Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney” as Want to Read:
Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  963 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
An in-depth, investigative, balanced, and definitive biography of Paul McCartney by the acclaimed author of "Down the Highway"
ebook, 656 pages
Published May 14th 2014 by Da Capo Press (first published January 1st 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Fab, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Fab

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
May 04, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am an admirer of Sounes' books on Bukowski.

'Fab' however, is riddled with Sounses' own irritating and unsubstansiated views. He is also clearly not a musical person. His descriptions of Mccartney's music ; 'Fiery licks', 'a hot track' etc are pathetic and risible.

More annoying though are his dismissals of anything he clearly doesn't understand. (an objectivity is surely a given for any biographer unless he has an argument to back up his dismissal).

Sounes doesn't seem to be able to understand t
Tim Byron
I've read too many books on the Beatles to fully appreciate "Fab", I think. The first half of the book - which covers Paul until the Beatles' breakup - seemed like familiar territory, and there were few anecdotes or interesting insights that I hadn't heard before - if that part of Paul's life is what you're interested in, you're better off reading the Hunter Davies or Bob Spitz books. The second half of the book was the more interesting half, as I wasn't as familiar with the story, and there wer ...more
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Keep in mind, I am a HUGE Paul McCartney fan. Ever since I first saw him on Ed Sullivan on February 1964 I became instantly hooked on the Beatles and fell in love with Paul. Of course, in my adolescent fickleness, I switched to John for a few years, I was attracted to his rebellious edge and anger/hurt because they mirrored some on my own issues but then my fantasies returned to Paul. I just finished Sounes' biography last night. I felt so sad when it ended that needed to look up a few old you-t ...more
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A more detailed review will follow on my book blog, but here I'll say that this is the first Beatle biography I've read that wasn't about John. I suppose I've resisted all this time to read a Paul bio because he's still kicking and apparently making news...therefore his story is far from over. Reading Fab, you get the impression that the author is only a marginal admirer of McCartney. While it may be mainly factual (it's certainly long) it doesn't read as an objective piece. A song is mentioned, ...more
Gilly McGillicuddy
I kept having the urge to get out a big red marker pen and scribble all over this as I was reading it. "FALSE", "CONJECTURE", "PERSONAL OPINION" and "DEAR GOD, ARE PEOPLE STILL BELIEVING THESE OLD PHILIP NORMAN MYTHS" would be the most frequent. It's always a bad sign when you start mentally correcting a biographer. I love Macca, I don't love this book. It's just a hatchet job.
Alex Robinson
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio, music
I enjoyed this book but I have two quibbles:

--Despite being called an "intimate" biography I never really felt like the author got into McCartney's skin.

--the section on the Heather Mills debacle is far too long,going into far too much detail for what is (while admittedly sordid and weird) ultimately a kind of trivial matter.

That being said, I thought it was an interesting book that actually had some great insights.
Jan 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Minus one star for taking shots at RAM
Matt Isenhower
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beatles books have come in phases. First was the "authorized" biography, The Beatles, by Hunter Davies, published all the way back in 1968, before the group had even split. There was a relative lack of written work on the band in the 1970's. Apparently, many people were hoping that their story as a band wasn't over, and a reunion would occur. The scant handful of 70's books seemed to take a sociological approach, focusing on their impact on popular culture. After John Lennon's murder in 1980 end ...more
Gary Schantz
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For starters, I have read probably 100 books about the Beatles since I was a kid so my only reason for picking this book up was because of Paul's 70th birthday. This felt like as good a time as any to catch up on his life. But I only ready the 2nd half of the book in its entirety then skimmed the 1st half which is all about the beginning of the Beatles (and who hasn't heard that story yet?!).

Anyhow, it was an interesting read as it covered items from Beatles quasi-reunion through Linda McCartney
Carla JFCL
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In spite of the fact that this book is so large I thought I’d never finish it, I enjoyed it immensely. Even though I am a “child of the Sixties” and have always enjoyed the music of that decade - including the Beatles’ - I never thought or cared much one way or another about the details of the Beatles’ lives (or about “post-Beatle” Paul McCartney.) In spite of that, I was aware on some level of what was going on in music and in the world during that decade and since then, so I had heard bits and ...more
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Macca is now very nearly 70, and yet most of the examinations of his very full life only focus on the years between 1962 and 1970. While naturally the Beatle years are covered here, I enjoy that FAB gives us a more complete portrait of the man.

I was particularly intrigued by his life with Linda. Two people had definitely sown their wild oats, they finally found security and stability with one another and had a decades-long, monogamous and evolving union, "living in a home in the heart of the cou
It's getting harder and harder to write a Beatles book that breaks away from the pack, but Sounes gives it a good effort -- especially since he's trying to compress McCartney's long and winding career into less than 500 pages (no mean feat, considering it took Philip Norman nearly twice that amount to cover Lennon).

For hardcore Beatles fans, I'm not sure there's much on McCartney himself that's new or surprising here -- but Sounes does provide plenty of new or improved information on some of th
Feb 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I quite enjoyed this "fab" book about the cute (and super-talented) Beatle, Paul McCartney. We learn about two very different sides of Paul from child to adult - the kind, loving friend and family member and the autocratic, calculating, inflexible man (especially when it comes to his music and business). Although a lot of the Beatles history has been reviewed in previous books, Fab also explores his "Wings" period, and I particularly liked the description of his time with his family in the isola ...more
Shawn Roberts
I suppose if "Intimate" means "cut and paste timeline with cutesy writing interspersed interviews with various hangers-on that the subject no longer speaks to," why Yes! this is quite Intimate!
Nov 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After years of refusal Reader met Author amongst the lazy sunbathers with the half-hearted introduction You were good in your time.

Author, typically hated for loving, mussed aloud I'll never be anybody's hero now.

After a pause, pregnant, roughly four seconds in duration, Author intoned There speaks a true friend and then probably murmured There's a place in hell for me and my friends.

After a joyous dinner interspersed with drinking, Author spoke to true friend Reader of Alma, Author's on
I always knew McCartney had a over-blown ego and this book really helps verify that fact.

Though, there is more of McCartney's early childhood history and his relatives are mentioned here than in any other book about him that I've read.

Sadly this really didn't do it for me. Spelling mistakes as in Montreal was Montral (pg. 109). The Editor was really asleep at the wheel, and in this age of spelling checkers there isn't any excuse for this.

There are better McCartney historical books out there and
Feb 14, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few handfuls of previously unknown tidbits, just enough to keep a Fab-Four-Fan enticed; but this self-proclaimed "objective historian" can't seem to keep his jaded views in check. He seems intent on ripping Sir Paul, and delights in exposing details that only the tawdry-minded could find truly fascinating. (I swear I could envision him salivating as he feverishly scribbled his groundbreaking "revelations.") Should the yellow press Fox Network ever want to hire a celebrity stalker, this hack co ...more
David Betts
A substantial book, but not much in there I hadn't read somewhere else before. Also, the author irritates by imposing his personal opinion on the reader. It's one thing to quote someone criticising the subjects work; another when the writer does it himself. Is he a biographer or a music critic? There are much better accounts of the Beatles era, but this might serve as introduction to McCartney post-Beatles for the very young, or someone who has been living in a box for 40 years.
Aug 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this biography of Paul McCartney and even though I had heard many of the stories, there was lots of new details, and yes, gossip. My only warning is don't even think about reading the hardback if your vision isn't sharp. I had a terrible time and wonder why the publisher chose to print this big book in such a faint and hard to read font. If you want to read this and have an e-reader, think about getting it in e-book format.
Sep 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nyjob, music, non-fiction
Good good good read! The last 50 pages or so kinda drug, but that was mostly b/c I didn't want to read about Heather Mills anyway. When I first found out about her, I tried to like her, but now I understand that all that effort was in vane. She's just not a very likable person.

I feel better. :)
Ehh...I'm partial to Peter Amos Carlin's bio -- this one gives a meticulous and overwhelming account of Paul MCartney's ancestors, but only a brief introduction to his union with John Lennon. I was amazed how overly persnickety this biographer is about trivial details, yet overgeneralizes significant events in McCartney's life, like meeting Lennon or Linda's death.
May 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I enjoyed reading this. It was the first McCartney bio I had read. So many songs. Sometimes the comments seemed more like a personal comment rather than an analysis. Lead to a fair bit of time streaming amazing Beatles songs from Youtube!
Aaron Badgley
Beatle years well researched and very balanced. Post Beatles, usual heavy handed (Linda bad, music not up to par, etc etc).
Ok read, but do not use as only source of information of this talented genius. There is a difference between opinion and fact, he writes his opinion.
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written, keeps the reader wanting to know more. Such a fascinating time in history.
Michele bookloverforever
if you must read it, borrow it. otherwise a waste of good money. nothing new.
David Melbie
Jun 07, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to David by: library pick
boring. . .
Gabrielle Dolceamore
written very poorly by a man who clearly hates paul mccartney.
Arthur Banos
very detailed
Book Review – An Intimate life of Paul McCartney by Howard Sounes

Harper Collins

For the best part of the past fifty years Paul McCartney has been one of the world’s best known musicians. From the chart friendly pop of early Beatles music, to the more experimental nature of their later work, he has led and informed many musical trends. The music that he wrote with John Lennon is timeless, and continues to work its magic on successive generations, and a lot is already know about his life.

The musica
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good biography of my favorite Beatle. Sounes isn't always flattering to Sir Paul, but it reads like it's an honest and relatively unbiased work on the star's life. Linda comes off pretty good; Heather Mills comes off like a crazy golddigger, which is pretty much what I assumed. Paul comes off as somewhat self-obsessed and self-centered, not to mention arrogant, but in the end he is portrayed as a decent man who uses his money to help people often, and although he seems sort of cold in his relati ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Breakup
  • Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles
  • A Twist Of Lennon
  • Paul McCartney
  • The Road to Woodstock
  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers: An Oral/Visual History
  • Frank: The Voice
  • Baby, Let's Play House: Elvis Presley and the Women Who Loved Him
  • Tell Me Why: The Beatles: Album By Album, Song By Song, The Sixties And After
  • Imagine This: Growing Up With My Brother John Lennon
  • Begin Again: A Biography of John Cage
  • A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of the Beatles
  • All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono
  • Beatles Forever
  • My Friend Michael: Growing Up With The King Of Pop
  • Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain, and America
  • Beatlesongs
  • Gimme Something Better: The Profound, Progressive, and Occasionally Pointless History of Bay Area Punk from Dead Kennedys to Green Day
Biographer of extraordinary personalities - including the murderers Fred and Rosemary West (Fred & Rose), poet Charles Bukowski (Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life) and the singer-songwriters Bob Dylan (Down the Highway) and Lou Reed (Notes from the Velvet Underground).


More about Howard Sounes

Nonfiction Deals

  • Hope and Other Luxuries: A Mother's Life with a Daughter's Anorexia
    $19.99 $2.99
  • Manic: A Memoir
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Who Gets What — and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures
    $19.99 $1.99
  • Without a Doubt
    $5.99 $2.49
  • The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Paris Letters
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm
    $13.74 $1.99
  • My Cross to Bear
    $11.24 $1.99
  • The Warrior Ethos
    $6.99 $1.99
  • A Chance in this world
    $5.99 $0.99
  • It's Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Everyday Zen
    $11.24 $1.99
  • In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Somebody Else's Kids
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Maude
    $2.99 $1.49
  • Here Is Where: Discovering America's Great Forgotten History
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food (Revised Edition)
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Rational Optimist (P.S.)
    $14.49 $2.99
  • Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive & Creative Self
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Of Wolves and Men (Scribner Classics)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • God: A Story of Revelation
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book
    $10.95 $1.99
  • The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words, 1000 BC - 1492 AD
    $13.99 $2.99
  • I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen
    $11.74 $1.99
  • Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to Be Noticed
    $9.99 $2.99
  • I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Imaginary Girlfriend
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Things I've Been Silent About
    $4.99 $1.99
  • GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love
    $8.49 $2.99
  • The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Dharma Punx: A Memoir
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings
    $10.99 $1.99
  • This Life I Live: One Man's Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Who Changed It Forever
    $9.99 $2.99
  • An Appeal to the World: The Way to Peace in a Time of Division
    $9.99 $1.99
  • How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioral Science to Transform Your Working Life
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Everything That Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists
    $8.99 $2.49
  • The Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes: Harnessing Our Power to Change The World
    $7.74 $1.99
  • Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Catch Me If You Can
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Most Dangerous Animal of All
    $8.24 $1.99
  • The Pastor: A Memoir
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health
    $14.95 $2.99
  • Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Working with Emotional Intelligence
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis
    $13.99 $1.99