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Paul interviews
21 December 2021
7.38am
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Rube
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Paul spoke to Ant & Dec and Cat Deeley for CD:UK on 24th November 2001, sadly five days before George died.

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Winner of Most Hardcore Beatles Bible Fan 2021

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5 February 2022
4.24pm
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meaigs
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Leppo said
Paul did an interview with Adam Buxton on his podcast here in the UK. I like Adam Buxton and think he is a good interviewer and there were some good questions and chat. At one point he asked him how he unwinds at night to get some sleep. It only occurred to me afterwards that in effect he’d asked Paul “How do you Sleep?” I don’t know if this was a knowing nudge or asked in innocence.

https://www.adam-buxton.co.uk/…..lsc6-5m648

  

This is a great podcast. The question about how Paul sleeps came from Adam’s friend Alex Horne (of TaskMaster) and I have no doubt Alex did it on purpose.

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My hot take is that after the Beatles split they went down the paths of spiritualism, solipsism, alcoholism, and Paul McCartney

                                                                                                             -- Jason Carty, Nothing is Real podcast

10 February 2022
1.30pm
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Ron Nasty
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The raw footage of Richard Skinner’s interview with Paul at Abbey Road ‘s Studio 2 on 18 July 1986 for the BBC1 show McCartney, broadcast on 29 August, and released on video as The Paul McCartney Special in November 1987…

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The Beatles Bible 2020 non-Canon Poll Part One: 1958-1963 and Part Two: 1964-August 1966

11 February 2022
6.04am
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meaigs
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Joe said
Great interview with Paul and Taylor Swift on rollingstone.com:

https://www.rollingstone.com/m…..s-1089058/

I like it when Paul chats to other musicians – he tends to not recycle the same stories we’ve heard a million times. And, because he’s talking to someone on a similar path, he seems to open up more about the creative process, touring etc.

  

This is a lovely interview.

I said “aw” out loud when I read this:

Swift: I think it’s so cool that you do projects that are just for you. Because I went with my family to see you in concert in 2010 or 2011, and the thing I took away from the show most was that it was the most selfless set list I had ever seen. It was completely geared toward what it would thrill us to hear. It had new stuff, but it had every hit we wanted to hear, every song we’d ever cried to, every song people had gotten married to, or been brokenhearted to. And I just remembered thinking, “I’ve got to remember that,” that you do that set list for your fans.

I love that she called it “selfless”, because it really is. And it’s a decision he’s consciously made and talked about a few times. I can almost see the shy smile on him a-hard-days-night-paul-7

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My hot take is that after the Beatles split they went down the paths of spiritualism, solipsism, alcoholism, and Paul McCartney

                                                                                                             -- Jason Carty, Nothing is Real podcast

11 February 2022
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Ron Nasty said

“SmartLess” with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, & Will Arnett is a podcast that connects and unites people from all walks of life to learn about shared experiences through thoughtful dialogue and organic hilarity. A nice surprise: in each episode of SmartLess, one of the hosts reveals his mystery guest to the other two. What ensues is a genuinely improvised and authentic conversation filled with laughter and newfound knowledge to feed the SmartLess mind.

Somehow Sean Hayes (Jack McFarland in Will & Grace) managed to get Paul for the latest episode, released three days ago.

68 minutes, including ads (the second ad break is quite a-hard-days-night-ringo-6), and their pre- and post-chats, about 50-55 minutes of Paul in quite an interesting and humorous conversation as Bateman and Arnett struggle to catch up with the fact they’re talking to the actual Paul McCartney .

  

This was such a great listen.

My hot take is that after the Beatles split they went down the paths of spiritualism, solipsism, alcoholism, and Paul McCartney

                                                                                                             -- Jason Carty, Nothing is Real podcast

12 February 2022
10.28am
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I’m not sure this is the right place to ask this, but I’m looking for a documentary I watched about Paul that included Barry Miles talking. There was also a cousin of Paul’s who told a great story about Aunty Gin going to London to have a word with Paul about drugs.

Any idea what it’s called? I’m pretty sure I watched it on YouTube, but it may have been taken down.

 

Edited to add:

 

I found it, almost as soon as I posted paul-mccartney-facepalm_gif. It’s “There’s Only One Paul McCartney ” for the curious brian-epstein

My hot take is that after the Beatles split they went down the paths of spiritualism, solipsism, alcoholism, and Paul McCartney

                                                                                                             -- Jason Carty, Nothing is Real podcast

12 February 2022
10.41am
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Ron Nasty
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It was posted here last September, @meaigs, where there’s also some reactions to it.

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The Beatles Bible 2020 non-Canon Poll Part One: 1958-1963 and Part Two: 1964-August 1966

14 February 2022
9.37am
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meaigs
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This is so lovely:

Paul really is so lucky to have a big friendly family who have always treated him like a normal person.

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My hot take is that after the Beatles split they went down the paths of spiritualism, solipsism, alcoholism, and Paul McCartney

                                                                                                             -- Jason Carty, Nothing is Real podcast

25 February 2022
7.01pm
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meaigs
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This cracked me up

 

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My hot take is that after the Beatles split they went down the paths of spiritualism, solipsism, alcoholism, and Paul McCartney

                                                                                                             -- Jason Carty, Nothing is Real podcast

3 March 2022
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Paul McCartney: Inside the Songs

 

Paul McCartney talks about his life and song-writing through the prism of 10 key lyrics, including The Beatles’ classics All My Loving , Eleanor Rigby and Penny Lane .

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/b…..d/p09z0hbv

I haven’t listened to these yet, but they’re lined up on my podcast player

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My hot take is that after the Beatles split they went down the paths of spiritualism, solipsism, alcoholism, and Paul McCartney

                                                                                                             -- Jason Carty, Nothing is Real podcast

14 March 2022
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I love how tetchy Paul is right from the start of this interview. (Content warning: there’s a racial slur around 1:37).

The link goes to what is possibly my favourite exchange in any Paul McCartney interview.

Q: There are parts of your work taken from twenties, thirties, music hall, vaudeville, parts taken from straight 50s rock, parts of today, and nice sort of comely chat with the kids as well

Paul: Yeah

Q: Where’s you audience Paul?

Paul: (pause for effect) In the theatre Dave.

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My hot take is that after the Beatles split they went down the paths of spiritualism, solipsism, alcoholism, and Paul McCartney

                                                                                                             -- Jason Carty, Nothing is Real podcast

24 March 2022
6.22pm
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?…..yStEvP7z0k

An unusually relaxed interview from Paul, around the time of Egypt Station.

Favourite quote (10 minutes in):

Q: When you do a record, like Egypt Station do you think this is the best work you’re doing of your life, right now?

Paul: That’s kinda difficult, ‘cos I was in the Beatles

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My hot take is that after the Beatles split they went down the paths of spiritualism, solipsism, alcoholism, and Paul McCartney

                                                                                                             -- Jason Carty, Nothing is Real podcast

24 March 2022
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Q: There are parts of your work taken from twenties, thirties, music hall, vaudeville, parts taken from straight 50s rock, parts of today, and nice sort of comely chat with the kids as well

Paul: Yeah

Q: Where’s you audience Paul?

Paul: (pause for effect) In the theatre Dave.

 

I’ve seen this interview and love it…the guy is throwing so much shade and Paul is just not having it. I like to see him get a bit annoyed and snarky, people that know him well hint at this aspect of his personality but the public rarely sees it as he’s usually so composed and private.

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27 March 2022
2.36pm
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t

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The Beatles Bible 2020 non-Canon Poll Part One: 1958-1963 and Part Two: 1964-August 1966

29 March 2022
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Interview from 1987. My favourite bit is when he starts talking about the “thick heads” who call his lyrics “soft”.

a-hard-days-night-paul-11

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My hot take is that after the Beatles split they went down the paths of spiritualism, solipsism, alcoholism, and Paul McCartney

                                                                                                             -- Jason Carty, Nothing is Real podcast

9 April 2022
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This might be somewhere upthread already, but I *loved* this article from 2018

https://www.gq.com/story/the-u…..-mccartney

the interviewer went out of his way to get Paul off the beaten track, and very successfully in my opinion.

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My hot take is that after the Beatles split they went down the paths of spiritualism, solipsism, alcoholism, and Paul McCartney

                                                                                                             -- Jason Carty, Nothing is Real podcast

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This interview has some annoying cuts. I’d love to hear the end of the story where Paul was listening to Revolver as it was about to come out and thought it was all out of tune.

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My hot take is that after the Beatles split they went down the paths of spiritualism, solipsism, alcoholism, and Paul McCartney

                                                                                                             -- Jason Carty, Nothing is Real podcast

1 July 2022
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My hot take is that after the Beatles split they went down the paths of spiritualism, solipsism, alcoholism, and Paul McCartney

                                                                                                             -- Jason Carty, Nothing is Real podcast

11 November 2022
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Came across the October 2005 edition of Record Collector earlier, which had a lengthy interview with Paul to coincide with the release of Chaos And Creation In The Backyard , and so after lots of typing, for your enjoyment…

THE FAB ONE

As the surviving half of the most important songwriting partnership of the 20th century, what keeps Paul McCartney motivated, and how does he deal with the weight of his own musical legacy? “What keeps me going is my love of music. Beats working for a living,” he tells JONATHAN WINGATE

 

We were meant to be meeting up near his Sussex studio, but as we got closer to our scheduled interview time, I am told that McCartney has simply run out of time for a face to face, so we have to talk on the telephone. Given that your correspondent is feeling utterly sick with nerves at the prospect of speaking to him, it may actually turn out to be a good thing.
   Having recently completed work on Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard, his 20th studio recording since The Beatles, and arguably his best set of songs since 1989’s Flowers In The Dirt , this afternoon he has to finish off some pre-production work for his forthcoming tour.
   In a few hours, McCartney is due to catch a flight to the US, where he will be playing for the next three months. It is his fastest-selling concert tour ever. The legend not only lives on, but seems to be growing as the years roll by.
   Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard was recorded in London and Los Angeles over the course of the past two years, and it is a return to basics for McCartney. It is the sort of record that his fans have been waiting for for years – a set of memorable, melodic, deceptively simple songs about love, loss and the passing of time.
   McCartney plays most of the instruments himself (drums, guitar, bass and keyboards, not to mention less traditional instruments, including flugelhorn and harmonium) and having enlisted the services of Nigel Godrich – best known for his groundbreaking work on Radiohead’s OK Computer – as co-producer, the album has an organic sound reminiscent of some of The Beatles’ later work and his 1970 McCartney set. Among the many highlights, there is a song entitled Jenny Wren, which he describes as “daughter of Blackbird “.
   “When Paul and I got together we had a common goal,” Godrich explains. “We wanted to make a great album that was true to Paul. I think that’s exactly what we did.”

The new album sounds like the warmest, most personal and intimate music you’ve recorded in years. It’s very reminiscent of the McCartney album, and at times, it reminded me of some of the White Album as well.
That’s great to hear, man. That’s a pretty heavy comparison. I must say, it’s an album I’m very proud of, so it’s great to hear that other people like it. I just did what I always do, which is just to write a bunch of songs about whatever grabs me at the time. I was vowing to myself that it was going to be a good record, because I knew I’d be going on tour, and I wanted to be able to play it proudly among the rest of my songs on tour.

Did you make a conscious decision to go back to basics?
Yeah, kind of, and that just sort of just evolved, really. I didn’t want to rush this album. I think it was worth the wait though. The music becomes more interesting over time, and I’m really proud of what we did. We made a lot of it up as we went along. I’d try something, and if it didn’t work I’d try something else until it did. It was like making a go-kart in the backyard.

How did you end up picking Nigel Godrich as producer?
What happened was that I rang up George Martin and said: who do you recommend as a cool producer these days? And after a bit of thought, he rang back a couple of days later and suggested Nigel. So we met up and started talking. We both agreed that we both wanted to make a really good record.
   He said: ‘I think it really has got to be you,’ which sounds obvious, but it gave me some sort of direction. Then we just started working together, and he started liking to hear me play drums, playing guitar and so on. So we started to build up a multitrack that way, and we started to layer various takes of me, which then started to create the type of feel you’re talking about… like the feel of the original McCartney album.

Did you know that that was the feel he had in mind for the album?
I didn’t have any idea we’d be going along those lines, but I think at the back of his mind, he did. So seeing as he was producing, I thought I’d hear him out and get the benefit of his opinion, and if any point it just gets too sort of boring or annoying, then I’ll just have to cop out and tell him I don’t want to do that. But it actually went the opposite way, and it got quite intriguing. You know, I started to think – oh, that’s not a bad noise. And the great thing is, Nigel is a very good engineer.

You mean he’s actually good at the technical aspects of recording as well as the more creative elements?
Yeah, he actually operated the board. Sometimes you’ll get an engineer and a producer, as in George Martin’s case. But Nigel actually operates the faders and twiddles the knobs, so that was good. I was starting to be very pleased with the kind of direction he was going with the sound, which as you say, was very organic, very straightforward and very strong.

It’s a very edgy sounding record, isn’t it?
I think so. I think we encouraged each other to do our best work. I mean, one of the things they say about someone like me who has had success and therefore who’s made money is that you run out of things to write about. You know, you’re not a young kid any more, and you’re not on the streets any more, so you’re not meeting up face to face with real people. There is some sort of sense in that, but in actual fact, I still do a lot of that. You know, I get on a bus in New York or I get on the tube, and I’ll just chat to the people.

Do you generally get left alone?
Well, the funny thing is, when you think about the tube, everyone gets left alone. Nobody talks to anyone on the tube, and so with me, people will sort of go: nah, it can’t be. I can get away with it if I fancy it. The point being that I still like that kind of contact. Some people who I know won’t move anywhere without a fleet of bodyguards.

But then presumably you can’t live any kind of normal life if you do that?
And that’s not my idea of fun. I lead a pretty face-to-face life with the public. So what I’m saying is that I think there’s still plenty to write about. On this album, instead of just looking at the pleasant side of everything, I also look at the darker side for that reason. I just say: well, what haven’t I written about recently? It’s not as if darker things don’t happen to me; they happen to everyone. But it’s whether you choose to examine it and then express it.
   I only realised when I’d finished the album that there’s a certain honesty in a song like Riding To Vanity Fair, which is a kind of dark song about the rejection of friendship. You know, you want to be friendly, someone rejects you, and the hurt that it causes. Instead of just bundling that away and ignoring it, this time I decided to write a song about it. So a bit more of that crept onto this album than might otherwise have happened. Thwn there’s this song, At The Mercy, and once again, I could see the way we were going, because I wrote that probably about halfway through the recording.

Could you see what direction the album was going pretty early on in the recording process?
I could see where Nigel was headed, in this kind of organic way, and I could see what kind of songs we needed on the album, and the standard of integrity we were reaching. So I could then start to write songs with that in mind, and At The Mercy was one of those. I just wrote it on a weekend off in LA, and I wanted to come into the studio the next day and sort of say: hey, Nige, listen to this. I just wanted something really fresh to present that fitted in with the album and what we’d recorded so far.

When you were recording with The Beatles, you would often come in with a song and immediately play it to the others, wouldn’t you?
Yeah, exactly. Well, you know, it’s always a nice way to do it, because it’s fresh for you, and it’s fresh for other people. There’s something exciting about recording a piece that’s only just been constructed. It’s just like a really hot meal. You know, it’s straight out the frying pan. Bang! Right – eat that. You know, you’ve just arrived in the studio, you’ve got a song, and you go: right, let’s look at this, and you hardly even know it.

Would you say that this is an intensely personal album? How much of it was informed by the loss of Linda and your marriage to Heather?
I think it’s about a lot of things that have happened to me… loss of John, loss of Linda, loss of George, marrying Heather, living in a completely new situation, loving another woman after losing such a great woman… I think all of that rolls up into a ball, and you find yourself drawing on a lot of that stuff. As I was saying earlier, I think a lot of people feel that when you get to my stage of the game, you’ve got nothing left to draw on, but there are a lot of things like that that are personal, quite intense things that I’ve drawn on for the album. Often, I’ve actually drawn on them unintentionally.

Would you say that a lot of the more personal themes of the songs quite subconscious?
Yeah, subconscious, ‘cos I don’t sort of craft a lyric and then sit down and craft a melody. I just sit down and ab lib. I find things and take lines I like, and I mess around and change a line and do this and do that. I sort of snatch things out of the air and just try a lot of stuff until something appeals to me.

Are you conscious of where your songs come from?
If I’m lucky, the song just starts to kind of write itself, and I just see where it’s going and jump on its back and ride it. I’m never really conscious of where I’m getting this from. Somewhere at the back of my mind, I know where I’m pulling it from. You know, I might do a line and think – ah, yes, that was that incident, but then the next line might fit in with it, although it might remind me of a completely different incident. So it’s kind of hard to analyse the songs for me.

Do you get quite self-conscious writing such personal lyrics?
I do get a bit self-conscious, but then you go – hey, come on, I’m an artist. Don’t be self-conscious. You do at first. The person in you gets a bit self-conscious and you think, oh, I’m really opening myself up here. But then you realise you’re an artist, you’re doing something that requires that kind of honesty, and so it doesn’t take long in the writing of the line to persuade yourself that this is the right thing to do. Just follow the track, and don’t worry about it. If it’s too intensely personal, you’ll change it. You know you’ve always got the freedom to do that, although I hardly ever find myself doing that. Nearly always, I think, yeah, well, it’s honest, it’s intense, it’s personal, but then again, so are some of the great novels I read. You know, that’s a strength, not a weakness.

Would you say that if a song doesn’t have that personal quality, then it loses its heart?
It can do. I think everything you do is rooted in you, and you can’t escape it. So for instance, you’ll see a novel where the author is a man, but he’s writing from a woman’s point of view, so you can’t apply logic to that. You go, well, how can he talk like a woman? But I mean, it’s art, and he is doing this thing where he’s pretending to be this woman, but at the same time, it’s still him writing it, and he’s drawing from his own experiences. There’s no way he can get away from it, even if he pretends to be a woman. I’m very aware of that.

Can you elaborate on that?
Well, I paint a bit, and for years, I couldn’t paint because I had this block about, you know, what is it gonna be about? What is the meaning? What is this painting going to signify? But then I realised that every little line you make, every little smudge, every time you apply a bit of paint, it sort of says something about you, whether you like it or not. There’s a line in my Paintings book, where I’m sort of saying to de Kooning, what is that, Bill? He said: ‘I don’t know. Looks like a couch, huh?’ And it blew my mind. It was like – yeah, OK. Now I’m gonna buy canvasses. Because I think that’s really true, but whether you intend to do something or not, something will happen that will have some kind of significance, ‘cos it’s you that’s doing it. I find that very freeing, particularly in painting or in music.

Do you often get too preoccupied with one line or a word within a song?
I talk to people occasionally about songwriting, and one of the dangers I used to find was getting hung up on a phrase or a word in the middle of a song. I know, because I’ve done it millions of times, and it might often have been when I wasn’t entirely straight. Now, I don’t do that. I completely write really straight now. I just find it so sort of clear, and it’s just the easiest way to do it.
   In fact, in The Beatles, everything John and I did was sort of straight. But what happened during my sort of ‘fuzzy’ period would be that I’d kind of go: ‘I’m walking down the road, I’m getting on a… bus? OK… I’m getting on a trolley?’ Oh no, should it be a bus or trolley or whatever? It’s a silly example, but you find you just spend about half an hour on this word bus, whereas now, I would just go: ‘Rolling down the road, I’m getting on a bus, I’m sitting behind a lady in a funny hat.’ De de de de de, and I just keep going.

So you mean you just became less self-conscious without the drugs?
Yeah, definitely.

The album is so vibey, it actually sounds like you’d had a few joints, and yet I’d read that you stopped smoking marijuana when you got together with Heather.
Yeah, I can hear that. Well, that’s the thing. Like I say, you can’t help it. You know, you are what you are.

Would you say that drugs have helped or hindered your creativity over the years?
You know, generally, I’m not sure they have helped. I think you think they’re helping. And I know a lot of people now who write high, and I keep wanting to sort of ring them up and say – try one straight, ‘cos I think it will be better. And as I said, the great thing was, you look back on it, John and I, all our writing, even in the middle of Sgt. Pepper and all that, it was all straight. I mean, we weren’t, but the writing was.
   We were always straight when we sat down to write, but because the period was so sort of stoned, then other things would take over socially and whatever. Also, it’s a kind of difficult subject to deal with these days for me. You know, having kids, you want to be able to give them the right advice and say to them that, generally speaking, drugs are only gonna mess you up. They’re not that cool. But they’ve found their way into society.
   I have quite a liberal view, but I find that I prefer to be straight. I think, also, you grow up, you know? But I’ve talked to people who’ve said: God , your conversation is so clear these days. It all used to be a bit hazy, man. And you thought you were having a great time, but I’d prefer to keep a little bit off that subject if you don’t mind, because I find that a little bit private these days.

At what point in The Beatles did you realise your life would never be the same again?
I sort of remember the exact incident. People were always sort of talking about fame and the price of fame and all of this. We were getting famous in England, and in one or two places like Paris, and maybe Spain, but we still used to be able to go off. Ringo and I, particularly, used to be able to get off to Greece, because it was far enough away for nobody to know who you were.
   And I remember hanging around with the hotel cabaret band and watching them rehearse, trying to persuade them that we were in quite a decent group back in England. You know, yeah, me and the other guy who’s at the swimming pool, we’re in this band called The Beatles. Well, they had no idea, so I always thought that no matter how famous we get, I can always come to Greece and they’ll never know who I am.
   And then, of course, we got to No. 1 in Greece, and I suddenly thought, OK, we’ve now reached the point of no return. I’ve actually got to make a decision now. Either I don’t want to be world famous and I want some privacy, or this thing is just too strong to resist, because I want to be in music this bad. And of course, you know which decision I made. That was the point at which I just sort of realised that the boltholes were closing down.

Did you find it frustrating that the public perception was that it was John who originally brought the avant-garde elements into The Beatles, yet you were the one who was listening to Stockhausen?
Yeah, I did at the time. Actually, no, at the time, it didn’t bother me, but as time went on, and actually after John was shot, then there started to be a bit of a reassessment, and it started to weigh against me. You know, people started to sort of say, oh well, yeah, John was the cool one, and Paul wasn’t.
   That was actually why Barry Miles rang me up and said: ‘Wait a minute, even before John did this, you were doing this, and even before Yoko came along, you were doing this. You’d started Indica, and you were into Stockhausen and all that sort of stuff. Look, you’ve got to put a book together, and even if people only read it in 20 years time, at least there’s got to be some record of what you did on that side of things.’ So we put together that book, Many Years From Now, just to remind ourselves. The good thing about Barry was that he was there, as he was working for Apple.
   You know, you don’t want to be the guy saying I did this, and I did that. It’s too immodest and a bit sort of unseemly to do that, so I didn’t want to, particularly in light of John not being there to answer for himself. So that was the reason behind the book, just to set it down from our point of view. Then people could believe it or not, but at least there was a chronological record of what came first. And obviously John became a great sort of figure in the avant-garde world, but there was just that feeling creeping in that I had just learned it all off of him. So Barry suggested – and I agreed with him – that we ought to correct that, just for posterity.

It was so exciting when you played Helter Skelter at Live 8.
Hey, that’s great, man. I tell you, a lot of people were excited about that. It was really good, because we’d done a soundcheck, and we knew the newspapers and the media were all going to be there, so if we’d just soundchecked exactly what we were gonna do, they were gonna give away our setlist. So we did too many at the soundcheck, so that out of the five or so that we were gonna do, we did them, but then we did another 10 around them so they wouldn’t quite know which ones we were gonna play. On purpose, we didn’t do Helter Skelter , so even the people who’d been there at the soundchecks didn’t expect it, so it was great. We were able to pull it right out of the hat.

Did you enjoy the gig?
I really did, actually. I was there all day, and I knew it was going to be a really memorable day, and it was for such a great cause, so I felt that historically it was going to be something really important in time, particularly if the G8 pull their fingers out and help and do what people have asked them to.
   And musically, playing with U2 was great, because I admire them. I hadn’t spent that much time with them, so it was really cool to just hang out in the trailer with the guys, just chatting about this and that. I hadn’t done that for a long time. It was cool, man, and the nice thing is, it was their idea.
   I think it was Bob and Bono who said: ‘We’d like you to open up with Sgt. Pepper ‘. You know, ‘It was 20 years ago today’. So I said great, sounds like a good idea to me. That was a thrill. Then I hung around all day, just kicking around, and then finally being part of the closing, and doing The Long And Winding Road thing, and as you say, slipping in Helter Skelter . It was a great day.

Does it give you a thrill that you have got a whole new generation of people discovering your music now?
It does, yeah. From the word go, when you’re semi-professional, you’re trying to do well. You know, you’re trying to do a good gig, and if people respond in your audience, then it’s a thrill. Right through The Beatles when people responded incredibly well, then during the early days of Wings when we had to work at it, and then when Wings got really popular and we were getting the response, and right through my solo career.
   But now, we’re in a new sort of phase, because I’ve got all that track record that people can listen to, The Beatles and Wings, and Flaming Pie and all of the newer stuff. Now I’ve got a new band, and we’ve done Glastonbury, we’ve done the Superbowl, and we played to half a million people in Rome. So we’re doing things that I’ve never done before. You know, I mean, hell, we played to a lot of people with The Beatles, but never half a million. And then Live i8 again, for great reasons, so you’re not only just having a thrill playing, you’re actually saying something politically, so that adds to the thrill quite a lot.

Is leaving behind a legacy important to you, or do you not really care what people think of your standing in musical history?
Nah, it’s great. I think you have to be lying for anyone to say it didn’t matter. I mean, why do you get into this thing? Like I said before, you get into this to do well. Why does anyone get into anything? You get into any work or any pursuit to do well, and it doesn’t matter what form that takes – whether you want to make the greatest paintings ever or the greatest poetry ever. I can’t see anyone getting into it and going: I really wanna do badly. Everyone who takes on any kind of job just wants to do well, so for me, having a good legacy is a thrill.
   I could already stop and have a great legacy, but I’m not counting, you know. I’m not trying to add to the pile, but then, say, look at this year, and I did Live 8, so suddenly that’s added another little story to the thing, and it’s kind of exciting. I’m really looking forward to going on tour in America.

Do you think the songs you’re doing now can stand alongside your previous work without looking out of place?
Well, that’s the nice thing. That was why I said at the beginning of this album, getting involved with Nigel, I said: I’m determined to make a good album, because I like the idea that you could be doing some new stuff that would fit in. I did a little show in Abbey Road the other night just demonstrating some of the new songs and playing around with some of the old songs, and I did feel good that they kind of matched up. It’s pretty wild.

Do you remember writing your first song?
I wrote a little song called I Lost My Little Girl when I was 14, and then when I was about 16, I wrote the tune for When I’m Sixty-Four , so I did quite a little bit of stuff early on.

Are you amazed at the enduring power of a song like Yesterday ?
I woke up one morning with the tune for Yesterday in my head. It was just there. So when people ask me if I believe in magic and stuff, I say, well, I have to, because there it is, and it’s been recorded by over 3000 people and I have no idea how I wrote that tune except that I woke up and I had this tune in my head. And I got to the piano, and I’m just glad I remembered it, because it would have been a little bit of a pity to forget it. Originally the lyrics were: ‘Scrambled eggs, oh my baby, how I love your legs,’ and that was just a sort of little joke to help me remember the tune. I put lyrics to it a few weeks after that and then recorded it.
   I knew it was a nice song. You do get a very strong feeling when a song is good. It feels different to just an ordinary song when you’ve written it. You know, you can tell. You just go – that’s a good one. But it was really when George Martin suggested putting on the strings, and I sort of thought, nah, not really, George. It doesn’t need it. And being the ultimate diplomat, he said: ‘Well, let’s try it, and then if you don’t like it, we can take the strings off’. So I said, yeah, OK, let’s try it. It was really only when I heard those strings on it that I thought, oh dear, this is something special. But still then, I had no idea that 3000 people would be interested in it enough to record it. Unbelievable.
   The truth is, and I often think this, but that one achievement is enough for anyone’s lifetime. Right there. So, I mean, how lucky am I? Because I’ve got that achievement, then I’ve got the guy who wrote Let It Be achievement, and then I’ve got the ‘he was in The Beatles’ achievement. It’s pretty staggering.

Given your place in musical history and the weight of expectation that surrounds every album you make, would you say that you can over-think things?
Yeah, I think that it’s probably easy to have that happen, and it is something I’m very aware of. I’m always a little bit aware that people might be intimidated by that when I meet them, so I’ll always make a point of trying to put everyone at ease, including myself, of course. I do that so that we just get on a real one-to-one basis pretty soon in the conversation, and it’s the same in music.
   I sometimes realise, and I think: OK, everyone in this room knows I’m famous. Or if I’m going to meet someone in a meeting or something, and he knows I’m famous, and I don’t know this guy from a bar of soap, as my Australian manager used to say. I come into the room, and instead of just sort of sitting there and letting things unfold, I’ll get in the person’s face and say: right, what shall we do? Let’s have a cup of tea.
   I do it in the street a lot. I was on a bus in New York, and some black lady says: ‘Hey, you Paul McCartney ? What are you doing on this bus?’ And so I go: I don’t want any trouble off you, love, alright? Never mind me, what are you doing on this bus? Stop shouting and come and sit by me. And they all start giggling. I’ll do that sort of in your face kind of thing. I’m aware that people might get intimidated, although certainly not this black lady. She wasn’t gonna get intimidated by anyone.
   So I’ll come forward rather than sort of being the shrinking violet. I’m also very aware of that in music, so rather than just be someone who rests on his laurels and says – oh, I’ve done a lot of good stuff, and that’s enough – I would try and get in my own face and say, yeah, but why not do another one and see what you can do? I find that’s more interesting, it’s more human, and it’s more real life.

When did you last meet someone that didn’t know who you were?
It tends to happen in places like India or Jamaica, for instance, where the person in the record shop will know who you are, but the people on the street don’t know who you are, because they don’t live that kind of life; they haven’t got a television, they haven’t got a radio, and if they’ve got a record player, it’s to play Indian artists or reggae artists.

And do you quite enjoy that?
Oh yeah. It’s great. The nicest example of that was quite a few years ago now. I was in Jamaica, and my kids had discovered some little puppies behind a stall in the market. There was this nice Jamaican lady there running the market stall, and my hair was a bit long, and she said: ‘Are you American?’ And I said no, I’m British. And then she said: ‘Oh, you are a subject too’. And I thought, you’ve got me in one, baby. That’s it. I love that. You know, that’s all I am – subject of the Queen. So those kind of places, I don’t get recognised, but I tend to in urban areas. In London or New York, I’ll get recognised all the time. Anywhere in Britain tends to be like that, just ‘cos most people have got telly’s and radios and they read newspapers.

And they’re quite likely to have a few of your records as well.
They might even have some of my records, hmmm.

Do you care what the media says about you and your music?
I don’t actually read it. I’ve kind of given that up. What used to happen was, people would say: oh, there’s a great review in so and so, and there would just be one sentence I’d hate, so I just thought, you know, I don’t need that. You know these people don’t know you, and so they can take such strange angles on some of these things that you just feel weird. So I don’t really bother too much. Someone might say: that was a weird article about you the other day, and then it reminds me why I didn’t read it. You know, your legend can just get bigger than you could ever possiblybe, and it just walks ahead of you. I think that’s what’s frightening.
   I know who I am, and I know what I’ve done, and I know that a lot of it’s been good, because I’ve been told it’s been good. Also, I’ve got my own opinion, and I think a lot of it was good.
   The main thing for me is that I’ll be walking down the street, and someone will just come up to me and very quickly sort of say: ‘Excuse me, I really don’t want to bother you, but I’ve just got to thank you for the music. You know, you’ve helped me out of some terrible times’. And that is like the big pay off. I’ve read this thing that your biggest fans are the ones you never see, because they dig you, and they get it so much that they would never come up to you in the street. I think it’s true.
   I remember a great story about Joyce Grenfell and this woman who wrote to her for about 40 years, and they were the most intimate of pen pals. The woman happened across Joyce at a book signing once, and after all this 40 years of pen pals thing, she saw her, and she got within about 20 yards of her and decided not to say hello. It was just too much. She couldn’t do it, you know. I think that’s kind of cool in some ways – that there’s just so much respect, you can write to each other, but you don’t want to sort of break the spell.

They say you should never meet your heroes just in case you’re disappointed.
Yeah, well. You know, ‘cos you’ve got an image in your mind.

Did you feel like that when you met Elvis?
Oh yeah. No, but it was great. I still can’t believe I actually met Elvis you know. ‘Cos when I think of all the time gone by now, but I did. I did! It’s on record, and I remember it, but the funny thing is, when we were doing the Anthology, me, George and Ringo all remembered differently how we met Elvis.
   I remember driving to his house in one of the canyons in LA, and I remember him coming to the door, letting us in and sitting us down on a big couch. He had a big bass guitar nearby and he was playing it. I also remember him looking great, and all of us thinking: this is Elvis! It’s like being in the presence of God , you know. It was wonderful, but scary.
   And then he pulls out this contraption, and the channel changes on the television. It was a remote, but we’d never even seen one. Then he was playing Mohair Sam all evening on his jukebox, and there was a pool table at the back. But Ringo remembered him never getting up off the couch the whole evening, so you never know who remembered it right. But it was fantastic, and I’m a major fan of his. It’s really just like a dream now… it really is like some dream I had once. But in actual fact, it was real. I still have to pinch myself and remember it.

Do you find the modern obsession with youth frustrating? If you were a painter, an author or a classical composer, your age wouldn’t even be relevant.
Oh yeah. I think it’s always been there though, if you think about it. You know, there’s always been teeny-bopper type things, and you’ve got to remember, Sinatra was a slip of a lad when he first started, and I don’t think it’s very different from that. I think it’s more image related these days, and it is a bit depressing, but there’s always been lousy groups with pretty faces.

When The Beatles first started, were you aware that you made a lot of the old guard look redundant overnight?
Yeah, I know. I remember the first big famous one who felt like that was Benny Goodman. He sort of complained that, ooh, these crappy new groups were knocking out all this great talent, but you know, you’ve got to hold your own. We always liked him, and we didn’t want to knock anyone out of the water. I’m a huge fan of Nat ‘King’ Cole, Fred Astaire, Sinatra… I love all those guys now than I ever did. In a way, it was kinda good, because we were young, up and coming, and it was a competition we were in, so we were glad to win it. But at the same time, we didn’t want to knock anyone out of the water, so we were a little saddened by that, actually.

It must depress you when you think that it’s only you and Ringo left now?
Err, it doesn’t make me too happy. Yeah, it’s true, man. Well, you know, half The Beatles have gone to the happy hunting grounds in the sky… awa’ the noo. But of course it does. To have lost two of your best mates is, um, very sad.

Do you think about them all of the time?
Yeah, sure. I think, you know, I’m very lucky in one respect. I think of great moments with them most of the time… nearly always. I don’t sort of think about the more difficult moments, those tend to go like rainy days on a holiday. You tend to sort of forget about them. I remember the great, great, great things, and there are so many of those.

What is your fondest memory of your time in The Beatles?
Oh, I don’t know really. I mean, just one comes to mind there; we were driving north on the motorway in the early 60s, and it was freezing, and it was fog and ice and snow and everything. And I think a brick or a stone hit the window of the van that Mal, our roadie, was driving. So we had to knock the window out, so it was even more freezing. And so my classic memory of The Beatles – it just happens to come to mind there – was Mal continued driving, and we just lay on the back seat on top of each other in a Beatle sandwich to keep warm. It was the only way the four of us could keep warm, and we had quite a giggle.

What are your main motivations now? What keeps you going?
Just my love of music, love of what I do, love of audiences. I like my job, you know.

Beats working, right?
Beats working for a living, man.

And how would you like to be remembered?
I’d like to be remembered with a smile.

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The Beatles Bible 2020 non-Canon Poll Part One: 1958-1963 and Part Two: 1964-August 1966

12 November 2022
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I wonder what Paul means when he said

Would you say that drugs have helped or hindered your creativity over the years?
You know, generally, I’m not sure they have helped. I think you think they’re helping. And I know a lot of people now who write high, and I keep wanting to sort of ring them up and say – try one straight, ‘cos I think it will be better. And as I said, the great thing was, you look back on it, John and I, all our writing, even in the middle of Sgt. Pepper and all that, it was all straight. I mean, we weren’t, but the writing was.
   We were always straight when we sat down to write, but because the period was so sort of stoned, then other things would take over socially and whatever. “

So he and John wrote straight while they were high before and after the song-writing?

Now today I find, you have changed your mind

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