Man on the Run
Paul McCartney in the 1970s
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
The 1970s were not kind to Sir Paul McCartney. Blamed for the breakup of The Beatles, critically savaged by rock critics for seemingly inconsequential LPs and silly love songs such as "Silly Love Songs," McCartney seemed as lost and obsolete as his fellow ex-Beatles by the decade's end. But accomplished rock journalist Doyle (The Glamour Chase) presents a solid, detailed, and, above all, honest reappraisal of McCartney's work that tells a compulsively readable tale "of a man living outside normal society and, for better or for worse, acting on his own tangential whims, during a chaotic and fascinating period of his life." Using material from numerous interviews with McCartney, as well as the major players in his career, Doyle is not afraid to be critical, such as his opinion for the sometimes mediocre work of Sir Paul's so-called "band" Wings: "McCartney was flanked by yes-men and, as a result, was isolated." But Doyle also makes a strong argument for the validity of much of McCartney's most maligned works, such as "Ram," which he sees as "something of a marvel the true successor to Abbey Road,' in its baroque detail and flights of imagination, it was variously funny, daft, touching, and knowing."