LINDA MCCARTNEY "THE BIOGRAPHY"
Danny Fields has been a constant presence on the pop-culture scene since 1966, the year he met the future Linda McCartney. Fields has worked in both the music and magazine industry and has long been on the nominating committee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His close relationship with Linda McCartney continued until her death in April 1998.
Thank you to ...
Everyone whose name is in this book, my very greatest thanks, of course; it would be redundant to name you all.
To Mara Hennessey, my partner in this project, without whose work it could never have been done. I will not name all her contributions, in all the realms of the printed and spoken word, because you'll wonder where the author has been all this time, as well you might have done already.
To these wonderful people who were so smart and helpful: Brian Belovitch, Christine Berardo, Bonnie Bordins, Susan Lee Cohen, Wallace Collins, Esq., Gail Colson, Raul Correa, Mark Dillon, Mark Duran, Josh Feigenbaum, Holly George-Warren, Eric Greenberg, Laura Gross, Bill Hennessey, Matt Hurwitz, Sydney Kaufman, Fran Lebowitz, Virginia Lohle, Donald Lyons, Liz McKenna, Dennis McNally, Joe McNeely, Legs McNeil, Belinda Marcell, Maria from Melody Maker, Kevin Mazur, Caroline North, Steve Paul, Diana Rico, Jerry Rothberg, Alan Samson, Philip Shelly, Sarah Spurgin-Witte, Ames Sweet, Mim Udovitch, Liz Van Lear, Karla Waples, Judy Weil, Deane Zimmerman, Howard Zimmerman.
To Paul McCartney, without whose 'green light' no one would have touched this thing. And I do hope Linda is smiling, with what ironic sense one will never know. To Heather, Mary and James, and to the people at MPL and Eastman & Eastman. Just for being there all these years.
I wish I didn't have to write this book. I wish Linda was still here, working on her myriad projects, inspiring people and making .them feel so much better for her presence, saving the lives of animals, being the wonderful friend that she was and - this most of all, because it mattered most to her - being the great wife and best friend of one of the most talented men of our century, and mother to their four children.
The public went through a series of mood swings with Linda - she was hated and loved, admired and reviled, able to get her messages across and wildly misunderstood. If you knew her, you adored her; of that there was no question (well, there were some battle royals with a few old friends when she appeared to have abandoned them on the occasion of her marriage to Beatle Paul McCartney in 1969; we'll go into that later). But it is safe to say that when she died in the spring of 1998, there was not a negative opinion to be heard. She had managed to win everyone round and, unless you were a meat-packer or a furrier, she wasn't even vaguely controversial at the time of her passing. In fact, she was beloved. Her friends always thought she deserved to be beloved, and finally the rest of the world agreed. Was it too late, or is it never too late? I think it never is, and convincing you of that is my task here.
In the time allotted, I could not produce an ultimate 'biography', down to the last detail and event of her life, plus long exegeses on her work. There is still room for that to be done. Nor did I want to come up with a hagiography -I happen to think she was kind of a modern saint, but that's a conclusion one must be left to draw after all the information is presented, and all the information might not lead everyone to the same judgment. Be that as it may.
Linda McCartney, when she was Linda Eastman, came of age in the 1960s, as did most of us who were young enough to change and old enough to understand that it was still possible to do so. Those were very different times, with different values. Lots of them, of course, were fuelled by rock and roll, especially by the Beatles, the Stones and Dylan. We really thought we were radical when it came to politics, art, sex and mind-altering chemicals. Today, if I were the guardian of someone who is now the age I was then, I would be extremely concerned if he or she went so close to the edge in some of those areas as we did, as I did, as Linda did. 'Experiment' was not just a noun or verb back then, it was a command. We were pretty wild, we were different people; 'That wasn't me.' Yes, it was, but hey, it was a phase, albeit the most spectacular one in our lifetimes; those who didn't rein it in when all the signs pointed to the end of this wonderfully extended adolescence and the return of reality did not present a pretty picture - if they survived at all. I rather thought Linda's picture, in particular, grew more beautiful as the years went by. Some people merely moved beyond the delirium; she triumphed - in a partnership that amazed the world by its intensity and duration, and on her own as well. I think it is a story worth telling.