Tom Doyle’s “Man On The Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s” is an interesting and probing look into the turbulent life of Paul McCartney in the wake of The Beatles as he fought to throw off the shackles of his former band and conquer the world for a second time with his new group Wings.
The author explicitly states his aim was to get McCartney out of his comfort zone and start talking about things that he perhaps found a little uneasy or uncomfortable to talk about. The result is a book filled with freshly unearthed stories told with a raw honesty not necessarily always displayed by the former Wings frontman.
Touching on the breakup of The Beatles, and all the legal, financial and emotional wranglings around it, “Man On The Run” ploughes in depth through every twist and turn of the 1970s, right up to the violent welcome to the 1980s when McCartney’s erstwhile writing partner and long time best friend John Lennon was killed in New York City.
When asked why he chose to cover this transitional decade, author Tom Doyle said: “it was a fascinating time in his life, where he’d gone from being one of the most famous faces on earth to a slightly lost solo individual who was unsure about his future. It’s like the quote on the back of the book where he says, “if you’ve been to the moon, what are you gonna do with the rest of your life?” That seemed like a fascinating thing to write about.”
One brilliant aspect to “Man On The Run” is that while there are many sections where the author is recounting the numerous revealing interviews and personal moments him and Paul McCartney have shared over the years, a lot of the book reads as if it were a gritty novel in which Paul McCartney just happens to be the main character. You feel like you’re on the journey with him, struggling to escape The Beatles’ long shadow, start a new life with wife Linda and kick-start Wings’ career in order to get a second bite of the cherry.
Speaking about getting behind the PR curtain, the mask that hides the true McCartney legend, Tom Doyle said: “I’ve been a Beatles nut virtually since birth and obviously was really excited to get the chance to interview him. But as I say in the book, a different McCartney was emerging in my eyes, who was way cooler and more cutting edge than the guy who is often rolled out for the Hey Jude singalongs at major events. Lennon is always seen as being the edgy Beatle, but McCartney deserves more credit for being a counter-culturally-leaning individual back in the day.”
Coming in at 312 pages long, “Man On The Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s” is lovingly researched and expertly written by someone who was not afraid to push the boundaries in order to get to the untouched juicy bits. This isn’t just a factual list of already documented events, this is an accessible and reader friendly must-have book written from an honest and open perspective that makes McCartney’s already extensively documented life seem fresh and new.