Blackbird Singing: Poems and Lyrics, 1965-1999


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"McCartney writes as freely—and often as beautifully—as a blackbird sings....[He] is a genius with the common touch."—Stephen Logan, The Sunday Times [London]

The hardcover publication of Blackbird Singing, the first collection of Paul McCartney's poems and lyrics, was an international cultural event—celebrated in concert halls, at literary festivals, and in newspapers and magazines throughout the world. "While McCartney is of a completely different cast than Bob Dylan, his appeal may be even greater than that of the latter great poet-songwriter," wrote Publishers Weekly; The Guardian hailed McCartney's words as "a remarkable feat of historical imagination." The best-selling Blackbird Singing now includes several new poems and lyrics, including "Freedom," which McCartney performed in New York City at a benefit concert last fall. To actually read McCartney's poems, whether exuberant ballads of love or poignant messages of deepest grief, is to appreciate the electrifying power of the confluence of dream and song. Inspired by his late wife, Linda McCartney, Blackbird Singing gives us extraordinary access to the inner life of one of the most influential figures of our time. Review
It is nearly impossible to scan any of Paul McCartney's lyrics without hearing the Beatles' music in the background, dictating rhythm, pace, and mood. But as Blackbird Singing demonstrates, the effort is worth making. This first collection brings together early and late poems, along with some of Sir Paul's greatest hits (including the words to "Yesterday," "Lady Madonna," "Penny Lane," and "Hey Jude.") In his introduction, editor and fellow Liverpudlian Adrian Mitchell urges readers to "wash out the name and the fame" and examine what's on the page. If you can do this, you're in for a pleasant surprise.

True, some of the lyrics appear trite on paper--"Heart of the Country" and "Mull of Kintyre" are notable offenders. Even "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" seems naked and frail without the rousing brass section. But McCartney's deeper vulnerability comes to the surface in "Dinner Tickets," a poem about his childhood. And "Standing Stone" recounts a gutsy fable about a man using the power of imagination to fend off the enemy: he erects a standing stone, "a weathered finger to the sky" and learns to be "at peace with peace." "Irish Language" boasts a rare streak of irony as the narrator admires the way "those Irish chappies" swill the language around in their mouths and dribble it through their fingers. The song ends with a beautifully timed punch line: "The Beatles were a bunch of Micks." Blackbird Singing closes with poems dedicated to the author's late wife that are tender, sparse, and startlingly honest. --Cherry Smyth


  • ISBN13: 9780393020496
  • Condition: New
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