- Published by:
- The Adam Buxton Podcast
- Interview by:
- Adam Buxton
- Timeline More from year 2020
- Album This interview has been made to promote the McCartney III Official album.
More from year 2020
Songs mentioned in this interview
Officially appears on No One's Gonna Change Our World
Officially appears on Run Devil Run
Officially appears on Unplugged (The Official Bootleg)
Officially appears on Waterfalls / Check My Machine
Officially appears on McCartney III
Officially appears on FourFiveSeconds
Officially appears on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Mono)
Officially appears on Revolver (UK Mono)
Officially appears on The Beatles (Mono)
Officially appears on Concerts for the People of Kampuchea
Officially appears on Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane
Officially appears on McCartney II
Officially appears on McCartney II
Officially appears on McCartney III
Officially appears on Help! (Mono)
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Adam talks with British musician Paul McCartney about, among other things, his favourite snacks and British TV panel shows, what Bob Dylan is really like, whether the modern world is scarier than the 60s, how he and John Lennon really got on after the Beatles broke up, and why he no longer picks up hitch hikers. Recorded remotely on November 18th, 2020.Thanks to Séamus Murphy-Mitchell for production support and to Matt Lamont for conversation editing.
Adam Buxton: It’s a delight. I spoke with Paul remotely, in mid November of this year, I told a friend of mine that I was going to be talking to him, and they said, Oh, but you’ll have to submit the questions in advance for approval. Well, I’ve had to do that for a couple of previous guests on this podcast, but I didn’t have to do that this time. It was all very informal, just as well, because with the exception of some questions provided by friends of the podcast, I didn’t really have a formal interview planned. And instead we had a nice rambling conversation about some obvious McCartney things. And maybe not so obvious McCartney things. So now instead of my regular ramble chat jingle, which I would normally play before the conversation on the podcast, I thought I would do a brief montage of just a few bits of music written by Paul McCartney. You can find details of the songs in this montage in the description of the podcast along with a link to a Spotify playlist containing them and many others. From the mighty McCartney cannon. Here we go.
Adam Buxton: Hello, Paul. I’m Adam.
Paul McCartney: Hello, Adam. I’m Paul.
Adam Buxton: Nice to meet you, all being via the internet.
Paul McCartney: Yeah, virtually. Where are you now?
Adam Buxton: I am virtually and in every other sense in Norfolk East Anglia
Paul McCartney: Norfolk, lovely, nice.
Adam Buxton: Have you ever spent some happy times in Norfolk?
Paul McCartney: Yeah, I’ve been there, our Linda McCartney Foods factory is in Fakenham, in Norfolk. Or as our American owner used to call “Fakinham”.
Adam Buxton: So Paul, I don’t know how much they told you about it, but it’s more of a kind of a conversation than a straightforward interview.
Paul McCartney: Yeah, that’s what I heard.
Adam Buxton: I will also be including the odd questions from some of my friends and previous guests on my podcast. I feel as if you are kind as an interviewee, from the interviews that I’ve seen with you, it seems as if you’re generous and thoughtful when it comes to the people interviewing you. But I want you to know that at any point, if you think what I’m saying is ludicrous, or tedious, please don’t feel I will be offended if you pointed out
Paul McCartney: Ludicrous, that’s a hip hop artist, yeah?
Adam Buxton: Luda-Chris
Paul McCartney: Yeah.
Adam Buxton: Are you listening to any hip hop these days?
Paul McCartney: Just when it’s on the radio and stuff. Yeah, I don’t particularly seek it out. I do always check in and see what Kanye is doing after I’d worked with him, so I like to hear his new stuff. You know, it’s good, it’s the new beat.
Adam Buxton: At the moment, you’re in promo mode, more or less. What do you do with your time when you are not in that mode? And when you’re not working on music? How do you busy yourself and occupy yourself and entertain yourself?
Paul McCartney: Well, it really depends how much time I’ve got. If I’ve kind of got nothing to do all afternoon kind of thing, I can write. I enjoy writing stuff. That’s my hobby, as well as my job. So I could do that. If I’m on my farm, I can go for a horse ride, which is exceptionally fantastic.
Adam Buxton: And is that just you on your own writing?
Paul McCartney: Well, it depends. One of my kids is down there. My daughter, Mary, is a good rider. So sometimes we’ll go out together. And sometimes it’s just me, I do actually like to get out on my own. It’s very peaceful. And this trails in the woods, where I live. So it’s great. And you know what, it’s a great balance to the hectic life I sometimes lead.
Adam Buxton: Yeah, I can believe it. And when you’re out there on your own, do you talk to yourself? Do you make notes on your phone?
Paul McCartney: Not really, I sometimes take photographs of something that’s particularly nice. And yeah, I’ve been known to take notes, but not really, you know, I’m trying to avoid all of that, I’m trying to escape. I’m just communing with nature.
Adam Buxton: hugging the odd tree.
Paul McCartney: No, I’ll tell you what, though. Everyone used to make fun of Prince Charles. But now science is finding out that trees communicate with each other.
Adam Buxton: That’s right, down through the roots,
Paul McCartney: You know, so he’s hugging something that’s communicating. So it’s looking better for Prince Charles, I think.
Adam Buxton: I think you’re right. Will you have a Christmas tree in your house this Christmas?
Paul McCartney: Hopefully.
Adam Buxton: But do you feel bad for those Christmas trees? I live right next to a big Christmas tree farm. And I feel more guilty every Christmas season and seeing the slaughter of the trees.
Paul McCartney: Well, yeah, I know what you mean. But you’ve got to balance up the demise of the tree with the excitement of the kids. And yourself, because I like a Christmas tree. Yeah, so I do Christmas trees. And I enjoy it.
Adam Buxton: How about TV? Someone told me… In fact, it was Stuart, your PR person. I hope he wasn’t being indiscreet when he told me that you are into the TV show “Homes under the hammer”.
Paul McCartney: Yeah. What happens is I go to the gym most mornings. And there’s always a TV program on and that’s normally what’s on at the time I go. So I watch that. But I’m now moving around. Big favorite moment is “American Pickers”.
Adam Buxton: What’s “American pickers”?
Paul McCartney: It’s great. It’s two guys, Mike and Frank, who go around America collecting, they’ve got an antique shop. And they go to all these places, all these barns where there’s all this old as they call it, Rusty gold. And it’s great. You know, they find it, they bargain. It’s just a good show. They’re fun guys. And some of the stuff they find is quite amazing, you know? So I like that and “Storage hunters”, have you seeing that?
Adam Buxton: I know the show you mean. They go and they unlock bigs, storage crates. And see what’s inside.
Paul McCartney: Exactly. And that’s quite funny. There’s an American version, which is funny. And then an English version. You know, there’s great characters on it. And you know, it is interesting to see whether they found something good in the bin, or whether it’s a complete washout. But you know, this shows my mental age, but I like that sort of stuff. It’s not too challenging. I think it’s interesting.
Adam Buxton: How about comedy shows? Because George, of course, George Harrison was always a big comedy fan and a champion of so many comedians. But how about you? What has your relationship to comedy been over the years?
Paul McCartney: Well, I love it. Like George loved it, he just happened to hook up with the Monty Pythons. And so that was really great, because he was able to make films with them. In fact, I think it was “Life Of Brian”, no one wanted to make it because of the religious problems. But, you know, he was brave enough to do that. So my comedy, I watch it on TV. You know, they have “Live from the Apollo”, over here in England, you sometimes see wonderful people, then the shows like “Mock the week” and “I got news for you”, I like those shows. And I like “Would I lie to you?” I think there’s some very, very funny people on that.
Adam Buxton: Yeah. Lee Mack is extraordinary.
Paul McCartney: Lee Mack is a very talented boy. Yeah. And I mean, obviously, you sit at home, you know, with your friends or family and saying “he’s lying, he’s lying”. So you know, that’s the kind of thing I like.
Adam Buxton: Would you ever go on a show like that?
Paul McCartney: You know, you think about it, and then then you think no. I would think you’ve got to be in that business. You know, sharpening your skills, like Lee Mack is obviously just bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. And I think it looks a bit daft when you got someone who’s not so funny, looks a bit out of his depth or her depth. So I think I probably wouldn’t risk it. Mind you. I haven’t been asked. So that’s a factor.
Adam Buxton: Yeah. I would imagine you haven’t been asked, because they would imagine that you would say, “no thanks”. But I wonder if you’d be a good liar. Do you think you’re a good liar?
Paul McCartney: Well, that’s an interesting question. I don’t know. I think probably most of the people who watch that show, think “could I just lie with a straight face?” I don’t know. It’d be fun to try, actually. Because I think you’d get the lie. And then the one I like is the double bluff. And you think this is just so ridiculous guy’s lying. And he looks like he’s lied. And he’s almost giving away that he’s lying. And then in the end it was true.
Adam Buxton: Yeah. Bob Mortimer is amazing on that show.
Paul McCartney: I love Bob. Yeah, talking about comedy. Him and Vic Reeves were huge favorites. Yeah, so I love them.
Adam Buxton: I was listening to your new record. Congratulations, by the way, good record.
Paul McCartney: Thanks.
Adam Buxton: Do they all seem good to you once you finished working with them and you’ve been through that process? Or are you sometimes aware like “that wasn’t such a good one”?
Paul McCartney: I think when you’ve made the record, you’ve tried your best. And I think at that time, you think this is good. It’s a good record. So I’ll put it out. Looking back on them, sometimes you think “oh, that wasn’t too good, I must have been in a bit of a daze or something when I did that one”. So there are some favorites. Some ones who are I think I really nailed it. And then there are some that are not so good. But the interesting thing that happens is, as the years go by, someone will go “Oh, you know, the one I love of yours”. And it’ll be one you didn’t think was particularly spectacular. And they go “I love that McCartney II”.
Adam Buxton: I love that “McCartney II”!
Paul McCartney: You know, it was just a little experiment. And at the time, I wasn’t sure whether it was any good. But people talk about it and remind me of their favorites.
Adam Buxton: That’s a good one to bring up because I think it’s aged very well. And now seems so forward looking. And actually it was my first exposure to you as a solo artist. I was sitting on a plane aged, I don’t know. Well, I guess I would have been nine.
Paul McCartney: You weren’t flying it yourself for you.
Adam Buxton: I was not, I was not allowed to fly the plane. And I was listening to the program of music that used to have in those days with those plastic earphones that you had to shove in your ear on the plane. They were kind of painful. And the program of music would roll around every hour. So there was no question of you selecting what you wanted to listen to. And you had a choice of five channels or whatever it was. And one of the songs they were playing was “Waterfalls” from your new record.
Paul McCartney: That is one that people keep coming back to. When I did it, I always thought “well, it’s okay, I like it, like the vocal, like the tune”, but the backing is just a little synth strings, and I did think since then a great George Martin arrangement wouldn’t have hurt it. But that does get mentioned. I’ll tell you what I like is… “check my machine”, which is just a crazy little track. But that was intended to be just a crazy little record. Sometimes you make records and you think “well, this may not sell, but I’m enjoying myself”. So I’ll do it. And then, as you say, the interesting thing is after time elapsed, people sometimes say “I love that”. I mean, “Temporary Secretary” of that album got mentioned a lot. And someone came to me and said “there’s this guy in a club in Brighton who’s playing the hell out of it”. I said “What? Temporary Secretary?” Yeah, so I gave it another listen. And I go “Oh, I could see that”. And then we started doing it in our show.
Adam Buxton: That was another one that really stood out to me. Because at the time, I was really into all the synth bands coming up, and Gary Newman and the Human League, and people like that. So I love the sound of “Temporary Secretary” and also the fact that there was something weird going on, because a lot of those bands, the synth bands, were good, but maybe they didn’t have the songwriting chops. You know what I mean? So they were very rudimentary songs. Whereas you’re introducing these much more complex melodic ideas into these other environments when you do a song like that.
Paul McCartney: Well, on “Temporary Secretary”, it was just because I had just discovered the sequencer, where you can put a little sequence of arpeggio in there, and I was loving the sound of it. So I wrote that song off the back of that. And it’s about Mr. Marks in the lyrics.
Adam Buxton: Yeah, that was a sort of secretarial…
Paul McCartney: It was Alfred Marks Secretarial Bureau. And he was a comedian. When I was growing up, he was a famous comedian. But he sort of gave it up and got into this business. It was always a fun thing. When I thought of Alfred Marks Bureau, it was a bit like having the Ken Dodd Office Bureau, you know, just like, mildly amusing.
Adam Buxton: There’s a track on the new record called “When Winter Comes”. In fact, it’s the last track I think, isn’t that right? Really beautiful. With that opening guitar figure that reminded me of Robyn Hitchcock. You know, some of his lovely playing little…
Paul McCartney: Acoustic stuff.
Adam Buxton: Yeah. He’s very influenced by a lot of your stuff, I imagine. Anyway. The song is in the form of a kind of to do list for your farm. And it’s very much a portrait of a simple life in tune with the seasons. But it made me think about how fast… I mean I’m very aware now of how fast the seasons are coming round again…
Paul McCartney: Yeah, it’s funny this year, particularly seems to have gone fast. When you think with lockdown, it will go slowly. But everyone says “No, it’s going really fast”. But yeah, I love the seasons. That’s one thing I love about living in Britain. The changes are great.
Adam Buxton: I found that when I had children – so I’ve got three children, the eldest is 18 now and the youngest is 12 – especially when they were a bit younger, watching how quickly they were growing up, made me very aware of how fast time was passing, and it made me feel quite panicky sometimes. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Paul McCartney: Yeah, that’s life. It’s called life, Adam. You know, but you get over it. You just go “Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God”. It’s okay. Breeze, and then think about how wonderful your children are. And that makes it all okay.
Adam Buxton: That’s good advice. Thanks, man. I’m gonna ask you one of the first questions I got from my friends. I’m going to sprinkle some of these questions throughout our conversation. This is from a writer called Nina Stubby. She’s a great writer, and she was a guest on my podcast, and she was wondering about your favorite food. I read in a interview with you once that you were a big fan of bagels with hummus and Marmite. Is that still a thing?
Paul McCartney: Yeah, that is true. It’s funny. That is what I do. If I’m in the studio, or if I’m having a day at the office, I sometimes will go into the office just to make sure everyone can ask me all the questions they need answered. But it’s mainly in the studio. And yeah, I love it. It’s just my midday break. And I will have it with a cup of tea and I don’t really drink that much tea, but it just seems to my ultimate little meal for me. You toast the bagels, you put some Marmite on them. And then on top of that, you put some hummus. You know, the funny thing is I’m always disappointed when it finishes. Crazy. I’m like a little kid. “Oh, where’s my bagel?” It’s ridiculous, really. But I love it that much. So that’s a big favorite part. That’s like my lunchtime snack.
Adam Buxton: How about your favorite meal? What’s the meal you most look forward to?
Paul McCartney: I like a number of things. I like quesadilla. And that’s, I look forward to that. And I have that with steamed vegs. What else do I like? I like a quiche that real men don’t eat.
Adam Buxton: That was a thing in the 80s, wasn’t it?
Paul McCartney: I know! Can you believe that it was like “Oh, don’t say that I really like it”. But yeah, I like quiche anyway. And you know, you’re lucky if you’ve got a great cook. Because then you can get these things homemade. You know, I’m lucky I have someone who can cook for me who’s brilliant. And then during lockdown, I was locked down when my daughter Mary and her family. And she’s a brilliant cook. You know, she’s got cookbooks, and she’s doing a series for the Food Network. So I was very lucky to have her there just whipping up meals.
Adam Buxton: Yeah, that’s great, man, especially when the routine is so fixed and predictable. To have a great meal is a wonderful gift.
Paul McCartney: Yeah. And you know, making this album “McCartney III”, I would come home from the studio, which is about 20 minutes away, and sitting down getting ready for dinner. And I’d have a drink. And we turn around and Mary or a husband say “what did you do today in the studio?” So I say “Oh, actually, I’ve got it with me. It’s on the phone”. So I pull up my little wonderboom speaker, and I play back what I’d done that day. So it became a great routine, actually. And as I’d done that, then we’d eat, so you know, that made lockdown much easier to take. Almost so.
Adam Buxton: Yeah. Here’s a question from a comedian friend of mine, Romesh Ranganathan, very funny man. And Ramesh is also a vegan. And he says, “I went to a vegan junk food place and they did veggie chicken wings, the wings came and they had pegs inside to simulate bones, I’m not a militant veggie but I think that’s weird. The question I’m asking Paul is how does he feel about the proliferation of fake meat?”
Paul McCartney: Yeah, I know. A lot of people don’t like that. It was definitely wood pegs inside? I don’t think I could handle that. But there’s some fake meat, I think, that is good. I like burgers. I like veggie burgers. So that’s kind of often fake meat. And I like sausages, veggie sausages. There’s some fake meat that is pretty rough. But most of it is made out of tofu anyway. So you could call it fake meat, or you could call it tofu. But I like the burgers and the sausages. Because, when we first became vegetarian, about 40 years ago, I had a young family. And I liked the idea of doing certain dad roles, inverted commas, you know, “Dad will carve the turkey”, all the traditional things, “dad will do the barbecue”. So that was how I got into burgers and sausages, mainly for the barbecue and to allow me to continue these roles, you know? It’s all very stereotypical. And I’m sure a lot of people these days are “Well, it’s not just a man’s job”. And of course it isn’t. But in a family like that, it is often dad who gets the fire going for the barbecue… So that, I love and I must say we do a fine veggie burger and sausage at Linda McCartney foods.
Adam Buxton: And now I’ve had many of them myself. They are delightful.
Paul McCartney: And tell your mate that I love his show.
Adam Buxton: Oh, yeah. Cool. There you go, Ramesh. Paul McCartney likes your show. And here’s another comedian, Alex Horne, this time, from Taskmaster. Alex says “What do you think about to fall asleep? I think about my little dog curled up downstairs”.
Paul McCartney: Oh, that’s very nice. I read a book until the page starts to blur. Like “Oh, good, it’s sleep time”. But so I just read various books on my reading now, I’d never read “Remembrance Of Things Past”.
Adam Buxton: Okay, how’s that?
Paul McCartney: It’s good. It took me a little while to get into it because it’s very specific world of French privilege. But I’m into it now. And he’s just a great writer. And then like I say, as soon as the word start to blur, I’ll just turn the lights off and go to sleep.
Adam Buxton: What’s the name of the guy that wrote “A la recherche du temps perdu” ?
Paul McCartney: You know I can never pronounce his name? Proust? Proust.
Adam Buxton: There you go. Marcel Proust. I think, yeah. All right, that’s been on my list. It’s one of those books you’re supposed to read. But it’s one of those books that people struggle with and a lot of people don’t finish.
Paul McCartney: Yeah, I say when I started it, it was like “Oh, god, I’m going to have to struggle”. And I don’t like to do that. You know, I prefer a book that likes me as well as I like it. But I thought I’ll persevere. And then bits that were I was struggling with a thought, I’ll just miss them. I hope I haven’t missed anything really important. It turned out I hadn’t. So it’s good. I’m into it now.
Adam Buxton: Yeah, you don’t want to miss one of the sexy scenes.
Paul McCartney: Oh, I haven’t gotten to them yet. Oh, good.
Adam Buxton: I read an interview with you recently in Uncut Magazine. And you were talking to Michael Bonner. And one of the things you said, which I noticed a lot of people picked up on, was that you said that you were sort of envious of Bob Dylan in some ways. You said “I always liked what he does, sometimes I wish I was a bit more like Bob, he’s legendary. And he doesn’t give a shit”.
Paul McCartney: I think that’s true. Yeah.
Adam Buxton: Yeah, the way that I interpreted that was that you feel as if you do give a shit. And you care about what people say, and people’s opinions?
Paul McCartney: What I was referring to, it’s more audiences. You know, you always get a choice with your audience to be cool, or to give them what they want. So I try and mix it, you know, I try and give them what they want. And, at the same time, do some stuff for myself, that I think is cool. So with Bob, and I went to see him last year in New York, and tell you the truth, I couldn’t recognize the songs. And there were songs I knew well, when I suddenly hear a bit a lyric I got “oh that’s that one”. “Like a Rolling Stone”, I knew that one. But he just changed the melody. And so I kind of have to admire that there’s something brave about that. He’s got a room full of people who love him and are coming to hear him to that song he loves. But he sings “Like a Rolling Stone, like a Rolling Stone”. And it’s like, “that’s not it, Bob”. You know, if he’s on a talent contest, you get booed off. But I love him. I love his uncompromising stance.
Adam Buxton: Give us a flourish for Neil Young…
Paul McCartney: I love Neil. He’s pretty uncompromising, too. You know, I’ve known him a long time. I don’t really know Bob too much. I’d run into him. I say I just admire who he is what he is, is a poet. You know, I like that, I love his songs. But Neil is the same. He’s so… so Neil Young. And he’s influenced a lot of people. I’ll often hear record on the radio, and I’ll just go “Oh, is that Neil’s new one”. And then “no, it’s another band”. And he’s a great bloke, too. I mean, I do know him quite well. I’ve known him since the 60s. He is a cool guy.
Adam Buxton: There was a moment with Bob Dylan, that captured a lot of people’s imaginations when you first met in the Delmonico Hotel, New York 1964, I believe. And that’s one of those meetings that’s kind of gone down in pop cultural music history. Do you have a sort of firsthand memory of it now? Or is your memory of that informed by just what people have written and said about it?
Paul McCartney: No, I remember it pretty well, you know, we were staying in that hotel. And I think we were on tour. So we were all together in the hotel suite. And we’re having a drink. And then Bob arrived. And we said, Hi. And he vanished into a back room, one of the rooms of the suite. So we just carried on through, I don’t know, he must be doing something whatever… Ringo went back to see him. And then after a couple of minutes, Ringo came back in, looking a little bit dazed and confused. And we said, “What’s up?” He said, “Oh, Bob smoking pot back there”. We say, “Oh, God”, we never had it. And we said, “Oh, so what’s it like?”. And Ringo said “Well, the ceiling feels like it’s sort of coming down a bit”. And we go, “Whoa”, we all just dashed in the back room to partake of the evil substance. And that was quite an evening. You know, it was crazy. It was great fun. I’m not sure Bob is keen on being labeled as the guy who turned the Beatles on. I’ve heard that he sort of was trying to replay it down a bit. But whatever. That’s the truth. And we met him on other occasions, under those kinds of circumstances, you know, but it was very nice, you know, so I hung out with Bob a few times. He came to see us for dinner when we were in the hotel and stuff. So we had some good times together, he is a great bloke.
Adam Buxton: In the documentary footage from around that time, he seems such a angular figure in some ways and sort of suspicious and a bit contrary, and a bit perverse when people are around him. So I guess he wasn’t like that one to one.
Paul McCartney: No, he wasn’t. But that’s the thing that happens easily with famous people. Because you don’t know if someone’s being genuine. And you suspect they might want something from you. And so it’s much better to hang out with friends who aren’t going to be like that. And you can relax. So I can understand why he would get a little bit cautious of meeting other people. But he’s not like that in person. Oh, he’s fun. I remember one time, just saying to him, it was just friendly conversation, “I had some weird dreams last night, amazing, very vivid”. He said, “Well, as probably you had too much cheese before you went to bed”. It could be true, I don’t know. But you know, he’s that ordinary?
Adam Buxton: Yeah. So you didn’t start writing songs about cheese? Instead, you wrote “Got to get you into my life”, which presumably was about smoking doobies?
Paul McCartney: That was a veiled reference. Yeah, you know, that was what that was about. And it’s always good when you’re writing a song to have something in your mind to lean on. And on that occasion, I was thinking this is pretty cool stuff, you know. Now, having said that, these days, it’s so much more potent. And you do have to warn kids, “just take it easy whatever you do”, because it’s become much stronger, and therefore more dangerous.
Adam Buxton: Yeah. Talking of the 60s, there is a track on the new record called “Find My Way”, track 2 I think, really good. That’s a massive earworm for me, that’s been in my head for weeks. It’s got a great up tempo beat, it skips along, it reminds me a little bit of Beck, some of his stuff. And there’s a lyric in there that says “you never used to be afraid of days like these. But now you’re overwhelmed by your anxieties”. And I read that was a little bit inspired by the beginning of lockdown, and the scary changes that we all felt at the beginning of the year where we didn’t know how the pandemic was going to pan out.
Paul McCartney: And we still don’t, we almost talking like it’s over. It looks like it’s very much not. Yeah, that was written at that time. But I think I was thinking of people who worry more than I do. And I know one or two people who just kind of worry about life. And it’s not that I don’t, it’s just that I deal with those worries and think “no, it’s okay, there’s a way out of this”. And I, I can generally find some optimistic exit from a bad situation. But there are some people who do get overwhelmed with it. So I think I was addressing those people. And thinking “you never used to be so anxious, but now you are. So I don’t know, let me be your guide, let me help you to find the love that’s inside you”. It just felt like a natural thing to say. But that’s what that’s about. The rest of the song is me saying I can find my way. I know my left from right.
Adam Buxton: That’s right. I think you could tell a lot of people seem to feel obliged, almost this year. I noticed when I was getting emails from people, people perhaps that I didn’t know that well, they seem to feel obliged to say things like, “Oh, I hope you’re doing well, despite the end times” kind of thing. But it occurred to me when listening to your song, that the 60s must have felt even more apocalyptic quite frequently with stuff that was going on. I mean, there wasn’t the same awareness of climate change perhaps, that was an existential threat that perhaps you weren’t thinking about that much. But you had Vietnam and you had the race riots and assassinations of JFK and Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, and then the Manson Family killings at the end of the 60s. I mean, that is stuff that would have made a lot of people feel like “well, it’s all ending”. Do you feel like that?
Paul McCartney: When one of those episodes occurred, you felt like that, but they didn’t occur every day of the week. So you’d be going along, making new music developing the Beatles, enjoying the development from a little covers band through to writing simple songs through to write more complex songs. So that was the main thing that was going on and touring, which generally made you feel good. Touring could get a bit tiring. But generally the general climate was that this was good. This is a good time, the 60s. But as you say, then there’d be spikes. I remember we were backstage, on tour up north, when the news came through, that JFK had been assassinated. So like everyone else, it was just a horror, horrible thing to hear about, as well as to have happened. And you know, at times like those, I think you just think “God, you know, the world’s crazy”. There’s these crazy people out there. And there’s nothing much you can do about it. And then you started to find out about Vietnam, which at first we didn’t know about, because it was mainly an American affair. But I was lucky. I met Bertrand Russell, in the 60s. And that was when I talked about the good sort of backdrop of the 60s. It was very free that way. I just happened to know somebody who said “Oh, you do know Bertrand Russell”. I said, “Oh, yeah. You mean the philosopher”. “He’s living in Chelsea”, and he gave me an address. He said, go knock on his door. So I did. “Hello”, and I kid came who I now figure must have been like an intern. And I said “Could I meet with Bertrand Russell?” Anyway, I did. He let me in. And I feel very privileged to this day, to sort of sit and talk to this great mind. And he said to me, do you know about Vietnam? I said, No, really. And so he told me all about it. So that was how I discovered that. And it was something that was happening to our American mates, they were having to go in the army, or they were having to go to Canada to escape going in the Army or whatever. So all these things that you mentioned were horrific moments, but for me through a time which was good.
Adam Buxton: And for example, after you had spoken about Vietnam, with Bertrand Russell, did that make you go back and have a conversation with the rest of the band and say “we should be talking about these things in the songs”, “we should be political”, the way that Bob Dylan is political in some ways, even though Dylan never spelled it out.
Paul McCartney: No, you never said “Viet-nam”. I did go back. Actually, we had a session right after that. And I went back and said to the guys, “wow, you know, I met with this Bertrand, he’s telling me about Vietnam, it sounds like it’s a bad war”. And so that was when we all got aware of that situation. But really, it didn’t affect us personally, too much. Till we went to America. And then our PR guy or policy guy would say “whatever you do, don’t talk about Vietnam”. So of course we did. And that was good. To be able to say “it’s not a great war, we’re not quite sure what America is doing over there”. And it looked like they were going to lose. So obviously, it was killing a lot of people.
Adam Buxton: That was around… When was that? Then mid 60s?
Paul McCartney: End of 60s, I think. Don’t ask me about dates. I’m terrible. I only know Sergeant Pepper was 67. The rest of it? I haven’t got a clue.
Adam Buxton: But of course, you were caught up in the whole fury that came after John was quoted as saying the Beatles were bigger than Jesus. There was also towards the very end of the 60s, the whole weird “Paul is dead” episode. Did that stuff get to you, though, did that make you despair a little bit?
Paul McCartney: John’s thing got to us and mainly got to him, because it was taken out of context. He was actually saying some quite positive, optimistic stuff. He was talking to a journalist called Maureen Cleave who we knew. And he was doing an interview for the Evening Standard. And he was just talking about our popularity with the Beatles. And he was saying, you know, the thing is, all the churches these days are empty. No one’s going to church, like when we were kids, people went to church. But at this point, no one was really going to church. And he said we get more people at our concerts than ever go to church. He said, “in fact, we’re more popular than Jesus”. And it was just a throwaway remark referring to the fact that it was a pity that people weren’t going to church and you’re losing on social aspect. And then obviously, when that reached America in the Bible Belt, that did not go down well. And we had many a moment where… I remember once, on the tour bus, we’re like when you see footballers arriving for a match, and we’re all there at the windows, looking out the crowd. And I remember, this young boy, couldn’t have been much more than 12 or something, blonde hair, banging on the windows. You know, like furious about what we’d said, and you can’t really say “Well, no, what we meant was…”, you just have to put up with it. So that was pretty worrying, actually, particularly because that wasn’t what John had meant to say. So I was like, one of the only times I saw John nervous when he had to answer that question at a press conference. He had an answer for it, which was he was actually being positive about religion. But he had to play the game, and he had to sort of be very serious about it. And I think that made him a bit nervous.
Adam Buxton: Did you guys stick together in those moments? Or were there ever times backstage when one of you would say “Why do you have to say that”?
Paul McCartney: No, not really. We all read the article. So we knew how it had happened. So on that occasion, definitely not, we stuck together. And you mentioned the “Paul is dead” thing. That was ridiculous. Because I hadn’t actually done anything, except showed up for the Abbey Road cover shot. And it was a very hot day, in mid summer. And I arrived to the shoot in sandals. And so I did a few photographs going across the crossing with the sandals on. But it was so hot, I just kicked them off for a couple of shots. And that was one of the ones they used. So then in America, it became… Talk about the land of conspiracy theories, they love them. So this was “Oh, this is a mafia sign that Paul is dead”. And none of it made any sense at all. And there was a like a Volkswagen Beetle, with the license plate 281F, which they said “now that’s 28 if he had lived”. Somebody said, “What do you want to do about this, what are you going to do about this?” I said, “just leave it”. It’s actually a great publicity for the album. I’ve got nothing to do with it. All I can do is say “well, I’m not dead”, and leave it at that.
Adam Buxton: But it didn’t sort of exasperate you and frustrate you too badly.
Paul McCartney: No, not really. I just thought, that’s the madness that goes on. And sometimes you just ride it. And I got a statement out saying “No, I’m not dead, it’s ridiculous, it was just some American DJ started it, and it’s got out of hand”. But beyond that, I didn’t bother. I just thought, “well, I said my bit”. And the album’s selling well.
Adam Buxton: Was there ever a time when you as a band discussed the possibility of pulling back a little bit, because you felt that things were getting a bit too massive and a bit too out of control? And I guess maybe that was the thing that led up to the decision to stop touring.
Paul McCartney: Yeah, touring can be pretty exhausting. As anyone who’s done it at a high level will tell you, it’s great fun, the audiences are great. But they’re better nowadays because you can hear yourself. In those days, the PA systems were so weak that if all these girls decided to scream at once, which they often did, at first it was like “Yeah, I love it”. And I sometimes now at my shows, I will say to the girls, “come on girls, give us a Beatle scream”, and they will do it. And it’s exactly the same, but then as I say, because we couldn’t hear ourselves, it got a bit wearing. And so we would come offstage, “bloody, I don’t know, not doing that again”. But then we’d go and finish the tour. The last gig was Candlestick Park in California. And it was wet. It was raining. We were stuck on some little tin pot stage in the middle of this great big baseball arena. We couldn’t hear ourselves. We weren’t having any fun. And then to add to the indignity of it all, we were driven away in the back of a steel lined meat wagon, which, like there was nothing to even hold on to as it went round the corner, it’s like a paddy wagon. And it was like “oh, bloody hell, no, no, no, no, no, we’ve had enough”. So we came back and started saying, “Well, what can we do, we don’t want to tour again”. And what happened was we’d heard that Elvis Presley had sent his gold plated Cadillac out on tour. He didn’t go with it, he just sent it out. And people would flock to see Elvis, his Cadillac, and then he would go to the next town. And those people would flock. So we thought that is brilliant. Only Elvis could have thought of that. We said, Well, what we should do is we should make a killer record. And that can do the touring for us. So that’s why Sergeant Pepper was all about…
Adam Buxton: But it didn’t solve the problem – maybe you didn’t see it as a problem – of being quite so massive of being the object of such an intense level of scrutiny and attention….
Paul McCartney: Well, that’s true. It didn’t. But the thing is you’ve asked for it. And if you’re sensible, you just sort of think “well, this is what I wanted”. And so what am I going to do now? Like, hate it? Or am I just going to try and embrace it? In the early days, it was like “Oh, I just wish we could get famous”. And we were kind of from relatively poor families in Liverpool. So as a wish, we could get some money, maybe get a guitar, or car, or even a house, who knows? So that was our thinking, going into it. So we got fame, we got the screaming, we got the autographs. And at first, of course, autographs are fantastic. “You want my autograph off?” Certainly. And you spend hours over it. “What’s your name?” “To Carol, with the very best wishes from Paul McCartney”. After about a year of that, you don’t ask for the name. You just scribble your name. And it gets wearing, so those elements of fame weren’t too good. But as I say, it’s what we’d asked for. It’s what we’d planned for. And we’d made this happen. Maybe it happened a bit more than we’d expected. But it was still of our own making.
Adam Buxton: Now, as well as being part of a band you have also ended up being associated with one of the more well known musical creative partnerships in history, Lennon and McCartney. And I want to ask you a couple of questions about that, if that’s okay. Did you argue about whose name went first?
Paul McCartney: Yeah, definitely. What happened was I went to a meeting where Brian Epstein, our manager, had a little office in the West End of London. And we were going to have a meeting about this and that, and I went to the meeting, Brian and John were there, John got there a little earlier. And they were chatting and it came up “okay, next thing is we’re going to credit things with Lennon – McCartney”. And I said “Well, what about McCartney – Lennon”. He said “Well, yeah, we can do that sometimes, and we’ll switch it around”. So I thought “okay, that sounds alright”. And there are a couple of early records where it did get switched around. But pretty soon, it just became “Lennon -McCartney”. And I realized, you know what, it sounds good. And so I was happy to go with it. What happened though later was when we were doing The Beatles Anthology, which was putting together all our memories and records and everything. And there was a booklet that came in the CD. And now that we’re crediting all the songs with “by John Lennon and Paul McCartney”, I thought that’s okay but I’d rather have “Lennon – McCartney”, because that’s the sort of the brand. But what happened was, leafing through the booklet, and then there’s the song “Yesterday”, the lyrics of. That was a song that I wrote totally on my own. I actually recorded it, I’m the only person on the record besides a string quartet. So I felt it is a time when we should put “Yesterday, by Paul McCartney and John Lennon”. I said “I think that’s fair enough”, because we did agree to it in the early days. It never happened, but I didn’t mind that. But if you’re going to separate the words of… so I asked if that was possible, and I was voted down. It was like “No”, so I said, it’s actually crazy because you’ve got a song like Blackbird. That is just totally me. And it’s credited to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. And even I did a poetry book. And there was the lyrics of Blackbird as a poem credited to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. So anyway, I’ve asked on a number of occasions, if the songs that are clearly John’s, if you’re going to separate the names up to be John Lennon and Paul McCartney. If the ones that are clearly mine, like “Yesterday”, “The Long And Winding Road”, “Blackbird”, etc, and that John had admitted are mine. It might be a good idea, just to put my name first, but the reasoning was proved to me because I was in a hotel late one night, and I noticed a musician’s songbook. And what was happening was, they’d copied these things and put them all in, copied them off the internet or something. And so this song would be like, “Blackbird, by John Lennon and P”, there is no room for my name. So “by John Lennon, and I was going, well, that’s a good argument for sticking my name first on those songs.
Adam Buxton: Yeah. Now I can understand. You want to protect that body of work. You want to have credit assigned, where it’s due. That’s your legacy. I think that’s totally understandable. Did you see a film directed by Michael Lindsay Hogg, who directed the videos for “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” and “Hey Jude”, “Revolution”, called “The Two Of Us”, or just “Two Of Us” around about 2000?
Paul McCartney: Oh, yeah. Where there’s a John and a Paul played by actors? Aidan Quinn played me, I remember. Yeah.
Adam Buxton: Yeah. And Jared Harris played John. And it’s a fictionalized account of one of the visits that you made around 1976 to John’s New York apartment.
Paul McCartney: I did see it actually. Yeah. And what was okay about that was at the beginning of the film, it said, you know, John and Paul met on such and such a date in New York. And this is us imagining what might have happened. It’s pure fiction. They did like a disclaimer at the front. So I thought, well, that’s okay. Because I can get into this. And I mean, I must say, I enjoyed it. I thought I wish that had happened. It didn’t happen quite like that.
Adam Buxton: Right. For people who haven’t seen it. Here’s the synopsis. McCartney, on the New York leg of his world tour with his post Beatles group Wings, arrives unannounced at Lennon’s Dakota apartment at the time. Yoko is away, they exchanged small talk and biting insults. They consume some marijuana and eventually end up noodling around on the piano. As the evening wears down, they watch Saturday Night Live together. And then by chance, they witness producer Lorne Michaels offering the Beatles a laughably low sum, $3,000, to reunite on his show. Impulsively, they toy with the idea of speeding to Rockefeller Center to perform a few songs that very night. So what aspects of that vague synopsis ring true?
Paul McCartney: As with all of these stories, it’s kind of true, but it’s not. So I did visit John, and Lorne didn’t come on the telly. Lorne came on the telly the week before. And John told me “Saturday Night Live, I love this, you know”. So “Oh, did you hear that Lorne Michaels had…” and he explained the thing to me. And John said “we should go down there, it’s live, we should go down…” This was the week after. So it wasn’t as if Lorne was just asking and we went down. And so for five minutes, we were like “Yeah, let’s go down, that’d be great, what a hoot”. And then we went “No, let’s not”. And we didn’t. So it was kind of true. But facts have been mangled to protect the innocent.
Adam Buxton: I guess one of the intriguing things, though, for fans was the idea that you guys were still on good terms around that time, after the break up with the Beatles.
Paul McCartney: Yeah, that was one of my great blessings out of the whole thing. Because during the Beatles breakup, it was very difficult. And I was getting blamed for it all. And I knew I wasn’t to blame. But the more you protest, methinks the lady protest too much. And it’s like, “Oh, I see, I’m in a trap here”. It was kind of difficult. But over the years, like I say, I would drop in John’s place. Then I was the kind of person that didn’t know that, particularly in places like New York, you call ahead. Cuz I’m from Liverpool, I don’t know. You just show up. “Alright, John, how you doing?” But he did say to me “do us a favor next time, let us know you’re coming”. Anyway. So I would go and see him a few times. And we would talk on the phone. If I was in England, he was in America. And we had some great, ordinary conversations that were very sort of endearing. There was a bread strike over here. And so I’d gone round to the local bakers and caged some yeast off him. So I was baking bread at home. And on a phone call to John, he said “What are you up to? I’ve been baking some bread”. He said, “Oh, yeah, I’m getting into baking bread”. So we exchanged our recipes and methods for making bread. So it was lovely. You know, this was how it been when we met. We were just a couple of guys just [discussing] about insignificant stuff. So I was very happy to have got back our friendship, which the Beatles breakup had nearly ruined. But in actual fact, it all calmed down. And in the end, I was friends with all the guys.
Adam Buxton: Yeah., The film, “Two Of Us”, which I recommend actually to people who haven’t seen it for their fans… It uses your relationship with John to illustrate these two very opposing ways of looking at the world. And it casts you as the light hearted optimist who sees the value in bringing joy into people’s lives with music. And John, as someone who sees pain and suffering everywhere, and thinks it’s the duty of an artist to tell the truth about that, to sort of wake people up. How much truth is there in that characterization?
Paul McCartney: I think it’s very general. But I think there’s a lot of truth in it. And looking back on it, I think that was one of the great strengths of our writing partnership. And of the Beatles. Each of us had a very strong character that was different from the others. So as you say, if John and I are writing a song… I’m actually in the room now, where we wrote this song I’m gonna mention, which is called “Getting Better”, a Beatle song. I was saying “it’s getting better all the time”. And John’s gone “it couldn’t get much worse”. So you know, he would provide the sort of darkness to my sort of optimistic song. And it worked. It wasn’t always like that. But there was this thing that was balanced, was created by his attitude. And you know, the other thing is, I grew up in Liverpool, with our amazing family. My dad had had seven kids in his family, his mother and father had had seven kids, he was one of seven kids. So when they married, I was 14. And then when they had kids, that was 28, or whatever. So it’s a big family. And when we would get together, it was very joyous. And we’d sing songs, and it was really great. Looking back on, it was like “Oh, God”, I mean, if you asked me what I miss about those things, that would be a big one. Everyone’s just having a great time, basically having a great time singing all the old songs. And as kids kind of just bathing in the happiness, you know. So I grew up thinking, everyone must have these lovely families. Isn’t it nice, you know. And then I started talking to John, and his was quite the opposite. You know, his mother had been deemed not the right kind of person to bring him up. So he was sent to his aunt Mimi’s so that is a traumatic thing for a kid right there. And his dad had left home when John was three. There’s another traumatic thing. And then his uncle, Mimi’s husband, died. I remember John saying to me, “I thought I had a jinx, on the male line of the family”. And I had to kind of talk him down off the ledge and say, “No, no, no, it’s not your fault your dad left. It’s not your fault that the family decided this”. And then to top it all, when we knew each other, teenagers, his mom is run over in a terrible accident, and killed right outside Mimi’s house. So, it made me realize not everyone has this great upbringing. So I was very lucky. And I think that is where my optimism came from and where it remains in that sort of basically, life can be really good. Because I’ve seen it. And I think John’s pain was literally all that pain we’ve just discussed. But when the two of us came together, we brought that into a mix. And I think that was very important for the strength of the songwriting team.
Adam Buxton: Speaking of John, I have a question from Louis Theroux. And he wants to know what your favorite Lennon song was from the Beatles era.
Paul McCartney: From the Beatles era, there’s a few. You know, they always ask you what’s your favorite song. But there’s a few. “Strawberry Fields Forever”, I love. “Across The Universe”, I love. “Julia”, which is about the mom he couldn’t live with. So I love the poignancy of that because I’d been with him round to Julia’s house to visit her. And I knew how deeply he loved her. So “Julia”, I would go with. And then later from his post Beatles work, “Beautiful Boy”, about Sean, was, I think, a really great song… Now I can look back on it and think “God, what a lovely guy, how privileged was I to run into him in Liverpool”. And I think we’ve both felt the same about each other. Just really quite chance meeting. It was through a mate of mine that I met John. But it was by chance. It was no setup. We didn’t go to the same school, but I went to the same school as the guy who introduced us. So thinking back on it, I do think “Oh, God, we’re very lucky”. I was thinking the other day, I wish I just sat and hugged him all the time we were together. But as you know, Adam, that probably would be slightly out of line. But it’s the kind of thing you think, you know, what about that? But guys didn’t do that kind of thing where I’m from.
Adam Buxton: maybe that’s what alcohols are for…
Paul McCartney: (laugh) hugging a lot.
Adam Buxton: Enabling you to hug and be hugged.
Paul McCartney: Yeah, well, you know, I know what you mean.
Adam Buxton: It shouldn’t just be alcohol.
Paul McCartney: I know what you mean. And so you know what happens in later years, now looking back on it all. You just think of little things. You think “Ah, that’s why that happened” or whatever. Or you may just think “I’ll just sit around and hug him forever”, because that’s the depth of my feeling for him. But, for instance, I used to ask the guys, John and George particularly, to go hitchhiking. I’d say “you know, it’d be brilliant” because we didn’t have much money to go on a real holiday. So we said we should just hitchhike. And I was like the instigator. So I would say you know “if we take the ferry over the Mersey, we start on the world side, apparently the lorries all go start from there”. So I’m working it all out. And George has gone “Yeah. Okay, great”. So me and George went on a couple of hitchhiking things. We went on one, we ended up in Wales. And then we went on another where we ended up in Exeter. And that brings you together. You know, when you’re thumbing lifts, and someone goes past you, a bar rich bastard, we were saying “if ever we get a car, we’ll give everyone lifts”. So those kind of things really brought us together.
Adam Buxton: Have you picked up many hitchhikers over the years?
Paul McCartney: Yeah, used to till it got dangerous. I picked up one guy, and it got dangerous. I was coming down from Liverpool. And I was having a great drive with an Aston Martin. So I’m under a lovely drive and very pleased with myself. And I see a guy hitching. So I go “we’re, we’re always going to give everyone lift”. So I pull over. And he says “Where are you going?” “I’m just going down the motorway here”. Okay, great, you know, “can I get in”. So we get in, he’s talking. And he’s talking. He’s in the army. And he’s talking about, he’s on leave from the army and stuff. And he seems okay. And then I reach a point where he says, “turn off left here and I’m going here, when you get off the motorway, turn left here”. I said “Well, I’ll get off the motorway, but I’m going to drop you because I’m carrying straight on”. He says “no, turn left”. And his voice sort of got nice and threatening. “No, turn left here”. So I thought “shit, the guy’s army. What am I gonna do?” So okay… And I took him to where he lived, but I thought I’m never given anyone a frickin’ lift after that, because it can get dangerous. And it did. It got dangerous for lots of people. So much so that you’d advise your kids, just don’t bother, don’t hitchhiking.
Adam Buxton: That’s a shame…
Paul McCartney: You know, that’s why everyone got a mobile phone. So that was the original idea is you give one to your kids in case they get stuck. You know, in a situation like that. This, they can phone?
Adam Buxton: Yeah, exactly. In case they meet scary army guy.
Paul McCartney: Yeah. So from then I’m afraid that very philanthropic idea went out the window with the guy.
Adam Buxton: Paul, I’m aware that we are at the end of our time, but is it okay just to ask you one or two more questions?
Paul McCartney: Yeah, let’s go on. Let’s do another five minutes.
Adam Buxton: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Talking about music, I’m interested to know some of the artists and the songs that you have continued to return to throughout your life, that have just hung in there as songs that you always know are going to lift your spirits.
Paul McCartney: Yeah, well, I’ve got an old jukebox. So “All Shook Up” by Elvis takes me back and lifts my spirits. Little Richard happens to also be on this jukebox. “Lucille” and “Good Golly, Miss Molly” are serious recordings. I love them.
Adam Buxton: Someone said that Little Richard had actually given you some instructions for how to hit that extremely high whale that you do on some of the Beatles tracks.
Paul McCartney: Oh, I don’t think he actually sat down and instructed me. I just copied him. I just copied him and I just admitted, and he always said “you know, I taught Paul everything he knew”. I said “Yes, you did, Richard”. But those records… ” Be Bop A Lula” by Jean Vincent, just because it’s the first record I bought, ever. I remember going into Currys, going around the back with a little record department and buying it, taking it home and just being so thrilled with it. And then, you know, through the years, maybe, Bob Dylan stuff, “Like a Rolling Stone”. Those kind of records are fantastic.
Adam Buxton: Yeah, Pet Sounds, I guess would be up there.
Paul McCartney: “Pet Sounds” is definitely right up there. “God Only Knows”, I just think is a supreme creation. And I had the privilege of doing a charity gig where Brian was on it. And we sang it together. I tell you… In rehearsal, I couldn’t hold it together. I started crying, I was standing at the mic with Brian. And you know, the lyrics “Live could show nothing to me, so what good would living do me”, it was what I was supposed to be singing with him. So I had to kind of burst through it, but I think that one is an incredible song. I think the whole album is incredible. There’s so much stuff. Bob Marley, you know…
Adam Buxton: What about these days? What are you listening to? What’s the last album you really got into? Or do you just tend to find that you go back to the older stuff?
Paul McCartney: I’d go back to the old stuff readily. But I listen to new stuff, and admire a lot of what the kids are doing. But it’s not my favorite stuff, you know, but I worked with Kanye, and I thought his “Dark Twisted Fantasy” album was a very good album. He’s quite a talent. Working with him, you don’t know if you’re working with him. My view of working with someone is you sit down with two guitars and you go “if there’s anything that you want”, and the other guy goes “if there’s anything that you need”, you know, “here we go, this is a song”. But it wasn’t like that at all. So I came with my guitar, and sat around going to do doodly doo. And the guy, Kanye, didn’t really say anything, we were just chatting about this and that and we just talk. And then I started doing a sort of, on the guitar, just doing like a little sort of riffy thing. Thought nothing of it. And when we finished working together, I thought “did we do anything? I don’t think we did”. So it was only months later when he sent me “FourFiveSeconds” with Rihanna singing it. And I said “Bloody Hell”, and I had to ring up and say “Am I on this?” But the engineer who I knew quite well, he said, “Yeah, that’s your guitar but we sped it up for Rihanna”. So it was a buzz to work with the guy and to see that method of working. So you know, I will listen to stuff like that. And occasionally there’s some real good stuff. I think Stormzy does some good stuff. People saying “Oh, it’s not like it was in the old days”. I said “Well, no, it isn’t, but people are still making good music”. But it’s changed, you can’t expect the kids to still be playing old rock and roll records. That’s for us.
Adam Buxton: That’s right. Final question. This is from the son of Dougie Payne who plays bass in Travis. His son Freddie would like to know who’s the coolest person you ever met?
Paul McCartney: Coolest person I ever met… My wife. I hope she’s gonna listen to this. She is very cool. But however speaking like that, I have met Elvis Presley, who was darn cool. Because this was pre his Las Vegas and the rhinestone suit. This was just when he’s sort of in Beverly Hills. So he was really cool. Bob Dylan, really cool person to meet. David Bowie was another fantastic person to meet. If I had to choose, I’d have to go with my wife, Nancy. And then if I had to give a second, I think I’d have to do Elvis.
Adam Buxton: Yeah. Not bad, wife and Elvis. That’s the way it should be.
Last updated on January 10, 2021
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