More from year 1974
Songs mentioned in this interview
Other interviews of Linda McCartney
October 1992 • From Vanity Fair
Nov 29, 1989 • From San Diego Union
1989 • From Diamond Hard Music Entertainment
Feb 22, 1987 • From The Telegraph
Sep 21, 1982 • From The Guardian
Jan 12, 1980 • From New Musical Express
Mar 25, 1978 • From Record Mirror
May 15, 1976 • From Record Mirror
Interviews from the same media
Nov 20, 1971 • From Sounds
Jul 15, 1972 • From Sounds
Dec 02, 1972 • From Sounds
Dec 16, 1972 • From Sounds
Apr 14, 1973 • From Sounds
Dec 01, 1973 • From Sounds
Aug 31, 1974 • From Sounds
Jun 26, 1976 • From Sounds
Aug 20, 1977 • From Sounds
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PAUL MCCARTNEY was one of the most sought-after eligible bachelors in Britain when Linda Eastman, a well-known photographer in the New York art world, came to live with him in St. John’s Wood, London. A divorcee with a daughter of five called Heather, Linda married Paul a few months later. There was a feeling of confusion, happiness and regret among the many fans who daily crowded the street where Paul lived.
The couple still live at the same place and to the McCartney family have been added two more little girls, Mary (5) and Stella (3). Under the tremendous musical influence of Paul, Linda has learned to play keyboard instruments and has become part of Wings, the band formed by Paul after the Beatles broke up.
“Band On The Run”, their last album on world wide release now for the past 12 months, has become a gigantic hit reaching number one on both sides of the Atlantic and in many other countries around the world.
Linda talks about the new Wings, the new album, a new TV film and a future international tour. And she takes a close look at her marriage.
What have you been doing since the release of “Band On The Run?”
After we recorded the album, we thought we had better get a new band together because we had only me, Paul and Denny (Laine) who did “Band On The Run”, and so if we wanted to play live we couldn’t. We asked Jimmy McCulloch, who is a very good guitar player, if he wanted to join the band he said yes then we listened to 52 drummers and we picked one we thought would be good, Jeff Britton, a good heavy drummer who used to be with the Wild Angels.
We thought we’d go and rehearse somewhere rather than staying in England, we’d go to America, to Nashville, Tennessee, to rehearse the band and see if it worked out. While in Nashville we recorded about five tracks… one is a song written by Paul’s dad called “Walking In The Park With Eloise”, just music. When Paul was a little boy, about 10, even younger, he remembers sitting at the foot of the piano while his dad was playing this song. We were having dinner with Chet Atkins, the guitar player, one night in Nashville, and Paul had being playing a lot of his music for Chet and he said, “here, here’s one that my dad wrote long time ago” – and he started playing it.
Chet got talking to Paul, saying that the song should be recorded and that would be nice for his dad and so on. We thought, why not? So we got Chet playing on it and Floyd Cramer the piano player and Chet himself got together a nice little band called Country Hams with lots of other Nashville people. So there’s this single called “Walking In The Park With Eloise” by Country Hams coming out on EMI in a couple of weeks.
Any other good new singles by Wings?
We have a very good number “Junior’s Farm”, a real rocker, which we were thinking of putting out in October or November as a single. We haven’t started the album yet, but we have written some fabulous songs already. Everybody keeps asking us if we are afraid to follow the big success of “Band On The Run”, but if you want to hear the new songs later… they are really good!
How many copies have you sold so far of “Band On The Run?
The single sold 2 million copies in America alone; the album 2 million as well. In Britain the single and album together sold a million… (contented smile). I don’t know around the world, so there you go.
It’s very nice because, as you know, we went through a very bad period at the beginning. Paul didn’t know what to do when the Beatles broke up. You know, it’s like when you’ve got a job to do you work hard and have faith in what you’re doing and one day the magazine folds up because the editor or the publisher says so… Paul didn’t want the Beatles to break up, he would have been happy for them to have gone on forever, so he had almost to learn all over again to work with new people.
I think what had happened is that he got very depressed and thought “I won’t bother any more” but when you have it in you, of course you don’t just stop.
Why did you choose Africa to record “Band On The Run”?
We asked EMI for a list of all the places where they have recording studios. When we got it we went through it saying “that one’s sunny, that one’s sunny well, they have good music there”, and so we decided to go to Lagos, Africa. It was all a bit scaring because when we got back we received letters that had been written before we went saying there’s a cholera epidemic in Africa.
Anyway we felt a bit adventurous and we went. Five minutes before we left for Lagos our drummer rang up: “Hey man, I can’t make this trip…” sort of thing, and the guitar player had left a few weeks before so it was just Paul and me. We were wondering if Denny would come. But Denny was with us all the way and we thought we’d go anyway, and it was amazing because I have never been any place that black before.
Africa! It’s not like Jamaica or Notting Hill, it’s teeming with black people and no white people at all. No swimming pools because of malaria, and things you just wouldn’t believe.
So there we recorded “Band On The Run”, just the three of us and Paul played all the drums and later overdubbed bass, and it had a good vibe to it one of those albums Paul thought, I’ve got to do it, either I give up and cut my throat or get my magic back.
That album I think has given him the faith that he needed in himself, it is him and he can do it. Because he is so musical, you wouldn’t believe it. When I was a photographer I met a lot of musicians, and heard them play… but he’s such a natural on every instrument.
How did you meet Paul?
I met him in a club… Do you know the Bag O’ Nails, in London? At the time it was a great club and I was here taking photographs for a book. Anyway, went down with Chas Chandler of the Animals, and a lot of people, to see Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. It was years ago, around the time of “Sgt. Pepper”, and Paul was there with a bunch of friends at the table next us and it was one of those… just giving each other the eye, we just fancied each other.
We started talking and they were all going to another club, the Speakeasy, which at the time was also great, and Paul said: “Do you fancy coming?”, so we went there with a lot of people: Keith Moon, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, Brian Jones were there, Eric Clapton. You know those days when everybody went out, now everybody stays home.
We had a great time, and then I didn’t see him for a while. I had to go back to America and later he and John came to New York to introduce Apple. I went to the airport with them when they were going back to England the day after. Then he came back to America and we went to California together…
When did he propose to you?
Sometime later, end of ’68 I think. I was in New York and he just rang up one day and said: “Do you fancy coming to England?” So I said: “Yeh” I told my dad and he said: “It’s a pity you won’t be able to go,” because of my daughter I was divorced at the time with a child who was starting school “You can’t go, you have to take the child to school.”
I thought: What do you mean, I won’t be able to go? Anyway I came over and we lived together for a while, neither of us talked about marriage. We just loved each other and lived together, we liked each other a lot, so being conventional people one day we thought, OK let’s get married we love each other, let’s make it definite.
It was just like that, and that surprised so many people. Paul was a definite bachelor, he had every chick in town after him… He must have been crazy to get married, But, you know, we are happy and happiness is the main thing,
Is he a good husband?
Very much so, I don’t think they come better. We both come from families where the parents loved each other very much and my mother and father, until my mother died, were married for 25 years. She died in a plane crash, and they loved each other. The same with Paul’s parents his mother is no longer alive but they loved each other.
I think that when you come from a family as good as that you want to create a family yourself.
How did it feel at the beginning to be married to one of the Beatles?
I was a photographer, doing very, very well, and I was used to people in the art world, and rock world, sort of on a creative level, and so I went out with a lot of famous men, famous people, so when I married Paul I never felt I was married to Beatle Paul. But a lot of fans resented me: I just never expected that. I thought we would just get married and live happily ever after Snow White.
A lot of fans lived, literally, outside Paul’s house for years they almost owned him kind of thing, and then all of a sudden he’s married. They almost felt like they were married to him, a sort of kindness thing, and so when we got married I should have been more understanding than I was about this. But being a sort of a sophisticated woman I didn’t think twice.
Now I understand what they were talking about: people said to me: “You should have known that you would have had all this when you got married to Paul,” but I never thought about it. I felt married that’s all, like you do, which in itself is different.
You have three children, all little girls…
Yes, Heather, 11 years old, from the previous marriage, Mary, who is just 5 and Stella is 3. Heather and Mary go to school together. We have adopted Heather legally so she is a McCartney.
Stella sings all the time [the blonde little girl had been singing in the microphone of my tape recorder]. Is she very musical?
Yes, they all are. They walk. around with microphones and play on the keyboards all the time.
Do you have any ideas about what you would like your children to become?
I wouldn’t mind if they got into the business. It’s up to them. When we’re old and grey we can have a great little vaudeville act like the Osmonds. The great thing about them is that it is all a family…
What do you think about the Osmonds phenomenon?
Firstly, I like their new single. They are good singers. I love their harmonies, they are very talented, great dancers. We saw them on television they’re very professional and good fun. I love them, our kids like them, but they’re not Osmonds crazy, they’re Wings crazy!
I think the business needs people like them because it has gotten too cool. Whatever happened to showbiz? And kids like to have crushes, to have fun.
The Press hasn’t been very nice to you about being in the band. How do you feel about this now?
First of all I have to say that Paul and I agree we didn’t handle me well at all at the beginning. We thought everybody knew, she’s all right, she’s nice, but we really should have like gone on the Parkinson show and Paul should have said: “I’d like to introduce you to my wife; she’s really nice and I am teaching her to play piano because I would like to have her in the band.”
I know it sounds crazy, but I couldn’t play the piano at one time we should have done something…
I suppose people felt that maybe you came on the scene suddenly, you got married and suddenly you were in the band…
Like as if I took over, like maybe he’s a little puppy dog and I’m leading him around.
No, HE asked me to be in the band. After the Beatles broke up he had no friends he really wanted to work with, so he did the “McCartney” album on his own and played everything, but I sang harmonies with him. Now I’m into Moog and on “Band On The Run” I play a lot of the Moog parts. I also like to play Mellotron, and piano. But I know what you mean, I’ve been knocked….
During that period did you ever feel like giving up and leaving the band?
Yes, many times.
Was Paul the one who kept you in?
Yes, because I thought “what am I doing in the band?”. I used to say, “well maybe I shouldn’t be in the band, you could get Billy Preston or somebody like that”, and he said “yes, I could have done it that way, I could get a great piano player…” But I think he likes that element of… not amateurism, an element of simplicity, like getting the maximum with simplicity.
What do you think about the West End show about the Beatles “John, Paul, George, Ringo and… Bert”?
Well, we haven’t seen it, so it’s difficult to say. I am sure it’s good, but it’s just about a certain period; I think it’s a play which was put together from newspaper articles during the bad period when Allen Klein was in and there were business troubles. I think it’s entertaining, but I also think that it is a bit funny to do it when the people are still living. But it doesn’t matter.
Supposedly the one who plays Paul isn’t really anything like him; the one who is supposed to the most like any of them is the one who plays John, but it’s easy to portray John anyway…
Do you see John now?
Yes, quite a bit actually. We went to New York on the way back from Tennessee, we bought a motorcycle and rented a car with a trailer to carry the motorcycle and brought the bike to New York, where my dad has a house, and stayed with him for about two weeks and saw John quite a bit.
It was great, he’s really cooled down. We see all of them now.
What do you think about all these articles about “Are The Beatles Back?”, “Do We Need The Beatles?” and so on?
Let’s face it, they’re all great, they are all immensely talented; and if they did get together I don’t think anybody would mind. Whether they will or not who knows? Now that the business thing is over, they are all very friendly.
Does John now realise that maybe Paul was right about Alan Klein?
Absolutely, yes. Well, they don’t have Klein anymore. In fact they are suing Klein now. John said to Paul: “Yes, Paul, you were right, but, then, you always were.” I think that in a way they are all thankful.
Going back to Wings, are you thinking of touring in the near future?
We definitely want to do some live stuff with the new band, not quite so hectic as we have done before. I think the band we have now is the best band, because everybody is happy in it, whereas before we had a guitar player who always wanted to play blues. This band is more adaptable to any kind of music.
Henry was never really happy, he’s more into Joe Cocker type of music. We had a good drummer, but he was American, and missed football. I think when the African thing came up he just couldn’t handle it he thought he would get killed or something.
Yes, this band we have now will definitely do some big tour: England, America, Australia… ’75 is going to be the big Wings year. We are just doing a TV show the provisional title is “The One Hand Clapping Show” and it is all down on video cassettes. When we came back from Tennessee we went into the studios and videoed two days of the band playing through the numbers, about 15 numbers, and having done all that rehearsing and arguing we couldn’t believe how good we were we were so tight and everybody knew their stuff.
Then we did a few days of Paul doing his stuff on his own and it will all be edited for a new TV show. The quality won’t be like in a big TV studio, so we have to explain that somehow, but it’s good.
When are you going to record a new album?
We start recording in October at Abbey Road with Geoff Emerick, who was the engineer on “Band On The Run”, “Abbey Road” and “Sgt. Pepper”. He’s a great guy.
Are you a bit worried about the new album?
You mean as the follow-up of “Band On The Run”? There are some beautiful songs. I think Paul’s old magic is back again, I think that every album he does will be a bit of adventure, a bit of fun, instead of worrying about will it be as good as “Band On The Run” kind of thing.
If you could have seen how he worked on the “Abbey Road” album, real off the top of the head kind of thing… John was hardly in the studio because of the accident he had.
So the next album is gonna be good – knock on wood!
Last updated on August 5, 2023