A Foreword by Denny Laine
A piece of me, a piece of you,
A piece of both of us is gone, that's true.
I recall the leaves that fall and never leave a clue.
All the nights, all the nights are blue.
Something lost, nothing gained,
The pieces of the broken chain remain.
Unfree horn memories of life I spent with you,
All the nights, all the nights are blue.
— From "Blue Nights" by Denny Laine —
As my old band, Denny and the Diplomats, ended our set at the Plaza Ballroom, Old Hill, Birmingham, on July 5,1963, the clumsy revolving stage slowly turned, revealing the Beatles, Britain's number-one teen rave, touring the country on the strength of their smash single "From Me to You." I remember we all shared the same dressing room, and even though safely out of the line of fire from the fans the Beatles still studiously scrawled out their autographs on a huge pile of glossies plopped down in front of them by their trusty roadie, big Mai Evans, all the while cracking joke after joke.
Although not naturally envious, I must admit I was suitably impressed to try to become part of that world if I could. Ultimately, I guess the Moody Blues became my ticket to ride, and London the place where fate decreed we all would settle. As far as the Moodies and the Beatles well-known alliance is concerned, the old Ad Lib Club off Leicester Square became the place where we actually founded and expanded our now lifelong friendships. It was also the same jolly watering hole in which we invented a heady, all-purpose elixir called scotch and Coke. Afterwards, we'd generally stumble out into the street and go for breakfast together at 5:00 a.m. It was quite a lovely, intolerable row!
Early on, quite frankly, the Moodies became rather more famous for our anything-goes get-togethers at our communal house in Roehampton than for our music. All the people of the day came along to meet their friendly rivals at our parties — Tom Jones, the Stones, Eric Burdon, and the Beatles, to name but a few. A lot of very important people in the business owe at least their initial introductions to that fine old house on Rowdean Crescent, and of course, plenty of great memories as well.
George became my first Beatle friend, and proudly we remain pals to this day. I often drove down to his house in Esher to spend the weekend with George and his girlfriend (later missus), the blonde and beautiful Pattie Boyd. We didn't really get up to too much of any great importance beyond sitting together in the garden, playing acoustic guitars and sipping George's signature red wine. Let's just say we hung out together at a time when hanging out was elevated almost to high art.
Around the same time, fellow Moodie Mike Pinder and I were over at John's house in Weybridge one evening to watch a film of the Beatles' Shea Stadium gig. I remember Julian was upstairs sleeping and Cynthia being the absolutely perfect hostess. On another occasion, after I had left the band, I recall sitting in somebody's flat in London with John when Pinder came rushing in on fire to play us an early acetate of the Moodies' Days of Future Passed LP. As majestic as that album obviously is, after about three or four times through both John and I were strongly hinting that too much of even a good thing was perhaps too much. Pinder, in his eternal enthusiasm, however, was lost to any such subtlety, and in the end we just about had to thump him to turn the bloody thing off.
As for the genesis of my relationship with Paul, I suppose that really started round the time the Moody Blues were invited to join the Beatles on one of their early British tours. An ambitious guy even then, Paul tried for ages to get me to record the song "Those Were the Days" (later an international mega-hit for Welsh songbird, Mary Hopkin). I'm sorry now I didn't take him up on the offer. From square one it was obvious we had a strong mutual respect going and always had a good laugh whenever we got together. While we were touring with the Beatles, Paul would invariably stand sidestage watching the Moodies close the first half of the show, rocking away quietly to our shaky white-boy blues. Years later when he rang up out of the blue one afternoon and invited me to join Wings, I was obviously pleased, but frankly, not all that surprised. Playing with Paul always seemed very natural for me, even if it was just busking together backstage in the dressing room. As they used to say so often in London music circles back then, the "vibe" was right.
As far as Wings is concerned, I think we managed quite a lot of very respectable work overall, and we certainly had some wicked fun. Working so closely with Paul in the studio was both exhilarating and challenging. Overcoming our first admittedly uncertain experiences on the road, by the time the 1976 Wings Over America tour rolled around we were razor-sharp and rock-steady. All in all, being an integral part of such a well-oiled and pampered machine as Wings was an experience I will never forget. Not a bad way to spend the better part of one's youth either!
Nowadays it seems Paul and I actually don't talk all that much anymore, but I still love the guy. Like anyone else, Paul is at times capable of being outrageous, funny, normal, brilliant, happy, sad, loving and, at the same time, occasionally as tough as nails, which of course is what helps to make him the musical giant he is — just the right blend of humanness, whimsy, and genius.
Unfortunately, a few years back, while living in Spain, I fell in with some fairly shady journalists who interviewed me extensively for a proposed biography and then bounced back to Britain and hacked away at the transcripts until they had what they felt were the makings of a first-rate gutter-press expose. After it was flogged off to the highest bidder without so much as a word to old muggins here, the next thing the whole world thinks is McCartney and I are bitter enemies. As far as I'm concerned, though, Paul and I are still friends, maybe even brothers, but definitely a great team musically. I know that. Deep down Paul does too. So what else really matters?
I've known and worked with Geoffrey Giuliano for some time now and, like everything else the frantic, magic man puts his hand to, Blackbird hits home with a truth and authenticity seldom found in today's raunchy rock biographies. And it couldn't have been written by a more congenial geezer. Giuliano shares a covenant not only with Paul McCartney's music but also with the man and his message. Cheers, Geoff!
As for the rest of you lot, if you really want to get to know the real Macca, then read on. You won't readily find a more carefully crafted and compelling portrait.
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New Year's Day, 1990
Lockport, New York
Through the Looking Glass
To attempt to portray accurately via paper and ink the life of anyone is at best a risky business, at worst a grave insult to the mystical powers of heaven and earth from which we spring. With this, my fifth Beatles-related work, I can warrant the reader at least a reasonably well-researched fling in the general direction of one of Liverpool's most famous sons.
The Beatles were like a great stone thrown into the water. While the immediate, explosive splash may well have subsided, the far-ranging ripples of their great, inspired work certainly haven't. And despite Paul's commercial ups and downs of recent years, to the educated listener his music still has the power to entertain and enlighten in a way far beyond the scope of most of today's so-called current artists.
He composes, one is told, like a man possessed, his quicksilver intellect at any given moment teeming with more ideas than any ten albums might comfortably contain. That he sometimes has trouble editing down this embarrassment of riches to only the very best his musical muse delivers is certainly understandable.
That he is a master of his milieu is unquestioned. After all, even if McCartney were unable to ever again spin out another magical melody, his position in the rock 'n' roll pantheon is already assured. One of popular music's most sensibly down-to-earth demi-gods, nevertheless, McCartney is still a man of great mystery, perhaps the most affable enigma ever to grace the music business. Interviewed at astonishing length over and over about literally everything he has ever thought, felt, or done, McCartney triumphs as the crown prince of serious-sounding double talk. Ask him what he thinks about apartheid or Thatcher's Britain, and he will answer frankly with convincing logic and straightforward honesty. Try to uncover what really makes the man tick over, however, and he will look you straight in the eye, talk for fifteen minutes without pause, and, just as effortlessly as Dickens' Artful Dodger, bamboozle the pants off you.
Of course Paul McCartney, as always, speaks most eloquently through his by-now phenomenally eclectic body of music. That he chooses to continue working at all after having done so much is a measure of his discipline and dedication. "So, what is there left for you to do?" a reporter asked him after he had been presented with the Guinness Book of Records award in 1977 as the bestselling composer of all time. "Whatever there was to begin with," McCartney replied. "I'm not interested in resting on my laurels."
For James Paul McCartney, pushing the limits has become a way of life.
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On board the Vrinda Rani
Hyde Park, New York
I wish to thank my editor, Glen Ellis, and project production manager, Clive Powell, for their faith, professionalism and care, and the countless hours.
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I would also like to thank the following for their kind assistance and encouragement: James Adams; Raymond and Mozelle Black; Carol Bonnett; Larry Brown; Stefano Castino; Pat Cherry; Matt Conley; Sriman Balabadra Dasa; Fisher's Newsroom (Albion); Kate Forster; Andrea Gallagher Ellis; Chauncey Gardner; Brenda Giuliano; Sesa, Devin, Avalon, and India Giuliano; Lenore Gray; Tim Hailstone; Richie Havens; Heidi Jo Hines; Laine Hines; House of Guitars (Rochester); ISKCON Toronto; Carla Johnson; Joseph and Myrna Juliana; Alcides Antino King, Esq.; Bill King; Denny Laine; Jo Jo Laine; Leif Leavesley; Donald Lehr; William Linehan Autographs; Constance Lofton; Don Loney; David L. Maclntyre; His Divine Grace B. H. Mangal Maharaj; Mark Studios; Doctor Marty; McGraw-Hill Ryerson; Judy McGuire; Melanie; Hayley Mills; MGA (Toronto); Kevin Mulroy; NAL/Dutton; Nigel Newton; The Nolan/Lehr Group; Boston Kane Paris Peter Phillip O'Donahue; John Otto; Wilder Penfield III; Jane Price and Summer; Dimo Safari; Rajeswar Singh; Timothy Smith; Wendell Smith; Lydia Smith; Vivian Stanshall; Brandon Stickney; Dennis Toll and family; Pamela and Holly Toenniessen; Pete Townshend; Anthony Violanti; Bill Wilbur; and Ronald Zuker.