The Words and Music of Paul McCartney

The Solo Years

by Vincent P. Benitez


Sir Paul McCartney is considered by many to be the most successful singer/songwriter in popular music history. Much has been written on McCartney's music as a Beatle, but relatively little has been written on his music since he left the group, notwithstanding the fact that he has collaborated with some of the top musicians in pop music and, unlike any other pop musician, composed classical music as well.

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Cover image for The Words and Music of Paul McCartney

March 2010


Pages 208
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Popular Culture/Music and Performing Arts

This examination of the solo music of Paul McCartney, from 1970-2007, offers an analysis of his songs, recordings, and his impact on popular music.

The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years examines the large and varied oeuvre of this deeply personal artist, showing how McCartney's stint as a Beatle continues to inform his solo music, as well as how he has transcended his days as a member of the Fab Four.

After a biographical introduction, chronologically arranged chapters explore McCartney's music in the immediate aftermath of the breakup of the Beatles, his work with Wings during the 1970s, his collaborations with other artists during the 1980s, and his compositions of the 1990s, including his first forays into classical music. The examination also covers McCartney's critically acclaimed work in the first decade of the 21st century, including Memory Almost Full and Ecce Cor Meum, a composition written in the style of sacred English choral music. Throughout, the book supplies analytical insights and historical background to a repertoire that, surprisingly, has not previously been covered in detail.


  • Includes a chronology of McCartney's music from 1970-2007, complete with biographical information that puts the discussions of the music in perspective
  • Offers a selected discography and videography of McCartney's albums, films, and videos since he left The Beatles


  • Examines the solo music of Paul McCartney, the most successful composer, singer/songwriter, and musician in popular music history, from his debut solo album McCartney (1970) through Memory Almost Full (2007), and including his forays into classical music with the Liverpool Oratorio (1991), Standing Stone (1997), and Ecce Cor Meum (2007)
  • Supplies analytical insights and historical background to McCartney's vast and varied solo repertoire
  • Discusses McCartney's impact on the popular music of the last four decades
Author Info

Vincent P. Benitez, PhD, is assistant professor of music at The Pennsylvania State University. Benitez has published numerous articles on the life and music of the French composer Olivier Messiaen, as well as a book, Olivier Messiaen: A Research and Information Guide, along with articles dealing with Baroque and popular music. Visit the author's personal website here.



"Benitez's book ... is a welcome contribution to popular music scholarship."Music Theory Online

"[This] book is required reading...for any Beatles scholar or fan. Proving that the scope of McCartney's 'musical activities [are truly] mind-boggling,' Benitez adds to the understanding of the various musical heights (and lows) this icon has attained thus far. Highly recommended. All readers."Choice

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