Interview for ABC News • March 1972

Interview with ABC News

TV interview • Interview of Paul McCartney • Recorded Mar 07, 1972
Published by:
ABC News
Timeline More from year 1972

Album This interview has been made to promote the Give Ireland Back To The Irish 7" Single.

Songs mentioned in this interview

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Paul McCartney: Living Without Fear

Jun 14, 2007 • From ABC News

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On March 7, 1972, Wings was interviewed by ABC News at Paul McCartney’s London home, in St John’s Wood. They were filmed rehearsing “Give Ireland Back To The Irish“. According to, a 7-minute-long video shows them performing three takes of the song, while the interview of Paul and Linda McCartney lasted at least 9 minutes. A 3:41 minute video of the rehearsals was released in 2018 on the “Wild Life – Archive Collection“.

Paul, how did you and Linda come to write “Give Ireland Back To The Irish”?

Paul: The morning after what they call in the newspapers Bloody Sunday, I read the newspapers and it just looked a bit wrong, what the British Army was doing in there… A bit wrong for me. So I started on this piano and wrote the song. That’s how I did it.

How do you feel about Ireland, do you think of yourself being Irish in any way?

Paul: No, not really. I’m British, I was born in Britain and the song is written from a British point of view. I’ve had people saying you shouldn’t go talking if you’re not Irish, but the point is it’s the British Army that’s causing the trouble, not the Irish, you know? The Irish got taken over about 800 years ago, a little bit of it, by the British. They injected British people into there and made it a little bit of Britain. I have always really thought of it all as one place, Ireland.

I see the trouble now being that certain people think that the British shouldn’t be there, and if they are, they certainly shouldn’t be shooting the Irish people. I think they shouldn’t be, you know? It’s a bit much.

The English have got a great history of this. I was brought up to be proud of the British Empire, proud of what the British owned all over the world. We used to own most of the world at one time, almost, and gradually had to give it back ’cause people said ‘Hey, listen, it’s ours, not yours,’ and they wanted it back. I just see that’s the same thing in Ireland, you know, it’s a little bit of territory we’ve gained in the past, and I figure that if we didn’t gain it legally, with the consent of the majority of the people, then there was something wrong somewhere.

I think this Bloody Sunday, where the British paratroop regiment went in and shot at the people, it just isn’t on as far as I’m concerned. I’m more on their side than the British troops’ in that particular thing because they’re the people who live there, it’s their country, they’re the Irish, and we’re the British. No matter how many of the Ulster people say ‘Yeah, we’re British too’, I can see that point of view, but me, as a British citizen, I don’t like my army going around shooting my Irish brothers. That’s about the size of it.

I’m British, yeah, of course, I am. I’ve probably got some Irish background, yes, but I feel British, and I’d like to feel proud of Britain and what Britain does.

Do you think the British should get out?

Paul: Yeah. Eventually, that’s what I think.

Linda, were you involved writing the song?

Linda: I helped a bit.

Paul: She helped me.

What about the people who want to re-unite Ireland and they want to go about by death threats or violence…like the IRA?

Paul: I hate any form of killing, or war or murder or any kind of that stuff. I don’t think anyone really likes that stuff. But as far as I’m concerned, if I were… and this is what we say in the song… if now, on my way to work or all the way into the city, some Irish soldiers stopped me and searched me, I wouldn’t like it. It’s like when Hitler was going to invade Britain. […] As far as I’m concerned, it’s just my opinion written into a song and sung by me and my group. That’s about where it ends for me. It’s my summing up what I think about it after they left and killed a few of them. I think it’s just not good enough and I’d like them to stop. So a British gentleman offering a British opinion, that’s about it.


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