‘Pretty Boys’ is the third song on McCartney III, Paul McCartney’s solo album written and recorded during the Covid-19 lockdown.

It’s about male models. I’d read an article about a group of male models who were suing one or two photographers because they’d been abused and humiliated by them.

Some of the photographers they were talking about I knew. Now, I didn’t actually know what they got up to in those particular sessions, but because I’d been photographed by them, I did know that the modus operandi of these photographers was to say, ‘Come on, baby. Come on, give it to me. Come on, fuck me. Oh, show me that tit…’

In other words, they tended to be extremely vulgar. It used to come with the territory… That’s why I wondered whether some of these models just didn’t understand the murky territory they’d entered. It may also be that the photographers went further and touched the models inappropriately. That I don’t know, but this song is fictional, and I was imagining the models getting upset simply because of the vulgar attitude that these photographers had.

It always starts from the song. That’s kind of how some of this started. When he did ‘Pretty Boys’, he sat down and said ‘I’ve got this really nice little thing I’ve been working on’. It was a riff that he’s had going for ages, I recognised it from way back when he started playing it. He just sat down with an acoustic and knocked out the vocal and the acoustic at the same time. Then it just developed.
Keith Smith, McCartney’s studio technical manager

Paul McCartney's handwritten lyrics for Pretty Boys

Previous song: ‘Find My Way’
Next song: ‘Women And Wives’
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