An illuminating look at the most tumultuous decade in the life of a rock icon--the only McCartney biography in decades based on firsthand interviews with the ex-Beatle himself.
As the 1970s began, the Beatles ended, leaving Paul McCartney to face the new decade with only his wife Linda by his side. Holed up at his farmhouse in Scotland, he sank into a deep depression. To outsiders, McCartney seemed like a man adrift--intimidated by his own fame, paralyzed by the choices that lay before him, cut loose from his musical moorings. But what appeared to be the sad finale of a glorious career was just the start of a remarkable second act.
The product of a long series of one-on-one interviews between McCartney and Scottish rock journalist Tom Doyle, Man on the Run chronicles Paul McCartney’s decadelong effort to escape the shadow of his past, outrace his critics, and defy the expectations of his fans. From the bitter and painful breakup of the Beatles to the sobering wake-up call of John Lennon’s murder, this is a deeply revealing look at a sometimes frightening, often exhilarating period in the life of the world’s most famous rock star.
Sensing that he had nowhere to go but up, Paul McCartney started over from scratch. With emotional--and musical--backing from Linda, he released eccentric solo albums and embarked on a nomadic hippie lifestyle. He formed a new band, Wings, which first took flight on a ramshackle tour of British university towns and eventually returned Paul to the summit of arena rock superstardom.
In Man on the Run, Doyle follows McCartney inside the recording sessions for Wings’ classic album Band on the Run--and provides context for some of the baffling misfires in his discography. Doyle tracks the dizzying highs and exasperating lows of a life lived in the public spotlight: the richly excessive world tours, the Japanese drug bust that nearly ended McCartney’s career, his bitter public feuds with his erstwhile Beatle bandmates, and the aftermath of an infamous drug-and-alcohol-fueled jam session where McCartney helped reconcile the estranged John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
For Paul McCartney, the 1970s were a wild ride with some dark turns. Set against the backdrop of a turbulent decade, Man on the Run casts the “sunny Beatle” in an entirely new light.
Praise for Man on the Run
““Tom Doyle’s detailed chronicle, which includes rare interviews with McCartney and former Wings members, portrays a band that was far more contentious than eager-to-please hits like 1976’s ‘Let ’Em In’ had us believe, fronted by a legend who wanted to be both boss and buddy. The book is larded with tales of Seventies rock-star excess, Paul and Linda’s love of weed, docked paychecks, and grousing musicians.”--Rolling Stone
“Well-researched but still breezy and engaging, the book offers a comprehensive tour of the shaggy, bleary-eyed decade when the hardest-working ex-Beatle reached the zenith of his creative and commercial success. . . . Man on the Run makes an excellent contribution to the burgeoning literature devoted to McCartney’s post-Beatles career.”--The Boston Globe
“In the 1970s, a depressed, heavy-drinking Paul McCartney walked away from The Beatles and reinvented himself as the leader of another hitmaking rock ’n’ roll band. A new book by longtime Q magazine contributing editor Tom Doyle about that turbulent period in the legendary rock star’s life, Man on the Run, catches him in mid-flight.”--Billboard
From the Hardcover edition.
Based on rare one-on-one interviews with the flamboyant rock ’n’ roll icon, this is the first book to trace Elton John’s meteoric rise from obscurity to worldwide celebrity in the wildest, weirdest decade of the twentieth century.
In August 1970, Elton John achieved overnight fame with a rousing performance at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Over the next five years, the artist formerly known as Reginald Dwight went from unheard of to unstoppable, scoring seven consecutive #1 albums and sixteen Top Ten singles in America. By the middle of the decade, he was solely responsible for 2 percent of global record sales. One in fifty albums sold in the world bore his name. Elton John’s live shows became raucous theatrical extravaganzas, attended by all the glitterati of the era.
But beneath the spangled bodysuits and oversized eyeglasses, Elton was a desperately shy man, conflicted about his success, his sexuality, and his narcotic indulgences. In 1975, at the height of his fame, he attempted suicide. After coming out as bisexual in a controversial Rolling Stone interview that nearly wrecked his career, and announcing his retirement from live performance in 1977 at the age of thirty, he gradually found his way back to the thing he cared about most: the music.
Captain Fantastic gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the rise, fall, and return to glory of one of the world’s most mercurial performers. Rock journalist Tom Doyle’s insider account of the Rocket Man’s turbulent ascent is based on a series of one-pn-one interviews in which Elton laid bare many previously unrevealed details of his early career. Here is an intimate exploration of Elton’s working relationship with songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, whose lyrics often chronicled the ups and downs of their life together in the spotlight. Through these pages pass a parade of legends whose paths crossed with Elton’s during the decade--including John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Groucho Marx, Katharine Hepburn, Princess Margaret, Elvis Presley, and an acid-damaged Brian Wilson.
A fascinating portrait of the artist at the apex of his celebrity, Captain Fantastic takes us on a rollicking fame-and-drug-fueled ride aboard Elton John’s rocket ship to superstardom.
Praise for Captain Fantastic
“Veteran rock journalist [Tom] Doyle continues his foray into the 1970s music scene with a compelling profile of an unlikely rock star. . . . In chronicling Elton John’s stratospheric rise to fame, replete with platinum records, increasingly outlandish stage shows, and mountains of cash, the author deftly manages to keep his subject in sharp focus. Based on hours of one-on-one interviews with Captain Fantastic himself, this breezy yet comprehensive biography demonstrates what it was like for the talented musician to churn out an impossible string of hit records. . . . A great way to better understand the man behind the garish glasses and platform boots.”--Kirkus Reviews
“In this adoring and candid set of fan’s notes, music journalist Doyle (Man on the Run) draws on interviews with John and his colleagues, especially his writing partner, Bernie Taupin, to capture the meteoric rise and fall of the man who released at least one album every year of the 1970s. . . . This energetic book . . . makes a convincing case that John reached his peak and made his best music in the ’70s.”--Publishers Weekly
“A breezy and surprisingly poignant romp through a decade, and a career, that effectively invented modern celebrity culture.”--Peter Doggett, author of You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Breakup