Paul McCartney: A Life

by Chad Campbell, senior producer

Peter Ames Carlin has a day job as culture reporter for the Oregonian newspaper, but in the past few years, he’s also written exhaustive biographies of two members of rock and roll royalty. In 2006, Carlin spent time with Brian Wilson to write Catch a Wave about the Beach Boy’s rise, fall and redemption. Carlin’s latest is a biography of Sir Paul McCartney, the “cute” Beatle and one half of music’s most storied songwriting team. In writing Paul McCartney: A Life, Carlin was denied direct access to Sir Paul, but he spent years talking with everyone he could find who ever knew or worked with McCartney. Carlin says that was important in writing about a subject whose memories tend to bend and stretch as his own story evolves through the years. In fact, according to Carlin, much of his work involved separating fact from the “glorious fiction” of everyone’s collective memory of the Beatles. Much of my work as the producer involved choosing and mixing in great songs by the Beatles, like “Please Please Me,” “Yesterday,” “Love Me Do,” “Fixing a Hole,” “I’m Down,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Let It Be,” “Michelle” and many others. Unfortunately, we only had an hour and there was so much to get through with Carlin on the Beatles, that we didn’t have time to discuss McCartney’s life with Wings and his solo career. But it is all in the book, so if you want to know more about Paul McCartney’s life AFTER the Beatles, check out the new biography by Peter Ames Carlin.