Interview for Record Mirror • Saturday, December 4, 1971

The Heart Of McCartney

Press interview • Interview of Wings • Recorded Nov 10, 1971
Published by:
Record Mirror
Interview by:
Mike Hennessey
Timeline More from year 1971

Album This interview has been made to promote the Wild Life LP.

Master release

Other interviews of Wings

Wings: taking off at last?

Jun 16, 1979 • From Melody Maker

Wings 1975 tour book

September 1975

Wings Flying Hi, Hi, Hi!

Dec 02, 1972 • From Record Mirror

Wings First Flight

May / June 1972 ? • From McCartney Productions

Interview for Radio Leeds

Feb 16, 1972 • From Radio Leeds

Paul On The Wing

Feb 12, 1972 • From Disc and Music Echo

Interview with WRKO

Jan 13, 1972 • From WRKO

Interview with WCBS-FM

Dec 15, 1971 • From WCBS-FM

Paul McCartney is like a man who has dodged the death sentence

Nov 20, 1971 • From New Musical Express

Interviews from the same media

Interview with Record Mirror

Apr 18, 1970 • From Record Mirror

Linda: 'Quit The Band! I've Just Joined'

Jul 22, 1972 • From Record Mirror

Interview with Record Mirror

Jul 29, 1972 • From Record Mirror

Denny Laine of Wings talks to Record Mirror

Aug 12, 1972 • From Record Mirror

Wings Flying Hi, Hi, Hi!

Dec 02, 1972 • From Record Mirror

Wings: They're all set for take-off!

Apr 28, 1973 • From Record Mirror

Paul's Wings find their identity on stage

Jul 21, 1973 • From Record Mirror

Denny Laine - a special musical gift

Aug 11, 1973 • From Record Mirror

McCartney On The Run

Dec 01, 1973 • From Record Mirror

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On November 10, 1971, Paul McCartney gave this interview to Record Mirror, for the promotion of “Wild Life“, the debut album of his new band, Wings. It was published in 2 parts. The first part was a track-by-track review of “Wild Life” and was issued in the November 20 edition of Record Mirror. Part two, below, is an interview of Paul.

It would be entirely wrong to conclude from Paul’s apparent preoccupation with the Beatle finances that his main concern is money. His main concern on the contrary is peace of mind – and a relaxed atmosphere in which to make music and enjoy life with his family.

Although Paul was always the organiser when the Beatles were together, keeping things on the rails and concerned about the group’s collective image, he is far from being business orientated – and it is slightly ironic that it was Lennon, the anti-establishment non-conformist who called in the “men in suits” to handle the affairs of Apple.

Paul would have been happy to go on, keeping the Beatles together, as a musical unit running their own affairs.

“But we always had the understanding that if anyone was in a sticky situation and wanted to get out, we’d sit down and see what could be done about it.

“So when John came to us originally and said he wanted to get out of everything and break up the Beatles, we said ‘All right’. No one was particularly pleased about it, but we agreed. John said he wanted to be with Yoko totally and we accepted it. Now, what would follow naturally from that is that we’d simply split everything up and really separate.

“But in fact, what’s happened is that nothing has changed. I stand to be under that Beatle contract for seven more years. You see, I took the split literally – but what happened was that I split and the others didn’t.

“Now, Klein is making the whole business into a political thing where he’s saying, ‘Paul’s trying to take over. He wants the sub-publishing… It’s those Eastmans…” – (laughter here from Linda) – “The Eastmans want the Beatles’. None of that is true – that’s a whole political thing he has created.”

Paul went on to mention other takeover bids for the Beatles that had occurred in the past and recalled: “We’d always said to Brian Epstein that if anybody else wanted to take us over, he could stuff it. We were all in agreement on that… then. We just wanted things the way they were.

“Actually, I’m not really comparing that previous situation with the Klein thing. All I say at the moment is, if we were still together the attitude of the others might make some sense. But we’re not together any more. So let’s split everything and go our separate ways.”

And Paul’s separate way is with wife Linda and the rest of the Wings group, for which he so earnestly desires and inconspicuous live debut – a grotesquely impossible dream in view of his massive popularity.

So what will he do about going on the road?

“Well, at the moment we’re not planning anything. You see, we’re trying to do it a lot looser than that… We’re trying to do it how we feel it. I’ve been through all the structured and planned Beatle things and I think I’ve done enough of that now. My interest all along was just the music. That’s what the album’s all about – just songs. One side for dancing, one side for dreaming…”

(And that’s another link with the great McCartney idol, Buddy Holly. It’s the example of Holly that makes Paul reluctant to give interviews because he insists: “Buddy Holly didn’t even have to tell the press what he had for breakfast – he just got on with his music“)

But the media will not be denied, and they’re going to want Wings on television.

“Exactly,” says Paul. “But the thing is, if we’re on TV, then I’ll sort of put the show together.”

“It won’t be Top of the Pops then?”


There will also be a demand for a single – and Paul won’t take it from the album because he doesn’t think that’s fair on the public.

“We’ll do something else – in fact we’ve got the tapes of one here which we’re thinking of mixing after you’ve gone.” (They did, too, until 4 a.m.)

Now that he’s finally down to talking about the music, Paul says that the album was put together in about two weeks – “which in a change from the Beatle albums. We came into the studio for about three days and laid most of it down. Then over another ten days we overdubbed and finished it off.”

“How much,” I ask, “did Linda contribute?”

“A lot. Her main contribution is, like, vocals, but she also plays keyboard. Also we write stuff together.”

And thereby hangs another tale of contention because there are those who contest Linda’s claim to be a songwriter.

“Because Linda wasn’t trained at the Guildhall, Northern Songs think it must mean she can’t write. But she knows more about music… Look, she’s a rocker from way back. She was at the Paramount Theatre watching, on the same bill, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, and Chuck Berry. She knows about music.

“The thing is, Mike, look at it seriously. Northern Songs has got me under contract. I start writing with someone whm they don’t have under contract – and they don’t accept it. Now we ought to have an equal share of the song. But you try to tell Sir Lew Grade that – he’s bought the company – and it doesn’t work…”

And once again McCartney is back waging his personal campaign for a fair deal, not just for one Beatle, but for all four.

“You know,” he says, “all along the Beatles were the only ones who really did anything… in NEMS, in Apple, everywhere. It’s not really the other artists – you know that, and I know that. It’s really only what George goes in and does, John does, Ringo does and I do myself that makes any money… and we’re the only ones who never copped it.

“Throughout the entire history of the Beatles thing – and you can check this out with any of the others,” said Paul thumping the desk for emphasis, “the Beatles didn’t get paid. They never have had the money to this very day.

“I mean, just think about those record sales. If Micky Most gets rich by making one Herman record, just think how rich the Beatles should be with their volume of sales…”

Which, once again, would seem to suggest a relentless preoccupation with money. It’s one of the hazards of transferring interviews to print that exact quotes can still mislead.

Paul wants justice, not money. And he feels there can’t be justice until he is freed from his Apple and Beatle association. He wanted his new album not to have the Apple logo on it but to have his face on one side and Linda’s on the other. “Because,” he argues, “it is ours, and nothing to do with Apple.

But the convoluted complexities of big business won’t permit simple solutions. And McCartney remains tied to a contract whose whole spirit has been dissipated and exhausted.

Paul now wants out – to fly on his own wings; and my guess is that until he gets complete independence, he will never produce great music to match the best of his songs with the Beatles.

From Paul McCartney on Twitter – Wings during an interview with Mike Hennessey at EMI Studios, Abbey Road in 1971.

Last updated on August 23, 2022


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