Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I'm currently rereading Philip Norman's fantastic book, "Shout!". Clearly one of the best books about the boys, this is an updated version written in 2003 and details George's death and Paul's knighthood. The original was released in 1981.

The novel-like quality of Norman's writing makes it a fun, and fabulously detailed read. It's especially strong when describing their childhood and the early Quarry Men days. He obviously sees Lennon as the truly gifted one, and while recognizing Paul's skills as a musician, paints him in a somewhat unfavorable light.

I think he gets it right in that department. For although John could be a "real bastard" (as Lennon himself said in the Rolling Stone interview), we tend to give him a pass because of he was such an amazing personality and artist. And while Paul was/is no worse and maybe even a better human being, we peg him as being shallow, vindictive and unabashedly self-promoting.

George Harrison was probably the only person who knew them well enough and long enough, and possessed the spiritual detachment and intelligence to judge them. And in looking at evidence, it appears that George felt the same way: John was difficult, but so truly special we can't help but be drawn to him and admire his work. Because he was so funny, honest and interesting, George had to not only like him, but look up to him as well. Paul has less emotional baggage, and I think that while George loved him like a brother, he didn't really like him much. But who knows? As "Shout!" makes so perfectly clear, it's a complex story, with a Dickensian cast of characters.

So go get "Shout!". Along with Paul's "Many Years From Now", Peter Brown's "The Love You Make", the "Anthology" book and Hunter Davies' authorized bio, it's a must.


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