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Author talks about new Paul McCartney book in Liverpool

by Katie Hickox
On-Scene at the Liverpool Beatles Convention

Author Howard Sounes appeared as a guest speaker Sunday at the Adelphi Hotel as part of the Liverpool Beatles Convention to talk about his new book on Paul McCartney, "Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney", which was released last week in England and will be released October in the US.

Interviewer Spencer Leigh asked Howard about how he went about researching his book on Paul McCartney and Howard said he started his research by reading many of the books written on Paul, and declared, "Most of the books written on Paul except for Barry Miles 'Many Years From Now' are just bad."

Many books don't start at the very beginning of Paul's early years, Howard said, while his book starts at the very beginning and covers all of Paul's life including the disastrous marriage with Heather. He also mentions how central Paul's mother had been in his life and that she played a critical role throughout his life even after her early death when Paul was just 14.

Howard Sounes

Howard said one of the first things he did was, "I contacted Paul in writing and let him know about my book project on his life." Fortunately, to his surprise and great relief, he said that not only got a reply back from Paul but he also received some help with his book, even though Paul doesn't have control over what he is going to write.

Howard talked at length about the "pact with the devil" that he made with Daily Mail to publish a series of excerpts from his book, but that they have extracted the most sensational bits, sometimes out of context, which he has no control over but ultimately helps publicize his new book.

Surprisingly, he talked about how difficult Paul can be, for example when Paul refuses to hear what is being said to him.

"It's very hard to tell Paul McCartney anything, especially if you're in his financial pocket, when he owns the studio, pays for your hotel, airfare... People in the book tell the story about the 'thumbs up Macca' vs the 'prodding thumb Macca' whereby he's jabbing his thumb in the center of your chest because he's unhappy with whatever you did or said."

Howard says he spoke to many people who knew and worked with Paul, and for those who he was able to interview, he learned that "all found him a handful, difficult. If you cross him, disagree with him, it can mean financial exile."

He gave the example of what happened to Tony Bramwell when Paul had played a new song "London Town" for him, and Tony gave his opinion that the song needed more work. Paul didn't like what Tony said, and so he turned into the "prodding thumb Macca" and then launched into a tirade. Tony was shocked that Paul then refused to talk to him for nearly 10 years, until one day showing up at Tony's door, as if nothing had ever happened. This story was confirmed by Tony at the Liverpool Beatles convention.

Regarding Paul's ex-girlfriend Jane Asher, Jane turned down Howard's interview request as she has turned down every interview request regarding Paul for the past 40 plus years. Regarding Linda, Howard said, "I didn't like Linda. I thought she was gauche," despite almost everyone who knew Linda saying what a great person she is and everyone saying that they had a fantastically happy marriage.

But, Howard did say that the "contrast between first and second marriage is incredible. Heather was a topless model with a spotted past. The whole thing is amazing."

Beatles fans can pick up a copy of his new book now by going to or waiting until October for the book to be released in the US and Canada.

Related articles:

• Neil Brannan announcing Beatles Tribute bands for 16 years (9/3/10)
• Billy J. Kramer loses touch with Lennon after Cynthia (9/2/10)
• He knew Beatles would be bigger than Elvis before Brian (9/2/10)
• Geoff Baker makes first appearance at Liverpool Beatles Convention (8/30/10)

Published September 1, 2010

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