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Past midnight Saturday night, the house lights were on at Cleveland’s Public Hall and Paul McCartney had just inducted Ringo Starr into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He’d also led a jam of “I Wanna Be Your Man” and “A Little Help From My Friends” alongside a grinning ear-to-ear band including Joe Walsh, Billie Joe Armstrong, Dave Grohl, Stevie Wonder and Beck, but McCartney wasn’t done. He stood onstage in a black jacket, affably snapping selfies with Hall of Fame staff and chatting with fans like Green Day’s Tré Cool, saying “cheers” to anyone who approached him.
McCartney, typically unflustered by the growing scene of Beatlemania around him, seemed on a high from the night; he was humming a signature melody when he stopped for an unplanned minute with Rolling Stone. “It was so cool, man, just to reunite with an old friend,” he said of Starr. “We don’t play together, so it’s fun when we do. It was fun – in Cleveland, we’ve been here! [the Beatles played the same venue in 1964]. It was beautiful.”
McCartney didn’t hold back when asked what it was like to see his friend finally enter the Hall of Fame as a solo artist. “It’s about fucking time, man! That’s what my daughter said a few years back [when McCartney was inducted in 1999]. It’s great. It’s the completion. Now the four of us are in as a band, and as individuals. It would have been a shame if he hadn’t been in, right?”
Before McCartney headed upstairs to his dressing room, he answered one more question – about his return to the charts, on “FourFiveSeconds” (with Kanye West and Rihanna) and “Only One” with Kanye. What was it like working with West? “Oh, it was great, man! It was really exciting. I didn’t know what was going to happen from one minute to the next. But then he’d send me these hits! Suddenly I’m working with Kanye – and then suddenly I’ve got a hit with Rihanna! But it’s cool!”