McCartney (Deluxe Version) [Remastered] - Paul McCartney

As promotional copies of McCartney were being prepared for the press, Apple's press officer Derek Taylor contacted its creator to enquire as to whether any interviews would be forthcoming. The musician declined, saying "I can't deal with the press. I hate all those Beatles questions."

Instead, Paul McCartney agreed to answer questions submitted by Taylor, which would be included with review copies. The resulting press release contained a number of additional questions written and answered by McCartney, in which he laid bare the cracks within The Beatles and Apple Corps.

He was only supposed to write out information explaining how he made his album. Instead he hands us this interview with himself asking questions such as would he miss Ringo. It was entirely gratuitous. Nobody asked him that question. He asked that question himself.
Derek Taylor
You Never Give Me Your Money, Peter Doggett

The press copies were delivered on 9 April 1970. The media scrambled into action, led by Don Short at the Daily Mirror who wrote an exclusive headlined "Paul is quitting The Beatles".

The newspaper was published the following day and caused a worldwide sensation. Although speculation had been rife for the previous six months, confirmation that The Beatles were no more still came as a shock to many.

The world reaction was like 'The Beatles Have Broken Up – It's Official' – we'd known it for months. So that was that, really. I think it was the press who misunderstood. The record had come with this weird explanation on a questionnaire of what I was doing. It was actually only for them. I think a few people thought it was some weird move of me to get publicity, but it was really to avoid having to do the press.
Paul McCartney

Although McCartney did not directly say that The Beatles had split up, his disparaging comments about the group, their management by Allen Klein and his assertion that Lennon-McCartney would not become an active songwriting team effectively cut the ties.

McCartney's actions also angered John Lennon, who had left the group some months ago but was persuaded to keep quiet while their final album Let It Be - here twice referred to by McCartney by its working title Get Back - was due for release.

The press release was divided into two parts. The first was McCartney's questionnaire; the second detailed the songs on his album.

Q: Why did you decide to make a solo album?
A: Because I got a Studer four-track recording machine at home - practiced on it (playing all instruments) - liked the results, and decided to make it into an album.

Q: Were you influenced by John's adventures with the Plastic Ono Band, and Ringo's solo LP?
A: Sort of, but not really.

Q: Are all songs by Paul McCartney alone?
A: Yes sir.

Q: Will they be so credited: McCartney?
A: It's a bit daft for them to be Lennon/McCartney credited, so "McCartney" it is.

Q: Did you enjoy working as a solo?
A: Very much. I only had me to ask for a decision, and I agreed with me. Remember Linda's on it too, so it's really a double act.

Q: What is Linda's contribution?
A: Strictly speaking she harmonizes, but of course it's more than that because she's a shoulder to lean on, a second opinion, and a photographer of renown. More than all this, she believes in me - constantly.

Q: Where was the album recorded?
A: At home, at EMI (no. 2 studio) and at Morgan Studios (Willesden!)

Q: What is your home equipment (in some detail)?
A: Studer four-track machine. I only had, however, one mike, and as Mr Pender, Mr Sweatenham and others only managed to take six months or so (slight delay) I worked without VU meters or a mixer, which meant that everything had to be listened to first (for distortion etc...) then recorded. So the answer - Studer, one mike, and nerve.

Q: Why did you choose to work in the studios you chose?
A: They were available. EMI is technically very good and Morgan is cozy.

Q: The album was not known about until it was nearly completed. Was this deliberate?
A: Yes, because normally an album is old before it even comes out. (aside) Witness GET BACK.

Q: Why?
A: I've always wanted to buy a Beatles album like people do and be as surprised as they must be. So this was the next best thing. Linda and I are the only two who will be sick of it by the release date. We love it really.

Q: Are you able to describe the texture or the feel of the album in a few words?
A: Home, family, love.

Q: How long did it take to complete?
A: From just before (I think) Xmas, until now. THE LOVELY LINDA was the first thing I recorded at home, and was originally to test the equipment. That was around Xmas.

Q: Assuming all the songs are new to the public, how new are they to you? Are they recent
A: One was from 1959 (HOT AS SUN). Two are from India - JUNK and TEDDY BOY, and the rest are pretty recent. VALENTINE DAY, MOMMA MISS AMERICA and OO YOU were ad-libbed on the spot.

Q: Which instruments have you played on the album?
A: Bass, drums, acoustic guitar, lead guitar, piano and organ-mellotron, toy xylophone, bow and arrow.

Q: Have you played all these instruments on earlier recordings?
A: Yes, drums being the one that I normally wouldn't do.

Q: Why did you do all the instruments yourself?
A: I think I'm pretty good.

Q: Will Linda be heard on all future records?
A: Could be. We love singing together and have plenty of opportunity for practice.

Q: Will Paul and Linda become a John and Yoko?
A: No, they will become Paul and Linda.

Q: What has recording alone taught you?
A: That to make your own decisions about what you do is easy, and playing with yourself is very difficult, but satisfying.

Q: Who has done the artwork?
A: Linda has taken all the photos, and she and I designed the package.

Q: Is it true that neither Allen Klein nor ABKCO have been nor will be in any way involved with the production, manufacturing, distribution or promotion of this new album?
A: Not if I can help it.

Q: Did you miss the other Beatles and George Martin? Was there a moment when you thought, 'I wish Ringo were here for this break?'
A: No.

Q: Assuming this is a very big hit album, will you do another?
A: Even if it isn't, I will continue to do what I want, when I want to.

Q: Are you planning a new album or single with the Beatles?
A: No.

Q: Is this album a rest away from the Beatles or the start of a solo career?
A: Time will tell. Being a solo album means it's "the start of a solo career..." and not being done with the Beatles means it's just a rest. So it's both.

Q: Is your break with the Beatles temporary or permanent, due to personal differences or musical ones?
A: Personal differences, business differences, musical differences, but most of all because I have a better time with my family. Temporary or permanent? I don't really know.

Q: Do you foresee a time when Lennon-McCartney becomes an active songwriting partnership again?
A: No.

Q: What do you feel about John's peace effort? The Plastic Ono Band? Giving back the MBE? Yoko's influence? Yoko?
A: I love John, and respect what he does - it doesn't really give me any pleasure.

Q: Were any of the songs on the album originally written with the Beatles in mind?
A: The older ones were. JUNK was intended for ABBEY ROAD, but something happened. TEDDY BOY was for GET BACK, but something happened.

Q: Were you pleased with ABBEY ROAD? Was it musically restricting?
A: It was a good album. (No. 1 for a long time.)

Q: What is your relationship with Klein?
A: It isn't. I am not in contact with him, and he does not represent me in ANY way.

Q: What is your relationship with Apple?
A: It is the office of a company which I part own with the other three Beatles. I don't go there because I don't like offices or business, especially when I am on holiday.

Q: Have you any plans to set up an independent production company?
A: McCartney Productions.

Q: What sort of music has influenced you on this album?
A: Light and loose.

Q: Are you writing more prolifically now? Or less so?
A: About the same. I have a queue waiting to be recorded.

Q: What are your plans now? A holiday? A musical? A movie? Retirement?
A: My only plan is to grow up!

17 responses on “McCartney

  1. mr. Sun king coming together

    This album is written off quite easily, because Abbey Road to this isn`t great, but this album might reveal the most about Paul`s state of mind at this time. I love it!!

    1. Sal

      I disagree Mr. Sun King, , Abby Road was superior musically and vocally compared to “McCartney”. This album was put together very quickly in haste.
      His second album “Ram” was written well.

  2. robert

    Great article Joe – a couple of thoughts – when the album first came out most of us thought the reversed placement of the actual disk was based on McCartney being left-handed so he made a left-handed album.

    The cherry cover we always heard represented a broken cherry – meaning Paul’s first solo album.

    Just something to think about.

    1. Dave Schulps

      I’ve always interpreted it as a play on the idea of “life is just a bowl of cherries,” with the implication being that at that time the cherries were out of the bowl, therefore, no bowl of cherries for him.

    2. Albert Cunning

      I just got the idea into my head that they’re not cherries, but cranberries, and that the cover was meant as an allusion to the Paul-is-dead rumours at the time. Cranberry sauce on a zebra crossing line. I might be wrong.

  3. Jake

    I’m guessing is was done more out of anger or maybe a feeling that he was trapped in the Beatle implosion and he had to do something. So he did it all on his own. I’m looking forward to “Mccartney” I love it. It’s very listenable. “Ram” even better.

  4. Tweeze

    The thing that is forgotten in the history of all of this, mostly by people who didn’y live through it, was that Paul was considered by all who believed they knew him to be some kind of musical genius and, unfortunately for him, he threatened to unleash upon the world music that would put the world ‘on its ear’ once he was free from the Beatles. So, having that, and because he threw such a fuss to get this collection to market, we were all quite hyped. Perhaps we should not have allowed ourselves to be subject to expectations. George said it best in the article. Perhaps Paul believed his own hype? You can’t possibly live as he and the others did for all of those years and not get caught up.

  5. Keith Bates

    This album gave 1970s musicians a blueprint for multitracking and home recording, one of the most famous musicians on the planet producing a successful album at home, with roughcuts being displayed alongside polished gems. The album allows you to hear bad edits and tape machine glitches, outtakes, half-baked ideas and unfinished tracks all spliced in together. It comes across as heartfelt and intimate. And an object lesson in sound-sketching and experimentation; close-miked mouth-music, overdubbed yet still sounding spontaneous, and a collage approach to songwriting and compiling album tracks. This was do-it-yourself punkiness in sharp contrast to Phil Spector’s overproduction that ruined the Let It Be recordings.

    1. James Ferrell


      And I always thought it was interesting that both Paul’s and John’s first post-Beatles albums were so raw and intimate. It’s like they were both still in sync. Warm and intimate in Paul’s case, angstful and intimate in John’s. Both great records.

  6. Surfeast

    This is one of my all time favorite albums, probably due to the raw and primitive tracks which counter the polished sounds of the last Beatles albums and future Wings efforts. It shows that the recording techniques while revolutionary at that time were only a part of the real mix with such talented guys like McCartney creating memorable grooves.

  7. J. Allen Crute

    Like many, either involved in the music industry or just enjoying the sounds, I looked forward to the individual albums to hear their own voices. Both John and Paul surprised me by producing albums that suggested they were tired of impressing us with slick, polished, commercialized works. They, too, were human. Lying on a couch, listening to McCartney for the first time with headphones, I felt as if I had been invited into his home – a home of genuine love. Forgive me for sounding dramatic, but that day changed my life.

    Like the film, “Across the Universe,” my own life of peace, love and flowers in our hair had fallen into a dark hole of job hopping, broken relationships, friend’s overdoses, and anger over all of the world problems that were everyone else’s fault. “McCartney” was a wake-up call for me.
    I walked out of my friend’s house, sans leather colors and weapons. I moved into my own apartment, got a better job, better friends, and reunited with a forgotten spiritual life of genuine love, joy and fellowship. Even two FBI agents came for a friendly visit, curious about the changes.

    No, I didn’t start a McCartney Cult Fan Club. Ironically, however, I met Linda’s sister ten years later when we both worked for the same broadcasting company. While I neglected to take advantage of that to finagle a meeting across the pond, I was able to share my thoughts with her; we both shared similar changes and each other’s company.

    Just saying – some albums go beyond chords, riffs and mixes. Music was our medium for personal, spiritual and social changes, and McCartney continued that in a surprising way of suggesting that everything doesn’t have to be “great.” Imperfect simplicity, while basking in love and family intimacy, makes “good” even better.

  8. Art

    I don’t have a contemporaneous impression of the album (I was only nine at the time but was a big Beatles fan and can recall listening to their music from about age four) but hearing the material in full for the first time some 40 years after release I understand both the criticism and praise of it. I can imagine it may have been underwhelming and disappointing to many who plunked down $5 to buy it at the time. Even today I wonder why Paul didn’t bother to work some of what are barely past motives into fuller/complete songs. On the other hand no matter how consciously he went about it, this is the only document he left reflecting how he felt and what he produced on his estrangement from the group after its practical breakup and pending the formal acknowledgement or announcement of that fact. I think it has some fascinating sounds on it and it has a lot of merit from this perspective. “Charmless” is a word I seen mention in connection with the album but it sounds quite the opposite to me. It sounds very charming – as if you’d been invited to tea at Paul and Linda’s and he demoed a bunch of tunes for you during the visit.

  9. Billy Shears

    Well spoken Art. I always liked “Every Night” and thought it could have made its way onto a Beatle album along with “Maybe I’m amazed” and the single “Another day”. All three seem to work together and compliment each other. The rest of the songs from Paul from that specific time period often don’t seem to make the grade. Although I must say that I still prefer Paul’s stuff on “McCartney” and “Ram” to much of Lennon’s anger, self-lothing and political angst on his albums within the same time period. ( There are exceptions such as “Love” and “Imagine”).

  10. Graham Paterson

    With the fullness of time, this album is rightly now seen in a better light than when it was first released. John Lennon and George Harrison came out with masterpieces in 1970. Whilst McCartney was not, two of his best songs are on this. Every Night and Maybe I’m Amazed are beautiful songs and Paul McCartney at his best. I know a live version of the latter was released on 45, a few years later, but the studio version of Maybe I’m Amazed would have been a massive hit if it had been a single. Which I believe it should have been.

  11. Bachman

    McCartney at his best, this was simple and great..Paul treated us to his creative genious at work..yes some of the material not finished or polished..but that is the door he opened for us…as if we were in the Studio with him…as he was creating and recording.

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