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(Credit: Mary McCartney)


Handwritten Paul McCartney lyrics to go on display


The lyrics of Paul McCartney are scoring at a lot of airtime at the moment with his new book The Lyrics hitting shelves earlier this week. Now, handwritten examples are also set to go on display at the British Library. 

The display will refreshingly be free for public viewing as of today (November 5th) and it will feature the likes of ‘Hey Jude’, ‘Pipes of Peace’, ‘Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five’ and many other examples of his finest works in their most primitive form.

Amongst the lyrics are hand-drawn sketches by McCartney that were used for the single ‘Put it There’, postcards sent home from Hamburg, and George Martin’s score arrangements, most notably for ‘Yesterday’. Also featuring are rare photos taken by his brother Mike McCartney and a slew of other insightful artefacts.

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The curator of the exhibition Andy Lineham, announced: “The British Library is more than just books; we also hold one of the most extensive collections of popular music in the world. It is great to be able to showcase some of our handwritten lyrics and sound recordings alongside previously unseen material from Paul McCartney’s own archive in this display.”

Adding: “Handwritten drafts of song lyrics have a special quality – they show that initial spark of creativity – and this is a chance for everyone to see the workings and learn the stories behind the songs of one of the world’s most successful songwriters and performers.”

The display is the best possible accompaniment to his new book release, titled The Lyrics it is a career-spanning look at McCartney’s astute lyricism and how it helped not only define his own life and career but affected pop music and pop culture throughout the world.

As well as the lyrics, the book will come equipped with previously unseen drafts of songs, personal letters and rare pictures from McCartney’s archive. “More often than I can count, I’ve been asked if I would write an autobiography, but the time has never been right,” said McCartney.

He added: “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.”

Both the book and the exhibition are available for your viewing pleasure now.