Paul McCartney / New book: The Lyrics

New book coming late in 2021

Later this year Paul McCartney will release The Lyrics, a new book described as “a self-portrait in 154 songs”.

The book will contain lyrics to 154 songs from all stages of his career, which will be arranged alphabetically. Each song lyric will be accompanied by annotations which describes the circumstances in which they were written, the people and places that inspired them, and what he thinks of them now. This text comes from conversations Paul had with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Paul Muldoon over a five-year period.

Presented alongside these words is material from McCartney’s personal archive – drafts, letters, photographs – never seen before, which make this visual record as well as a written one.

I hope that what I’ve written will show people something about my songs and my life which they haven’t seen before. I’ve tried to say something about how the music happens and what it means to me and I hope what it may mean to others too.” Paul McCartney

The book itself is two hardcover volumes that slide into an outer slipcase. The volumes will not be available separately and each one is 480 pages in length (dimensions are 203 x 254 mm). The outer slipcase features the same photograph, taken by Paul’s brother Mike, that was used as the cover to McCartney’s 2005 album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. However, the US edition (published via Liveright Publishing Corporation/WW Norton) appears to have a different, plain green, outer slipcase.

The Lyrics will be published on 2 November 2021, via Allen Lane in the UK and various other publishers around the world.

Compare prices and pre-order

McCartney, Paul

The Lyrics


Compare prices and pre-order

McCartney, Paul

The Lyrics - US edition


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Amazon US at $60 this morning.


The days of a signing at Waterstones are long gone me thinks.
The thought of a celebrity amongst the great unwashed is just too far off.

Roland Helmuth Richter

At the moment for € 55, – at Amazon.de

Stan Butler

Looks like a lovely set. I have no gripes about the price, but I probably will wait to see if it comes down a bit.
Hopefully this doesn’t effect any reissue of London Town and Back To The Egg, which I’m praying for to come out this year. With the Let It Be box, All Things Must Pass and Plastic Ono Band ready to be released, it’s a busy and costly year already for Beatles fans.
This though reminds me of the very first music book I ever bought, a little paperback called “Beatles Lyrics” from 1980. It had a front cover drawing of John and Paul singing into an apple (with two bites out of it) microphone. I poured over its contents religiously for months. I recall it had the lyrics for the songs they gave way to Billy J Kramer, Cilla etc. No covers. I think it may have also omitted George and Ringo’s lyrics.


More important to buy is ” The Collected Works Of Jim Morrison: Poetry, Journals, Transcripts And Lyrics, ” via the HarperCollins imprint. Variety reported the nearly 600-page book features such famed Morrison pieces as Wilderness, The American Night, along with the Doors frontman’s iconic poems, “Horse Latitudes” and “The Celebration Of The Lizard.”
Variety reported, “The collection, which will be published on June 8th, consists of 160 visual components accompanied by excerpts from Morrison’s 28 private, never-before-seen notebooks (including the Paris notebook, which is believed to be Morrison’s final journal, reproduced at full reading size). Additionally, the print collection will be accompanied by a digital audiobook that includes a full recording of Morrison’s last poetry recording session at the Village Recorder on his 27th birthday in 1970.”
The book, which sells for $50, was produced with the full cooperation of the Morrison estate. Poetry, Journals, Transcripts And Lyrics features a forward by author Tom Robbins, a prologue by Morrison’s sister, Anne Morrison Chewning, and notes by Jim Morrison’s confidante and filmmaker, Frank Lisciandro.


this is a WINNER< ordered from amazon = $53.00 with free shipping.


Thanks so much for the tip. Automatic order – EUR 27 from Amazon.de for almost 600 pages. Paul McCartney’s books are not bad value at all but this Jim Morrison book is amazin value.


Why are you suffering so much with the prospect of a signed edition?

Don’t buy it. Keep your money if it hurts you so much.

Seriously, what a ridiculous thing to worry about.

Hugh Hall

I’m going to hold out for the Third Man version. 222 copies made from shredded remaindered copies of ‘Hey Grandude’! C’mon Jack, you know you want to!

Donnie Biscuits

Do WH Smiths even sell books anymore? I thought it as all cards, stationary (overpriced pens) and cheap chocolate. Oh, and vinyl again, of course!


Will songs he wrote with John be included?


Always loved Picasso’s Last Words.


He could have gone down the Genesis route but didn’t. He’s not responsible for concert ticket prices it’s to do with his popularity and his ability to fill arena. The two different covers are down to the yanks and their publishing. They ruined UK/US continuity of Beatle records. Looks great value for a well researched and quality publication.


@Paul Sinclair:

Lol. Comment of the day (or the night?) so far…



Referred to this comment by Paul:

Paul Sinclair says:
February 25, 2021 at 00:19
A near 1000 page hardcover book set across two volumes, for £65, isn’t too bad. If spending £65 means you can’t feed your children then hanging around at SuperDeluxeEdition.com might not be the best idea…

Steve White

This seems like a very reasonable offering and bearing in mind this WILL be cheaper around the time it comes out. Comparing it to similar book releases it isn’t expensive for what it is. It also appears at this stage that there will be no marketing trickery to entice multiple sales like different versions etc. US books always have different covers to UK versions so there is nothing strange about this (I actually prefer the US version for some reason)

I can imagine a Bowie equivalent where you have to buy the slipcase separately and each volume is sold a month apart (sorry I’m still angry about BLA, which I appreciate isn’t relevant to this post) but my point would be this appears a straight up good offer for what looks like will be a really beautiful and fascinating two volumes with no compromise on the quality.

Eustace Haney

I just might be investing in the U.S. edition, because going by the “compare prices and pre-order” section included here for it, it could be a rare misprint as it’s for the lyrics of the Irish poet Paul Muldoon.

Andrew r

Why is McCartney always the recipient of so much bile ?
Plenty of other artists monetise their back catalogue and release expensive books . I didn’t notice such outrage over the DM book . Not a massive macca fan but he doesn’t seem to get a fair shake on SDE .


@Andrew R.:

I don’t get it either. Of course his releases are pretty much all subject of at least one article as our host here is (it seems) a fan of Maccas work (as am i) and so the sheer lot of posts about his releases generate a lot of comments too.

Too be fair i’ve to correct you regarding the Depeche Mode-book by Taschen which also received its share of “Cashgrab”-comments when first announced as the 1.000 EUR deluxe edition.
The problem with books seems to be that lots of readers here have no clue what it costs to produce deluxe books (which i can understand).

What i don’t understand is that there seem to be some people who don’t give a shit when people with more knowledge of said costs explain it here in the comments section and still ramble on about how unfair life in general and some artists in particular treat them. The comments of Mr Mooney in this thread stand out as a good example for this attitude i think.

Jeff Dee

I’m in the “Macca can do whatever he wants” category.

William Joyce

I’d love the opportunity for a signed edition . Will we get an in person Waterstones type signing later in the year?


WM J & Andrew : having met Paul half dozen times over the years, he is getting so bad & stuck up, as Ringo has been, which means an in store appearance or even “signed edition” is too below him.. the prices of their signature is way over inflated , yet they seem to think everyone is a millionaire, COVID be damned even. Sadly.


I also wish this were in chronological order. The photos, the drafts in those now-familiar notebooks, all would make more sense year by year.

I hope the books contain Beatles lyrics too, even though some of Paul’s best (“Eleanor Rigby” say) might have had some input from John.

But “lavish” is maybe an understatement. At 960 pages for 154 songs that works out at about 6 pages per song, give or take. The song on one page…the draft on another…a page of reminiscences…and three pages of photos. Phew, that’s a lot to process!

Joe Kelly

Well that took some finding on W H Smiths; thanks to Gareth for the clues; found under A.N.Author ‘Untitled Vols 1&2’

Nathan Thomas

You just needed to search by the ISBN – which you can get from the amazon listing


Thanks for that. Found it in WHS with that info this morning at the reduced price and went to purchase but price went up to full amount during the transaction and appears to now be staying at full price of £75!


I get and support buying Dylan lyric books….but McCartney? You’ll never look at it again once it’s sitting on your shelf…

Nathan Thomas

Did you actually read the article? As well as the lyrics, some people might be as interested in the interviews & the “material from McCartney’s personal archive – drafts, letters, photographs – never seen before, which make this visual record as well as a written one.”


Hilarious that there’s a US edition! different spellings perhaps? colour/color?????

Nathan Thomas

Why hilarious? As the article clearly states Allen Lane only publishes the UK version & in other countries it is published by a number of local publishers. Doesn’t seem that difficult a concept to grasp…

Chris Woods

The people here complaining have no idea of the price for comparable books. Stephen Sondheim’s two collections of lyrics, which similarly act as an autobiography through his lyrics, cost something similar to this 10 years ago. This isn’t necessarily great value for money but neither is it a ripoff.

Tim Abbott

I think you’re overshooting massively if you think ‘My Brave Face’ is as deserving of the same treatment as ‘Send In The Clowns’.


Maybe listen a bit closer, very insightful lyrics actually.


This looks very nice, but I do wish the songs had been arranged chronologically. Maybe it’ll include an index or something that lists them in chronological order.


Waiting for the red, blue, yellow and green versions.


Ha ha. You know it’s coming!

John MC cann

Hi Paul do you know if this contains the full lyrics to the song , freedom,, great wee tune that one!

Patrick Walker


James W

That song actually might be in there. It’s not just about the lyrics, it’s also about Paul’s stories and recollections. He could mention his 9/11 experiences and his participation in “The Concert For New York”. You never know, that song could be in the book.


I look forward to gradual announcements of 17 versions with different colour pages and slipcases, including limited editions only available in Mongolia and in a little hut halfway up the Peruvian Andes…


If you compare this versus other books [I can think of Lasse Hoile’s books when first released, this is cheaper [and as far as I’m concerned more entertaining than looking at pictures].
Of course anything beats a Kim Kardashian selfie book!

David Robinson

Agree that many of Maccas items are expensive but to be fair Mike McCartneys new book of Liverpool photos is £560 for the deluxe version or £325 for the normal one ……. Genesis Publications signed …: but crucially by Mike McCartney…Great looking book though


Why on earth is Macca in need of money? In the last few years he seems to have gone money mad and is intent of squeezing as much as he can out of his fans.

He really has no concept of life outside of his millionaire, sorry billionaire, bubble and his pricing strategy clearly demonstrates his total contempt for his loyal audience.




Plus he’s not the only one who gets paid off of this. Think of the publisher, editor, printer, etc. Same with music releases. Gotta pay the record companies too


Trade pride is about £46 (Im in the book trade) how the hell can we compete if WHSmiths is selling it for that price!!

Nathan Thomas

I guess your buying teams need to up their game If they’re not getting the deals that WHS are. Lol

Nathan Thomas

Haha fortunately for me I haven’t been into a WHS store for about 15 years. I only use the website occasionally so manage to avoid all the tat & add-ons lol

Nathan Thomas

And if you use certain click-through sites you can get an extra 10% off on top, which brings it in at £41.62

eamonn mooney

He’d want to be signing them for those prices. I blame Macca for the sky high prices of concert tickets and deluxe editions which everyone followed. Things used to be reasonable now everything is the price of a family holiday

Nathan Thomas

Eh Eamonn ? You can buy it online for £46 – for a book of nearly 1000 pages that doesn’t seem crazy. Some people just love to whinge.

Eamonn Mooney

Not whinging. It is expensive. Compare it to the Imagine book or Plastic Ono Band book. Shows what can be done for half the price.

Nathan Thomas

Especially when lots of people seem to be preordering at £46 rather than £65 !

Nathan Thomas

Putting aside the fact that this set is better value for money based on sheer volume (especially at £46) it’s absolutely a whinge on your part to blame McCartney for the high price of every single concert ticket & deluxe box-set released over the past 10 years ! Lol

Ann Coates

£46.25 from WHSmith (UK) with code SAVEMORE

Nathan Thomas

& use certain click through sites you can get an extra 10% off on top as well



WHS. Proper Magazine Racks. 80 thru 20.


Guys, just bought for £46 on WHSmith by using £10 off voucher to the £56 price!


@ Piano man. where did you find the book listed on the w h smith website please as I couldnt seem to find it ? thanks

Gareth Pugh

Have also ordered from WHS – I’m a bit wary it shows neither title nor author – I just hope their systems update okay such that they can correctly identify what has been purchased when the time comes to fulfil orders. The bit about ‘2 volumes’ and the release date are correctly shown, but I’d wonder if the early bird buyer would have much of a leg to stand on law-of-contract wise if WHS couldn’t or wouldn’t honour this when the time comes. That said, at that price, it’s a gamble worth taking.

Marcelo Claudio Lamela

Check WHSmith. They even got a extra voucher

Sascha H.

Only two editions ? Come on, Macca, you can do better. But not for me. I will pass like I did with several other things you did release over the years. Overkill pur !!!

Nathan Thomas

Not really 2 editions – the US version is just through a different publisher to the UK edition & was meant for US sale only.

Wayne C

I’m amazed that Paul hasn’t gone down the signed, eye watering priced, behemoth sized table book route!, There still is time I guess. Serious fans will no doubt have to do weight training in preparation if he does release two of those!. I bet this will be a good read though when all’s said and done.


Interestingly on Amazon, it’s £49.99 for the Kindle version. A mere £16 saving in the big slipcase double volume hardback.

Nathan Thomas

Amazon pre-order prices always drop as the release date gets closer

Gareth Pugh

Jim, I wonder if that fairly narrow price gap between formats is partly due to VAT being chargeable on electronic books but not on print ones in the UK.


Hi Paul,

The links for the U.S. seem to have a different box cover.
The U.S. version seems to be a plain green box: https://amzn.to/3dF59Lr
I would prefer the Chaos and Creation cover, that’s for sure.

Murray Robbins

All my money would just fly away
Not a chance to you one pence I’ll pay
Sadly Paul you’re yesterday

David Powell

Your lyrical ‘prowess’ shows why he was in the Beatles & you weren’t ! Lol

Murray Robbins


I can knock up a few more on the back of a fag packet and stick them in a slipcase (old cornflake packet)
Special price £7,000 or signed £0.7p

It was 20 years ago today
Some alimony that I gotta pay


£75?! Do you really need any more money?! Just wait til we get all the different coloured slipcases coming!

Nathan Thomas

I’m bored with all this faux-outrage. You’re not a robot – you have free will – no one is forcing you to buy any of this stuff so if you’re not interested don’t buy it.

Eamonn Mooney

Not being forced to buy something is one thing. But perhaps we’d like to but our priority is to feed our children? Theres only so many selfish expensive gifts i can justify buying for myself at the expense those im tasked with providing for.

McCartney didnt always do this. His first 5 or 6 deluxe editions were very affordable.

Jarmo Keranen

That’s not a bad price for the two hardcover books that contains almost 900 pages!


Rough Trade are selling this for £65.

Happy Man

Looks like only one version so far. Hope he keeps it that way. Seriously though, it’s great and I look forward to it. I’ll not use Amazon but support my local independent bookshop. Do I want to scramble for a signed copy? Well, I’ve got nine months to plan a campaign…


And 9 months to sell a kidney, should he ever decide to release a signed copy.


You only need one, right? I’d be willing to pay £500 for a signed one… not sure he’ll do one though