Tom Doyle: Man On The Run: Paul McCartney In The 1970s

Macca’s brave, bonkers post-Fabs odyssey.

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In 1971, Paul McCartney’s three fellow ex-lovable Moptops paid him a visit, Reggie Kray-style. Jumping out of his Rolls, a livid Lennon chucked two bricks through his old mate’s windows. This was par for the course in a decade when McCartney was blamed at its start for splitting The Beatles, and at its end for responding clumsily to Lennon’s murder.

Doyle peels away the sometimes bland veneer of the man who told reporters Lennon’s death was “a drag” to reveal a private reaction of bawling grief. McCartney was similarly bereft without The Beatles.

His climb back to planet-conquering form with Wings is a story of eccentric, optimistic openness to the world, from a knife-point mugging in Lagos to leading fellow jailbirds in a naked bathtub singalong of Yesterday after his Japanese drugs bust. This is a more likeable, adventurous Macca than legend allows, keeping his sanity, normality and dignity in the thin air of crazy fame./o:p