Interview for Aberdeen Press and Journal • Thursday, December 9, 1971

Interview for Aberdeen Press and Journal

Press interview • Interview of Paul McCartney
Published by:
Aberdeen Press and Journal
Interview by:
Patrick Stoddart
Timeline More from year 1971

Album This interview has been made to promote the Wild Life LP.

Master release

Songs mentioned in this interview


Officially appears on Help! (Mono)

Spread the love! If you like what you are seeing, share it on social networks and let others know about The Paul McCartney Project.


I don’t want Wings to get hoisted into the Superstar bracket like the Beatles were. T. Rex and Slade can have that…

Paul McCartney

British rock band Slade quoted this line of Paul’s interview, in the sleeve notes of their album, “Slade Alive!”, released in 1972.

PAUL McCARTNEY came out of the Beatles tragedy branded as a scheming, money-grabbing, disloyal trickster. He was none of those things, but someone had to take the blame. A phenomenon which was an integral part of our lives for eight incredible years had ended in nasty, backstabbing slanging matches.

Ringo was too nice and not really bright enough, Harrison was too far out to possibly be involved in such mundane matters, and Lennon was screaming blue murder about the way he said McCartney had manipulated the group for his own purposes. We had to lay it on someone, and McCartney was the only Beatle who didn’t answer back.

It was just like any other trial. The defendant was guilty until proved guilty, and his silence just endorsed our suspicions. Every showbusiness journalist in the world – including P. Stoddart – had a go at him.

Well, the longer it drags on, the hazier become the facts, and maybe it is best all forgotten. Certainly, McCartney was the Beatle most obsessed with money. Certainly, he did take over the musical leadership when Lennon’s interest began to drift away, and certainly, he was the one who rocked the boat by publicly denouncing Allen Klein, the American who picked up the keys to the Beatle money box when Brian Epstein died.

All of that is true and McCartney isn’t about to deny it. But for the first time, he is willing to give his reasons. After a long painful period which has cost him money, friends and fans, Paul McCartney has returned from the wilderness to meet the public and get his career moving again.

Now he heads a group, called Wings, his third post-Beatle album, also called “Wings,” is in the shops, and he would be very happy to talk about the future if only he could stop talking about the past.

“You know my name still smells because of what happened, but I tried, I really did. Towards the end, things were very tense and a lot of people thought I was making a fuss about the money just to cause trouble.

“But I was really concerned about all of us. You know the Beatles made a lot of money, but they never saw most of it themselves. We were so bloody tied up in tricky contracts somebody used to get a rake-off every time we yawned. I tried to warn the others but they wouldn’t listen – they were all too wrapped up in themselves and they let Klein do all the thinking.

“I tore myself to pieces trying to tell them what was happening, and then I just jacked it in, I was just too tired to go on fighting.

“But it still breaks me up. Legally I’m going to be a Beatle for the next seven years and everything I write goes to Apple Music. I can’t lick it. I can’t even have the Apple picture, taken off the album.

“You know I’ve written a lot of good songs in my time, and I don’t own any of them. Not even things like ‘Yesterday.’ And now if we do a song and it’s got Linda’s name to it, they sue me because they reckon I wrote it. I’m being sued for two million quid by Northern Song right now. I just don’t know when It’s going to end.”

And so it goes on. McCartney insists he doesn’t deserve the bitter words, that he and the others are all victims, but Lennon, his one-time dearest friend, devotes whole album tracks to personal attacks. The latest one comes on “lmagine,” in a track called “How Do You Sleep”, in which Lennon accuses McCartney of “living with straights who tell you, you was kind.” That upsets Paul…

“Half the world is straight, and up in Scotland there aren’t many of the other kind, so of course, I live with straights. But it isn’t because they treat me with more awe, and John knows that.

“Like he knows ‘Yesterday’ wasn’t the only good thing I ever wrote, although there’s a line about that in one of his songs.

“Somewhere, he knows a lot better than all of that, but he’s too bitter to owe up.

“I like his new album though, ‘Imagine’ is like the real John Lennon. There was a lot of political stuff on the other ones, but this one is a lot more honest. John’s a good bloke, you know, I wish he could see reason.”

Whatever else he may or may not be, Paul McCartney is certainly the most consistent of the Beatles. His attitude is down-to-earth, friendly – almost ordinary – and he talks with a sense of conviction that leaves you in no doubt that he quite sincerely believes he wasn’t to blame, and, of course, knows best.

He also sincerely believes in Wings – not as an emotional indulgence like John and Yoko’s Plastic Ono Band, but as a fair, solid, competent rock and roll group.

Wings is McCartney, Mrs McCartney, a fine drummer called Danny Seiwell and good old Danny Laine, the Moody Blues’ original singer and still one of the most under-rated vocalists in the trade. Paul – still on his baggy trousers and tucked-in jumper kick – has high hopes for them all.

“But not too high, I don’t want Wings to get hosted into the superstar bracket like the Beatles were. T Rex and Slade can have that. All I want to do is go out and play Iike we used to.

“You know when the Beatles were cracking up and we were looking for something to keep us together, John wanted to do big concerts and monster Beatles tours, and all that.

“I said we should just go out on the road under a different name and play in church halls just to get the feel of it back again. But he wouldn’t do that.

“It’s what I might do now with Wings, though – like Clapton did with Derek and the Dominoes.

“We might just turn up at Watford Town Hall or somewhere billed as Rikki and the Redstreaks or something. Maybe I’m being too cocky. But the name Paul McCartney would still pull a few people in, but for all the wrong reasons.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever manage it, but you really ought to get back on the road if you’re going to play music that relates to people.

“My very best playing days were back at the Cavern, when we used to do a lunchtime spot with fags hanging out of our mouths and our sandwiches in greasy paper on top of the amplifiers.

“It won’t ever be like that again, but at least I could try. At least it would be honest.

“That’s what I dig about Scotland – the farm I mean – it’s so honest up there.

“We’ve got hundreds of acres and dozens of sheep and five horses and we do all the work ourselves. I shear the sheep and well the wool at the local markets like all the other farmers.

“I think I’ll spend the rest of my life doing that. Linda and the kids love it up there, and it’s so clean and fresh, and nobody bothers you.

“Except for one poor reporter bird who was working for Newsweek, or Time, or something. Then all those rumours about me being dead were flashing about and I couldn’t be bothered to deny them. This chick gave up trying to reach me by phone, so she drove all the way to Scotland, got a boat to the island. and walked about five miles through the mud and mist just to see me mending a fence post. Then she went all the way back feeling like she had achieved something.

“Most people aren’t that bothered anymore.’

Inner sleeve of ‘”Slade Alive!” album – the Paul McCartney mention is in the top-right.

Last updated on February 15, 2022


Have you spotted an error on the page? Do you want to suggest new content? Or do you simply want to leave a comment ? Please use the form below!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *