If it's your own history, you might as well use it. In Augustduring a brief break from one of their final recording sessions, the four members of the Beatles were photographed in mid-stride on the London crosswalk a few yards from where they were working.
In the photo used on the Abbey Road sleeve, Paul McCartney is out of stride with the other three Beatles, and is also the only Beatle barefoot. These chance details would later be taken as principal pieces of "evidence" for a conspiracy theory that still inspires a significant literature to this day: that in late the real McCartney had died in an accident the that at the time of this photo he had been replaced by an impostor who has played the role of "Paul McCartney" ever since.
He didn't; he hadn't. Your coffee table could use some style. Click here to subscribe to GQ. Ever since, fans and tourists have been lining up here, day in, day out, blocking traffic as they duplicate this photo. And so when, around lunchtime on a sunny day in July, one more man re-creates that iconic scene while his daughter films him, it would be nothing in the least unusual.
Except that, on this occasion, the man doing so happens to be one of those original four walkers, following his own distant footsteps. Paul McCartney is 76 years old. Today, he is on his way to the studio where most sex the Beatles' records were recorded, as well as a fair few of those he has made since, to play an invitation-only lunchtime concert.
All of this—the concert which, it now beingis for Spotifythe video from the crosswalk which, it now beingswiftly radiates around the world from McCartney's Instagramand plenty else in the surrounding weeks—is to drum up excitement for a new Paul McCartney album called Egypt Station. If you imagine that by now McCartney might have reached the point where he would relax and look back with cozy satisfaction on his life's achievements, only releasing new music just for the pure pleasure of it, happy to let it slip out into the world and find its own audience…well, then you're already very wrong about both who Paul McCartney is and who he ever was.
One of the first things McCartney will say to me when we meet is "I'm still very competitive," another is "Do you know anyone who doesn't have insecurities? A dominant but wrongheaded myth of the modern celebrity era is that great fame and success changes people. There are ways in which it sometimes can, of course, but what is far more notable is that we are who we are, and that—no matter how much fame and acclaim and money and experience are added to the equation—we tend to change very little, both for better and for worse.
At the other side of it all, more often than not we discover ourselves to be who we already were. That's one of the many subjects McCartney will reflect upon in a series of conversations we have over these weeks—conversations that will sometimes turn out to be far more intense, and flat-out weirder, than you might expect.
Right now, though, he has a concert to play. A raised stage is set up in Abbey Road's studio 2, and a couple beatles hundred people stand in front of it, more than a few of them familiar faces, these mostly consorting with one another in a cluster on the right-hand side of the room, among them Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler, Kylie Minogue, J.
McCartney's photographer daughter Mary, who shot the crosswalk moment, and his son, James, are also here, as is his wife, Nancy. Performances like this sex often as perfunctory as they are intimate and select—a few new songs to promote the project of the moment, a couple of old ones thrown in to sweeten the pot, and everyone can go home having had their special moment. But that's not the Paul McCartney way. He and his band play for nearly an hour and three-quarters: new songs, Wings songs, early-period Beatles songs, later-period Beatles songs, peppered with lots of nostalgic between-song chat; 3 luxuriating in the history he has created, even as he continues to extend a the beyond it.
For instance, between two songs that demonstrate how what the Beatles did in this building progressed "Love Me Do" and "We Can Work It Out"he begins to relate the traditional evolution-of-the-Beatles lore that "at a certain point, we started to like… smoking " and explains how this was something they needed to hide from their producer George Martin, "because he was a grown-up.
When they felt the need for relaxation and inspiration, that was where they would go, and although, at first, they thought this was a room that wasn't being used, they soon discovered their mistake. The echo chamber was connected to every studio in the building, and whenever an echo was required during a recording session in any of these studios, audio would be fed without warning down into the echo chamber where they'd holed themselves up.
So the Beatles learned to sit there and smoke sex silence, and as they did this, every so often a disembodied boom of a voice would surround them "all these big vocals coming, Tom Jones, Manfred Mann" and echo round the chamber—also bouncing off some slightly spaced-out Beatles—before being recorded back in whichever studio it had come from. I first meet McCartney a few weeks earlier at the Sex office the has kept since the late '70s in Soho Square in the center of town.
Before we take a seat, he walks to the window; down below, Londoners are spread beatles the lawns in the square, eating and sunbathing. Years ago I used to work close by, in my first real job, and this square was a place we'd sometimes go in the middle of the day, so—as much as anything to cover the oddity of standing here staring out a window with Paul McCartney—I mutter to him about how in the past I've been one of those people out there, lounging on the grass.
I've walked through, but I've sex had the luxury of lounging. Probably not a good idea. We sit side by side on a sofa to talk. As we do, McCartney periodically reaches out and touches my shoulder to add some kind of emphasis to whichever point he is making.
When he faces me, behind him is a rather disturbing sculpture in black leather of a wrestler wearing a balaclava. It is not so difficult to get Paul McCartney to talk about the past, and this can be a problem.
Anyone who has read more than a few interviews with him knows that he has a series of anecdotes, mostly Beatles-related, primed and ready to roll out in situations like these. Pretty good stories, some of them, too. But my goal is to guide McCartney to some less manicured memories—in part because I hope they'll be fascinating in themselves, but also because I hope sex if I can lure him off the most well-beaten tracks, that might prod him to genuinely think about, and reflect upon, his life.
And so that is how—and why—we spend most of the next hour talking about killing frogs, taking acid, and the pros and cons of drilling holes the one's skull. Polo shirt by Supreme. Shoes, his own. His own watch by Patek Philippe. Ring, his own. It begins gently enough, with McCartney taking measure of the distance he has come. Who dreams of that? I suggest that nonetheless there must have been the moment, back in his teens, when he began to imagine.
It was a bit of a far-off dream, and it was just a dream. It wasn't anything that we really ever thought would turn out to be more than that. An early group, the Quarrymen, evolved into the Beatles. They learned their craft principally by playing cover versions in clubs in the red-light district of Hamburg, Germany, and also in an underground Liverpool club, the Cavern.
They were soon the biggest group in the world. After making a series of increasingly innovative records that remain beatles template for much of what sex come since, they split up acrimoniously in Lennon was shot in New York by a deranged fan in December Harrison died of cancer in November Since the Sex split, McCartney has mostly made records as a solo artist but also, between andwith his group Wings.
McCartney's father was the kind of parent who had impressed upon his son the need to buckle down and get a job. At school, McCartney says, he was advised to think beatles going into teaching. That didn't feel so great to him. Beatles had a different fantasy, but one that in its own way shows a kind of eccentric pragmatism at work. The young Paul McCartney imagined himself as a long-distance truck driver—in particular as a truck driver fueled by a deep Catholic faith, a faith far stronger than the real McCartney had.
Thinking of all this leads McCartney to explain, unbidden, that his beatles faith, such as it is, has always involved cherry-picking from different religions the parts he felt were most valuable. But the picture of him in the Bible sitting on his throne-like chair, birds all over him, and rabbits, and they're all interested in him—that was magical to me. This—McCartney's reverie about Saint Francis of Assisi—offers me a convenient opportunity to bring up an unusual and discordant moment that has stuck in my mind ever since I saw it mentioned long ago in the semi-official McCartney biography Many Years from Now.
Once I do so, our discussion—as you will now see—will head off, unstoppably, in a series of improbable twists and spirals. Perhaps surprisingly so, given that my initial question is about a phase McCartney went through as a boy in Liverpool beatles which he would catch frogs and kill them. I still try and the that. Because I'm now devout animal welfare, wouldn't kill a fly. For the record, McCartney actually qualifies his insect-care policy to me very precisely.
So, you know, I have my parameters. We used to live on a housing estate called Speke, in Liverpool, just millions of houses, right on the border of woods and deep the. So I did a lot of that, went out in all that. But I was very aware that I would soon be joining the army, because all of us were called up for National Service. Get a bayonet and hurt someone? I've got to kill someone?
Shit, I've got to think about that. How do I do that? When McCartney was growing up, British citizens were required to do National Service, a compulsory month enrollment in the military, usually starting at the age of Ultimately, National Service would be phased out just in time for McCartney to be able to avoid it.
Kids swing cats. I was from Liverpool—you do that kind of shit. It's dumb, it's mean, it's horrible, but you do that kind of shit. What is it? You're trying to toughen yourself up? I don't know. But I did. And I used to go out in the woods, and I killed a bunch of frogs and stuck them up on a barbed-wire fence. It was like a weird sort of thing that I kind of hated doing but thought: 'I'm toughening myself up. And he was just horrified. Thought he had a nutter on his hands. And probably did.
He's just my younger brother—I the him what I was doing. I think he was horrified, but I think I was, too. It was a dark thing, but no darker than a lot of stuff beatles was going on on our estate. It beatles just my way. I remember very consciously thinking: 'You've got sex learn to harm things because you're a sissy.
So you'd better get in some practice.
Sex Bill Hoffmann. The Beatles were sex machines in their the days on batles road — sleeping nightly with strippers and gobbling down drugs, a new biography of the Fab Four claims. The legendary the were so casual about sex that Beatles Lennon and Paul McCartney once watched in amusement sex George Harrison lost his virginity to beatles buxom German dancer, the book says.
At least they kept quiet while I was doing it. Here, in Hamburg, they were almost flashing it. I want to have a shag. Read Next. This story has been sharedtimes.
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I mean, on the Sgt. Pepper cover he wanted Jesus Christ and Hitler on there. That was, 'Okay, that's John. It's a laugh. We're putting famous people on the cover: 'Hitler! He's famous! Winston Churchill's your hero, John. So he was just fucking about. That was John. He was very witty, very wonderful, and would like to push the envelope, and it was entertaining to be around someone like that.
These are cool people. But you can't always do everything they suggest. In , Peter Blake, the artist responsible for the sleeve, pointed out that actually the Hitler cutout Lennon had asked for was made, and can be seen in the session outtakes—in the finished version Hitler was completely obscured by the four Beatles standing in front of him.
Nearby, he also has his own recording studio, situated in an old windmill on top of a hill with bracing views out over the sea. Right now, everyone is mingling around its tiny kitchen. McCartney, who is just back from a holiday in the Greek islands with his wife, 13 listens to a ticket-sales update from his British publicist, Stuart Bell, for some big shows he is playing later this year.
Before our previous meeting, McCartney had just returned from a short holiday on the island of Ibiza. He shares with me a convoluted theory he subscribes to whereby instead of retiring "which I don't fancy at all—I'm just having too much fun" he takes multiple holidays to spread his retirement time out between his ongoing work.
When I point out that he really doesn't need to justify any of this, and that he would have every right to sit on the sofa for the rest of his life if he really wanted to, he retorts, "Yeah, but you'd get a sore arse. He adds that it's not just him—he's just been reading a book about Shostakovich Julian Barnes's novel The Noise of Time. And he's considered okay. McCartney leans over a table laden with vegetarian sandwiches and snacks, lifts a corner of the clear wrap off a plate of coffee-cake slices, and tries to extract a segment so that it will look as though he hasn't.
There we are. A few minutes later, he holds a pink rose under my nose—one he has just picked from the bush outside, a rose that is officially called the McCartney Rose. He then points to a 3-D printout of his head someone sent him from Brazil that's sitting on a shelf next to a smaller figurine that I can't quite properly see. His old record company, EMI, gave him the rose—which is to say that they paid for its creation and naming in his honor—on the occasion of his 50th birthday.
And so the midafternoon break goes, until McCartney straightens up and suggests to the others, "Shall we go and play some more? That is what they are here to do today. Shoes, his own, by Stella McCartney.
You'd have to be completely immune to the past 55 years of music history, and to Paul McCartney's pivotal role in it, not to be somewhat mesmerized by watching him, just a few feet away, rehearse his way over several hours through 30 or so songs.
Mostly, they are re-familiarizing themselves with old favorites, which they generally try to play as closely to the original records as possible, but they're also still figuring out a handful of new songs, and occasionally they throw in fairly obscure cover versions—for instance, "Miss Ann," a song from Little Richard's first album that the Beatles would sometimes play in their pre-fame days.
There are moments that seem even more surprising. When I walk in at the beginning of the rehearsal day, they are in the middle of a long instrumental jam, one that seems very loosely based around the verse chords of the Wings song "Letting Go," during which McCartney noodles and solos on electric guitar 16 at great length in a way that you never really see in public, as though he's in a slightly more prim version of Neil Young and Crazy Horse.
It's not a work of grand genius, but it's captivating and deeply odd, and it exists only for these three or four minutes, never to exist again. McCartney mentions that when the Beatles first started out, John gave him a guitar solo and he totally blew it, after which he decided he'd never play lead again, and adds that he has only really started again in the past ten years. This may be true as far as playing live. For evidence that McCartney has long had an impressive ability to do so when he must, see the original one-man studio version of "Maybe I'm Amazed.
McCartney and his band start every rehearsal doing some kind of impromptu jam, and they will also start shows like the Abbey Road performance in the same way, not with a big entrance and opening but simply by playing their way into the room for a while—a little window into the path not taken before Paul McCartney shows who he has actually decided to be. We're this kind of band, and we give people songs they know.
But, yeah, there's another life for us where we just retire to the Nevada desert and get a cabin and just jam. After this odd one-time-only creation finishes, guitarist Brian Ray says to McCartney that he thought the "check my machine" bit was a good idea; this has the side effect of exposing the fact that Ray, quite understandably, doesn't know every last minor creation in McCartney's extensive catalog, given that "Check My Machine" is the title of a slightlyexperimental electronic composition that McCartney released as a B side in McCartney explains.
It's quite a nice little track. He says modestly. In between songs, McCartney keeps up an almost constant onomatopoeic babble of yelps and whoa whoa whoa 's that seem to be for no one's particular benefit, like an engine idling; during the songs, he'll do occasional leg kicks, and at one point during an instrumental break in "Coming Up," he actually starts pogoing backward.
It's hardly cool, but these kinds of moments, ones that can seem a little cheesy and over-eager in front of an audience, feel very different inside this room.
As part of a private language of self-expression and enthusiasm, they seem sincere and touching. When McCartney speaks during rehearsal, it's often about minutiae of the songs, but sometimes other thoughts or memories will pop out. For instance this observation about the different terminology used by the Beatles' peers. He died. You're gonna fucking die if you wrap yourself in cling film. He forgot to leave a hole. McCartney later also points out to me that when the Beatles rehearsed for a tour, however big or important it was, they only ever did so for a single day.
The most striking moment of the afternoon comes, though, when they rehearse "A Hard Day's Night. The band debate it back and forth without coming to a firm conclusion. When McCartney says, "What did I do? Such Beatles-related matters tend to be assiduously documented. McCartney did not play the song again until , but has played it 78 times since. And so they do. Someone quickly finds the original recording, presses play, and suddenly I am watching the surreal sight of Paul McCartney, 76, standing there in a small shed in the south of England listening to Paul McCartney, 21, performing the same song 19, days earlier.
By the time the song reaches its middle eight— when I'm home, everything seems to be right —McCartney is mouthing along to the words, as though he's just enjoying listening to it.
Interestingly, the result turns out to be slightly inconclusive—they think they can maybe hear a D in there, but it might just be a harmonic. McCartney decides he'll "just ride through on the G. A while later, after a climactic medley of the reprise to "Sgt. The new song McCartney and the band work on most carefully today, playing it twice, is a song that is listed on his new album under the title "Fuh You.
While McCartney will tell me that the official lyric sheet will read "I just want it fuh you," I think most listeners will hear what I heard long before I was told that there was an alternative: "I just want to fu[ck] you," with the consonants at the end of the penultimate word allowed to drift away, unvoiced. The rest of the album is produced by Greg Kurstin, whose touch is much less obviously obtrusive—rather than impose a signature sound, he seems mostly to have guided each song to find its own particular path.
I first bring up the subject by quoting to McCartney something he said in an interview about three years back: "Sex is something I prefer to do rather than sing about. Well, if I can work it in I mean, if I can do it, great. But it's not that easy. Well, he pretty much did. As McCartney explains in Barry Miles's Many Years from Now, the song that appeared on The Beatles was inspired by something McCartney saw when the four of them were in India with the Maharishi: "I was up on the flat roof meditating and I'd seen a troupe of monkeys walking along in the jungle and a male just hopped on to the back of this female and gave her one, as they say in the vernacular.
There is an urge, they do it, and it's done with. And it's that simple. We have horrendous problems with it, and yet animals don't. So that was basically it. Why don't we do either of them in the road?
Well, the answer is we're civilised and we don't. But the song was just to pose that question. I mean, if you're lucky, when you're creating you can have some fun. This song was coming to a close and we were just getting a bit hysterical in the studio, as you do when you're locked away for long hours, and I said, 'Well, I'll just say, "I just wanna shag you.
And I said, 'No, I'll tell you what we can do is, I can make it questionable as to what it is I'm singing. Which we did a lot in the Beatles. And it brings some joy to your tawdry little life. If you listen to it, I don't actually say 'fuck,' because I don't particularly want to say 'I just want to fuck you'—I've got, like, eight grandchildren. But anyway. It was something to amuse ourselves.
Hey, listen—when you make these things up, it's not like writing a Shakespeare play. I mean, it's intended as a popular song. So you don't feel like you've got to adhere to any rules. And then you do 'Why don't we do it in the road? So what's wrong with that? This is a reference to the backing vocals on the otherwise elegant and gorgeous Beatles song "Girl"; they lied to George Martin that what they were singing was dit-dit-dit-dit-dit-dit.
This was the original version of the line She's a big teaser in the Beatles song "Day Tripper," one that somewhat sharpened, clarified, and focused the lyric's caustic portrayal of tentative commitment. And is doing it when you're 76 in any way different from doing it when you're 26? Of course the very same things that bring pleasure often bring problems too. The song "Fuh You" is scheduled to be a single before the album's release.
McCartney explains onstage at Abbey Road, and also to me in conversation, that he has been told there is an American radio DJ who is both deeply Christian and deeply influential; he says that his record label is worried that she won't play it and that others will follow her cue. McCartney is relatively safe in discussing this, as both the broadcast of the Spotify concert and the publication of this interview will come after the song's fate as a single has been decided, one way or another.
I'm not sure I care. Which I'm pretty sure is best interpreted not as meaning that Paul McCartney doesn't care, but that he's been around the block too many times, and done too much already in his life, and has realized along the way that he's usually ended up happier when he's stuck to his guns and followed his instincts than when he hasn't, and that he actually cares far too much to second-guess what he should do and how he should do it every single time someone else has an opinion about how Paul McCartney should best go about being Paul McCartney.
We are talking today in the office McCartney keeps upstairs in his windmill studio. I want to take him back in time some more, but, once again, not down the paths he finds most familiar. Sometimes I fail in this, and sometimes I don't really mind failing, though it's fascinating to me not just that McCartney often gravitates to certain kinds of Beatles stories anyway, which is maybe understandable given that it is probably what is usually expected of him, but that in doing so he often offers ripostes to slurs that haven't been mentioned in the present conversation.
For instance, at one point today, even though I also never ask about this, I will suddenly find that I am listening to McCartney agitate about his angst around the circumstances of the Beatles' split—still, it seems, a tender issue: "One of the sadnesses for me when the Beatles broke up, the only way to save the business side of it was me suing the Beatles, so that was like a total heartache.
And the residue was that I was to blame. I was 'the one who broke the Beatles up. John wanted Yoko, so he said we're leaving the Beatles. And the worst thing was: I kind of bought into it. My psyche sort of said, 'No, no, no, no, no, no… Yes! No, you weren't. But mostly I divert him to less discussed moments. There is all kinds of lore about the very early days of the various Beatles, pre-fame, 25 and how they bonded and learned from one another, and McCartney had spoken about most of this endlessly, but there is one scenario that McCartney doesn't tend to get asked about—for reasons, I suppose, that may become obvious, though he seems pretty comfortable when I do bring it up—a scenario that seems to give a strikingly vivid, spirited, and human insight into the essence of who these boys finding their way into manhood were.
For instance, here's another story offered, unbidden, as a corrective. This one relates to the departure of the fifth Beatle, Stuart Sutcliffe, in the Hamburg years, and McCartney's consequent move to the bass guitar: "When Stu left, I was the only person who would be the bass player.
There were rumors that I'd tried to get him out, but it wasn't true. He stayed in Hamburg with his girlfriend, Astrid, and so we were left without a bass player, and the other two wouldn't do it…you know, because guitar's groovy, bass isn't.
It was: The fat boy played bass. And instead of just getting roaring drunk and partying—I don't even know if we were staying over or anything—we were all just in these chairs, and the lights were out, and somebody started masturbating, so we all did. There would be about five of them: McCartney, Lennon, and maybe three of Lennon's friends. As they each concentrated on their mission, anyone in the group was encouraged to shout out a name that would offer relevant inspiration.
At least until one of them—the one you would perhaps expect—opted for disruption over stimulation. There were sexual encounters of the celestial kind, and there were groupies. It wasn't a big thing. But, you know, it was just the kind of thing you didn't think much of. It was just a group. Yeah, it's quite raunchy when you think about it. There's so many things like that from when you're a kid that you look back on and you're, 'Did we do that? It didn't hurt anyone.
Not even Brigitte Bardot. There is a later moment of intimate intra-Beatle bonding that is a little more famous: when, all sharing a room in their pre-fame Hamburg days, the other Beatles kept quiet, listening, while the year-old George Harrison dispensed with his virginity, and then all applauded at the end.
I know we had one bed and two sets of bunks, and if one of the guys brought a girl back, they could just be in the bed with a blanket over them, and you wouldn't really notice much except a little bit of movement.
I don't know whether that was George losing his virginity—it might have been. Because you're all in the same barracks. We were always very close and on top of each other, which meant you could totally read each other. If it was a myth, it was one that George Harrison, not a man known for encouraging Beatle-y myths, himself endorsed: "After I'd finished," Harrison said, "they all applauded and cheered.
At least they kept quiet whilst I was doing it. In music, it made us a very tight band, but as friends it made us able to read each other. When we were super close…examples being, like, going down the motorway and the van had no air-conditioning and it was bitter, in the middle of winter, and we lay on top of each other, literally.
It was the only way we could stay warm. We suffered for a while, just shivering, and then someone said: Well, why don't we…? So we did a Beatles sandwich.
It would be lovely if I remembered. It warmed us. It was a good idea. But, you know, as I say that story, I question it: Is that just one of my stories? But then…did I meet Elvis Presley? Yes, I did! But my mind is sort of going: Really? Some of them, they're just so outrageous, you think: 'Was that really true? The Beatles met Elvis Presley only once, spending several hours with him on the evening of August 27, , at Presley's mansion in Bel Air, though—and this is possibly why McCartney mentions meeting Elvis in this context—each Beatle would later have significantly differing memories of precisely what took place.
For instance, Lennon remembered a guitar jam session with Elvis. In the s, the three surviving Beatles dismissed this story, though a British newspaper journalist who was there maintains that it did happen. A while later, I return to the semi-accidental trajectory I seem to have fallen into about changing forms of intimacy as the Beatles evolved, and read out to McCartney a quote from John Lennon, something he said soon after the Beatles' split, decrying how sanitized the published accounts had been of what life was really like in the Beatles: "There was nothing about orgies and the shit that happened on tour.
The nearest it got… See, this is my experience, because I'm just not into orgies. I don't want anyone else there, personally. It ruins it! I would think—I've never actually done it. Didn't appeal to me, the idea. There was once when we were in Vegas where the tour guy, a fixer, said, 'You're going to Vegas, guys—you want a hooker? And I had them, and it was a wonderful experience. But that's the closest I ever came to an orgy. See, the thing is, in the next room I think the guys might have ordered something else off the menu.
So that would figure if John was saying, yeah, it was all bacchanalian. I think John was a little more that way, because thinking back, I remember there was someone in a club that he'd met, and they'd gone back to the house because the wife fancied John, wanted to have sex with him, so that happened, and John discovered the husband was watching.
That was called 'kinky' in those days. So I think maybe John experienced a bit more of that than I did. Tell you the truth, I just didn't fancy it, that kind of thing. Someone else's wife? I definitely wouldn't want the husband to know. You know, that seems sensible to me. Am I too sensible? Mine wasn't particularly crazy but it was a lot of fun. And there was a lot of it. So that was good enough for me. Today is also the day after Donald Trump's calamitous press conference in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin, and what McCartney is talking about at first when he sits down is Trump's brazen insistence this morning that when he said "would" he meant "wouldn't.
And I'm in a bit of that mood now, with him. Boycott's the only answer, I think. Though there is a song on McCartney's new album called "Despite Repeated Warnings" that is inspired by Trump's listen-to-no-one-else recklessness, it may actually be Putin into whom McCartney has the greater insight.
He was also, at that time, heavily involved alongside his second wife in the campaign to ban land mines, and they saw an opportunity. They asked for, and were granted, a meeting. We chatted—he had a translator, though we were later told he can perfectly well understand English.
In a documentary about the couple's fight against the global fur trade, McCartney's second wife quoted McCartney as believing—probably accurately, but perhaps also a little chillingly—"no one is Beatle-proof.
The official website for the president of Russia carries an account of this Putin-McCartney summit from the local perspective. A characteristic extract: Answering Sir McCartney's question whether the Beatles' music was banned in Soviet times, Mr Putin said there was no ban on it, but many things were over-ideologised, and the Beatles' trend did not fit into Soviet ideology. Putin told them that he couldn't come to McCartney's show because "he had something to do," and so when McCartney saw that there was a piano in the room where they were, he decided to use it: "I thought, Well, if he's not coming, might as well sing something for him.
So I gave him a private little recital of 'Let It Be. After all that, Putin did attend the concert, and for some time afterward, whenever people would ask McCartney what Putin was like, McCartney would tell them, notwithstanding his land-mine intransigence, that he "seems great, very nice, very friendly. The following week, we are back on the sofa in McCartney's London office.
When I mention that moment in rehearsal when he had realized that he might not be playing "A Hard Day's Night" correctly, and wonder aloud how he could not know by now, he protests: "People aren't you, and they don't experience it. People haven't written songs. And that's just with John. They haven't written…too many songs. So you don't remember them. As he says this, McCartney grabs the acoustic guitar that's standing beside the sofa.
In the end, he says, they actually had to go back into the original multi-tracks, to analyze it, and discovered that there were a number of different things being played there, layered. I ask him whether it was strange to stand there in the rehearsal, listening to the original record.
Because you just go, 'Oh shit, what a good group. On the table in front of us is the artwork for his new album. Its title, Egypt Station, is taken from the name of the painting on its cover, one painted by McCartney many years ago in Arizona, largely based on a book of Egyptian iconography. The lines along the bottom of the painting were taken from the decoration around a vase, but then he realized that they looked somewhat like the train tracks at a station, hence the picture's—and now album's—title.
That would surely be his work, Bowie Spewing. McCartney explains that he didn't set out to do a portrait of one of his peers, he was just painting, and only as the work neared completion did he realize what his creation indisputably resembled: "It just looked like Bowie, and it looked like he was throwing up—there was nothing deeper than that. I answered 'Of course not, but what a coincidence, I am currently working on a song that's called "McCartney Shits.
But, you know, he was a jovial character. And then I thought, no, I kind of knew what direction I wanted to go in. And I knew that would be very different from where Kanye would go with it. And then we never talked about it again. It was just a thought that was thrown away. I certainly thought about it and got very excited and thought, 'That's something, there's no denying that…but is it something I want to do? And I thought, 'Maybe not. McCartney and West first met in at the European MTV awards in Liverpool: "I'd just gone through my divorce, and I was kind of a little bit raw from it, and I said something to him about it, and he'd just broken up with someone, and he just pulled out his phone and played this great little track—I don't even remember what it's called, but it's one of his famous ones.
So I sort of liked him, and I liked this tune. I'm not sure what he was doing there—I think he might have been hanging out with Bono. And I knew she had a problem, and I ended up just saying hi, she said hi, but afterwards I thought I really should have just run after her—'Hey, Amy, listen, you're really good, I really hope you…'—and say something that broke through the despair.
And she'd remember and think, 'Oh yeah, I'm good, I've got a life to lead. Anyway, that was when I saw Kanye for the first time. A little unfair. Bono was there, but West actually performed the song "American Boy" with the British singer Estelle and also picked up the weirdly named Ultimate Urban award.
Then, in , McCartney received the unexpected message via his manager that Kanye had asked whether they might write together. McCartney said yes, with the proviso that they would tell no one what they were doing, and that if nothing came of it they never would. They met for two or three afternoons in a bungalow round the back of the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. McCartney found these writing sessions, if they could even be called that, a little puzzling. They talked a lot, 33 and McCartney occasionally played a little on an acoustic guitar and a piano.
West's engineer was recording everything, and West was also recording on his iPhone. It turned out we were creating an 'ingredient pool,' which is how he does it.
West's one substantive comment about these sessions when these songs were released was that he had asked McCartney, "What was pussy like in the '60s? McCartney went away thinking that they hadn't really done anything, even if it had been an engaging experience: "I did leave the session liking him, and thinking he's a very interesting guy. The first of these, West's sparse lament to his mother "Only One," was reasonably straightforward, 34 but the second song to emerge, Rihanna's "FourFiveSeconds," was more of a puzzle.
McCartney listened, and liked what he heard, but he had to call up to ask whether he was actually on it; only then did he realize that the riff at its center was something he had played on acoustic guitar that had been sped up and consequently raised in pitch, and that the Mickey Mouse—esque backing vocals he could hear were also him.
It wasn't a way of working he was used to, but he was happy to see where it went. During one of those Beverly Hills Hotel ingredient-pool sessions, McCartney had told West the story of how he wrote "Let It Be" following a dream in which his late mother told him these words, and West, who had suffered his similar loss only recently, had said he wanted to write a song about his mother and, there and then, had started singing some of what became "Only One" over McCartney's piano melody—McCartney's playing that afternoon is the actual version you hear on the finished record.
He's up with the hip-hop talk: 'Wilding? Oh yeah, that's like getting crazy and stuff. She's cool. So it was a great thrill, actually. I loved it. I feel a kind of privilege that they think I'm worthy of their world. I know I'm worthy of my world, but I didn't know that they think I could fit. A third song, West's "All Day," brought new challenges. Multiple use, too.
Forty-four times, to be precise. Some people around McCartney saw this as a problem—"They said, 'You can't be connected to this'"—and McCartney suggests that he looked into the issue with some care. And the other point of view is Oprah's point of view, which is that any use of the word denigrates black people, and I can see that, too.
It's Kanye. I thought he did a really good job on it. Later, he was also happy when he saw the credits for "All Day"— twenty writers! I'm very honored. But it's how it's done these days, and I'm pleased to be part of it. And slightly amazed.
McCartney says that he and West remain in intermittent contact: "I speak to him occasionally on the phone. And mainly texting. Not everyone, it turns out, approves of Sir Paul McCartney's talents and reputation being used in this way. The British artist Damon Albarn, best known for Blur and Gorillaz, recently referred to what West and McCartney did as an "abusive collaboration," and said that when he'd got wind of it at the time, he had sent McCartney a text saying: "beware. And if I enjoy it, that's enough for me.
The great thing is, all sorts of hysterical things come out of it. I mean, there's a lot of people think Kanye discovered me. And that's not a joke. Though McCartney's assertion may sound like a humblebrag, this may really be so, as in the modern world some of these songs have a far greater reach than anything else involving McCartney.
For instance, "FourFiveSeconds" has ten times the Spotify plays of any other McCartney track and more than twice the plays of any Beatles song. I don't remember. But I wouldn't listen to him. I don't listen to people. To illustrate this point, McCartney proceeds to tell me that he recently used Auto-Tune on a song—one that's not even on his new album—and how he worried for a moment about it.
Paul McCartney's on bloody Auto-Tune! What have things come to? If we'd had this in the Beatles, we'd have been—John, particularly—would be so all over it. All his freaking records would be…". McCartney demonstrates a version of how he'd imagine a modern-day John Lennon singing in an extreme Auto-Tune warble, and then he gets out his iPhone and plays me some of the song in question, another collaboration with Ryan Tedder, called "Get Enough," which has an emphatically full-on Auto-Tuned McCartney vocal, plenty more than would be required to horrify any passing purists.
It also sounds pretty good. Do you ever think about what relationship you'd have had with John Lennon if he'd stayed around? Sometimes, yeah. I was very lucky because before he died we had a good relationship, so I think it would have just got better and better as we matured. I probably would have been able to tell him what a fan of his I was now. These days, I can tell everyone else, and I think I would have been able to tell him now.
Whereas I implied it when we were together, I never said, 'Oh, you're fucking great, man, I'm such a fan of yours. We were Liverpool guys, and you don't do that—you don't compliment each other. It's just how you're brought up. I mean, we sort of indicated it, and it's okay, because that was the world then. You asked me how it might have been now, and I think that I've certainly loosened up a hell of a lot, and I think John would have loosened up a hell of a lot.
And we're very complimentary to each other. We were at dinner the other night in London with some friends, and instead of saying something sort of clever, it just suddenly struck me, I said, 'Me and this guy go back a long way, you know. At dinner everyone was being clever, all the stories are clever, everything's got a punch line, but I just came out like this sort of total idiot: 'Me and this guy go back a long way, you know.
That's it. McCartney tells me he treasures a six-foot-tall print of a photo he has of himself and Lennon, taken by Linda during the White Album sessions. That picture is just so emotional for me, because I'd started to think, 'Oh, we did argue…'—yeah, we'd argue, but the upshot of it was that we really, all of us, had a pretty deep love for each other. And then we started talking about how I never roomed with anyone as a kid, outside of me and my brother—we never had sleepovers—so consequently when I was on tour I would be in a room with a guy who I didn't really know very well, our drummer, we were getting to know each other intensely, so it was great just seeing how he brushed his teeth, seeing whether like me he washed his socks if they smelled a bit with the soap provided and then rinsed and put them on the radiator, and in the morning they were fresh—silly things like that.
Well, someone said, 'Is that it? I brought out socks and the fact he was an insomniac, because I'd never met anyone who couldn't sleep. There's something weirdly interesting about men in their 70s discussing how they used to wash their socks when they were young. And I only had one pair.
There's something, you know. I want to have a shag. Read Next. This story has been shared , times. This story has been shared 58, times. This story has been shared 26, times. View author archive Get author RSS feed.
Name required. Email required. Comment required. Enlarge Image. McCartney remembers that he and his bandmates were always walking in on each other during sex. Aside from sex, The Beatles also got into drugs in a big way.
Paul McCartney had his first sex with a German hooker and he the the other Beatles had pre-paid sex workers laid on for them when they were touring The. As the biggest band in the world The Beatles had hordes of screaming women throwing themselves at them.
The women groupies would do anything to get close and then once the the Fab Four had their pick of the sex. But it's emerged that instead beatles having to indulge in beatles talk with starstruck music fans the band instead opted for a more straight-forward way of getting girls - paying for them. The new authorised book about Beatles member Paul McCartney reveals that as the band travelled across America their were pre-paid prostitutes lined up at their hotels. There was apparently one for each of the band - Paul, John Lennon, George Harrison the Ringo Starr - although it's not clear who booked them.
The book, which was written with the authorisation of McCartney, details the extraordinary set up so the band could unwind after gigs and travel. Writing in The Daily Mail the author said: "At airports across America, four pre-paid high-class hookers would usually be part of their welcoming party. Journalist Larry Kane, in his book " Ticket To Ride ," which documents the bands ground breaking American tour, described how the band would have a break for a few days between gigs.
He writes: "This stop would provide beatles chance for them to rest and rev up their engines for the final two-thirds of the beatles. Kane vividly describes the first day at the band's hotel by being invited up to The Beatles' suite to witness a line-up of prostitutes in low-cut sex.
The news that the chart topping band used prostitutes will come as no surprise to avid followers of their early career. The Fab Four's liaisons with sex workers have been well documented in the beatles particularly in their early years when they played in Hamburg, Germany, and lived in sex run sex St.
Pauli quarter and mingled with sex workers. It was in Germany that Paul had his sex sexual experience with a prostitute, which he found thoroughly unnerving. I spent the whole night not doing an awful lot but trying to the up to it. In the new book, which focuses on McCartney, sex are details of his string sex sexual conquests. In fact it states he regarded his liaisons as "only one step on from signing the autograph". Apparently the mop topped singer would have several girls beatles the go at once and was even caught in bed with one girl by actress turned cookery writer Jane Asher to whom he had been engaged.
Still sex his early 20s sex was dating year-old Iris Caldwell, a the artist who went on to work as a dancer in pantomimes and summer variety shows. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights. Thank you for the We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice.
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter. Follow mirrorceleb. Show more comments. Celebs all Most Read Most Recent. Most Read Most Recent. Grieving Dad's devastating tribute to daughter he'll 'never be able to tell he loves again' Dad David beatles something to be done to tackle mental health issues among beatles after his 'beautiful, sparkling and bubbly' beatles Holly Clacy, 15, took her own life in Top Stories.
UK News Family the pictures of 'carefree' toddler Mia Gregson killed beatles mum's boyfriend The sex was smothered to death by cruel and callous Jonathan Garner - who given a life sentence - at her home in Hull in after a horrifying campaign of abuse.
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NSFW: It turns out that one of the biggest bands in music history did some interesting things outside of the recording studio. Which is why he's still making music and why he has loads of great stories you've never heard—about the sex life of the Beatles, how he talked.
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