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Birlinn

  • Anglais The Glamour Chase

    Doyle Tom

    • Birlinn
    • 1 September 2011

    A first-rate charmer with a devilish twinkle in his eye, Billy MacKenzie was a maverick figure within the music industry whose wild and mischievous spirit possibly did him more harm than good. As frontman of the Associates, gifted with an otherwordly, octave-scaling operatic voice, MacKenzie, together with partner Alan Rankine, enjoyed Top Twenty chart success in 1982. At the height of their success, however, they split. Over the ensuing years, MacKenzie gained a reputation for his unhinged career tactics, generous spirit and knack for squandering large amounts of record-company money. Born in Dundee in 1957 he was the eldest son in a large Catholic family. He was bullied at school and sought refuge in music. He was a schemer and dreamer, a breeder of whippets and a bisexual who kept quiet about his private life. During his lifetime, his unique vocal gift attracted the attention of Shirley Bassey, Annie Lennox and Björk. However, in the tradition of Scott Walker, Syd Barrett and Nick Drake, MacKenzie's tale is one of thwarted talent and, ultimately, tragedy. He was found dead, aged 39, at his father's home in Scotland, on 22 January 1997, having taken an overdose. The Glamour Chase is the colourful – and frequently hilarious – life story of a hugely talented singer, his whirlwind personality and his attempts to take on the music industry on his own, free-spirited terms.

  • Anglais Man on the Run

    Doyle Tom

    • Birlinn
    • 6 September 2013

    The most famous living rock musician on the planet, Paul McCartney is now regarded as a slightly cosy figure, an (inter)national treasure. Back in the 1970s, however, McCartney cut a very different figure. He was, literally, a man on the run. Desperately trying to escape the shadow of the Beatles, he became an outlaw hippy millionaire, hiding out on his Scottish farmhouse in Kintyre before travelling the world with makeshift bands and barefoot children. It was a time of numerous drug busts and brilliant, banned and occasionally baffling records. For McCartney, it was an edgy, liberating and sometimes frightening period of his life that has largely been forgotten. Man on the Run paints an illuminating picture: from McCartney's nervous breakdown following the Beatles' split through his apparent victimisation by the authorities to the rude awakening of his imprisonment for marijuana possession in Japan in 1980 and the shocking wake-up call of John Lennon's murder. Ultimately, it poses the question: if you were one quarter of the Beatles, could you really outrun your past?

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