Interview for New Musical Express • Saturday, July 22, 1967

Paul McCartney talks about love

Press interview • Interview of Paul McCartney
Published by:
New Musical Express
Interview by:
Andy Gray
Timeline More from year 1967

Album This interview has been made to promote the All You Need Is Love / Baby You're A Rich Man (UK) 7" Single.

Songs mentioned in this interview

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SOME Beatles fans have been furious with “All You Need Is Love,” calling it trash and rubbish. Yet it has done what “Penny Lane”/”Strawberry Fields Forever” didn’t do — got the Beatles to the No. 1 spot in the NME Charts. And on the first entry, too. The simpler tune has caught the imagination of a wider public.

One wag in the office said that if the Beatles brought out any more tunes like “All You Need Is Love,” the younger readers would be writing in accusing the Beatles of copying the Monkees!

But what is the official description for the latest Beatles’ hit? Paul McCartney discussed it with me and put it this way:

“It goes back a little in style to our earlier days, I suppose. Yes, perhaps it does, but it’s really next time around on the spiral. I’d sum it up as taking a look back with a new feeling. And talking of feeling, I’m feeling very good about being No. 1. It’s always good to be No. 1 in your charts,” he said magnanimously.

The Beatles are not resting on their laurels, however. Paul told me he and John are composing new numbers for a TV spectacular, and these numbers might make up a new album or some singles.

“All You Need Is Love” was composed solely for the ‘Our World’ TV show, which went out late in June via three satellites to 400,000,000 viewers round the globe.

“We wrote it in two weeks. We had been told we’d be seen recording it by the whole world at the same time. So we had one message for the world — ‘LOVE.’ We need more love in the world. It’s a period in history that needs love. We hoped in some small way to get people thinking about love, and not hate.”

I told Paul that Graham Nash, of the Hollies, had raised the point, light-heartedly, over dinner some nights before that he and Gary Leeds were on the record, singing in the background, and would they get royalties?

Paul said drily:

“I shouldn’t think so. Mick and Keith were on it, too. Maybe we’ll help the Stones with some royalties if they need it.”

That got us talking about the Stones’ case and appeal. Paul’s comment was:

“It’s a terrible pity that people still think that by spanking children you can stop them doing things. The best way to stop kids smoking at school is to let them smoke. I remember that we all wanted to try it and not be left out so we went behind an out-building for a puff. When no one seemed to care we soon gave it up of our own account. Trouble today is an ignorance of what it’s all about. Everyone’s frightened of things they know nothing about.”

Paul said he never planned ahead much these days. The TV spectacular was just in the “thinking-about” stage. No dates were set or anything like that.

“We like to take our time and make certain what we write is good,” he said. He talked in a quiet, relaxed voice.

Paul admitted he likes living in town, near Lord’s cricket ground and EMI recording studios. He said John, George and Ringo were all about these days and happy in their houses outside London, in the stockbroker belt of Weybridge, Surrey.

Paul enjoyed his stay at his farm in Scotland, situated in the rather inaccessible peninsula of Kintyre, well off the beaten track. He had Jane Asher as his house guest earlier this year. Had he any plans of returning there for a spell ?

“No. I might go. But like I told you, I never make plans in advance any more. I just might up and go. That’s how things happen these days.”

I asked him why he and John had suddenly become clean shaven after growing moustaches. (l had criticised their hairy images in the NME “Summer Special” (now on sale), quoting teenage girls as saying that the facial fuzz image of the Beatles put them off them).

Paul replied: “I just felt like it and I suppose John did, too. No special reason, really.”

And would George and Ringo follow suit? Paul sounded annoyed at this question.

“That’s up to George and Ringo, isn’t it? That’s thur affur,” he said, going into a broader Liverpudlian accent with his annoyance.

Yes, it’s a very independent group these days, with each Beatle living his own life and making his rules. The only planned thing about them is rehearsal and recording times. Otherwise it is a case of George Harrison, MBE, independent gentleman; Ringo Starr, MBE, independent gentleman; John Lennon, MBE, independent gentleman; and Paul McCartney, MBE, independent gentleman.

And good luck to them. If they continue to produce for us super LPs like “Sergeant Pepper” and give the world messages of LOVE and so do something to unite the universe instead of tear it apart like politicians seem to do, they can go on their sweet, independent, No. 1 way.

Finally, Paul calmed down and said:

“Andy, tell your readers how pleased we are to be No. 1 and say a big thank you from us.”

I said I’d be delighted to do that and thanked Paul, who is still very much the “public relations” Beatle.

Last updated on April 2, 2023


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