THE McCARTNEY LEGACY VOLUME 1 – 1969-73 by Allan Kozinn & Adrian Sinclair

It wasn’t much fun being Paul McCartney in 1970. Portrayed by the media as the Beatle who tore the group apart, an offence for which he would be pilloried without mercy, his only solace was his new wife Linda, herself the subject of unwarranted abuse from female fans. “Fuck Linda,” someone scrawled on the wall across the street from Paul’s residence in St John’s Wood. The arrival of their daughter Mary in the summer of 1969 would seem to indicate he took that advice to heart. 

Until very recently Paul had John, George and Ringo to turn to when things went wrong, a snug alliance of all-for-one and one-for-all protection. Not only was this no more, but John, in particular, was sniping at him in the press and on record. “The only thing you done was yesterday,” was one of many lyrical taunts in ‘How Do You Sleep’, from John’s Imagine LP. As if John’s barbs weren’t enough, the press, too, were increasingly unkind about his new music. 

Meanwhile, lawsuits were flying around like angry wasps and unimagined fortunes were slipping through the Beatles’ fingers. Allen Klein, the wedge between Paul and his three old mates, was a constant thorn in his side. “Fuck you,” wrote Paul in one terse message to the American businessman favoured but ultimately dumped by John, George and Ringo.  

Under attack from all sides, Paul and Linda, with her daughter Heather and newly born Mary, went to ground, hiding out at his farm in Scotland, where creature comforts were thin on the ground, and to America, where anonymity was easier, especially behind the style of beard favoured by rustic backwoodsmen. Paul (and Linda) got stoned a lot – his fondness for marijuana and belief that it should be legalised is a running theme of this book – and embarked on a tireless round of DIY recording sessions, with songs pouring from him as never before. Soon, he would perform them with a new band, Wings, but find it impossible to shake off his past. 

This, in a nutshell, is the gist of The McCartney Legacy, a weighty volume inspired no doubt by the diligence that Mark Lewisohn brought to Tune In, the first in his trilogy of mind-bogglingly detailed books about The Beatles. Following a similar route, Allan Kozin and Adrian Sinclair leave no stone unturned in their book about Paul’s struggles to find a place for himself after the break-up of the group to which he’d devoted the last 12 years of his life. 

It’s a massive book yet it covers only four years, the period between Paul’s first solo LP, simply titled McCartney, and Band On The Run, his fifth post-Beatle LP credited to Paul McCartney & Wings, released in 1973 and still widely regarded as his best post-Beatle work. In between, theres three other LPs, the formation of Wings, shows in the UK and Continental Europe, heaps of business dealings, press interviews galore, a drug bust or two, the arrival of second daughter Stella, confrontations with fans who, as ever, assemble outside his St John’s Wood home, a TV special, and meetings, friendlier than you might expect, with his old mates. 

        The bookonly real fault is that the second half is far and away more interesting than the first, largely because more was happening in Paul’s world during 1972 and ’73. Unfortunately, interminable analysis of song structures and meticulous details of recording sessions for Ram and Wild Life become wearisome in the early chapters, no doubt the contribution of co-author Kozinn, a graduate of the conservatory. Fortunately, in the later chapters such details are punctuated by fascinating, fly-on-the-wall reportage of Wings’ progress and their early tours. 

Much of this comes from the diaries of American drummer Denny Seiwell and his wife Monique, and interviews with their first tour manager John Morris, also American, the same man who went on to manage London’s Rainbow Theatre. Tellingly, Denny Laine – the other member of Wings with form – is missing from the lengthy list of acknowledgements at the end, unless, of course, he’s one of those who asked to remain anonymous. 

        From them and others, we learn about how the group was assembled, how Paul’s aim to be ‘just another member of the band’ was hopelessly optimistic – a bit like Bowie and Tin Machine – and how and why Wings Mark 1 fell apart, the root cause being Paul’s overbearing manner in the studio, the same issue that caused George to walk out of the Beatles’ Let It Be sessions. Being told what to play was too much for guitarist Henry McCulloch, who quit after a heated exchange, taking Seiwell with him. It didn’t help, either, that they (and Laine) were paid a mere £70 a week, considerably less than the individual members of Brinsley Schwartz received when they supported Wings on their 1973 UK tour. 

        With the group in disarray Paul showed considerable character in ploughing on with plans to record his next album, the record that became Band On The Run, in Nigeria, with this adventure – in all senses of the word – and the LP’s subsequent acclaim bringing the book to a fitting climax. It’s a testament to Paul’s stubborn, occasionally impulsive, nature that even with two men down he persisted with the African trip. “I’ll show ‘em,” was his attitude. “I don’t need you.” He needed a bodyguard though, for he and Linda were lucky to survive an unpleasant mugging during an ill-advised late-night stroll. 

A book of this size is loaded with evidence for both the prosecution and defence of Paul’s methods and temperament, as well as trivial gems galore that fascinate. Here’s a sample: Paul was holidaying in Scotland and unable to respond when Apple received a telegram inviting him to play bass on a session with Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis in New York; he paid $100,000 (then £40,000) for the Buddy Holly song catalogue; Paul and Linda sent the contents of one of Stella’s nappies to the odious journalist (and future Daily Mail editor) Paul Dacre in response to his negative coverage of Wings for the Daily Express; EMI offered Paul a miserable £5,000 advance for Band On The Run; and Jet was the name of a black pup, one of seven birthed in Scotland to Paul’s and Linda’s Labrador Poppy. 

Furthermore, the book is not without humour: on August 10, 1972, in Gothenburg, Paul and Linda, drummer Seiwell and Paul’s secretary Rebecca Hinds found themselves in jail at the city’s police station, charged with possession of cannabis. A package containing the drug, posted from the UK and addressed to Seiwell, had been intercepted by Swedish customs who’d notified the local narcotics cops.

“I went down to the police station, and they had put them all in separate rooms,” recalls tour manager Morris. “And you could hear Linda saying, ‘I want the American ambassador! I know my rights!’ I was working it out with the prosecutor… we posted a bond, which wasn’t a hell of a lot of money, and I said, ‘I’ll make you a deal. I’ll give you twice as much if you keep her.’ He said, ‘No, no. I’ll make you a deal. I’ll make it four times as much unless you take her.’” 

The McCartney Legacy is a great achievement, thorough in its research, fascinating in detail, albeit designed primarily to appeal to dedicated Macca (or Beatles) fans and unlikely to interest casual admirers. Illustrated with appropriate black & white pictures throughout, it lacks an index, unforgivable in a book of this scope*, and costs just over £15 on Amazon, which is a cheap for a 712-page hardback. 

* I am informed by co-author Adrian Sinclair that the lack of index was due to industrial action at the publishers and is a sore point between them and the authors. 



“One of my keenest memories of the Marquee in the sixties,” says David Bowie, “was having a permanent erection because there were so many fantastic looking girls there.” Among the girls who no doubt caused this reaction in David was Dana Gillespie, 15 years old with plenty of front, who was standing at the back of the club brushing her hair when David snatched the brush from her hand. His hair was blonde, straight and even longer than hers in those days, and it evidently required brushing. “David taught me a lot…” says Dana.  

        This little gem is extracted from Marquee: The Story Of The World’s Greatest Music Venue by Robert Sellars with Nick Pendleton. Broadly speaking, the story runs parallel to the rise of rock in London, initially for those groups and singers whose music stemmed from rhythm & blues but later pretty much every genre you care to name. Celebrated Scousers aside, just about every major UK artist of the sixties and seventies played there on their stairway to stardom, so the club became a sort of rite of passage along the way, like blistered fingers, uncomfortable Ford Transits and sacking the drummer who always seemed to disappear when it was his round.

        I arrived a bit late for the Marquee and certainly left too early but between 1970 and 1973 it was a regular haunt of mine. I’d wanted to go inside since August of 1968 when, on my first unsupervised visit to London, I saw a queue stretching up Wardour Street towards The Ship. “What’s on?” I inquired of a long-haired bloke in loon pants and a great coat. “Tull,” he replied. I was none the wiser.

        Two years later, newly appointed as News Editor of Melody Maker, I knew precisely what Tull meant, and before long I was very familiar with the club at 90 Wardour Street, grandly described here as the World’s Greatest Music Venue. It’s hard to argue with that really because for decades it was the crucible of British rock, its stage playing host to the Stones, Who, Bowie, Floyd, Jimi, Elton, Faces (Small and Rod-led), Zep, Slade, Queen, folkies, prog rockers, punks – including the Pistols  the cream of UK metal, U2, goths, a host of aspirational Americans, Metallica, R.E.M. and G’n’R among them, and scores more besides. 

        I suspect this book has had a long gestation period for I lost count of how many times I was approached at Omnibus Press with proposals for a book about the Marquee. I usually sent would-be authors away with a request for a sample chapter or two before I’d commission them. Either I never received anything back or their sample was insufferably bland, little more than a listing of acts who’d played there. If this book had crossed by desk, however, I’d have snapped it up as it’s a fine tale, well told, with just the right amount of entertaining, often enlightening, anecdotes to moderate what is essentially a chronological name drop.

The brainchild of Harold Pendleton, father of co-author Nick, the Marquee opened in 1958 as a jazz club at the slummy end of Oxford Street before moving in 1964 to its best-known location in Wardour Street. This was where the fun really began and 90% of the book is devoted to fascinating accounts of how bands and singers, many destined for the big time, hauled their gear into the Marquee through the back doors in Richmond Mews. To a man (there aren’t many women, unfortunately) they iterate in interviews old and new how important the club was to them and their careers, with an agreeably large number first entering the venue as fans. After 24 mostly glorious years in Wardour Street, the club moved to a disused cinema in Charing Cross Road, and seven years later the franchise was sold to others who ran two clubs with the same name elsewhere until 2006, though not much space is given to the post-Wardour Street era. 

Also featured are tales of Marquee spin-offs, most notably the National Jazz Festival which morphed into the National Jazz & Blues Festival, launched at Richmond in 1961, moving to Windsor, then Sunbury, then Plumpton and, finally, Reading. The changes in venue are attributed to nimbyism, while overzealous policing was a constant, unnecessary burden the mostly trouble-free festivals had to endure. Then there was Marquee Studios in the basement, the Marquee booking, publishing and management agencies and La Chasse, a members-only drinking den above a bookie’s shop midway between the Marquee and The Ship, fondly remembered by this writer. This was where bands and their retinues liked to tank up before and between sets, being as how only non-alcoholic drinks were available at the club, at least until 1970. Phil Collins was surprised to find Keith Moon behind the bar one night. “I bought a round from him and he gave me back more money than I’d handed over,” he recalls.

Listings at the end, as well as the index, offer a comprehensive guide to the sheer number of great acts who played the Marquee. There’s also a list of live albums recorded there (over 40) and a chart of who holds the record for the number of Marquee appearances (Long John Baldry on 200 tops the list, followed by Manfred Mann [and derivatives] on 99, with The Who way down on 30). 

        Finally, I began the first paragraph of this review with a quote from Dana Gillespie, mischievously (and deliberately) omitting 14 crucial words for effect. In reality Dana is quoted in the book as saying: “David taught me a lot of my first chords on the guitar, and he taught me a few songs.” 

        An explanation. On March 23, 1971, I was among the crush of fans crowded into the Marquee – official capacity 700, but there were probably over 1,000 that night – to watch Led Zeppelin, who the previous summer had attracted over 150,000 to the Bath Festival. The gist of my review in Melody Maker was that it was ill-advised for a group of Zep’s stature to play a venue this small. However, on page 129 of the book an unidentified MM writer (which was me) is quoted as writing: “The Marquee in all its long history has probably never seen a night like it.” In reality the quote went on to say: “… but I still doubt the wisdom of choosing the club in favour of a larger venue.” 

The authors of this book omitted these 16 crucial words, just as I did with Dana. Just so you know, Messrs Sellers and Pendelton, two can play at that game. Here’s proof: 

Grateful thanks to my friend Dave Lewis, the worlds foremost Led Zep historian, for finding this among his archives, even if he did chop my name off the end. 

The book costs £22 (£18.60 on Amazon) and can be obtained from http://www.paradiseroad.co.uk/marquee-the-story-of-the-worlds-greatest-music-venue



To the Electric Theatre in Guildford to hear Lucy O’Brien talk about Karen Carpenter and listen to a trio – keyboard player and arranger Janette Mason, bassist Simon Little and singer Jo Harrop – perform their interpretations of Carpenters songs in a lounge bar style, a bit jazzy, a bit cocktails-at-six, a bit Hotel Ritz. 

        I reviewed Lead Sister, Lucy’s book about Karen Carpenter, on Just Backdated at the end of January* and in her talk she was keen to stress how, in her opinion, the female half of the Carpenters had more potential, and more imagination, than she was permitted to display. This came across more in her talk than it did in her book, and gave her address, which was punctuated by readings, more weight, and, for those who attended, something to think about on the way home. 

        Exhibit number one, of course, was the solo LP she recorded in 1979, produced by Phil Ramone, that A&M declined to release, ostensibly because it lacked a ‘hit song’. To add insult to injury, A&M charged the $400,000 recording costs to Karen’s royalty account.

        “Karen was deeply hurt at this complete rejection,” writes O’Brien. “She had made a female soul album, her first compelling statement as a solo artist. Listening to the record over forty years later, what comes through is Karen’s own fresh, funky aesthetic. She sings in a higher register than on the Carpenters albums, weaving throughout her own intricate vocal arrangements. Her approach is intimate, light and upbeat, a conscious departure from the low, lush overload of songs like ‘Solitaire’ or ‘This Masquerade’… This is an album of nimble, sophisticated soul; classy and smart like Teena Marie’s Lady T or Patrice Rushen’s Pizzazz.”

        The album, which was finally released in 1996, featured on its cover a photograph of Karen in black leather, a departure from the carefully constructed image of her as the girl next door. Reading between the lines, it seems that when Karen first delivered the LP she was a victim of the ‘don’t rock the boat’ syndrome that afflicted record companies in danger of losing an established cash cow. Paul Simon, of all people, suffered the same treatment after the demise of Simon & Garfunkel when Columbia was strangely lukewarm about his first solo LP. They’d have much preferred an S&G follow-up to the multi-million selling Bridge Over Troubled Water, of course. 

        Furthermore, O’Brien suggested that Karen was much happier as the drummer in the Carpenters’ band than being promoted to up-front singer. Cubby O’Brien, who became the Carpenters’ drummer when Karen was obliged to abandon them, recalls her missing the drums terribly. “She loved playing, she was one of the first female drummers who got recognition as a good player,” he says. There seems little doubt that Karen’s subsequent anorexia was in part brought on by the need to project a slimline image of herself in keeping with the general assumption that this was what audiences demanded of girl singers – but not necessarily girl drummers, not that there were many role models to follow in the 1970s. 

        Similarly, O’Brien pointed out that when Karen wasn’t being smothered by her brother, her family and those who sought to gain from the Carpenters’ success, she enjoyed behaving in a manner quite unlike the carefully cultivated, wholesome image foisted on the public. “She could talk like a truck driver,” O’Brien informed us, leaving our imagination to work out what she meant.

        As I mention in my review, in 1973 I interviewed the Carpenters at their home in Downey, south of Los Angeles, and Lucy O’Brien quotes me in her book. During a Q&A session that followed the music and talk last night I asked her what co-operation, if any, she had received from Richard Carpenter. Turns out he ignored her emails but didn’t seek to prevent others from speaking to her. “He’s very private,” she added before informing the assembled crowd of about 60 that the bloke in row H who asked the question had spent time with the Carpenter siblings. They all turned to look at me. After all, I was the only one present who’d met them, albeit 50 years ago this September. 

* https://justbackdated.blogspot.com/2023/01/lead-sister-story-of-karen-carpenter-by.html