Saturday, September 3, 2011

No Paperback Writer: McCartney, Rejected!

I recently came across a humorous guest post by novelist Jon Gibbs on Nathan Bransford’s writing and publishing blog. It’s a well-executed, if somewhat predictable, tongue-in-cheek reject letter sent by a snarky literary agent to Paul McCartney as if The Beatles’ 1966 classic “Paperback Writer” had been an actual query letter.

This certainly appeals to the “publishing geek” in me, and no matter which side of the equation you might be on in the publishing formula, you can sympathize with the perspectives played out here. Or you you might simply enjoy it as a Beatles’ fan. Regardless, it’s worth a read. (Check it out here.)

And, to refresh your memory, here’s the original promo video the lads did for the song:

And, given the details of the referenced blog post, the full lyrics to the song might help, too:

Paperback Writer
(Lennon/McCartney) - but really Paul

Paper back writer (paperback writer)
Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It’s based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

It’s the dirty story of a dirty man
And his clinging wife doesn’t understand.
The son (The Sun? Nice double entendre!) is working for the Daily Mail,
It’s a steady job, but he wants to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

Paperback writer (paperback writer)

It’s a thousand pages, give or take a few,
I’ll be writing more in a week or two.
I can make it longer if you like the style,
I can change it round and I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

If you really like it you can have the rights,
It could make a million for you overnight.
If you must return it, you can send it here
But I need a break and I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

Paperback writer (paperback writer)

While tracking down the original video above, I also came across another interesting rendition of the song. This one is a rawer version the band prerecorded on a stage set in England in place of an in-person appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in early 1966. It also includes the B-side to “Paperback Writer,” John Lennon’s “Rain” – further example of the songwriting duo’s potency during this period. (Who else was making singles with, in effect, two strong A-sides?)

I never noticed McCartney’s chipped tooth in this before now. Apparently, others noticed, too, leading to so many comments about it on YouTube that the video’s uploader got annoyed and disabled the comment capability. He does, however, explain that it was the result of a motor scooter accident. Obviously Paul (the cute one) had it fixed soon thereafter.

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