“More often than I can count, I’ve been asked if I would write an autobiography, but the time has never been right. The one thing I’ve always managed to do, whether at home or on the road, is to write new songs,” McCartney said in a statement. “I know that some people, when they get to a certain age, like to go to a diary to recall day-to-day events from the past, but I have no such notebooks. What I do have are my songs, hundreds of them, which I’ve learned serve much the same purpose. And these songs span my entire life.”
The two-volume, 960-page The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present will examine over 150 songs from McCartney’s career — in alphabetical and not chronological order — from his boyhood compositions and Beatles masterpieces through his solo and Wings catalogs and up through present-day.
McCartney also shared a trailer for the collection, soundtracked by his Flaming Pie ballad “Calico Skies.”
Described as a “self-portrait in 154 songs,” each track is “presented with this is a treasure trove of material from McCartney’s personal archive — drafts, letters, photographs — never seen before, which make this also a unique visual record of one of the greatest songwriters of all time,” U.S. publishers Liveright/W.W. Norton added.
McCartney added: “I hope that what I’ve written will show people something about my songs and my life that they haven’t seen before. I’ve tried to say something about how the music happens and what it means to me and I hope what it may mean to others, too.”
The collection was edited by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and poet Paul Muldoon, who also penned the collection’s introduction. “Based on conversations I had with Paul McCartney over a five-year period, these commentaries are as close to an autobiography as we may ever come,” Muldoon said in a statement. “His insights into his own artistic process confirm a notion at which we had but guessed — that Paul McCartney is a major literary figure who draws upon, and extends, the long tradition of poetry in English.”
The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present is available to preorder now ahead of its November 2nd release.