That Macca magic • Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Interview of Paul McCartney
Interview by:
Peter Grant
Timeline More from year 2001

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EVER dreamt of sitting in the same room as Paul McCartney, having a quiet chat with the most famous face in rock? For icLiverpool’s PETER GRANT, it has happened more than once – and in this, the first of three parts of his most recent interview with Sir Paul, Peter asks the ex-Beatle about Wings, Linda, his new love and the future MEETING Paul McCartney once is lucky, twice proves that dreams do come true and, as for meeting him three times . . well, who needs the lottery? I was a Beatle fan from my schooldays and then a member of the Wings Fun Club. But now this was business – granted with pleasure. Seeing him in his London office, he shakes my hand and, in that famous Liverpool accent, says: ‘Ere, you’ve got a good grip on yer.” Paul McCartney, one of the nation’s richest men, has earned his fame, but he has an uncanny knack of making you feel special – that he’s interested in YOU. His office is adorned with gold discs and he knows there are plenty more to come. Paul is half way through a new album in LA and says he has the taste for touring again. The Beatles Number One album, which dominated the charts around the world, features 27 number ones and was a hit all over the world 30 years after the band split. Says Sir Paul: “I played the album the other day in the car and I thought to myself ‘How did we do that?’ “I was surprised but chuffed with the success of Number One. I saw George, Ringo and Yoko and I know they were, too.” The Beatles Anthology book, videos and album collection certainly put the record straight about The Beatles. “We called The Anthology the ‘Beatle bible’. There were people who have written books about us who had never met us. The Anthology is The Beatles by The Beatles. “It’s a good job we didn’t do it five years from now – after all, we’re no spring chickens. I remember piecing together stuff like the night we met Elvis. I recalled Elvis coming to the door to meet us. Ringo said that we all went into this room.” In the forthcoming film and album soundtrack Wingspan – which is why we’re meeting up – Paul reveals how, as Wings Commander, he piloted his new band through mega success from very humble beginnings gong out in a van playing in universities and charging 50p entrance fee. The film footage, collected from all over the world, is a must for any Wings fan. Following the album and film release he will return to LA to finish off the forthcoming album due out at the end of the year. But, Paul, who will be 59 on June 18, releases Wingspan on May 7 and the soundtrack album will sell for the price of a single album. Paul, who is currently in New York with girlfriend Heather Mills, has been reading from his Blackbird Singing book and speaking out against the dangers of landmines. The Wingspan film, he points out will make, ‘great telly’ in the US when it screen on May 11 and here in the UK on May 19 at 10pm (C4). Three years in the making, it emerged after Paul and Linda were looking at home movies and photographs. Alistair, husband of Mary McCartney, put the film lovingly together and added some never-seen-before footage of the band on stage. Having seen a sneak preview of the film it candidly reveals how Paul and Linda raised a young family and fronted a new band against the massive handicap of battling The Beatles legacy, a pot bust in Japan and two key releases being banned by the BBC. It was the hardest job in rock and roll and yet, in the space of nine years, Wings soared to international success with 17 million selling-singles, five USA no 1 albums and eventually a US stadium tour that broke the Beatles attendance record at Shea Stadium. Sir Paul says that making an Anthology of his Wings days will at last show how important Linda McCartney was in the ever-changing Wings line-up. “When The Beatles finished it was such a shock to me and my system. Besides being out of work, to my mind I’d lost one of the greatest jobs in the world. “Once I’d got over that initial shock I thought, ”What am I going to do now. I’m not in The Beatles anymore … do I even continue in music now, and if I do, do I go solo or get a band or whatever’. “We did do great with Wings. We did it big and we managed to create a few records, both of the musical type and the attendance type. Wings really allowed me to continue doing music after The Beatles that was the main thing for me really. “I couldn’t stop making music if you paid me so there had to be some way to keep doing it. I really need to do that and so there had to be a band and it was called Wings. That is the story we are telling in the film which is a very human story. Wings set out to prove that we could do it. There was so much bitterness in the wake of The Beatles break-up that there was an element of ‘We’ll show you’ . . .


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