Paul McCartney: The Lyrics: 1956 To The Present Out In Paperback November 7, 2023

On November 7, 2023, a one-volume edition of THE LYRICS: 1956 to the Present will be published in paperback, featuring additional commentaries on iconic songs spanning Paul McCartney’s unparalleled musical career

The #1 New York Times bestselling book to be released in paperback with seven new song commentaries from our greatest living songwriter, including:

  • Bluebird
  • Day Tripper
  • English Tea
  • Every Night
  • Hello Goodbye
  • Magical Mystery Tour
  • Step Inside Love

When THE LYRICS published in 2021 to worldwide acclaim, it was heralded as a one-of-a-kind self-portrait of McCartney, earning Book of the Year by Barnes & Noble and Waterstones, and winning a British Book Award. Critics revelled in “how deeply he is steeped in literary history and how much his output as a songwriter has in common with the works of the likes of Dickens and Shakespeare” (New York Times Book Review).

Finally in paperback, it further celebrates the breadth of that creative life and musical genius, covering sixty-six years through 161 songs—from early days in Liverpool, the global pop cultural domination of The Beatles, the ‘70s radio gold of Wings, and Paul’s prolific and still peaking solo career. A veritable road map to the way artists write and think about music, THE LYRICS “is like standing in a master chef’s kitchen as he prepares a dish, adding a dash of this and a spoonful of that and talking to us so winningly” (Washington Post).

Arranged alphabetically to provide a kaleidoscopic rather than chronological account, THE LYRICS establishes definitive texts of these songs for the first time and describes the circumstances in which they were written, the people and places that inspired them, and what Paul thinks of them now. Presented with this is a treasure trove of material from McCartney’s personal archive – drafts, letters, photographs – never seen before the 2021 publication, making this also a unique visual record of one of the greatest songwriters of all time.

The seven new song commentaries elaborate more on these themes, whether mulling over the romantic yearning in Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again” (Bluebird), the playful double entendres meant to trip up BBC censors (Day Tripper), the call and response power of a song (Every Night), the challenge and pleasure of writing for other performers (Step Inside Love), and the unlikely experience of serenading astronauts (English Tea). These first-person accounts give special context to lyrics beloved by generations of fans, and show how McCartney (and his contemporaries) were influenced as much by the musical Gigi as Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline, the carnival atmosphere of Blackpool as the polyrhythms of a Lagos recording studio.

With a personal foreword by McCartney and edited and introduced by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, THE LYRICS is the definitive literary chronicle of one of musical history’s most enduring treasures.

Born in Liverpool in 1942, Paul McCartney was raised in the city and educated at the Liverpool Institute. In June 2023 he published a collection of his photography, 1964: Eyes of the Storm, in conjunction with an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Since writing his first song at 14, McCartney has dreamed and dared to be different. He lives in England.

Paul Muldoon is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of fourteen full-length collections of poetry, including the recent collection Howdie-Skelp.

“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. 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” – Paul McCartney, The Lyrics

“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. 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” – Paul Muldoon

  • A selection of publicity-cleared images are available upon request
  • To view a trailer for The Lyrics, go here

US product information: 

THE LYRICS: 1956 to the Present
Paul McCartney, edited with an introduction by Paul Muldoon
ISBN: 9781324094098
Liveright Publishing
One volume paperback
624 pages

Full list of songs included in The Lyrics (new commentaries noted with *): 

All My Loving
And I Love Her
Another Day
Arrow Through Me
Average Person

Back in the U.S.S.R
Band on the Run

Café on the Left Bank
Calico Skies
Can’t Buy Me Love
Carry That Weight
Check My Machine
Come and Get It
Coming Up
Cook of the House
Country Dreamer

A Day in the Life
Day Tripper*
Dear Friend
Despite Repeated Warnings
Do It Now
Dress Me Up as a Robber
Drive My Car

Eat at Home
Ebony and Ivory
Eight Days a Week
Eleanor Rigby
The End
English Tea*
Every Night*

Fixing a Hole
The Fool on the Hill
For No One
From Me to You

Get Back
Getting Closer
Ghosts of the Past Left Behind
Girls’ School
Give Ireland Back to the Irish
Golden Earth Girl
Golden Slumbers
Good Day Sunshine
Got to Get You Into My Life
Great Day

A Hard Day’s Night
Helen Wheels
Hello Goodbye*
Helter Skelter
Her Majesty
Here, There and Everywhere
Here Today
Hey Jude
Hi, Hi, Hi
Honey Pie
Hope of Deliverance
House of Wax

I Don’t Know
I Lost My Little Girl
I Saw Her Standing There
I Wanna Be Your Man
I Want to Hold Your Hand
I Will
I’ll Follow the Sun
I’ll Get You
I’m Carrying
I’m Down
In Spite of All the Danger
I’ve Got a Feeling

Jenny Wren
Junior’s Farm

The Kiss of Venus

Lady Madonna
Let Em In
Let It Be
Let Me Roll It
Live and Let Die
London Town
The Long and Winding Road
Love Me Do
Lovely Rita

Magical Mystery Tour*
Magneto and Titanium Man
Martha My Dear
Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
Maybe I’m Amazed
Mother Nature’s Son
Mrs. Vandebilt
Mull of Kintyre
My Love
My Valentine

Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five
No More Lonely Nights
The Note You Never Wrote
Nothing Too Much Just Out of Sight

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Oh Woman, Oh Why
Old Siam, Sir
On My Way to Work
Once Upon a Long Ago
Only Mama Knows
The Other Me

Paperback Writer
Penny Lane
Picasso’s Last Words (Drink to Me)
Pipes of Peace
Please Please Me
Pretty Boys
Pretty Little Head
Put It There

Rocky Raccoon

San Ferry Anne
Say Say Say
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
She Came in Through the Bathroom Window
She Loves You
She’s a Woman
She’s Given Up Talking
She’s Leaving Home
Silly Love Songs
Simple as That
Single Pigeon
Spirits of Ancient Egypt
Step Inside Love*

Teddy Boy
Tell Me Who He Is
Temporary Secretary
Things We Said Today
Ticket to Ride
Too Many People
Too Much Rain
Tug of War
Two of Us

Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey

Venus and Mars/Rock Show/Venus and Mars – Reprise

Warm and Beautiful
We All Stand Together
We Can Work It Out
We Got Married
When I’m Sixty-Four
When Winter Comes
Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?
With a Little Help From My Friends
Women and Wives
The World Tonight
The World You’re Coming Into

Yellow Submarine
You Never Give Me Your Money
You Tell Me
Your Mother Should Know