Paul McCartney was a songwriter for the Beatles, writing a fictional story about wanting to be a “paperback writer.” This song came about, he explained, because of his love for the word “paperback.” Here’s what this musician said about the Revolver track.
The Beatles released ‘Paperback’ writer — written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
McCartney appeared as one of the primary songwriters for the Beatles — lending his talents to the original track, “Paperback Writer.” This song was included on the Beatles’ Revolver and later added to their best-hits compilation collection, 1.
In a 2007 interview, according to This Day in Music, McCartney recalled “he wrote the song after reading in the Daily Mail [Lennon’s daily read], about an aspiring author. The song’s lyrics are in the form of a letter from an aspiring author addressed to a publisher.”
“Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book? It took me years to write, will you take a look,” the lyrics state. “It’s based on a novel by a man named Lear / And I need a job / So I wanna be a paperback writer / Paperback writer.”
The Beatles’ Paul McCartney mentioned his affinity for the word ‘paperback’
“Paperback Writer” continues to earn praise from listeners years later. As of 2023, this track received over 65 million plays on the music platform Spotify. Shortly after “Paperback Writer” debuted, McCartney elaborated on the inspiration behind this song.
“This came about because I love the word ‘paperback.’” McCartney said in 1966, via Beatles Interviews. “Anyway, when we did the song, we wrote the words down like we were writing a letter. We sort of started off, ‘Dear Sir or Madam,’ then carried on from there.”
“If you look at the words I think you’ll see what I mean, the way they flow like a letter,” he added. “But that’s it really. There’s no story behind it and it wasn’t inspired by any real-life characters.”
This wouldn’t be the only time the Beatles created fictional characters for their music, as “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was inspired by a drawing from Lennon’s son. “Get Back” mentioned people named Jojo and Loretta, even if it told the story of anti-immigration sentiment in the UK.
Did Paul McCartney ever become a ‘paperback writer?’
Even while he was still performing with the Beatles, Lennon debuted books In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works. Skywriting by Word of Mouth, and Other Writings was published posthumously and included a foreword by Yoko Ono.
McCartney never wrote a work of fiction like his bandmate. He did, however, release The Lyrics in 2021, which he described as “as close to an autobiography” as fans may ever get. The 900-page memoir detailed the Beatles’ discography and his experience with songwriting from 1956 to the present day.
The Beatles’ lead guitarist, George Harrison wrote the autobiography — I, Me, Mine. John Lennon’s ex-wife, Cynthia debuted her memoir, John, in 2005. The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein published his memoir A Cellarful of Noise.