Also by Bill Harry:
Mersey Beat: The Beginning of the Beatles Heroes of the Spaceways The Beatles Who's Who
The Book of Lennon
The Book of Beatles Lists
Ask Me Why: The Beatles Quizbook
Beatlemania: A History of the Beatles on Film
Paperback Writers: A History of the Beatles in Print
Beatles for Sale The McCartney File
Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia
The Best Years of the Beatles The Encyclopedia of Beatles People
Whatever Happened To ... ? The John Lennon Encyclopedia
To Virginia Harry:
who had an equal vision in the founding of Mersey Beat
First published in 2002 by Virgin Books Ltd Thames Wharf Studios Rainville Road London W6 9HA
Copyright © Bill Harry 2002
The right of Bill Harry to be identified as the Author of this Work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior written consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. ISBN 0 7535 07161
Typeset by Phoenix Photosetting, Chatham, Kent
Printed and bound in Great Britain by Clays Ltd, St Ives pic
Paul McCartney: Renaissance Man
John Lennon's Aunt Mimi said she'd always remember me because I was the first person ever to call John a genius. There is no doubt that John was one of the most creative figures of twentieth-century popular culture. However, his tragic death elevated him to iconic status, with the result that the undoubted brilliance of his former partner Paul McCartney became overshadowed.
To my mind Paul is also a genius and, when he used to write me letters during the early stages of the Beatles' career, I felt that his writing contained a delightful sense of humour, which, in some ways was equal to John's.
The composer of classic popular songs such as 'Yesterday', 'Hey Jude', 'Eleanor Rigby', 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', 'Lady Madonna' and 'Let It Be' was also the one who conceived a number of the major Beatles projects. Not only was Paul the man responsible for the ideas behind the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road albums, plus the Magical Mystery Tour film, but he also sketched and drew the initial designs for a number of the Beatles' album covers.
Paul also composed soundtrack music for the films The Family Way and The Honorary Consul.
John initially became involved in experimental music when he composed a version of 'Revolution' for the November 1968 album The Beatles. However, Paul preceded him, becoming the first member of the Beatles to conduct experiments with sounds when he composed Carnival of Light. This was a sound collage lasting 13 minutes and 48 seconds that Paul composed for an event called the 'Carnival of Light Rave' at the Roundhouse in Camden Town, London, which took place on 28 January and 4 February 1967.
John is also remembered as an avant-garde filmmaker, although his collaborations were mainly Yoko Ono's ideas, which he co-produced with her. Their first film was called Smile, produced in 1968, a 52-minute film of John smiling. Other projects included Up Your Legs Forever, an 80-minute film featuring three hundred pairs of legs, and Fly, a film in which a fly crawled across a naked girl's body.
Yet even in the field of avant-garde movies, Paul had beaten John to the punch. In 1966 he made two avant-garde films, The Defeat of the Dog and The Next Spring Then.
Paul has continued to make film shorts over the years covering subjects ranging from the Grateful Dead to Rupert the Bear.
In the recording studio he conducted a 41-piece orchestra on the 'A Day In The Life' track on the Sgt Pepper album. He is also a multi-instrumentalist who plays not only bass guitar but also lead guitar, steel guitar and acoustic guitar - and bongos, drums, flugelhorn, flute, harpsichord, harmonium, maracas, organ, piano, string bass and trumpet! He took an interest in composing classical music when Brian Pidgeon, the general manager of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, commissioned him to compose Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio with Carl Davis.
The work was then given its world premiere at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral on Friday June 28 1991 before an audience of 2,500 as part of the orchestra's 150th-anniversary celebrations.
Since its debut, during a period of five years, the oratorio has been performed more than a hundred times in twenty different countries.
Liverpool Suite is another classical collaboration by Paul and Carl Davis, which is basically a distillation of the most melodic and songlike segments of Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio.
Another work is Standing Stone, a symphonic poem by Paul, which marked EMI Records' centenary and was premiered at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday 14 October 1997, where it received a standing ovation.
Paul was to say that the origin of Standing Stone came about following the death of his friend Ivan Vaughan from Parkinson's disease.
Ivan was the person who first introduced Paul to John Lennon. A television documentary, Ivan, portrayed his struggle with the disease and Paul allowed his song 'Blackbird' to be played at the beginning and end of the programme free of charge.
He then invited Ivan to spend Christmas 1984 with the McCartneys at their home in Sussex and continued to keep in touch until Ivan's death.
He said,' "Jive with Ive, the ace on the bass" was his intro when we played together. Ivan was very important to me. Poetry seemed the right way to express what I felt about his death. Later, I decided to write an epic poem that would serve as the framework for Standing Stone. I realised that I wasn't going to write a symphonic work where you take a theme and develop it throughout a movement, partly because I simply didn't know how to do that.'
The theme is basically that of the history of life on earth via the ancient standing stones of the Celts.
Another composition is Working Classical, and in August 2000 Paul composed Liverpool Sound Collage as a soundtrack to the artist Peter Blake's exhibition at the Tate Liverpool.
In the 27 January 1995 issue of New Statesman and Society, Paul made his debut as a published poet with five poems: 'Chasing The Cherry,' 'Mist The Mind,' 'The Blue Shines Through', 'Trouble Is' and 'Velvet Wine'.
On 23 March 1995, at St James's Palace, London, before Prince
Charles and invited guests, Paul was present to hear the debut of 'Leaf, an eight-minute piece for solo piano, which he composed. The event was called 'An Evening with Paul McCartney'.
Paul emerged as a painter with his first exhibition, which opened in Germany on 1 May 1999. He had been passionate about art since he was a child and used to paint his own birthday and Christmas cards. He also designed some of the Beatles' album sleeves.
In London in the mid-sixties, under the influence of the gallery owner Robert Fraser, he became an art collector and particularly liked the work of Rene Magritte.
Paul also became acquainted with the Dutch painter Willem de Kooning, based in New York, who was a client of Paul's father-in-law. When Paul had turned forty, he was encouraged by de Kooning to take up painting and soon had his own studios in his homes in the South of England, Arizona and Long Island. An added incentive was a Christmas present from Linda - Rene Magritte's own easel. Since 1983 Paul has produced nearly 600 abstract paintings.
The paintings are in oils and acrylic, and cover landscapes, portraits and abstracts; they include several paintings of Linda. There are also paintings of John Lennon, David Bowie and the British Queen, the last entitled Л Salute to the Queen. Other titles include John's Room, Yellow Linda With Piano, Egypt Station, Sea God and Tara's Plastic Skirt.
Singer, songwriter, musician, classical composer, poet, painter, filmmaker, Paul McCartney is a true renaissance man. Another example of his creativity in verse is Blackbird Singing: Poems and Lyrics 1965-1999 (Faber & Faber).
Paul first began to write poetry while at the Liverpool Institute and in his introduction to his book he mentions his desire to have a poem printed in the school magazine - but it was rejected. He doesn't mention it by name, but it could well be 'The Worm Chain Drags Slowly', which was one of his first efforts at poetry. Paul also mentions how the death of his friend Ivan Vaughan led him to attempt to express his feelings in verse.
The volume is introduced and edited by Adrian Mitchell, who also persuaded Paul to include song lyrics in the collection. Mitchell is a major contemporary poet who has given more than a thousand performances of his work around the world. He first met Paul in January 1963, when, as a journalist with the Daily Mail, he published the first interview with the Beatles in a national newspaper.
He developed a friendship with Paul and actually performed four of his poems backed by Paul, Linda and the band on the 'Unplugged' tour at Cliffs Pavilion, Southend, on Friday 19 July 1991. (It was Linda who actually phoned Mitchell and suggested that he edit a book of Paul's poems.)
In 1995 Mitchell was poetry editor of the New Statesman and published a page featuring five of Paul's poems. Paul was originally
inspired to publish his work by Linda, and the book is dedicated to her and their four children.
There are more than a hundred poems written between 1965 and 1999 and a dozen of them are about Linda, written in the months before and after her death in April 1998.
Paul Muldoon, professor of poetry at Oxford University, comments, 'McCartney's new poems confirm that poetry matters to us at times in our lives when we try to make sense of things. We are always reading over the shoulder of the poet and have the moment of opportunity to share the grief.'
Although song lyrics are juxtaposed with the poems, the strength of both approaches is evident: images in the lyrics of 'When I'm Sixty-Four' and 'Eleanor Rigby', for instance, and the powerful words in 'Black Jacket' ('Sadness isn't sadness it's happiness in a black jacket', and its climax 'tears are not tears they're balls of laughter dipped in salt'). Truly evocative are his haunting elegies to Linda, such as 'Her Spirit'.
Paul has received acknowledgment for his undoubted talents, becoming a Freeman of the City of Liverpool, a Fellow of the Royal College of Music and a Fellow of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. He received a knighthood for his services to music. Yet he says that his greatest achievements are his four children. Paul became pop music's first billionaire and publications have made much copy out of the fact that he is so wealthy. What they don't emphasise are the huge number of contributions he makes to charities. They are not only financial contributions, either: he gives time and makes appearances to promote various causes; he writes and records for charities; and he is particularly unstinting in championing vegetarianism, animal rights and the dangers to the world's ecology.
While writing this book, I have come to realise that Paul's life has been so full of events and music that much might be missed in this volume. There is certainly enough material to double the word count, and no doubt there are a number of unrecorded songs, appearances, people and events that some readers may find missing from this first edition. I would welcome comments, therefore, for future editions.
I have been writing about Paul McCartney since 1961 and during that time have continued my research in newspapers, magazines, fan magazines, television and film. Many of the books included in the bibliography were consulted and of particular value were publications such as Beatles Monthly, Beatlefan, Beatles Unlimited and the London Beatles Fan Club Magazine, whose issues contain an incredible amount of information, lovingly compiled by dedicated fans.
I would like to thank Carolyn Thorne and Barbara Phelan for their editorial support and everyone at Virgin Books for making my book a reality.
Bill Harry, London, July 2002
A Hanney & Co.
The name of a former Cotton Brokers &c Merchants, a firm in Chapel Street, Liverpool, where Jim McCartney, Paul's father, first began to work as a sample boy at the age of fourteen. Jim originally earned six shillings a week and by the age of 28 had progressed to the position of cotton salesman earning Ј250 per annum.
Abbey Road (album)
A Beatles album issued in Britain on 26 September 1969 and in America on 1 October.
The tracks written by Paul were: 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer', 'Oh Darling', 'You Never Give Me Your Money', 'She Came In Through The Bathroom Window', 'Golden Slumbers', 'Carry That Weight', 'The End' and 'Her Majesty'.
The photograph on the cover sleeve, showing the Beatles walking across the zebra crossing outside Abbey Road Studios, has become one of the most famous rock music images. It has been copied on dozens of other album covers and tens of thousands of tourists have had photographs taken of themselves striding over the crossing.
The idea for the sleeve was Paul's and he made a detailed sketch for photographer Iain Macmillan before the picture session took place.
Apart from being imitated and idolised by fans, the Abbey Road picture was to assume enormous significance for adherents of the 'Paul is Dead' theory, who avidly analysed the cover for so-called 'clues' to support it - and found a liberal sprinkling of them!
Most important was the fact that Paul is barefoot in the photograph, which was said to be a Mafia/Grecian (take your pick) sign of death. A Michigan journalist, Fred LaBour, reviewing the album, claimed that the group was leaving a cemetery and that John was dressed as a minister, Ringo as an undertaker and George as a gravedigger, and pointed out that Paul was out of step with the others, which apparently meant that it was in fact either his corpse, or, more popularly, a substitute who'd had plastic surgery. Proof positive of the impostor theory was the fact that 'Paul' was holding a cigarette in his right hand (Масса is left-handed). The reality, of course, was very different, as two quotes from some of those involved demonstrate.
Photographer Iain Macmillan: 'Paul turned up in his Oxfam suit and sandals and because it was a hot day he decided to do some shots with the sandals on and some with sandals off. Paul checked all the pictures with a magnifying glass.
'I don't think the other three were particularly bothered. He chose the nearest shot with the legs stretched in almost uniform style and it was pure coincidence that it happened to be the one with his sandals off.
'I got the job through John but it was Paul's idea and I was given ten minutes around lunchtime to do it. They came out of the studios, where they were recording, to do it and I managed to take six shots in all.'
Paul himself told disc jockey Paul Gambaccini: 'I just turned up at the photo session. It was a really nice hot day and I think I wore sandals. I only had to walk around the corner to the crossing because I lived pretty nearby. I had me sandals off and on for the session. Of course, when it comes out and people start looking at it and they say: "Why has he got no shoes on? He's never done that before." OK you've never seen me do it before but in actual fact it's just me with me shoes off. Turns out to be some old Mafia sign of death or something.'
But 'Paul is Dead' fanatics were not deterred: in the course of their 'investigations' they discovered that the registration number (281F) of the Volkswagen car in the photo indicated the age Paul would have been if he had lived, and that the cracked Abbey Road street sign on the back cover was a mystical omen of the split in the group following Paul's death!
Abbey Road (book)
A book written by EMI Records executive Brian Southall which was first published in Britain by Patrick Stephens Ltd in 1982.
Paul wrote a small introduction for the book in which he mentioned the nostalgia he felt whenever he used the Abbey Road Studios and how he met Sir Malcolm Sargent and Sir Donald Wolfit on the steps outside. Apart from the portrait illustrating the introduction and the photographs of the Beatles, there are more photographs of Paul in the book than of any other artist.
They include Paul and Linda walking across the famous zebra crossing with their pony, Jet; Paul with George Martin and Norman Smith; Paul drinking a glass of milk; Paul in various disguises for the 'Coming Up' video sessions; giving George Martin a guitar lesson; two further photographs from the 'Coming Up' sessions; two pictures of Paul with boxer John Conteh and Eamonn Andrews when the surprise was sprung for Conteh's This Is Your Life; Linda and Jet outside Abbey Road; Wings in Scotland with the Campbeltown Pipe Band; four photographs of the Rockestra sessions; Paul and Linda in the studio's reception area; Paul and Linda at Vera Samwell's retirement party; Linda with Steve Harley and Denny Laine at the studio's fiftieth anniversary party.
In a chapter entitled 'Yesterday - McCartney Remembers', Paul reminisces about his time at Abbey Road from 1962 until the present day. He talks about how the Beatles changed the strict formality which existed at the time, the long hours they spent at recording sessions, the wide range of instruments they could use there and the constant crowds which used to gather outside.
An American television news programme, which on Tuesday 1 February 1972 filmed a news story around Paul's controversial new release 'Give Ireland Back To The Irish'. Wings were featured at Paul's farm in Scotland. The line-up comprised Paul, Linda, Denny Laine, Denny Seiwell and Gerry McCullough rehearsing the number. This was followed by an interview with Paul and Linda. Much of the interview concerned the controversy caused by the BBC because they considered it 'clearly politically controversial'.
When ABC TV's London reporter George Watson asked, 'As an entertainer, it doesn't worry you getting a bit into politics?' Paul replied, 'No, you can't stay out of it, you know, if you think at all, these days. We're still humans, you know, and you wake up and you read your newspaper, it affects you. So I don't mind too much about people saying you're too political. I don't mind, it doesn't worry me, like I say. I don't now plan to do everything I do as a political thing, you know, but just on this one occasion I think the British government overstepped their mark and showed themselves to be more of a repressive regime than I ever believed them to be.'
They had also been filmed rehearsing in the music room on the upper floor of Paul's Cavendish Avenue house.
The story was broadcast on Tuesday 7 March 1972.
The promotional clip of Wings rehearsing the number was also broadcast in America on ABC TV's 'David Frost Salutes the Beatles' on Wednesday 21 May 1975.
The American television network. To celebrate Paul and Linda's fifth wedding anniversary, ABC TV filmed Paul at his MPL offices for a two-part interview transmitted in the States on Tuesday 12 March and Wednesday 13 March 1974. Paul discussed the creative process in writing songs such as 'Picasso's Last Words' and 'Eleanor Rigby' and clips from 'My Love', 'Maybe I'm Amazed' and 'Mary Had A Little Lamb' were shown.
During the fifteen-minute interview Paul also answered the question 'Can the Beatles be re-created again?' by saying, 'They might do bits together again, we don't know yet. Every time I say that, some paper prints a headline saying "The Beatles To Reform", so I'm a bit cautious about saying anything. I don't think we'll get together as a band again, I just don't think it'll work actually; it might not be as good. I just saw Jerry Lewis talking the other day about Dean Martin, it's a bit like that.'
A track from the Driving Rain album. The number lasts for 2 minutes and 54 seconds and was recorded on Friday 16 February 2001.
A venue in New York where Paul held a press conference on Thursday II February 1993. The conference was to promote his new album Off The Ground and to announce details of the concert dates of the forthcoming American branch of his New World Tour.
Paul was also asked a number of questions:
Question: One of my favourite songs of the record, actually I don't think it's mentioned is 'Cosmically Conscious'. I was curious about that song - if a long version exists. I also heard that it was written quite a while ago in India.
Paul: Yeah, it was. What it is, it's kind of on the end of the record. It's one of those little kinds of snippets, you know, almost as an afterthought. There is a full-length version and it was written 23 years ago or thereabout, when ... uh, I think maybe 25, when we were with the Beatles in Rishikesh with the Maharishi and he used to keep saying 'be Cosmically Conscious, peace and joy', so that's pretty much the entire lyrics of that song, which is why it's a snippet on the end.
Question: I was wondering how you might try to top the 184,000 people you had in Rio de Janeiro on the last tour, this time around.
Paul: Probably we're not, is probably the answer. But somebody did invite us back to Brazil and they said there's a bigger place in San Paolo. But it's not on the itinerary this time. Maybe that would top it.
Question: You're doing something as a patron of the arts in Liverpool Institute? What is that?
Paul: OK. A few years ago I went back to my old school in Liverpool and found it kind of going into ruins. So I was hoping that something could be done for it, because it was built in 1825 and even though I hated it when I went there - like most kids I couldn't wait to get away - looking back on it now was a great experience. It gave me a good feeling in the world. What we're going to hope to do in 1995 is reopen it, renovate it and reopen it as a performing arts centre for local and overseas kids. So this is the big dream for 1995.
Question: I'm pleased to see there's a biography of your talented wife Linda in the press kit. I understand there was a documentary about her broadcast in London around Christmas time. Will we have a chance to see that here?
Paul: I'm not sure, but the BBC did make a great documentary on Linda which featured her photography. Because normally she gets a bit eclipsed by the fact that we got married, and I always say I kind of ruined her career. A lot of people think she was free-loading and just hanging on my coat-tails, which was actually not true. She had a very great career, and her Sixties book I think proves that. So I'm not sure if it's going to be over here in the States, but I hope so.
Question: It appears that with your recent tour and some of the work you've done since, you've become very comfortable again going into your musical past, particularly the Beatles songs. Another era of your career that was very, very successful and meant a lot to me was Wings. I was wondering how you feel about that, because you really don't delve too much into those songs in your current repertoire.
Paul: No. It's difficult, you know, when you've got as much material to choose from as I have. With a new album you want to do some of your new album, 'cause the new stuff is fresh and you want to do it, and this stuff is pretty live, so it's kind of easy to do live, and if it sounds like the record, so ... but then again you want to do some Beatles stuff, which is probably what I'm most known for and that there'll always be people in the audience who really want to hear that. It is true that the Wings stuff tends to get a little bit squeezed out, and there's always people like you who say 'why don't you do something off Ram, man?' It's just there's only so much time, you know. If we were on there for like four or five hours, we could attack that bit of it. Normally you've just got to make some hard decisions. We do a few from that period, but it's true that it gets squeezed out because of the Beatles and the new stuff.
Question: We spoke to Carl Davis recently and he said you might be working on a guitar concerto. Any truth to that, anything classical coming up from you?
Paul: That was a thought we had. That's something I wouldn't mind doing. But in actual fact it turned into some piano pieces. It was a plan to do that, and maybe something we'll do at some point. But what Fve just finished with him is six piano pieces. After having done the great full-blown thing, the oratorio, or as someone called it yesterday, the 'oratorio', I've gone back to just one single person sitting at the piano, and it's very simple piano pieces. So that's the next thing, and then I think Carl and I might write something together maybe later in the year.
Question: Can you tell us what is the message of the new song 'Hope Of Deliverance', and the second part of the question, if it was really written in a brief period of time?
Paul: Yeah, it was written quite quickly. You know, if you're lucky, some songs like that just sort of tumble out and you just write them down and you find you've written a kind of thing. They don't all happen like that, but that one just got up into my attic and, as I say, I wrote it quite quickly. The message, you know, I like people to make their own decision as to what the message is. But for me, it is just that these days particularly there's a lot of stuff out there that's dangerous, if you're bringing up kids like I am. Well, they're brought up, mine you know, mine are big, but there's a lot of fears, a lot of worries, a lot of people now homeless, a lot of recessionary stuff going on, disease and stuff. I do mean, really, what I'm saying - hope of deliverance from the darkness that surrounds us, whichever particular bit of darkness yours is, it might just be a girl whose boyfriend has left her or it might be something more serious, you know, some sort of tragedy in the family or whatever, but it's really some kind of prayer I suppose.
Question: I'd like to ask you a little bit about touring. There's an elite handful of people like yourself who sell out stadiums and arenas, but where do you perceive the live concert touring industry going and what kind of trends do you see happening with it, as you've been in the industry for 25 years?
Paul: I don't really know about trends. People always used to ask us what's going to be the next, when we were the Beatles. What's going to be the next thing next year? We'd say, we don't know, you know. I just know what's going on now and what's in the past, but I don't read the future so I couldn't tell you about that. But I think people will always like to hear somebody live, see somebody live. It was really brought home to me before our last tour when I went to see Dustin Hoffman in London in a production of The Merchant Of Venice. When he walked on stage it was like - 'Wow, I'm in the room with Dustin.' You got this great feeling - 'I'm Really in the room,' like now, here we are. Welcome into my parlour. You know, it's a special thing, you're not just watching him on video, you're actually there with him and if you shout out 'Hey, Dusty!' he'll hear you. So I just think there is some attraction in that and I think people hopefully will keep going to concerts. I would think they would.
Question: What do you think about the fact that your album is hitting stores the same week as Mick Jagger's latest solo album, and that critics have sort of reviewed them by comparison? Do you consider Mr Jagger competition?
Paul: Competition? Well, yeah, I suppose so. You know, we always used to ring each other when we were in the Beatles and the Stones and sort of say, 'When's your album coming out?' and we used to delay our releases. But I didn't do that this time. He's a good mate, you know, he's a good friend, I like him a lot. I like his music, and he's written great stuff. So you can't really control who you come out with, which week you come out and who's there as your competition. So I don't mind really. I think it's inevitable that certain people will do - it's actually a cheap shot. They don't do their homework, you know, they kind of just review both of them quickly and go, 'Well, he's hard and he's soft,' which is not right. I haven't heard his album but I hear it's good, and I think ours is good. So we'll just see, you know.
Question: Does it bother you that critics continue to say that you haven't been able to get rid of that 'soft' image? Does that still bother you?
Paul: No, not really, no. I mean, there's a lot of people who'd like a soft image, you know. I mean, I don't particularly think I've got a soft image actually. It depends if you know my work or not. If you know what I've been involved in, then things like 'Helter Skelter' is certainly not soft, or 'I'm Down' or some of that stuff. So I think anyone who knows me ... But maybe I'm known better for songs like 'Yesterday', but listen, I'm not knocking it, it's great to be known for both, you know. I'm quite happy with my reputation at the moment.
Question: Why are you surprised that you're catching so much, if I might use the word, shit, for 'Big Boys Bickering'? I mean, it's just an expression about the environment and everything else. Are you surprised at the attitude?
Paul: Not really. You know, the thing is I've never used swear words in my songs. It just never occurred to me, really, it's just that I've never felt I needed to. I think what's happened is ... actually, I talked, before we released this, I talked to my sister-in-law about it, she's bringing up young kids, and she was saying 'Oh, you know, you're known as the guy that doesn't swear and now finally you're swearing, it's a kind of letdown.' And I said, 'Yeah, but you know, I'm trying to make a point. This is a protest song about people, men mainly, in smoke-filled rooms sort of running our lives, telling us whether or not we can close this ozone hole.' And I sense that a lot of people, that I meet anyway, would like them to really get on the case and quick. So what I do is say that in the song basically, that they're not 'mucking up for everyone', but I use the F-word, which I'm not going to use now, 'cause there's kids watching. But it doesn't really fuss me, you know, it's no big surprise to me. I hear it in everyday common language. I've heard it since I was a little kid, so I hear it a lot. I mean, even if you go to switch on a movie, there's like fifty times worse stuff than that. I think you know, if it's essential to the plot, it's a bit like nudity in plays, you know, if it's essential for the plot then I think it's valid. I think in this case for what the song was saying, which is like that people ought to get up, get on with it, and stop messing around, I think it's valid.
Question: You have taken a great stance environmentally and an animal rights stance as well. I've read recently about Linda having her own food line of stuff that's not only health-orientated but that is not animal. Are you going to be taking these ideas a bit further than just with that song, onto the tour and translating that mindset as well with the shows on the tour?
Paul: Yeah. The thing is, when you grow up, when you're like a father of four as I am, these things become important: ecology and stuff like that. What we did on the last tour was instead of just saying nothing about it, we tried to be sort of people's voices and try to say we meet a lot of people who are interested in this kind of thing. So really we figure that rather than just being flippant in there, when you're on the TV camera, it's actually allowed to talk a bit of sense and to talk about something you really care about. So, yeah, we'll continue to do this. I don't know about writing songs about it, you can never say whether you'll be able to write another song about that, because they're not easy to write. But certainly we'll be plugging it, and in our tour booklet on the tour, this time we've given a couple of pages to Greenpeace, some to Friends Of The Earth and some to PETA, the animal organisation which we're members of, and we believe in what they have to say. I think going into the next century, I think these ideas are really interesting. Their time has come. So yeah, we'll be plugging them. Question: What's it like being a pop star and trying to raise normal kids? And also, I know you're counting the minutes until somebody asked you this, but can you tell us anything about this potential project musically with George Harrison and Ringo Starr?
Paul: Yeah, OK. First bit first: the children. The trick is to remember these questions. The three-parter, I'll take the first part - Raising children as a pop star or as anyone famous. Me and Linda, when we got together decided that what we'd try and do was raise the kids with their feet on the ground, even though now we're trying to get off the ground. We made that a big priority because we realised that with having the money that I have, and the fame, that the kids could become snobs real early, and you see a lot of kids like this, you know, rich kids and stuff, and they're really snotty, you know. So we just decided that we'd send them to the ordinary schools like I went to, like she went to and try and give them some good values and really major on that, until they're round about 21 and then, forget it, you've got no control over them anyway. But then at least they've got a grounding and the whole thing. And, touch wood, I think that's worked with the kids. They're really nice kids. I mean, I'm biased. But they are good kids, they're sensible and they're not snobs. And what was the second part of this mammoth question?
Question: Can you tell us anything about this potential project musically with George and Ringo?
Paul: Oh yeah. Well, normally when I'm asked the question, 'Will the Beatles ever get back together?' I just sort of say, 'no, it's absolutely impossible anyway, and without John it wouldn't be the Beatles.' So that's kind of an easy answer, and it's always been true. But at the moment they're making a ten-part series on the Beatles in England, and it's going very well. We've got involved in it, it gives us a chance to say our own point of view rather than everybody speaks for us, you know, and says, 'you know why he was walking across that crossing with no shoes on?' You know, it's like, 'well, because it was hot.' It was like a real hot day and I had some sandals on and I kicked them off. You know, big deal. So we're always answering stuff like that. Like I met some kid, little kid, who had been to a Beatles summer camp, and she was telling me how you turn the record backwards, and I was saying 'no, no, no, I was here ...' She said, 'No, it's not true!' She wouldn't listen to me, you know. So it's like, we're taking this opportunity with the series to try and put our own point of view. And what happened was we were talking to the director, we were talking together, and he said if there's a piece of film that you've got. I was thinking in terms of maybe like a montage of John material, say, you know, of him just looking great, nice memories of John, I thought - well, you need a piece of music to go with that. So we volunteered to do that. We said, well, you know ... I kicked it around with the others, would you mind doing that? Would we hate to do that? Is that a definite no-no? And George said, 'Well, that'll be good,' and Ringo as well, you know. So we thought, well, that's a nice start. Rather than trying to get the Beatles back together, there's no touring, we're not thinking anything like that but we'll probably get together, maybe try and write something, record something for this one piece of music and we'll just see where that takes us. We're not looking for anything, I don't think anyone really wants to re-form the Beatles, but just to get together as friends and make a piece of music would be nice.
Question: A lot of your contemporaries like Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan release boxed sets of their outtakes, rarities, B-sides. Have you given any thought to that as far as your solo work and also you've got a lot of videos. How about a video anthology?
Paul: Yeah, well that's one of those things that I think some day will happen. What happens with me is I put a new album out, so I'd rather put out new material than outtakes of old material. But I've got a lot of stuff. But originally we were going to for years, going to try and put together an album called Cold Cuts, which was going to be all the things that didn't get on Ram, things that didn't get on Red Rose Speedway, through the years, you know, which I think would be interesting for collectors and for real fans who've got all the other stuff. But as I say, when you're going on tour, it becomes a nicer possibility to write some new stuff and do that. And plus, Cold Cuts is a bootleg, someone's put it together anyway.
Question: Last question. When you write your music now, are you writing for your fans who grew up listening to you or are you writing for younger fans? And if it's for younger fans, how do you stay in touch with the younger generation?
Paul: Well, if I do stay in touch with the younger generation, it will be through my kids, because I've got kids of that age, and that's where you get your clues, just watch them, see what they're into, see what's happening. In truth I don't actually write for anyone but myself. I tried that. You think, I'll write for the, sort of, the moment, or I'll write for the old fans or something. And it's not the way to do it. You shouldn't do anything like that, it's really best to just write for yourself, so what you care about and what you love comes onto the page or onto the demo or whatever you're doing. And then you take your chances with people, you just hope some young people will like it, some older people. So I write for myself really.
Question: Have you already written some new songs?
Paul: Yeah. I've got a couple on the boil. Always got a couple.
Question: What kind?
Paul: Oh, you know: stuff. OK, I think that's it, isn't it? Give it a big wind up. That's a wrap, folks.
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