The McCartney Legacy

Vol 1: 1969 – 73 by Allan Kozinn & Adrian Sinclair

Initially planned to be a documented account of Paul’s recording session history, the partnership of Kozinn and Sinclair set about their task with Sinclair primarily acting as archivist to the large amount of documentary evidence and Kozinn providing the narrative. Along the way, and following an intervention by Mark Lewisohn, the authors were convinced to redirect their efforts to telling the full McCartney biographical story in parallel with that of his musical journey.

This journey starts in 1969 and sees the Beatles final combined efforts as a musical entity dissolve into confusion and acrimony. The first period of Paul’s post Beatle career, as presented in this; the first of four volumes; lays bare the fragility of Paul’s state of mind. Depression, is a haunting presence in the lives of many people that you would not necessarily expect to demonstrate such characteristics. Paul with his notoriously positive public persona was left rigid with insecurity of his own abilities and hid with Linda and their growing family in the wild reaches of his Scottish homestead. Paul’s see-saw of emotions are continuously swayed by the antagonistic actions of Allen Klein on one hand and the encouraging and loving support of Linda on the other.

Linda’s encouragement got Paul back to work and we follow his musical progression from album to album … session by session. One thing that comes across is, with the exception of Wings Wildlife, just how many sessions were utilised by McCartney, the amount and variety of songs recorded and just how driven and demanding he is about his work. Red Rose Speedway, in particular, seems to take an eternity to reach it’s finished form. It is this detailing of time and context that gives a new perspective of the music itself. Multiple times during the reading of this book I found myself revisiting the McCartney musical catalogue to gain an even greater appreciation of Paul’s recordings supported by the detail of the book.

Another important factor provided by the McCartney Legacy is the number of contemporary reviews and reporting materials that add further detail to stage shows, album and single releases. The fact that Wings had such a fluid line-up was hardly surprising when considering the constraints in terms of artistic expression, time availability and financial compensation that each member had to adhere to. Not limited by these factors, Linda, did have to overcome other hurdles as her musical competence was thrust into the spotlight. Her backing vocal contributions would, however, become an integral part of the Wings sound that would make Wings a major musical force in the 1970’s.

Kozinn and Sinclair have proven to be fully justified in changing the focus of their writing endeavour, and inspired by the methodical, forensic and detailed approach [the Lewisohn way] they have produced a thoroughly enjoyable, informative and comprehensive account of the early McCartney / Wings years. I will look forward with great anticipation to the next volume touted for release later next year which will pick up the story and continue until 1980.

By Gwyn Jenkins.

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