Paul McCartney talk on the Bob Edwards Show!

Check it, folks: It’s an hour-long talk about McCartneys, Beatles and aspiring biographers, between legendary radio man Bob Edwards and some other guy. And it’s all here. . .

News, Comments and a Whole New Book for 2010 and Beyond

First things first: Here’s a really funny look back at the career of the Beatles, from the year 3000. Check out the frog emperor.

More reviews of PMAL popping up hither and yon, along with stray mentions as in this marijuana culture piece in Seattle’s City Arts magazine.

The end of the year always puts me in mind of Dennis Wilson, whose sad, glorious, star-crossed life ended this week in 1983. A great songwriter in his own right, and the brother of Brian. Amazing.

In case you didn’t infer this already, from the Bruce-centric postings of these last few months, here’s the news: The next book is already up and running, or at least in the early stages: A biography of Bruce Springsteen, also for Simon & Schuster. Much more work to come on that one. It may take a little while. But there it is, and if you have any thoughts, ideas, suggestions or sources to pass on….well, by all means. Reach me, as ever, at:

And on that note. . . . Happy 2010.

Paul Speaks on PMAL! Suzanne Vega, too!

David Bauder of the Associated Press writes a cool story about PMAL, along with the LA Times’ longtime rock critic Robert Hilburn’s “Cornflakes with John Lennon,” a set of memoirs about his experiences with and among some of the rock world’s biggest names, including the aforementioned John WInston Ono Lennon. Bauder also spoke to Paul for another story right around the time he was reporting this one, and asked him about PMAL. Here’s what Paul had to say:

And while McCartney said he’s grateful that people are interested enough to write a book about his life, he doesn’t plan to read it.

“I’m living it, not reading about it,” McCartney said in an interview. “There’s always something that I’ll see that isn’t true and I’ll either worry about it and say, ‘Oh, God, people are going to read this and think it’s true because it’s in a book,’ or I’m just not going to be a part of it.”

So there we have it.

Also to be had:  Suzanne Vega’s review in the New York Times Book Review. This is a bit tougher going, at least for us authorial types, given that she seems a bit lukewarm on the book she’s reading. I could present some kind of point-by-point defense-slash-refutation on some or maybe most of her beefs . . .oh I feel a parenthetical coming on. . .

(For instance, I’d disagree that the book turns entirely sour at the end, if only because the admittedly tart observation she quotes — the part about Paul’s ageless cute one pose, seen most vividly recently during his extremely ill-advised appearance on Brit reality show ‘The X Factor — is followed by an un-quoted, un-referenced and yet literally climactic 1,000 words or so about Paul’s far-more-cool-and-adventurous work on “Electric Arguments.” The book ends with a direct quote from that album’s lyrics — Everywhere a sense of childlike wonder! — that is meant to describe Paul and what strikes me as his truly ageless self… the artist working somewhere out on the horizons of his own imagination. That’s what matters to me about him. That’s what I was trying to describe, while also finding a way to reconcile that beautiful Paul with his at times less-appealing self.)

. . . okay, that’s over. Anyway. Vega didn’t see that part. Nevertheless, she read the book and put some thought into it and her response to it. And though she came away less happy than other readers, I’m honored she took the time and made the effort and wrote something so thoughtful and interesting.

International Affairs – In which PMAL ventures beyond the Great Wall….

This just in from the international desk: PAUL McCARTNEY: A LIFE will be published in China, sometime in the near-ish future.

This edition (in ‘simplified Chinese characters,’ which still doesn’t mean I’ll ever be able to read it) joins translations already coming in: Brazil, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands and I think one or two other places I can’t remember right now.

A Review Of PMAL Reviews

Hey – the reviews are coming in…. here’s a sampling!

THE ONION-AV CLUB: (12/2/09) “A fleet, engrossing read.”

SONIC BOOMERS (11/30/09) “Strikingly good writing…Carlin doesn’t just get the facts and arrange them into a compelling narrative; he’s a good rock critic.”

BOSTON GLOBE: (11/27/09): “Cast(s) the ‘cute one’ in a more complete light from Beatles to legend.”

BOOKPAGE: (Nov 2009): “A page-turner….be prepared to be convinced.”

THE SUN (UK): 11/20/09: “This well-researched biography offers additional insights…definitely worth a read.”

PROVIDENCE JOURNAL-BULLETIN: (11/15/09): “A treasure trove of new reporting.”

PEOPLE (11/9/09): “Illuminates the complex man behind the myth.”

NY POST (11/08/09): “A must for Beatles completists.”

THE OREGONIAN (11/7/09): “A fitting complement to the current resurgence of Beatlemania — a literary remastering of a familiar tale, one that grants its subject a new dynamic range, long muddled and long deserved.”

KIRKUS REVIEWS: (8/09) “Carlin’s balanced portrayal of all the Beatles’ strengths and flaws is commendable. . . an excellent pop culture biography.”