At 74, Paul McCartney is probably the biggest living legend in music history. He’s a 21-time Grammy winner. He’s written or co-written 32 Billboard No. 1 hit songs. He’s a two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a Kennedy Center Honoree, he’s been knighted by the Queen of England and above all, he’s a founding member of one of the biggest bands of all time - the Beatles.
McCartney is currently dazzling crowds and driving them wild on his One on One World Tour. On August 15, he played to a sold-out stadium at Grand Rapids’ Van Andel Arena (for the first time ever) and MLive writer John Serba penned a glowing review noting “even the zillion-dollar production couldn’t swallow his joyous Paulness.”
If you’ve been lucky enough to share the same air space with Paul McCartney at a live show at any time in his long and illustrious career, then you can rest knowing you witnessed a true musical genius perform at least once in your life. The energy at one of his shows is alive, electric, and palpable. There is no concert like a McCartney concert because there is no other living singer-songwriter like him.
McCartney and his Beatles mates John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr changed the face of music and their iconic song catalog has influenced scores of bands and solo artists who followed them. Something about seeing Sir Paul McCartney sitting smack in the middle of a wooden stool with his signature smile and his hands shoved casually in his jean pockets on the Aug. 25 cover of Rolling Stone screamed “Must. Have. Now!”
Rolling Stone Senior Writer David Fricke delivered a fantastic piece that offers a sweet and satisfying read in a “sit down in an armchair and turn the pages” kind of way. McCartney comes across amazingly real and very humble, given his megastar status. Here are five great tidbits from the in-depth interview, which spans five pages, beginning on p. 34.
1) Teenage Paul McCartney May Have Penned a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
The interview opens on p. 34 with the “Love Me Do” singer recalling (and singing) one of his first never-recorded songs that he co-wrote with his pal John Lennon called “Just Fun.” He says he wrote the lyrics in a school-exercise book and wrote “A Lennon-McCartney original” in the top right-hand corner of the page. Wow. Imagine if those two young Brits knew then, what kind of impact their songwriting partnership would someday have on the world! Lennon and McCartney went on to write more than 180 songs together for the Beatles and beyond. They even penned the Rolling Stones’ first UK Top 20 single with “I Wanna Be Your Man.”
2) Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono Get Along Great
Despite reports of feuds between Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono from the years the Beatles played together, to the band’s split and years following John Lennon’s tragic death, McCartney said his current relationship with Ono is “really good.” Even though he admitted having early resistance to her relationship with Lennon he said, “Now it’s like we’re mates. I like Yoko.”
3) On “Let It Be” Re-Release and Lost Beatles Tapes
McCartney is all for a “Let It Be” film re-release and he has “no bloody idea” what’s holding it up. He’s mentioned it more than once (to unnamed parties) with no action, to date. He also confirmed tapes of Beatles recording session banter do exist. Even one in which Lennon calls him a “soft a**” for forgetting his guitar pick during “I Saw Her Standing There.” When asked about a “raw” tapes release, the “Yesterday” crooner said, “Is it worthwhile? I don’t know.”
4) John Lennon was an Irreplaceable Music Partner
John Lennon was taken from all of us much too soon on December 8, 1980, when Mark David Chapman gunned him down outside his New York apartment. The world still mourns his death more than 30 years later. Paul McCartney has maintained a huge solo career and has worked with a myriad of artists since. However, nothing beats his musical bond with Lennon. He said, “We were on the same escalator, all the way. It’s irreplaceable, that friendship and bonding.” And as for current music advisors, he added, “You can’t top John. And John couldn’t top Paul.”
5) Sir Paul is an Involved Dad
Paul McCartney has five kids and he strives to be “full-on” with his youngest, 13-year-old daughter Beatrice. He gets up in the morning, gets her breakfast and checks in with her teachers. Can you even imagine the stir he would create at a parent-teacher conference?