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Thursday, June 15, 2023

Interview for Tribeca Film Festival

Storytellers - Paul McCartney with Conan O'Brien

Interview of Paul McCartney

Last updated on June 30, 2023



  • Interview location: BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, New York, USA


This interview remains the property of the respective copyright owner, and no implication of ownership by us is intended or should be inferred. Any copyright owner who wants something removed should contact us and we will do so immediately.

As a promotional event for his photography book titled “1964: Eyes Of The Storm,” Paul McCartney took part in an on-stage conversation at The Tribeca Film Festival alongside American TV personality Conan O’Brien. The hour-long discussion centered around the showcased photographs from McCartney’s book, with Paul providing detailed descriptions. However, the conversation remained focused on the book and did not touch upon any potential new projects or releases. It’s worth noting that Paul had previously mentioned an upcoming release of a new Beatles project during an interview with BBC Radio 4 a few days prior, but this topic was not addressed during the Tribeca event. The conversion was released on Conan O’Brien’s podcast, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, on [TBD].

Paul: It’s so lovely for me to see these memories and just remind me of where we were, what we did in those days […]

What I love about (the photos) is the innocence. We didn’t know we were going to (become) famous. We really wanted to be (famous), but we didn’t know. […]

(John) had a really tragic life. As a kid, his mother was decreed to not be good enough to bring him up…His father had left the home when John was three. So that’s not too wonderful. John grew up with these sort of little minor tragedies through his life… It made me realize why he had that vulnerability. I always admired the way he dealt with it because I’m not sure I would deal with the stuff he went through that well. […]

We were very excited just to be on the plane to New York. But what happened was the pilot’s radio ahead to Idlewild Airport, as it was called then, and they got word back to us that there was a big crowd (waiting for us). So we kind of half knew what to expect. But then it was a really big crowd and we were just bowled over. It was nice. Immediately after, we did a press conference at the airport, and we knew that whatever they laid on us, if there was any sort of insult, we knew we could come back with, ‘Well, we are number one in your country.’ […]

From Beatlefan on Facebook, June 16, 2023:

Mark Lapidos of the Fest for Beatles Fans sent us this report …


It was a lovely late afternoon in NYC, with lines of fans waiting on both sides of the entrance. No one had physical tickets. They were handed out after seeing your code on your phone. Unfortunately, tickets were not given out in the logical order of first on line, best tickets. The place was large and held over 900 people. There were about 100 people in front of us (including Tom Frangione). Our tickets were second row from the back all the way on the left side. Tom’s seats were only a little better! A FEST regular since the 1970s, Dorothy Ann, was walking past the entrance to get in line when Paul arrived right in front of her. She was stunned, but managed to take some great pics. (Please give her photo credits)

That being said, it didn’t really matter where we sat as spending an hour with Paul McCartney was magical. Conan O’Brien, a self-confessed Beatlemaniac, was the host and wasted little time introducing Paul to a rousing standing ovation (of course). The first thing Paul said was: Can I have a Beatles welcome from just the girls? Suddenly it was 1964 and the decibel level was off the charts. I suspect it wasn’t only the girls screaming last night!!! The focus of the evening was solely on Paul’s new book of photos that were recently found in his archives and a beautiful book was created. Apparently Ringo wasn’t the only budding photographer in the band!

Paul and Conan were sitting at an angle toward each other in center stage. The format was Conan showed an image from the book on the big screen behind them and they would discuss it. The theater was pretty dark so some of my note taking ended up unreadable, but here are some of the highlights. There are numerous photos he took of his bandmates and they talked about how unguarded they were. There is one on George sleeping. John with and without his glasses, and Ringo slouching around. Paul explained when in front of the ‘professional’ photographers they would do whatever they were asked to do, like heads on top of one another, to fit on front pages of papers who needed vertical images. Paul talked about hitchhiking around with George a few times and once with John (in France). There is a lovely photo of Brian and Paul talked about how well he looked after them. He said Brian was a sweetheart.

There was a photo Paul took outside his room at Peter Asher’s home. It is of the back alley of other homes. Conan commented how old or run down it looked. Paul said it was a rather posh home and Peter’s mom was a lovely woman and a great cook. He told a story of the Asher’s neighbor who was a large military man. When Paul wanted to get out of the house and not have to deal with the throngs of fans, he would call to this guy, Paul would come over to his place and go down an elevator to a basement, where he could get out unnoticed.

Paul talked about his observing of faces in his photos, John’s vulnerability, not seen in the group photos of the day. He talked about his dad Jim, who had a difficult time adjusting to the loss of his wife and the mother of Paul and Mike. His dad ‘lit it up’ at family parties and since there was a piano in the house, he learned how to play it. He went into detail about John’s relationship with his own mom and how that ended tragically as well. Since he grew up in a working class city, he felt drawn to them wherever his was and some of the images show this.

On the flight over from the UK to NYC they were told that there were fans awaiting them. This was their dream, to make it in America. They had the #1 Song in the states when they arrived and now to see literally thousands of fans screaming and welcoming them, they were so excited to make it on this side of the pond. He talked about how much they love the black girl groups in the U.S. and covered quite a few of them. They had no issue with Ringo singing ‘Boys’ without changing the words. There was a photo of Ronnie Spector shown at this moment.

It was off to Miami and all of a sudden the photos turned from b/w to color! It was a mini vacation for the lads. He said Brian liked to make sure they had time off while working almost nonstop. There is a great photo of George – all tanned and wearing sunglasses by a pool, being served a drink by a girl in a bikini. George had a huge smile on his face. There was another photo of the other George (Martin) in a bathing suit (Paul pointed this out) with his soon to be wife Judy. He said George had a brilliant sense of humor. They also some photos of Neil and Mal and Conan remarked how groups nowadays have some many people ‘behind the scenes’, but The Beatles, the biggest group on the planet, made due with just two!!

All in all, it was a wonderful hour seeing these images on the big screen and seeing Paul so enjoying the opportunity to talk about them and about his mates. This is another one of Paul’s must have books for your collection.

Peace and Love from lower Manhattan,

Mark Lapidos

From Fans On The Run on Facebook
From James Liverani on Facebook – Photo by James Liverani
From James Liverani on Facebook – Photo by James Liverani
From Current Paul McCartney news thread (interviews, articles, miscellaneous) | Page 550 | Steve Hoffman Music Forums – Photo by daveidmarx
From Conan O’Brien on Twitter: I can’t think of a single person who’s brought more joy to people than @PaulMcCartney. Hear our conversation about his new book of unseen photographs from 1963-1964 at the beginning of Beatlemania. Listen here: http://apple.co/TeamCoco

From Tribeca Festival Talk Series Tap Paul McCartney, Conan O’Brian – Deadline, May 2, 2023:

The Tribeca Festival today announced its Storytellers Series, which includes Paul McCartney in conversation with Conan O’Brien for a podcast recording of Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp in conversation with David Letterman.

The annual Tribeca Festival will celebrate its 22nd year from June 7–18, 2023 in New York City.

The talk lineup also features Lin-Manuel Miranda, Rosie Perez, Chance the Rapper, Billy Porter, Hailee Steinfeld and music producer Diplo. […]

From Storytellers – Paul McCartney with Conan O’Brien | 2023 Tribeca Festival | Tribeca (tribecafilm.com):

Born in Liverpool in 1942, Paul McCartney was raised in the city and educated at the Liverpool Institute. Since writing his first song at 14, McCartney has dreamed and dared to be different. He will be joined in conversation by Conan O’Brien. The pair will discuss McCartney’s new book 1964: Eyes of the Storm, which is being published on June 13. The book showcases 275 of McCartney’s rediscovered photos from his archive from the end of 1963 and beginning of 1964 when Beatlemania erupted. The conversation will be recorded for a future episode of O’Brien’s podcast “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.”

From Storytellers – Paul McCartney with Conan O’Brien | 2023 Tribeca Festival | Tribeca (tribecafilm.com)
Paul McCartney writing

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Tom Liverani • 1 year ago

Attended the Paul McCartney Storytellers Event at the Tribeca Festival in New York City with my son, James (see photo above), on Thursday, June 15.

Paul shared so many stories from the earliest days of Beatlemania...from late 1963 to early 1964.

It was a beautiful evening!!

The PaulMcCartney Project • 1 year ago

Lucky you, Tom ! I took the liberty to include some photos from the event, published by a James Liverani, I guess a relative of yours.

Tom Liverani • 1 year ago

Yes...my son, James. No problem...we are honored that you posted it on your site...thank you!

Here is a brief portion of the interview I recorded that evening as Paul discusses the press and John during the Beatles early days - if you'd like to post it as well.


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