In the fall of 1969, a rumor erupted that Paul McCartney, “the cute Beatle,” had died and been replaced three years before. Now, generations later, we see that the Beatles spent hundreds of hours making “Paul is Dead” clues, but were compelled to officially deny knowing anything about them. Whether the rumors were true or false, it is an amazing story.
If the story were true, if William (“Billy Shears”) really had replaced Paul McCartney in the Beatles, and still continues to play the role of Paul today, what would he say now about how and why it happened? What would William (Sir Paul) say of his own challenges of living another’s life? How did he connect, or fail to connect with his bandmates, John, George and Ringo? How did they feel about the switch? How did William take control of the band that had been John’s?
The Memoirs of Billy Shears explores all of these questions. This work of historical fiction, told from William’s perspective, reveals his struggles and turmoil within the Beatles, and ever since, in connection with playing his “Paul McCartney” role. William’s most intense conflict was with John (the most pained by Paul’s absence). However, even while William struggled with John, he worked extraordinarily well with the Beatles’ producer, George Martin, “the Fifth Beatle.” With a shared commitment to quality, innovation, and a global agenda, their united work with the Beatles transformed the planet from Sgt. Peppers onward, leading the world through a psychedelic revolution that permanently changed the way we see ourselves.
In the Memoirs, William describes working with George Martin. For example, “George and I were together in a mixing room trying multi-tracking experiments. I . . . was delighted by his valuable insights and suggestions. George and I hit it off right away. As it turned out, he and I had more in common than I had with my Beatles bandmates. He became a close friend. As we worked on our albums, the time I spent with George Martin in the studio was far greater than my time with the others. He was an extremely important talent for the band from the start; but it was not until we teamed together that he did his most extraordinary work, which mostly went unrecognized.”
In July 2018, twenty-eight months after Sir George Martin passed away, his eldest son, Gregory Paul Martin, received an advance copy of the soon-to-be released Nine After 9-09 Edition of the Memoirs of Billy Shears. Gregory had known the Beatles’ original Paul McCartney since 1962, and still has dealings with “Sir Paul” today. Although extremely busy with other projects, Gregory generously agreed to take the time to work a stellar performance of the Memoirs of Billy Shears into his already overbooked schedule.
To record the historically significant Memoirs of Billy Shears, Gregory thought it would be most fitting to use the original recording equipment that his father, George Martin, had used with the Beatles at Abbey Road Studios with help from engineers Geoff Emerick and Dave Harries. That equipment is now located at the prestigious British Grove Studios. Sitting at that same equipment to record this book that the Beatles and his father had used for their vast catalog of songs, Gregory felt, on several occasions during the recording process, that he himself had become Paul. Considering the subject matter, Gregory said that it felt uncanny.
Sound engineers further enhanced Gregory Paul Martin’s magnificent performance of the Memoirs of Billy Shears. We give special thanks to William Shinker (British Grove Studios), Andy Cook (Red Planet Records), and Clint Ramon Harrigan (Ranch Trailing Post-Production).
In addition to this audio production of the Memoirs of Billy Shears, the book is also available in hardcover, paperback, and as an e-book. The printed versions of the Nine After 9-09 Edition include 66 footnotes, word-stacking on every page of the narrative, the world’s longest acrostic (spanning over 600 pages), and other extras that are not included in the audio or e-book versions. In the US, the hardcover version is the best bargain with some color printing and other bonuses not included in the paperback version. The hardcover version is available at www.BillyShears.com. Outside of the US, where shipping brings up the price for the hardcover book, the best bargain is Amazon’s paperback version that they ship worldwide.
Whether you approach this amazing production as one who does, or does not, believe that William (Billy Shears) actually replaced Paul McCartney, it is best to put those prejudices aside. Allow this audio-book to work on you as the ultimate Beatles fantasy where it really doesn’t matter if nothing is real. To those willing to take that leap, this experience may well be a life-changing magical mystery tour.
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