More from year 1972
Interviews from the same media
Aug 28, 1967 • From Liverpool Echo
May 29, 1971 • From Liverpool Echo
May 19, 1973 • From Liverpool Echo
Sep 21, 1974 • From Liverpool Echo
Apr 08, 1978 • From Liverpool Echo
Jan 19, 1979 • From Liverpool Echo
Apr 26, 1979 • From Liverpool Echo
Jun 23, 1979 • From Liverpool Echo
Nov 21, 1979 • From Liverpool Echo
Dec 04, 1979 • From Liverpool Echo
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Paul McCartney fans accuse him of wasting his talent… reviews by critics are mixed. And nowadays Paul, once the “smiler and smoother”, doesn’t hesitate to speak his mind.
GALLIVANTING round Europe in a double-decker bus with his wife, family and new group, Wings, having a brush with the Swedish law on a drugs charge… and increasingly disappointing his fans with his music. Just what is happening to Paul McCartney?
Certainly, he’s not the same Paul we used to know in the palmy-barmy days of Beatlemania.
The truth is that Paul, yesterday’s Mr Charm, is today’s Angry Young Man, and rubbing up his fans the wrong way by speaking his mind on anything that annoys him.
The critics are saying that musically, he’s lost his way. And Paul, the old smiler and smoother, is letting his bitterness show through.
What a difference from the Paul McCartney of the mid-1960s – the left-handed guitarist and student of English literature, who was the Beatles ‘official but unpaid public relations’ expert.
Strangers walking into the average chaotic Beatle dressing room would be welcomed right away by Paul, hand outstretched, for a firm reassuring shake.
It was always Paul who handled the introductions, answered the eternal questions, smoothed over the tantrums – and made sure the Beatles’ name stood for all that was wholesome, fresh and boy-next-doorish in pop music.
John Lennon grunted inhospitably in his corner, not bothered by fan adulation. George Harrison was seldom parted from his guitar – preferring to let his music talk for him and Ringo Starr, the permanent “new boy”, had little to say, either. Paul, then, WAS a one-man presentation of the Beatle image.
But times change. While Ringo films, records and loons in his amiable way; while John reveals more and more aspects of that brilliantly baffling mind; while George plays on and raises huge sums for charitable organisations; Paul wanders the world with his new band Wings, which includes his wife Linda, picking up more and more bad publicity on the way.
For instance, he’s been attacked for including Linda McCartney in the band. But Paul is deeply in love with her and cannot stand the separations involved in touring. In any case, friends believe he wants her to understand at first hand the pressures he faced when the Beatles were the world’s top showbusiness attraction.
He’s especially bitter about the way the Apple “dream” broke up and about the way John Lennon’s advisor, Allan Klein, has handled things. Says Paul:
“Don’t ever call me ex-Beatle McCartney again. That was one band I was with. Now I’m not with them. I’ve got another band. We won’t do things the same way any more. We’re not so bothered in trying to please other people all the time even though we obviously don’t try to displease them. All we want, in Wings, is to please ourselves with our music, That’s all.
“If people start fan clubs for us, do that kind of thing from the past, well, fine. But we won’t start one. I just get irritated by people constantly harping on the past, about the days when I was with that other band, the Beatles.
“The other Beatles get together and that is fine, but I’m almost always in another part of the world. The Beatles was my old job. We’re not like friends – we just know each other. But we don’t work together. so there’s no point keeping up old relationships.”
Paul is also very bitter about that old Lennon track, “How Do You Sleep?” on the Imagine album, because it clearly related to the McCartney scene and how disappointing it had been since the break-up.
“When John really annoys me I suppose I let the odd line creep into my own songs, but I try not to do it consciously. I once wrote “Too Many People Preaching Practices” and I suppose that was aimed straight at him.
“I’m just a guy who learned to play a guitar and wants to play music and is lucky enough to have enough money available so I can enjoy it without worrying.”
On the financial hangups concerning Apple and those now-historic royalties, he says:
“I just want the four of us to get together and sign a piece of paper saying it’s all over. and that we’ll divide the money four ways. No Linda, no Yoko. no Klein, just the four of us, which is how it should be.”
Even now as he tours and collects mixed reviews of his new band, Paul yearns for the quiet life on his farm in Scotland. He has 60 acres, a few hundred sheep… and he shears them himself and sells the wool.
“All that gloss, that pressure. I went through,” he says, “I’ve changed. I used to like it, always being in the spotlight, but you find new values.
“That’s why we didn’t hire a huge hall when Wings was ready to give a show live. We just got in the bus, drove around and called into a local hall and rocked a bit.
“I just didn’t want the band to be put under the microscope simply because I used to play with another group who were called you-know-what.”
He goes on:
“All I know for sure is that I’ll never be conned again. I’m 30 now and, after what I’ve been through. I should know my way around. I get angry with fans, who interrupt my life, even now. I get fed up with the feeling that I was losing my identity, becoming some kind of legend, not a person. And I’m downright angry with the people. who keep trying to get me back with the others again.
“Mind you. I’ve always enjoyed getting up there on stage and rocking singing and playing and having a ball. Even at the height of the screaming, I enjoyed that.
“We were never the Inseparable foursome, the mop-top quartet that people liked to think. But for a while we did work well together. I’ve just kept the one bit I did enjoy – most the personal appearances and I’m doing them now with people I love and respect.”
No longer is it the case of Paul McCartney, the thoughtful provider of quotable cliches to any questioning journalist. Now he speaks his mind and doesn’t much care what people think.
And it’s hard to blame him. For years he gave virtually every part of himself to a demanding public. Now he has a family to consider, Linda and their children (Heather, nine: Mary three; and Stella, one).
Paul thinks he’s laid the spectre of what he WAS. But he knows it will take a long time yet before he can finally establish what he IS.
Last updated on August 14, 2023