Interview for Sounds • Saturday, December 2, 1972

Paul McCartney in the Talk-In

Press interview • Interview of Paul McCartney
Published by:
Interview by:
Steve Peacock
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How do you feel now, looking back on those two singles – “Give Ireland Back To The Irish” and then “Mary Had A Little Lamb”? There was a remarkable contrast there, looking from the outside.

Well, you know, listen – I’m crazy. I’ve always been crazy from the minute I was born… Geminis are supposed to be changeable and I don’t know if that’s true or not but I’m a Gemini and I know one minute I might be doing ‘Ireland’ and the next I’ll be doing ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’. I can see how that would look from the sidelines, but the thing is we’re not either of those records, but we are both of them. In our act we do “Ireland” and we do “Mary Had A Little Lamb”, and really they’re just two numbers.

The Irish one was because our government happened to be shooting Irish people, and I thought that was real bad news and I felt I had to say something about it. I’m glad I did, because now looking back on it, I would have just sat through it and not have said anything, but it was just that it got so near home on that particular day I felt I had to say something – I didn’t care if it got banned everywhere. I just felt I had to put my little bit in and say “Look I’d rather if you could cool it out a little bit please, Edward”. Because I like the Irish. I dig ’em all. North, South, or whatever, they speak …

It was just a spur-of-the-moment thing for you?

Yeah, very. We were rehearsing down the ICA, and I turned up that morning with “Ireland”, we rehearsed it, and went into the studio that night I think. I’ll tell you something about that, though: it was number one in Spain.

And Mary Had A Little Lamb – that was just a kids’ song. It was written for one of our kids, whose name is Mary and I just realised if I sang that, she’d understand. That’s it with us, that’s what you might expect from us – just anything. Now it’s “Hi, Hi, Hi”, which is rocking and to do with sex, I suppose, and certainly nothing to do with “Ireland” or “Mary”. I like to keep that freedom too – I don’t want to get into …

Last updated on May 15, 2022


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