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‘Driving Rain’ was recorded and mixed over two sessions totalling five weeks, in February and June 2001, at The Henson Studios, Los Angeles. In the studio at the end of the June session Paul McCartney gave the following interview about the album.
Q: You said ‘this album is not what you’d expect from me.”
Paul McCartney: I don’t think it is. It’s a little bit of a voyage into the unknown. It started with a guy in my New York office, Bill Porricelli, saying ‘who’s going to produce your next album, can I give you some suggestions?’ He sent me a bunch of suggestions of possible producers. They were all very good, high-level people, and out of all them David Kahne was the one I liked best. I liked his approach, he’s very musical, but modern. I met him, liked him; he’s very quiet and very on the ball and in talking it became clear that what he wanted to do and what I wanted to do was very similar. Because I didn’t know him, I didn’t want to get into any big heavy breathing relationship, committing to four months on an album. So I thought I’d just do two weeks with him to see how it worked out. He normally records at the old A & M studios in Los Angeles, the Henson studios. We both had some time free in February so I came out to see if we could do anything. Linked to this is that during some of the interviews I’d done around ‘Run Devil Run’, I’d been talking about the old way we used to record with The Beatles around the time of the early albums. Doing those interviews reminded me that John and I would come into the studio on the Monday morning with a song and show it to the guys. I suddenly realised that George, Ringo, George Martin and our engineer Geoff Emerick all didn’t know what song we were going to do until John and I brought it in . I thought that’s kind of amazing that even George and Ringo didn’t know what we were going to do until the Monday morning. But it was a great way to work, it’s my favourite way of how we worked in The Beatles, and I felt that I should do that again now. I did it on Run Devil Run – the band for that album had said to me can we learn up what songs we’re going to do, like a week before we go into the studio? And I’d said no, no homework. So we did it the same way with this new album, following the same technique. We came in on Monday morning, I’d show them a song and we’d start doing it. We didn’t know what was going to happen and it was a little bit into the unknown for all of us. The band on this album is a new band who I’d never worked with before, never even met before. It was into the unknown too for David Kahne and consequently it started to be a little bit different than what any of us would have done. All of us were having to think on our feet, and that process led us into something different from what we normally do. So for me, that’s what I mean by this album is not necessarily what you expect from me, because it’s not what I was I was expecting. But by going into the recording freely, not dictating, things just evolved. For instance the song ‘I Do’ was originally written down low, me singing it like a little low soul thing. But during the session I thought I’ll try sing it higher, and it makes for one of best bits in the song; it’s like I’m trying to catch my breath, because I’m having to go up the octave into this big vocal change. By doing that, this exciting little thing happened to the song. So this process of doing it the ‘Rubber Soul’ way was making me sing a bit differently and making me think differently. I was letting David come up with his ideas and he was almost DJ-ing some of the mixes. We’d work until early evening, six or seven, and then we’d leave him to play around with it all. Most of the time I loved what he did. So that also took it in little exciting directions that none of us expected.
Q: You said it’s not what people expect from you – what do you think people do expect from you?
Paul McCartney: I think more of what they have heard before; just an extension and more of the same and this isn’t quite more of the same. It’s a bit different.
Q: Have you changed your role in the studio?
Paul McCartney: One of the other things that began when we were doing ‘Run Devil Run’, was me remembering that mainly I’m a bass player. Talking about the old way the Beatles used to record brought that back to me. So although I’ve played a bit of guitar, a little piano and some drums on this album, I’ve mainly been the bass player in the band. Which again is a good feeling; it’s my place to be the bass player and there’s something satisfying about that. It’s simple; that’s my role – I sing and I play bass.
Q: Do you think you over-complicate yourself?
Paul McCartney: I think everyone has the potential to, yeah. Particularly with music. For instance, when I played some of these songs in early February to Ringo he said ‘You’re not going to add anything on them, are you?’ That’s always the risk with music, you get a perfectly good song and then you think you’ll put some strings on it and you totally mess it up. Over-producing a song is a well known way of over-complicating it, so I’ve tried to under-do it. There’s been one or two tracks on which we’ve added a little something, but generally we just recorded it live, quick and simple. We recorded 18 songs in the first two weeks, in February, and then I came back to LA in June and recorded another couple of tracks and mixed the album. So making the whole album from beginning to end has taken about five weeks. That’s still pretty good going, but that is the kind of work rate we’d do in The Beatles.
Q: Why did you stop doing that?
Paul McCartney: When we began recording with The Beatles we were told that we’d have to come in at 10.30 in the morning and go home at 5.30 in the afternoon. Then we heard stories about people like Sinatra working through the night in the studio and so we wanted to try that. At one point we had Abbey Road to ourselves; there was nobody in the whole building except us and the caretaker. That was quite good fun and it led to us going somewhere else, which was what we always wanted to do, do something else. That was probably why we stopped recording in this way I’ve gone back to now, we wanted to try something else. But you do get a little crazy working that all-night way. By doing it this way again meant that you’d go home at 7.30, you’d have the evening off, so you might go to the pictures or you might see a play or you might go and see a band live, and that informed your next day. You weren’t just zombied in a studio for two months – at some points during the Beatles recording career, the worse points, which I think did lead to us having arguments, we were literally just recording and sleeping. In some ways we got some great stuff out of that, but in some other ways we wrecked our lives. So now it’s time for me to get out of that vibe and just keep things a bit simpler, and have a life. Definitely, I’ve got a life now.
Q: There’s a line in the Liverpool Oratorio that says ‘being from Liverpool carries with it certain responsibilities.’ Does being Paul McCartney carry with it musical responsibilities?
Paul McCartney: Yeah, I suppose so; but I try not to get into too much of that. I try to not ever feel too much of a sense of responsibility, because it can sort of spoil things. The worst I’ve done is to sit around thinking ‘God, I get paid a lot; so I’ve got to sing good and write good songs’. But that can get a bit intimidating. You see, I’m in this business for my own fun; it’s not really a money game although obviously it happens to be one. But the original game wasn’t that and, for me, it still isn’t. The main thing for me is to indulge my passion, which is like creating stuff. Someone recently asked me how do I keep my creativity and I said it’s just because I love music – but also I like to deal with the unknown. Some of my friends who are very well-trained musically will sit down at the piano and write stuff that is very derivative, because they know so much. I’m always trying to not know too much – like, on purpose, I’m always trying to be a bit flaky. So that when I sit down to write there’s like a black hole th ere that I’m looking into. There’s never like a formula. I just pick up a guitar and look for something that hooks me.
Q: But surely you are enough of a craftsman at songwriting to know how to do it, if you want to?
Paul McCartney: There are tricks that I know. But I really don’t know exactly how to write songs and I don’t want to know. Because the minute you know how to do it, it’s no fun. It’s like knowing how to dress; I don’t want to know how to dress. I want to dress how I feel like dressing on any given day. I don’t want it to be a formula.
Q: How much of this album was written during your holiday in India in January?
Paul McCartney: Three of the songs were written in India. ‘Your Loving Flame’ was written on the 36th floor of the Carlyle Hotel in New York, just because I thought I was walking into a Cole Porter movie – the room had a grand piano and a plate glass window overlooking Central Park. I wrote that really fast. ‘Driving Rain’ was written out here in Los Angeles – there was a lot of rain out here in February and so on our day off we went off for a drive in this little Corvette that I hired, we drove off up the Pacific Coast Highway and went on up to Malibu and had a bit of lunch. In the evening, feeling great after a nice day out, I was sitting around at the piano and I just started writing something half-based on the day out. People say ‘how do you get your creativity?’ and I think the answer is that you just have to be open to stuff. It’s like a photographer; Linda could see a great photograph just because the light was right or it was an unusual object, or somebody’s face was relaxed, Jimi Hendrix yawning – she’d snap it, whereas somebody else might wait for him to stop yawning. For me it’s the same thing; I’m always on the look out for just interesting stuff, either visually or musically or lyrically. The funny thing about the song ‘Driving Rain’ was that the alarm system in the house we were renting in Los Angeles was always on. There was a little electrical, LED box on the wall and it always said ‘Something’s Open’. I thought what the fuck good is that? And no matter if you shut every window and door in the whole bloody place, this alarm always said ‘Something’s Open’. Not very reassuring, but in the end I thought fuck it – and I took the words into a song; I thought, right, ‘Something’s open – it’s my heart’. I just used is as an opening line of ‘Driving Rain.’ So in that case the creativity came from this junk of an alarm.
Q: The lyrics are very open on this album.
Paul McCartney: They are kind of quite simple; there’s nothing deeply deep. I’m not trying too hard, I’m just spinning them out, not worried if I’ve heard a phrase before and just gone for it. There’s a couple of songs on this where I’ve just put two songs, or fragments of songs, together. I just thought, that will go with that. It meant at times that instead of getting a 4:4, four beats to the bar, in slamming them together you’d get a 5:4, but I thought that’s OK, I’d fix it later. But when I played it to the band and to the producer, they loved those little odd-bars. That’s on a song called ‘From A Lover To A Friend.’ I did the demo for that one late night, a bit tired and bluesy. But I liked that late-night feeling to it so much that I tried to keep to that when we recorded it, even though we did it mid-afternoon. It’s a strange hybrid, that song, bits from various songs that I liked all glued together like an odd collage.
Q: You’ve been saying that ‘fresh’ is the word that best describes this album for you. Hearing it, another word that comes to mind is ‘raw.’ Your voice sounds raw at times.
Paul McCartney: The interesting thing about my voice is that when I was in India some carpet salesman ripped me off with a purchase that I made. He told me that this carpet was like the rarest thing ever; but then I got to the next town and found about twenty of them. So I rang him up and I was telling him that he was a rip-off. And as I was doing it, that and probably the weather, I started to lose my voice. The following day my voice really went, I couldn’t talk. It took a while to clear and I was thinking ‘shit, it’s only a week to the recording sessions’. I was in my car, practising singing and I couldn’t get the high notes. I thought oh my God, never mind, don’t panic. So I came to LA with my voice in quite a rough shape and decided to do the easy songs first, just to get the tracks down. But then I ended up just letting loose on one song, this monster ten-minute song called ‘Rinse The Raindrops.’ where I really ripped it, and it all came good. It’s a nice quality, if you can get it, a rawness. The opposite of it is a trained thing and the one thing that my voice has never been is trained. It’s been trained by Beatle tours, trained on the road. But I never had any vocal training, I never got into any vocal warm-ups that people do. I just cross my fingers and just go for it – and I’ve been very lucky that through the years it doesn’t seem to have altered much. Again, I don’t know why that is; and again I’d rather not know and just be glad if it comes good on a take. I just wing it every time, like I always have done. If it’s a shouty song, I just jump it out of the top of my head and just hope that it makes the right noise.
Q: This is quite a romantic album.
Paul McCartney: Well, the truth of the matter is that it’s a good thing to have romance in your life. We all know that. Some of the songs have been written for Heather, not all of them. I feel as though it’s a good time in my life, having had a bad time. It’s also an America album – made in the USA, like bits of ‘Ram’ were and I haven’t done that for quite a while. For a lot of UK and European people America is still quite an exciting place, so the album takes on a feel of that. There’s a little added kick because it’s America, land of many of our heroes.
Q: It’s a driving album as well.
Paul McCartney: Yeah, it’s always good if you can get a song that sounds good in your car. There’s two places for an album to sound good – in your car, or in your bath. I haven’t tried this one in the bath yet, but it sounds good in the car. ‘About You’ was written in India, in Goa. We had such a relaxing start to an Indian holiday which was at the beginning of 2001. It was exciting, I hadn’t been back to India since the Mararishi days, which was 25 years or so ago. It was great to look around a bit more; I’d only seen Rishikesh, north of Delhi, before. We started off in Goa, relaxed beach time, and one afternoon I wrote ‘About You’ on a little travel guitar I’ve got which has it’s own amp in it. I picked some words out for the song after seeing a copy of The India Times which was lying around. ‘Lonely Road’ was also written in Goa, where I was enjoying the beach and the sea and generally chilling out in the new century. Again, I had a few moments in the afternoon, which is always a good time for me, a quiet spell when it’s always cool for me to go off and fondle my guitar. The songs basically wrote itself in about an hour. It is what it is, this song, you can make of it what you want to make of it. To me it’s not particularly about anything other than not wanting to be brought down. It’s a sort of anti-being brought down song, which is for anyone and everyone. It’s ‘don’t want to get brought down again, don’t want to walk that lonely road’, it’s symbolic for anyone who’s been through any sort of problems. It’s a defiant song against loneliness, written in a hotel room in Goa.
Q: So that justified the holiday.
Paul McCartney: Well it does kind of. I realised that to be a songwriter and to do my kind of work you’ve got to be doing nothing. You’ve got to have a lot of time to yourself – which in most people’s lingo is doing nothing, you’re not working, you’re not working out, you’re just sort of sitting around. Which is great; boy, what a great job definition – mine only requires a guitar and doing nothing. And I find that when I am doing nothing my favourite way of doing nothing is to make some music out of it – but you have to have some space for stuff to come into your brain. If you’re sitting in the office all day thinking about business things it is not as conducive as having some time to yourself. As I always say, it’s play-time – you play music, you don’t work music. Making up a song is always a great pleasure, it doesn’t seem like hard work to me. ‘Riding To Jaipur’ – funnily enough the melody for this was written outside of India. I had a back-packing guitar, a little Martin travel guitar that is absolutely slimmed down to nothing and weighs sort of zero ounces. I had one of those that Linda had got me as a prezzie; and I took it when she and I went to The Maldives for a holiday. My particular back-packer – and I haven’t noticed this on other people’s – seems to have a bit of a sound on certain frets like a sitar, and because I was in the middle of The Indian Ocean, the two came together in that song. I didn’t have a title for the song, but when I went to India this year I took a train to Jaipur. It was a very exotic over-night train journey and I did some words that were in the same vein as that original melody. So those two things came together. ‘She’s Given Up Talking’ was about someone I know whose kid had gone to school and wouldn’t talk all day that she was in school. For a year she wouldn’t talk at school and his idea of her giving up talking seemed like a good title to me. I wrote the song a couple of years ago; when I was on holiday in Jamaica and remembered this story of this girl who wouldn’t talk to the teachers or anything – which I ended up thinking that was a pretty good strategy for school, I wish I’d have thought of that. Of course I would have just got caned, they were wise to that kind of shit, my school. Then I hastily put together the middle of ‘She’s Given Up Talking here in LA. One of the fun things about working here was because I hadn’t told anyone what we were going to do and hadn’t played them any demos, and instead came in and just said ‘right, we’re going to do this song,’ doing that gave me a little freedom and I didn’t have to finish the songs before ten minutes before the session. I’d run upstairs to the lounge above the studio and finish it quickly. I knew what I wanted for the middle – that when she gets home she talks a lot – so I just finished it fast.
Q: That seems oddly contradictory; that you want ‘a bit of freedom’ but you only have ten minutes to finish the song.
Paul McCartney: That’s kind of good; there’s a slight edge of panic, which isn’t always a bad thing. I’ve always done this throughout my career – we made up the Beatles song ‘Birthday’ on the evening of the session. It’s quite an exciting thing to do. If you’ve got to do something and there’s a deadline….a lot of writers talk about enjoying a deadline. They secretly hate it, but it focuses their attention. You can’t put it off; whereas if you’ve got an excuse to put stuff off, you will. So I’d go upstairs, listen to the demo, and if a few of them didn’t have a middle or a bridge or needed a riff, I’d fix it – like ‘ah, I’ve always been meaning to do a riff for this; OK, how long have I got – ten minutes – OK, I’ll do it now’. Which also made the recording very fresh; it was like putting a fresh coat of colour onto a picture that you know it needed. Doing that, having to finish a song in just minutes, I felt like ‘Shit, this is like working for Motown – what time’s Marvin coming in?’ It was like stories of Goffin and King writing for Motown…..they’ll be here in a minute and we need the middle eight. So you just do it. The other advantage of working like that is not allowing yourself time to mess around with the song and get into the problem of too many possibilities. If you haven’t got time, your brain – like a computer – has to select sort of top-priority possibilities. I think that’s a good thing. First thought, best thought. Nearly always there’s something about that sort of instant karma, having to do it, means that it turns out to be the best thing. I’ve done it with a few songs: we made up ‘Birthday’ at the session; I did it with the middle of ‘Two Of Us’ and later with ‘Man We Was Lonely’. And I’ve done it with a few on this album. ‘Back In The Sunshine Again’ was written in Arizona about five years ago; the idea of getting out of the English winter and into the Arizona sun was very appealing, so I started writing it – with the help of my son James, who contributed to the riff and the bridge. I finished the song in California, shortly before I started the album. It’s a good time, back in the sun song – about leaving behind all our troubles and moving forward into the sunshine, which also fits with my present mood in life, my present situation. James came and played rhythm guitar on the session with the band, he was the only guest artist on the album – which was fitting, as he had helped me write it. ‘I Do’ was the third of the India songs. It was one of those ‘if you only knew’ songs, like just talking to someone; ‘if you only knew, that it’s OK from my side’. It’s like a communicative statement to someone – ‘whatever you think at any given time, remember this – I do’. Like I may be goofing off but essentially I wrote this song to say it’s OK. That was another afternoon in Goa song; my three little Goaers. As I said I started singing it low but then, as a vocal trick to kick the song along in the second verse, I found I could actually easily lift it an octave and a nice little moment happened that I like on this song, when I’m catching my breath in order to go up the octave. It’s a little signature thing that happened which I didn’t mean to happen, but it’s good that there are those little accidents. And then David Kahne put an arrangement on from his trusty bank of sounds; he’s got like 24,000 sounds in his bank – he’s got string sounds that can be the bow going one way or the bow going the other way. ‘Your Way’ was a song that I wrote at the same time as I wrote ‘She’s Given Up Talking’, on holiday in Jamaica. It’s got a little country feel to it; it’s the first song with which we tried harmonies with the guys in the band and the nice thing about the guys is they can all sing. That was a real good bonus for me. It’s another one of those that goes up the octave, so in a way it’s a bit like two sides of a personality singing to each other, like a man and a woman – ‘I like it, please don’t take my heart away. It’s happy, where it is, so let it stay’. I haven’t sweated the lyrics on this album, I’ve just sort of let it all come out very naturally. Sometimes you can think you want them to be very poetic and literate and articulate. But on this, because I was remembering the recording method we were using in The Beatles sessions, if you think about it often if you just pull off Beatles lyrics they can seem like nothing – ‘love, love me do, you know I love you’ – but they obviously meant a lot to people. I remember saying to someone’God, what a terrible lyric that is’ and they said ‘No, it’s not, don’t get into that, it’s a very simple lyric’ – but anyone wanting complicated literacy would not look to that song to get it. But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
Q: But that goes back to this idea about the complexity of simplicity – that if somebody writes something that is complicated, it is naturally assumed to be better. Whereas if you write something simply, it is generally perceived to be lesser. Yet it is far more difficult to be simple than it is to be complex.
Paul McCartney: Yeah, that’s why I just trusted to my instincts. The thing is with a lyric like this on ‘Your Way’ is that people will know what it means. I know what it means. And that’s enough for me. People can pull out lyrics out of context very easily and they can take the piss very easily. So it is a trap you can find yourself heading into of trying to get over-literate, just because you know that someone may quote the line. ‘Rinse The Raindrops’ – I’ve only ever written a couple of songs where the lyrics came first. ‘All My Loving’ with The Beatles was the first one of those. We were on a tour bus and I didn’t have a guitar or, obviously, a piano with me. So I wrote the words on the bus and finished the song when I found a piano at the gig. This was a similar thing – I was sailing and some words came to me that I wasn’t sure whether they were a poem or a song. I liked them and sort of wrote a rough melody for them in my head. But then we were in the studio one day and I fancied doing something different with the guys. We’d come to the end of my more prepared tunes, so I thought I’d do something crazy with this. I took the two verses, it’s only got two verses, and very hastily wrote a bridge and an instrumental bridge for it. I showed them the bits on an acoustic and then got onto bass and we just jammed the song for half an hour or so. David reckoned I sang the verse about 48 times. Because I was doing just the same lyric, I jus t sang it every way I could think of so that hopefully he could get something out of that. We went home and left him to stay up until four in the morning to work on it. We came in the next day and David said ‘I couldn’t get it down any shorter than this’, he’d collaged together all the bits he liked, and it’s like a ten-minute song. It reminds me of festivals in summer, hippies and bands jamming. There’s a good energy to it. ‘From A Lover To A Friend’ was a patchwork of a couple of bits I’d had, which I liked but I didn’t think I’d finished up the songs. That turned out to be a good thing because I got together with my man Eddie at my studio in England and we were going through these demos; I’d liked this bit and liked that bit and we just stitched together a couple of bits that weren’t meant to go together but they just felt like they would go together. Interestingly for me, just to make one or two cuts work for the edit and not chop into the vocal, I had to add a strange extra bar in, so the collage had some odd bars – instead of it all being 4:4, it was like 5:4 in places or 2:4, which was something I like. And when I played the demo to the guys everyone was all very keen on faithfully following all those little 5:4 bars, just to give it a different musical structure. The other thing about the demo was that part of it was a rather, shall we say tired late-night demo, a bit out-of-it demo, but it had a very intimate quality in the voice and so I tried to keep that and not clean up the record so much that I’d lose that lazy late-nightness.
Q: It’s an interesting lyric – ‘from a lover to a friend’; usually you’d think a relationship comes from being a friend and then a lover. But strong relationships come from a couple starting out as lovers but, if they’re lucky, getting to be friends as well. Kind of like ‘the meaning you need is on your shoulder.’
Paul McCartney: Exactly, it’s a bit dafter. And the really cool thing I like about this lyric is there’s some bits on the demo that I really didn’t find words for. So I had to try really hard to hear what I’d been singing on this late-night demo; and a couple of bits didn’t make sense – ‘despite too easy ride to see’ was one of them. But it’s starting to make sense to me now. The other thing that sort of encouraged me to do this was that me and Heather and George and Olivia (Harrison) had been to see the Cirque du Soleil and the music there was quite cool. Obviously the show is just stunning and the music fits well with it. I met the girl who was singing and I was puzzling what language it was. They’re based in Montreal, so I figured it was maybe French, but it didn’t sound like French to me. And this girl’s Romanian or something, so I was wondering what she was singing in. Afterwards she said ‘It isn’t any language, because we want like everyone to get it – so it’s no language’. But I thought that is a cool idea; that intrigues me, doing a song in no language but it sounds like a language that everyone can get a feel and a meaning off of it. So that encouraged me to do these few lyrics like that. Listen for them on the track. The only thing is, and I’ve just thought this, people say to me that they teach English to their kids in school with my songs, like with Beatles songs in Russia. They’d better beware that on this song, it had better be the advanced poetry class on this one. It is English, but it’s not Standard. ‘Spinning On An Axis’ – I was sitting in New Hampshire, visiting American relatives. The sun was going down and me and James, my son, were talking about how the sun actually isn’t going down, we’re turning around away from it. We had a little keyboard thing there and James was playing a little riff on it and I was doing a parody rap thing, just goofing off with no real melody, on those thoughts of spinning on an axis. I had my little cassette with me and I happened to tape that as a little reminder.
Q: Is that and Back In The Sunshine the first Paul and James McCartney compositions?
Paul McCartney: No, we’ve actually written a few other things together. ‘Tiny Bubble’ was a demo that I made up at my little studio in Scotland. It was just a stream of consciousness thing about all the world’s a tiny bubble. It started as a bit more ballady, but as happened with a few of the songs when you bring them to a band, as now you’ve got a drummer they hip up a bit. So this one went more towards Al Green or something and on the record we’ve left in a few of the rough edges, a few of the studio noises, which makes for a good sort of atmosphere. We hadn’t tried to tidy this album up too much, it’s still got a sort of raw freshness to it.
Q: Do you think that musicians can lose a feel of a song by over-producing too much?
Paul McCartney: Yeah; as I said, when I first played Ringo some of this stuff he said ‘You’re not going to put anything on it, are you?’. I know that one; you play them to him and he likes them and then there’s a danger of you play them to him again and they are all screwed up with massive overdubs. So we tried to keep it very raw. A few have got overdubs, to add colour here and there, but our intention was not to do a big over-produced thing. It’s really just a small, four-piece band playing – Paul McCartney’s Rag. R-A-G – Rusty, Abe and Gabe. ‘Heather’ – there’s a funny story about this track. It actually came about early one morning. I’d got up and was just jamming on the piano and Heather, who doesn’t know all of The Beatles songs because she’s young, said ‘That’s great – which Beatles song is that?’ I said ‘It’s not, I’m just making it up’. And she’s like ‘What? Now? Making it up now?’ Yeah. Suddenly she’s saying ‘Get it down! You’ve got to get that down, get it on a tape, now!’ I’m saying ‘No, it’s OK, I’m just noodling’, but she’s insisting ‘get it down!’, so we found a little dictaphone and played it into that. And then she said ‘By the way, what’s it called?’ ‘Oh’, I said, ‘It’s called ‘Heather”. ‘There Must Have Been Magic’ This is about meeting Linda – ‘it must have been magic the night that we met’. I met Linda in a club and I always thought years after, particularly after she died, that if I hadn’t stood up that night in a club we might never have met again. It was something I never normally did; I wouldn’t normally stand up as someone was about to leave and say ‘Er, excuse me, hello.…’ I didn’t do that. It was a bit embarrassing for a young guy to do that. I didn’t normally do that but it was just one of those things that I felt I just had to do that night – ‘Hi, um, I’m Paul, who are you?’ And she sort of smiled and said ‘Linda’. I said ‘Er, we’re going onto another club. Are you going home? Shall we meet up at this other club?’ We were in The Bag O’Nails and we said we’d meet up in The Speakeasy. Which we did. So ‘Magic’ is a song about that; it must have been some sort of magic that made me do that. Because if I hadn’t done that I might not have met her again.
Q: There’s been a lot of magic in your life.
Paul McCartney: I think so, yeah. I’m very lucky really; coming out of Liverpool, going around the world with The Beatles, being successful, going through all that Sixties enlightenment and stuff – I’ve had more opportunity to believe in magic than a lot of people. You know, with things like the tune for ‘Yesterday’ arriving in a dream – you start to have a hard time not believing in magic. You can push it out of your mind and say you don’t believe in that stuff, but then you get to think ‘Well, where did ‘Yesterday’ arrive from, then?’. I’m sure you can rationalise it, but I think there’s more to it. I don’t know what – good luck, magic, goodness – I think there is more to life than meets the eye. It’s like how can a piece of music make you cry or really top up your emotions, when it hasn’t got any words? I don’t understand how that can happen, but I understand that it does happen and I think it’s really cool. I enjoy magic and it’s something in life that I’m very glad of.
Last updated on March 7, 2019