriters as anyone could deliver, not to mention a project which must have been incredibly daunting to the authors.

Originally intended, circa 2014, to be a ‘sessionography’ documenting all of Paul McCartney’s recording efforts post-Beatles, instead the project grew to epic proportions, and this first volume – as already mentioned, covering only four years – is a hefty 672 pages of text, and another forty of references!

Kozinn and Sinclair – primarily the writer and the researcher, respectively – have assembled a stunning document of an artist in freefall, confused as to his place after The Beatles – the band he had been a quarter (or more) of not only since he was a teenager, but also since he was unknown – imploded acrimoniously.

Drawing on countless interviews, diaries of pivotal players (especially those of initial Wings drummer Denny Sewell and wife Monique), historians, fans, collectors and more, the picture seems as close to reality as it is possible to get.

McCartney’s falling out with John Lennon, George Harrison & Ringo Starr – largely over his tendency to want to micromanage everything – is documented in painful detail, so when the cracks appear in the first Wings line-up – Sewell, Denny Lane, Henry McCullough & Linda McCartney – due in large part to the same behaviour it makes for unpleasant reading. That there are also financial concerns (Macca is referred to as notoriously tight with his money, and seems at times out of touch with the financial realities of not being a hugely successful Beatle), plus some interpersonal unrest – especially regarding Linda’s place in the band – add to the tensions.

Kozinn and Sinclair paint a picture of a wildly successful man suddenly uncertain of his direction, who seems out of touch with the reality of his bandmates’ situations. Publicly declaring Wings to be a real band, behind studio doors he allows them next to no creative input, and remains obstinately oblivious to the fact they are poorly paid and creatively stifled. Wife or not, he allowed Linda writing credits despite her being a novice on the keyboards and him obviously coaching her efforts, whilst her far more experienced and proficient bandmates were ignored and sidelined.

Throughout, the mindless obsession of the media and many fans with The Beatles – whether they’d get back together or egging the four ex-members on towards spats with each other – remains. Of far more interest is his obsession with Beatles manager and notorious crook Allen Klein, and the lengths Macca would go to to distance himself from Klein and his grubby business fingers.

It’s not often we find a book so long, so minutely detailed (the authors detail hotels and B&B’s where the band stayed, often down to the names of the receptionists and what they had for dinner), which remains riveting and fascinating reading throughout.

Considering this volume took nine years and 700 pages to land on shelves, cripes knows how on earth Kozinn & Sinclair will manage to continue this good work, filling in the intervening fifty years, before they are no longer of this world. At this rate, that would amount to another 8,750 pages to look forward to… and I’m uncertain whether this sort of detail through Paul’s soppy Eighties output would be anywhere near as interesting. That, though, is another story entirely…

Category: Book Reviews

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