In June 1989 Paul Du Noyer was contacted by Paul McCartney's office in London and asked to interview the star, as they had met once before and enjoyed a good rapport.
In the years that followed, Paul Du Noyer continued to meet, interview and work for Paul McCartney on a regular basis, producing magazine articles, tour programmes, album liner notes, press materials and website editorial. It's likely that Du Noyer has spent more hours in formal, recorded conversation with McCartney than any other writer.
Conversations with McCartney is the culmination of Du Noyer's long association with McCartney and his music. It draws from their interview sessions across 35 years, coupling McCartney's own candid thoughts with his observations and analysis.
©2015 Paul Du Noyer (P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton
"A good chat-up with Sir Paul"
I didn't think I was going to like this book. The author, Paul Du Noyer, spent a slog telling us how he and Paul McCartney met and what the book was going to be about and why the Beatles' record needed to be re-balanced, giving Paul a prop to put him on level with the Great Lennon.
Anyway, once the argument fell away, Du Noyer let roll with an accumulation of McCartney anecdotes and interviews collected since 1979. Apparently, the NME journalist and the former Beatle hit it off and they had a lot to say to each other.
Which is a good thing because these interviews, interspersed with Du Noyer's narrative passages, feel like a great sit-down with a very engaging character. Like you've gone to a party you didn't want to go to and wound up in conversation with a good storyteller. McCartney certainly is that.
So what's in the book? Every period up to the release of McCartney's 2013 album NEW. Not in depth, mind you, but you get to hear McCartney riff on some favorite Beatles stories, his relationship with John, John's death, the Anthology, the movies, the early Avant-garde influences, Linda and family life.
You also get a serious yet lively discussion of McCartney's solo work, which is lacking from many (most?) McCartney biographies. You'll probably find yourself jotting down album and song names, if you don't already own the back catalog.
Sure, Du Noyer can sometimes try too hard in his narrative to make a case for McCartney's genius. I winced a little. But then I thought, you know what, the current dialogue is so biased in the other direction that this is probably a good leveler. I know I started to reconsider certain albums and phases.
At any rate, you can make up your own mind, and while you do, McCartney, your favorite dinner party chum, will entertain you.
I really enjoyed the conversational aspect. You can read all types of Macca books but this one is stuff *he* said.
"not your usual biography"
I've read a ton of books about Paul McCartney, but this one was almost completely in his own words. definitely a favorite!
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