Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Man who killed Paul McCartney -- a book review

The title of this book, The Man who Killed Paul McCartney, is what caught my attention.   When I bought it off Amazon, I thought it might be a book about someone behind the Paul is Dead story.  Maybe someone that worked at the radio station that really got things going, or one of the college students that first published a story about Paul's death.      Don't be fooled---this is not a book about Paul is Dead.   Instead it is a series of articles written by Jim Yoakum.

Some of the articles are better than others.   The first one is about the Charles Manson murders and Manson's connection to 1960's music.     The second one is about the commercialism of  rock n roll.  This article could have been interesting, as it shows how music began being used in commercials and how it was thought of as "selling out" but now is more common place for musicians.   However, the article dragged on and on and at one point listed an entire page of songs that have been used in commercials over the years.

The next article is the title of the book, "The Man who Killed Paul McCartney."   The author tells the story of Mohammad Chtaibi, who I have never heard of before reading this story.   Mohammad was the personal assistant to Robert Frasier and therefore was part of the Beatles circle of people in 1967.
Mohammad Chtaibi (in the white pants) with the Beatles on they day the Sgt. Pepper cover was shot 

A shortened version of the story in this book says that on January 7, 1967 Paul McCartney had a big party at Cavendish and invited all sorts of people including Mick Jagger, Robert Frasier and Mohammad Chtaibi.  Paul had a book that was emptied out and was full of all sorts of drugs (heroin, acid, pot, etc).    After a long night of partying, some of the guys decided to keep the party going at another location.   Six guys got into a Mini and Mohammad took the drug book and was driving alone in Paul's custom Mini.    Mohammad was stoned and not familiar with Paul's car and ended up totaling the car and leaving on a stretcher.     Since people recognized Paul's car and saw a dark haired guy on a stretcher, they put two and two together and thought Paul had been injured in a car wreck.  (By the way, Mohammad was fine--just some scratches).    

This is the first time I have ever heard any of this story and while some of it makes since, other things don't at all.     But at the time it must have made waves among fans because Beatle Book Monthly printed this:


The author says that this is the beginning of the Paul is Dead story.  Maybe it is?     When I try to look up information about this online, all I run into is a bunch of Paul is really Dead nonsense.


The next article was a fun read.  It was about the Beatles Cash-in records that were filling up the record stores in 1964.   You know those records that at a glance look like the Beatles and a young unsuspecting fan might actually buy the discounted record thinking that it really is the Fab 4, to be tricked into buying a dud band singing Beatles songs?


Yoakum goes through several of these records and discovers that not all of the music on them are terrible.  There are some hidden gems in there, but there is also a lot of awful stuff.    It was a fun article to read.

Next up was the story about how Yoakum got involved working with Monty Python founder, Graham Chapman which leads into the final story which was the true treat of the whole book:  The story about how the author got to jam at Friar Park with George Harrison in 1995.

I will leave that amazing story for those of you who want to get this book for yourself.   But let me say that it ends with Yoakum listening to the at the time unreleased tracks from Anthology 3 with George Harrison at Friar Park after spending the day playing the drums with him.  

This was an extremely short book (less than 100 pages) and it  wasn't what I thought it was going to be at all, however it was alright.   Not something I highly recommend, but not a bad read on a day when you are snowed inside your house and don't have much else to do but read.

Here is where you can get it on Amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=The+man+who+killed+Paul+Mccartney

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sara,

    I've heard that car crash story for years, some versions of it more lurid than others. It usually also says that Mohammad was being used as the "mule", to avoid any of the "celebs" being caught holding drugs, in that eventuality. I've also read about Paul's extreme annoyance at Mohammad for losing the stash. Of course, all of this is conjecture...

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