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Blackbird Singing: Lyrics And Poems, 1965 1999 (Signed Limited Edition)

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A landmark event and cause for international celebration—never before collected, the poems and lyrics of Paul McCartney. This slipcased, numbered, and signed edition of Blackbird Singing is limited to a printing of 250 copies. To actually read Paul McCartney's poems, whether exuberant love ballads or poignant messages of deepest grief, is to revel in the sheer power of lan A landmark event and cause for international celebration—never before collected, the poems and lyrics of Paul McCartney. This slipcased, numbered, and signed edition of Blackbird Singing is limited to a printing of 250 copies. To actually read Paul McCartney's poems, whether exuberant love ballads or poignant messages of deepest grief, is to revel in the sheer power of language and to appreciate the electrifying confluence of dream and song. His words are as pure and magical as we remember them. Here, in his first collection of poems and lyrics, McCartney emerges with a dreamlike yet thoroughly mature voice that confirms his stature as one of the most original and best-loved poets of our time. While readers will be familiar with many of these lyrics—like "Yesterday," "Penny Lane," and "Hey Jude," all of which are part of the twentieth century's most cherished songbook—this volume also contains dozens of poems never seen before, including the autobiographical "In Liverpool," and the moving tribute "Ivan," an elegy for his dear friend Ivan Vaughn, which broke the dam and inspired a torrent of original poems written throughout the 1990s. McCartney's emotional range and brilliant wordplay remain remarkably consistent throughout the lyrics and poems. As Adrian Mitchell insightfully writes in his introduction, "Sometimes his poems are light as feathers. They can tickle or fly or delight the eye. Sometimes he writes four lines as heavy as a double-decker bus, or the heart itself." Inspired by his late wife, Linda McCartney, Blackbird Singing gives us extraordinary access to the inner life of one of the most influential figures of twentieth-century culture. Whether commenting on the strange unpredictability of life ("Little Willow") or the heinous folly of nuclear weapons ("Chasing the Cherry"), no one is more able than McCartney to use language to soar above the selfishness and intolerance that can bring us down. The poems here demonstrate, against an acknowledgment of the solitariness of existence, an irrepressible belief in the power of words and music "to take a sad song and make it better."


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A landmark event and cause for international celebration—never before collected, the poems and lyrics of Paul McCartney. This slipcased, numbered, and signed edition of Blackbird Singing is limited to a printing of 250 copies. To actually read Paul McCartney's poems, whether exuberant love ballads or poignant messages of deepest grief, is to revel in the sheer power of lan A landmark event and cause for international celebration—never before collected, the poems and lyrics of Paul McCartney. This slipcased, numbered, and signed edition of Blackbird Singing is limited to a printing of 250 copies. To actually read Paul McCartney's poems, whether exuberant love ballads or poignant messages of deepest grief, is to revel in the sheer power of language and to appreciate the electrifying confluence of dream and song. His words are as pure and magical as we remember them. Here, in his first collection of poems and lyrics, McCartney emerges with a dreamlike yet thoroughly mature voice that confirms his stature as one of the most original and best-loved poets of our time. While readers will be familiar with many of these lyrics—like "Yesterday," "Penny Lane," and "Hey Jude," all of which are part of the twentieth century's most cherished songbook—this volume also contains dozens of poems never seen before, including the autobiographical "In Liverpool," and the moving tribute "Ivan," an elegy for his dear friend Ivan Vaughn, which broke the dam and inspired a torrent of original poems written throughout the 1990s. McCartney's emotional range and brilliant wordplay remain remarkably consistent throughout the lyrics and poems. As Adrian Mitchell insightfully writes in his introduction, "Sometimes his poems are light as feathers. They can tickle or fly or delight the eye. Sometimes he writes four lines as heavy as a double-decker bus, or the heart itself." Inspired by his late wife, Linda McCartney, Blackbird Singing gives us extraordinary access to the inner life of one of the most influential figures of twentieth-century culture. Whether commenting on the strange unpredictability of life ("Little Willow") or the heinous folly of nuclear weapons ("Chasing the Cherry"), no one is more able than McCartney to use language to soar above the selfishness and intolerance that can bring us down. The poems here demonstrate, against an acknowledgment of the solitariness of existence, an irrepressible belief in the power of words and music "to take a sad song and make it better."

30 review for Blackbird Singing: Lyrics And Poems, 1965 1999 (Signed Limited Edition)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Here's the thing; Paul McCartney is not a lyrics guy. "Eleanor Rigby," sure, but that's an exception, not the rule. My personal favourite is a bit of an exaggeration, but, as an example, I present, as included in the book, the lyrics to "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?": Why don't we do it in the road? Why don't we do it in the road? No one will be watching us, why don't we do it in the road? Why don't we do it in the road? Why don't we do it in the road? No one will be watching us, why don't we do it i Here's the thing; Paul McCartney is not a lyrics guy. "Eleanor Rigby," sure, but that's an exception, not the rule. My personal favourite is a bit of an exaggeration, but, as an example, I present, as included in the book, the lyrics to "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?": Why don't we do it in the road? Why don't we do it in the road? No one will be watching us, why don't we do it in the road? Why don't we do it in the road? Why don't we do it in the road? No one will be watching us, why don't we do it in the road? Why don't we do it in the road? Why don't we do it in the road? No one will be watching us, why don't we do it in the road?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Isabell

    I admit to taking this book from the library shelf simply because of its beautiful cover and title. Only then became aware that it was written by Paul McCartney. I don't know much about him, other than that he was one of the Beatles and that his daughter makes cool clothes. My mom and dad first kissed at a party in the 70s while dancing to "Hey Jude." My dad looked a bit like him, too: big soulful eyes, soft narrow lips, and a thick moptop for hair. I had to check it out. The introduction is writ I admit to taking this book from the library shelf simply because of its beautiful cover and title. Only then became aware that it was written by Paul McCartney. I don't know much about him, other than that he was one of the Beatles and that his daughter makes cool clothes. My mom and dad first kissed at a party in the 70s while dancing to "Hey Jude." My dad looked a bit like him, too: big soulful eyes, soft narrow lips, and a thick moptop for hair. I had to check it out. The introduction is written by someone called Adrian Mitchell, of whom I had never heard, but of whom I should have heard, as it turns out. He is a well-known British poet, THE poet of the anti-bomb movement, according to wiki. In his introduction, he writes about Paul McCartney's poems a little defensively... as if the idea that a songwriter can be a poet might prove to be a tough sell. Here is why I mention him: I fell in love with one of his expressions. He calls the art of poetry "the art of dancing naked," and that must be one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. And so it is that we see Paul McCartney dance naked here. Maybe it is an awkward, impenetrable dance at times, but nevertheless always an honest dance. Some poems felt to me like he was perhaps dancing drunk on the table, and the judgement as to whether that is beautiful might be best left to each beholder. Some of his poems really left me in awe, like seeing the starry sky on a cold winter's night. Some made me laugh out loud. I also really enjoyed the interspersing of his song lyrics throughout. They stood side by side with his poems, and it was nice to read the words for what they are, without the music. At the end of the day, I really enjoyed this little volume. It took me less than 2 hours to read through it, and it put a smile on my face. I feel like I know him a little, know his era a little. He is from Liverpool, a lonely boy. I know a little about dance. Dancing is not all about technique. At the heart of it, it's about expressing something. And really good dancers can make people feel that something. Well, I felt something. Here is one poem: Full Moon's Eve On a full moon's eve a tiger sprang And gnawed on Who I used to be A pale haze lights The fox's eye And... Checking once He leaves by a hole in the hedge Old loves return to kiss the lips In case the empty gallery Should fill with whispering strangers Like a flood

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    Now, I honestly don't know much about poetry. I've never been a huge fan of it but from time to time, I do like to sit down and try and explore it a little. I picked this book up years ago during the height of my Beatles phase and decided to re read it tonight. It's an easy read and some of the poems are amusing but I think that Paul should stick to music. Some of his songs are written in this book and it was actually interesting to read the songs vs the poems. You can tell the man is a lyricist. Now, I honestly don't know much about poetry. I've never been a huge fan of it but from time to time, I do like to sit down and try and explore it a little. I picked this book up years ago during the height of my Beatles phase and decided to re read it tonight. It's an easy read and some of the poems are amusing but I think that Paul should stick to music. Some of his songs are written in this book and it was actually interesting to read the songs vs the poems. You can tell the man is a lyricist. His lyrics were better than his poetry. That being said, when he wrote on subjects that were closer to home for him (his wife, his children, John's death) he managed to create something beautiful. It was nice to see him dabble in this field but I much prefer his music and his melodies. Overall, it's a nice little read to keep you occupied for an hour or two but you may find that putting on an old Beatles album is more enjoyable.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Josephine

    This review might not be totally objective. Because I'm a big fan of Sir Paul McCartney and his music and especially his lyrics. I've always thought that Paul McCartney has written some of the most beautiful songs... in the world. The lyrics are often a simple story with a poetic feel to it, so why not publish them on paper as a collection? It makes sense. All I can say is: read it. And admire the art of writing songs. The thing about Sir Paul McCartney is, that it seems so easy - and thats the This review might not be totally objective. Because I'm a big fan of Sir Paul McCartney and his music and especially his lyrics. I've always thought that Paul McCartney has written some of the most beautiful songs... in the world. The lyrics are often a simple story with a poetic feel to it, so why not publish them on paper as a collection? It makes sense. All I can say is: read it. And admire the art of writing songs. The thing about Sir Paul McCartney is, that it seems so easy - and thats the beauty of his lyrics.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    A good selection of McCartney's lyrics (some with other writers) and poetry. There is a long poem, Standing Stone, which is particularly impressive. Seeing the lyrics written down shows just how imaginative a writer McCartney is, and how far his compositions are from the popular idea of what a pop song should be about. There are several touching poems about his family, and I was especially moved by those about his late wife Linda.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Austin

    I'll keep it short: I'm a huge Paul McCartney fan. This includes both poems and lyrics (as the title indicates), and I'm of the firm opinion that Paul's work is best set to music. His original poems are definitely interesting, but they (let me see if I can word this correctly) read as if they were either written to be songs or written to break with Paul's usual songwriting techniques. Like, I rarely thought, "This is a poem." That being said, seeing Paul's experiments with poetry and re-reading I'll keep it short: I'm a huge Paul McCartney fan. This includes both poems and lyrics (as the title indicates), and I'm of the firm opinion that Paul's work is best set to music. His original poems are definitely interesting, but they (let me see if I can word this correctly) read as if they were either written to be songs or written to break with Paul's usual songwriting techniques. Like, I rarely thought, "This is a poem." That being said, seeing Paul's experiments with poetry and re-reading some of his lyrics as poems brought some new insight into his work. I saw new patterns, recurring themes, and wordplay. So--no surprises here, but it did give me a chance to just sit and think about one of my favorite songwriters.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    A book that started as a surprise gift to Paul from Linda ended up being this collection of poems and song lyrics from Paul's Beatles, Wings, and solo output catalog. I was very familiar with all of the song lyrics, but not so much with Paul's poetry. The standout for me was Standing Stone which reads more like an old Greek epic and was a long poem turned into a classical score and symphony by the London Symphony Orchestra with an album that came out in 1997. Paul displays his wit, charm, and A book that started as a surprise gift to Paul from Linda ended up being this collection of poems and song lyrics from Paul's Beatles, Wings, and solo output catalog. I was very familiar with all of the song lyrics, but not so much with Paul's poetry. The standout for me was Standing Stone which reads more like an old Greek epic and was a long poem turned into a classical score and symphony by the London Symphony Orchestra with an album that came out in 1997. Paul displays his wit, charm, and even Lennon-like coarseness at times and "Eleanor Rigby" always seemed like a great poem to me and I recall seeing the lines in an Anthology of Literature softcover I once had for a class.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy

    The best ones were those that I found myself singing along as I read them.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    The typical, whimsical song lyrics and words from McCartney. Interesting to read his poetry with a mix of his well known songs.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Angela Maher

    I thought I would like this more than I did, but I'm still glad I read it. It's interesting seeing these words presented like this. Lyrics are a form of poetry in many cases so putting them with dedicated verse is fitting. Some lyrics were obviously lyrics, however, and some poems obviously poems. Then some fell into a twilight where they could be either.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    I am unimpressed. The introduction of this book entreats us to forget Paul McCartney the musician and focus on Paul McCartney the poet. If that was the goal, the lyrics should have been left out, or at least they should have been presented in a separate section. I've heard and enjoyed McCartney's songs since infancy, and I've heard the stories behind many of those songs time and again; it's just not possible for me to divorce the lyrics from all of that history. Instead, Beatles lyrics, Wings ly I am unimpressed. The introduction of this book entreats us to forget Paul McCartney the musician and focus on Paul McCartney the poet. If that was the goal, the lyrics should have been left out, or at least they should have been presented in a separate section. I've heard and enjoyed McCartney's songs since infancy, and I've heard the stories behind many of those songs time and again; it's just not possible for me to divorce the lyrics from all of that history. Instead, Beatles lyrics, Wings lyrics and McCartney's solo lyrics are interspersed with poems, with no nods to chronological order (which might have shed light on the development of his poetic voice or shown how his very public work compared to more private efforts from the same era, if there is such overlap). And frankly, the poetry is mediocre. Take away the juvenile wordplay and weak metaphors, and you won't be left with much. Sorry, Paul; your words just don't work that well without music.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    A long and winding road that leads to your door, Will never disappear, I've seen that road before, It always leads me here, lead me to your door. The wild and windy night that the rain washed away, Has left a pool of tears crying for the day. Why leave me standing here? Let me know the way. Many times I've been alone and many times I've cried, Anyway you'll never know the many ways I've tried, But still they lead me back to the long, winding road, You left me standing here, a long, long time ago. Don't lea A long and winding road that leads to your door, Will never disappear, I've seen that road before, It always leads me here, lead me to your door. The wild and windy night that the rain washed away, Has left a pool of tears crying for the day. Why leave me standing here? Let me know the way. Many times I've been alone and many times I've cried, Anyway you'll never know the many ways I've tried, But still they lead me back to the long, winding road, You left me standing here, a long, long time ago. Don't leave me waiting here lead me to your door...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sanguine

    3.5 Enjoyed reading it. First poem collection I've read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Patricia McLaughlin

    “When I was a teenager, for some reason I had an overwhelming desire to have a poem published in the school magazine. I wrote something deep and meaningful—which was promptly rejected—and I suppose I have been trying to get my own back ever since.” —Paul McCartney. Boy, did he ever! Favorites include “Blackbird”* “When I’m Sixty-Four” “Here Today” “Penny Lane” “The Long and Winding Road”* “The Fool on the Hill” “Hey Jude” “Yesterday”* “Paperback Writer” “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” “Eleanor Rigby” “My Love”* “Meditat “When I was a teenager, for some reason I had an overwhelming desire to have a poem published in the school magazine. I wrote something deep and meaningful—which was promptly rejected—and I suppose I have been trying to get my own back ever since.” —Paul McCartney. Boy, did he ever! Favorites include “Blackbird”* “When I’m Sixty-Four” “Here Today” “Penny Lane” “The Long and Winding Road”* “The Fool on the Hill” “Hey Jude” “Yesterday”* “Paperback Writer” “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” “Eleanor Rigby” “My Love”* “Meditate” [Ode To Monkey Mind] *Doubly divine!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kari

    These pages are filled with some heartfelt well written poems, but most of the pages contained really below average poems. Paul McCartney’s strength in deftly conjoining words with music made me have high expectations for this collection, so for me, some of his poetry left something to be desired (music)— but that might not be the case for other McCartney fans, it’s hard to say. It was worth reading since it was a relatively short collection and had brief moments of excellence; however, I would These pages are filled with some heartfelt well written poems, but most of the pages contained really below average poems. Paul McCartney’s strength in deftly conjoining words with music made me have high expectations for this collection, so for me, some of his poetry left something to be desired (music)— but that might not be the case for other McCartney fans, it’s hard to say. It was worth reading since it was a relatively short collection and had brief moments of excellence; however, I would recommend lowering your expectations first.

  16. 4 out of 5

    John

    I don't claim to be an expert on poetry. But this is still a cool book to read. It contains the lyrics to plenty of Paul McCartney's most recognized and beloved songs, but a big part of the book is poems that he wrote that never became songs. And it's interesting to read these poems, seeing the ways Paul expressed himself in writing that wasn't music.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Vivian

    This was a birthday present for my 29th birthday. It was one of the best presents ever as it has brought me joy over the years. I love The Beatles and I love Paul McCartney. Getting to read his words anytime I want is a wonderful feeling of love , hope and at times sadness.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nyleen

    This was my poetry book for my 2017 reading challenge.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Of course, I love the song lyrics, but I also really liked many of the poems.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marika

    To me, this was both a hit and a miss. Some poems spoke to me deeply while others I simply didn't like at all. In some sense that is the very core of poetry, I think.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Em Heppler

    A lot of beauty in this book. "For well you know it's a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anne Weeks

    A book written by a musician.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ali Wurm

    worth more the 0.25c paid for it. a good couple of poems, but not all winners to be sure.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Fluffy Kitty Susan Ryder

    Mr. McCartney is my favorite Beatle's guy! I love reading poems, and I was elated to have found this book in a book shop so I had to get it!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Badgley

    Original poetry and song lyrics.

  26. 5 out of 5

    P

    Love The Beatles and Paul is my favorite, but lyrics are less than half of the magic in his music. According to "biographer" Peter Ames Carlin, McCartney put this book together because he got tired of the Lennon/McCartney credit being placed on all Beatles songs--even ones Paul wrote completely by himself. This was an arrangement pushed by Brian Epstein when Paul was only 20 years old. By releasing the lyrics under his name only, Paul could finally take full credit for them and he wouldn't have Love The Beatles and Paul is my favorite, but lyrics are less than half of the magic in his music. According to "biographer" Peter Ames Carlin, McCartney put this book together because he got tired of the Lennon/McCartney credit being placed on all Beatles songs--even ones Paul wrote completely by himself. This was an arrangement pushed by Brian Epstein when Paul was only 20 years old. By releasing the lyrics under his name only, Paul could finally take full credit for them and he wouldn't have to go past Yoko Ono for permission (which she always seems to refuse). Makes sense. Why else would he include "Why Don't We Do It in the Road" (which has got to be one of the dumbest Beatles songs of all time) with all three stanzas exactly the same? I'm not quite sure that was the motive, but nice to read a few poems written by McCartney which are not song lyrics. I prefer the songs. As I read each song lyric, I couldn't help but sing it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eric Outen

    I actually had no idea that Paul McCartney has such strong poetic ability. It's his poems about loneliness that really speak loudly to me. "Once upon a long ago" was my favorite here. "Picking up scales and broken chords Puppy-dog tails in the house of lords Tell me darling what can it mean? Making up moons in a minor key What have those tunes got to do with me Tell me darling, where have you been?"

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jaramy

    As much as I love Paul McCartney and he is my favorite Beatle, this book seemed to be haphazardly put together. It's thrown together with mostly just lyrics from his songs, and a few poems. His writing is nowhere near as creative as John's. Plus John could write prose and poetry that were not even connected to his songs, and publish them. This feels almost like a sad attempt to say, "hey I am a writer too".

  29. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne

    This book is important in that it removes the popular music from the beauty of the words...you truly see and "hear" the words...and they are lovely, poignant, pertinent... Would that Sir McCartney would stick to the elegance of his writing and leave the crescendo and twinkling of his music on the shelf...he's no longer a rock star...what an impression it would make were he to do readings of his works and leave the rock and roll to the aging Rolling Stones...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Louis

    Well this was disappointing. I was hoping for something more coming from the lyricist of the Beatles. To be fair, some poems were real gems though. But when taking into account the bigger picture they are the exception to the rule. The song lyrics that were included are, in my opinion, not always the most beautiful or fitting. Most seem to be added randomly. Except for instance Eleanor Rigby. Anyway, this book wasn't really worth my time.

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