Paul McCartney

ARTICLE ABOUT Paul McCartney (The Beatles) FROM New Musical Express, August 17, 1968

Sort of a strange interview with McCartney this, but also some food for thought. The journalist, Alan Smith, was made editor in 1972, and was told by its owner IPC to turn things around quickly or face closure. To achieve this, Smith and his assistant editor Nick Logan raided the underground press for writers such as Charles Shaar Murray and Nick Kent, and recruited other writers such as Tony Tyler, Ian MacDonald and Californian Danny Holloway. According to The Economist, the New Musical Express “started to champion underground, up-and-coming music….NME became the gateway to a more rebellious world.
By the time Smith handed the editor’s chair to Logan in mid-1973, the paper was selling nearly 300,000 copies per week and was outstripping Melody Maker, Disc, Record Mirror and Sounds.
Good job, Mr. Smith! Good job indeed!
Read on!


`Beatles loose habit of recording`

Paul McCartney in a no-punches pulled interview with NME`s Alan Smith

HOT sun on the back of my neck, exhaust fumes at the back of my throat, four friends in front of the tape recorder. Left to right Mr. Derek Taylor, Mr. James Paul McCartney, Mr. Peter Asher and Mr. Tony Bramwell, some of whom may be known to you. Hand reaches down to the recording button… push forward… raise the mike and speak.
Inhibited by the wayside Question Time, and the first enquiry is an inarticulate one. “Films? How about films? I mean, you must give me something specific… the United Artists commitment…”
P. Mac Cee: The only trouble is, Alan, I don’t like to be specific. Now, I wouldn’t mind if I had a few things to say. But I’m afraid it has to be… it has to be… general.”
Looks like it’s going to be hard going this. Yes, but, I say, and Paul sends the whole thing up wid dis sudden Brooklyn bit about we’s just a group of boys who get togedder, by d’roadside, an’ we’s gonna make it big wid our next album on d’ Apple label’.
Yes, yes, I struggle, but the commitment to United Artists…

A few films in the air

P. Mac Cee: “Right, well go on, and I’ll give you some evasive generalisation! There’s a few films in the air. There’s films I’d like to make on my own, with not me in ’em, just people in ’em. Just anything films.
“Films of what goes on. Films of grass. Films of people moving about. And then films I’d like to make with the Beatles band. Which would be musical films.
“But… they shouldn’t just be musical films, which everybody offers. They should be the other thing as well. And it’s probably going to be up to us to think of it, because people don’t seem to be coming forward with offers.”
It’s going nicely now. I’m warming up to it. I ask if the Beatles are now dedicated to making money, for whatever reason.
“No, that’s not what we’re dedicated to. We’re dedicated to making what should be made, and incidentally — there’ll be money.
“If you didn’t need money to get things, and if you got things by swopping ’em, then by a roundabout method we’d be dedicated to swopping.
“We`re only dedicated to doing.”
But then, I say, you’re obviously out to expand Apple and make it a thriving business concern, and Mr. Asher agrees but points out that the reason is not to make a fortune. Mr. Taylor agrees and says the Apple policy is to make and sell hits, hits, hits – hit records, hit films, and hit electronics.
Suddenly: “There’s something else you want to know, Alan, and I’m willing to give it to you. But if you just sort of say: ‘Films,’ then I’ll say: Right, Alan, Eggs.”
Get a bit hurt. Ah yes, I say, but you know what I want to know. “Yes,” beams Paul, “I know I do!”
Mr. Derek Taylor puts it all in focus: he interviews me. Alan Smith, he says — are you dedicated to making money, as it is said of you that you are? I have to admit it, I am. I believe money will help my loved ones and me to live in comfort and style. “And style?” emphasises Mr. Taylor – “you’re in good shape, Alan.” It was nice to have me on the show.


Uncomfortable grilling

I’m being put down, and although goodwill dilutes the sting, it’s still a bit uncomfortable being grilled by so many chefs at the roadside barecue.
So it’s back to the car and I think Right, Mate. No punches pulled this time. Turn the tape over, put it at the beginning, switch on and know I’m wiping out Cilla Black and Davy Jones with every word.
Do the bold bit about now look here, I interview many artists and most of them are specific, you know.
“O.K. then,” says P. Mac Cee, feet up and defences coming down.
“Whenever we lay off recording for a long period of time — which we do – we get out of the habit, and it’s not together and its not happening. It takes us a couple of weeks to get to know each other again and how we play.
“For instance, when I went to LA, I heard things on the radio that completely changed a lot of things I’d been thinking about music and about sounds I was hearing. So it made me write a couple of songs differently or arrange them differently.”
Hint of things to come… “So now it’s getting back to how it should be again… rockers… rocking! Which is where the Beatles should be and what we should be doing.”
Long discussion about Apple and what it means and what it stands for. Paul points out that in the past there were creative people who had to go on their knees for work, and for records and films and to get the breaks, man. “And everyone gets down on their knees and grovels a bit.”

Don’t have to grovel at Apple

The idea now is that Apple is an organisation where you don’t have to do that, where if you’re good you get recognised. The trouble is that so much of the pop and record business at the moment is run by people who don’t have a clue what it was about.
The ones who do know — it shows. Jerry Wexler, Herb Alpert, Berry Gordy and so on. When you have thinking, involved people like this, it isn’t necessary to depend all the time on The Big Fat Men.
Start to get around to the no-punches-pulled bit. Talk about cripples (or disabled persons, as my correspondent of last week tells me. Sorry. A word can cut like a knife.)
What about helping people like this, I ask. What about giving them the money to buy things to make things, to obtain their satisfaction and self-respect?
Paul: Well, what about helping the cripples?
Me: Well, why not?
Paul: Well, why?
Me: Because maybe they’re having a hard time of it, and you’re doing all right. Don’t you believe in human kindness?
Paul: Cripples are not necessarily having a hard time of it. And even if they are having a hard time of it — it’s their hard time. It is, man. It doesn’t matter what you say about helping cripples or India… there’s no way to pour millions of pounds into India and make India all right.
Let me get to your conscience, I say. You must have seen, in India, people with their bellies hanging out with hunger. No, says Paul. I didn’t see that. Have you?
But doesn’t it worry you? “No,” says Paul flatly, “starvation in India doesn’t worry me one bit. Not one iota. It doesn’t, man.
“And it doesn’t worry you, if you’re honest. You just pose. You don’t even know it exists. You’ve only seen the Oxfam ads. You can’t pretend to me that an Oxfam ad can reach down into the depths of your soul and actually make you feel for those people — more, for instance, than you feel about getting a new car.
“If it comes to a toss-up and getting a new car, you’d get a new car. And don’t say you wouldn’t —’cos that’s the scene, with you and most people.
“The point is also `Do you really feel for Vietnam?’ and the answers are the same, Maybe I’d rather listen to a rock record than go there to entertain, and maybe, underneath, that’s the truth in all of us. I know one is morally better than the other, but I know I’d never get round to it. I’d be a hypocrite.”

Everything is God

Says he believes in something called God, but anything and everything is God. Never thinks about eternity or outer space — more concerned with inner space.
The Crunch. Ask him to analyse himself and tell him I have always believed him to be Likeably — repeat, likeably — insincere.
Pause. “To you, possibly,” says Paul. “Because I think ‘Here’s NME newspaper. I don’t think Alan Smith, person, at all. I think I have to watch what I say because you don’t say certain things to papers. I think maybe NME – Enemy!
“Whenever I’m faced with a Pop Press Conference or a drink with the reporters, I can’t be sincere… ‘cos I wouldn’t be there. But I suppose that by being pleasantly insincere, I can at least get to know people on some level in the short space of time.”
Long conversation and then, finally, a statement. “The Truth about Me,” says Paul, “is that I’m… Pleasantly Insincere!
“And really that’s the Whole Truth, and nothing but.”


Mr. Rachid at the 007 club? Was this for real?

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ARTICLE ABOUT The Beatles FROM New Musical Express, December 31, 1966

One of my favourite bands, and the two surviving members of the Beatles in 2020, in a paper dated exactly on the date for my first Birthday on earth. Should be read by anyone slightly interested in this phenomenon of a band.
Read on!


Andy Gray finds out the answers the pop world seeks as Paul and Ringo talk about the Beatles

“One reason we don`t want to tour any more is that when we`re on stage nobody can hear us or listen to us,” Paul McCartney told me.
He was referring to the screamers who drown out all hope of hearing the Beatles in person.
“And another reason is that our stage act hasn’t improved one bit since we started touring four years ago. The days when three guitarists and a drummer can stand up and sing and do nothing else on stage must be over.
“Stage performance as an art is going out anyway. I think the Rolling Stones had a shock when they didn’t do a bomb on their last tour. I think Mick was worried.
“Many of our tracks nowadays have big backings. We couldn’t produce the sound on stage without an orchestra. And if we were to do ourselves justice on stage now, we’d have to have at least three months to produce a brand new act. And it would probably be very unlike what you’d expect from the Beatles,” went on Paul.

Recording only

This was Paul’s answer to my query about their future touring. Of their forthcoming recordings, he said: “We feel that only through recording do people listen to us, so that is our most important form of communication. We have never thought of ourselves as one sound . . . Merseybeat wasn’t our invention. We have always changed our style as we went along and we’ve never been frightened to develop and change.
“I think this has been the reason for our continued success. We could have stopped thinking up new things and brought out ‘The Son Of Please Please Me” or ‘The Son Of Love Me Do,’ but that was not on.
“We work on one song and record it and then get tired of it. So we think up something very different. The strength of any act is doing something that you wouldn’t associate with them.
“For instance I feel that the Supremes are too alike with most of their discs. If they did something good and you said: ‘Who’s that ?’ and were told ‘The Supremes’ and you hadn’t identified it with them, you’d be pleasantly surprised. That would add strength to their appeal.
“So we keep on doing tracks which can be any style at all. We’re not limited that way, or with time any more. We take as much time as we want on a track, until we get it to our satisfaction. Before, we had a set time in the recording studio, and that was that. If it wasn`t exactly as we wanted that was too bad.
“Now we take time because we haven’t any pressing engagements like tours to limit us. All we want is to make one track better than the last. We make all ‘A’ sides and never go into the studio thinking ‘This will be our next single.’ We just make tracks, then listen to them and decide from what we have what will be a single, what will go on to an LP.”
Paul went on to give me an insight into their formula for writing hits.
“The words are written down, but the music is never, because we can’t write music. We play it to each other and soon pick it up, and fool around with it a bit. George suggests something extra, then John adds a new idea and so on until we have the music the way we want it. Then we record. Then we forget about it and get on with the next track.”
On the subject of jealousy within the group, Paul was most emphatic. “There isn’t any. Jealousy doesn’t exist. When John wanted to do a film on his own, we were all happy for him. Now that he’s done it, he has passed on to us information about all sorts of things he has learned. That way as Beatles we become richer in experience. George went to India and told us what he had learned. I wrote film music and found out other things, which I’ve passed on.


On our own

“This rumour we were splitting up was rubbish, too. One would think it is the first time any of us had done anything on his own. John wrote books on his own all along, and we all have side-lines we get on with as individuals.
“Besides, we’re all great friends and we don’t want to split up. There’s never been any talk or sign of it . . . except in the minds of others.”
Paul also let off steam about those who think they have gone “big time.”
“In ourselves we don’t feel big time at all. It`s only when people keep telling us we are big time that we even think of it. But what angers me is when some journalists say I’ve said something I haven’t and describe me as talking in my ‘natural zany beat style.’ I don’t talk in any ‘zany beat style’ . . . it’s the writer thinking that I should. They give us images and those images are usually very inaccurate.”
But Paul admitted that they had changed over the years. We had to. If you’ve got the money you don’t buy a £3 camera if you would rather have a £50 one. Our whole outlook on life is changing because our ‘circumstances have changed our surroundings. But this hasn’t done anything to disunite the Beatles. We are going to keep on making better tracks and become better entertainers – as the Beatles.”

RINGO STARR confirmed, a few hours after I spoke to Paul, that the Beatles are very much united and in no way thinking of splitting. “This idea of jealousy is in other people’s brains. We didn’t mind John doing a film on his own. We were glad he wanted to. And when the time comes, if it does, that I get a role on my own, the others will say `Good luck.’
“That’s how we are. We all work for each other’s success.”
I asked Ringo if he was going to do a film. “Nothing definite at the moment. We get scripts sent in every day, but most of them are so bad. We all get offers of parts, but until something is very good, we’re not interested.
“Same with the film we’ll do together. Until the script is to all our likings we won’t do it”
As far as live performances are concerned, Ringo’s feelings were: ” We can’t do the same act, with a couple of numbers and a couple of jokes. And on tours we’re not playing properly but nobody hears, anyway. We’d have to rehearse something new.”
Ringo also made the first reference to the fact that the Beach Boys had come out on top in the World Vocal Group section of the NME Poll.
“Good luck to them,” he said. ” I think the Poll was fine. We haven’t been doing much and it was run just at a time when the Beach Boys had something good out.
“We’re all four fans of the Beach Boys . . maybe we voted for them,” he concluded.



Coronafree times! What a blast!

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ARTICLE ABOUT Paul McCartney FROM SOUNDS, November 20, 1971

A really interesting article printed just a few weeks before the first album that Wings released. In itself a very good band with some good tunes, but nothing less than you would expect from one of the major songwriters of this modern world. Personally I have always had a very weak spot for the Beatles, and I think they are probably THE most important group of musicians that ever was or ever will be. Yes, I am a fan of the Beatles, and anyone with just a small amount of musicality in them would and should agree.
Enjoy this interview with Sir Paul McCartney from way back.


Trying to keep things loose

Paul McCartney talks to Steve Peacock

Paul McCartney, sitting on the control desk in EMI`s number 2 studio at Abbey Road – “I went to New York looking for the best studio in the world, but I prefer it here,” – was talking, not unnaturally, about his new band, Wings.
“The night before John said he was leaving the group and all that, we were at home and it suddenly dawned on me. `If everyone else doesn`t want to do it, I`ll get my own band, even if it`s just a little country and western thing or something like Johnny Cash, just so I can get in there and have a sing.` Because that`s all I wanted, just to play.


Everyone did really, everyone was trying to play, but no-one wanted to do it with the Beatles.”
It`s been a long time since then, and Paul`s the only one who hasn`t yet got out on the road. John`s done it – Cambridge, Toronto, Fillmore East – George has done it – with Delaney and Bonnie, and with Ringo and all the others at Madison Square Garden. But Paul`s been hiding away. There`ve been two albums which haven`t had very good reviews, and which personally I`ve found rather lifeless, plus the odd single.


But now there`s Wings – a band. There are no firm plans for going on the road, though at the moment they`d like to do it, but there`s an album. We listened to it at the studio – McCartney jiggling about in his seat to it, obviously delighted – and certainly to me it sounded as if after years of reaching out for handholds, McCartney had found out how to do it again.
One side rocks hard and loud, the other side moves more slowly – just like the old records, one side for jiving, the other for smooching. That`s the way he planned it. “Mumbo” is the first track, and maybe THE track. “Bip Bop” sounds a bit like the Stones` “Stray Cat Blues”.
“Love Is Strange” is the old rocker`s words set to a reggae beat, and it works, “Wild Life” is the title track, with a strong vocal, a nice guitar solo, and a sound that isn`t far away from the first Moody Blues album. Good old Denny Laine.
Side two has an overall sound that`s pretty close to the Beatles when they were close – ooh-aah backing vocals, rhythm guitars, short solos. It ends with “Dear Friend” – very slow, piano, strings. “That`s the only one that`s at all about the Beatles situation,” he says. “Throw the wine – shut up, stop messing about.” But on “Wild Life” there`s a line that refers to “a lot of political nonsense in the air.”
Later, he was talking about political nonsense, all the trouble between him and the others, between the McCartney`s and Linda`s father, John Eastman, and Allan Klein. Politics, Paul called it, and he didn`t like it. All he wanted was to be out of the whole thing, to own the copyright to his own songs, forget the Beatles, sign a piece of paper saying we`ve split up, everything`s going to be shared by four.


“And John said, “Yeah, but that`s like asking us to stop the bombing in Vietnam.” We eventually decided that we were all Vietnamese, so that`s all right…
“But I keep wanting to send him postcards saying `The war`s over if you want it” – tell him what he`s saying. It`s just crazy, I`m sure the truth`s a whole lot more simple than it`s made out.”
Talking about John: “John`s John. John wants to wipe everything away and start again, but in doing so he never wipes anything away. He wants it to be him and Yoko against the world, or whatever, but he`s still in with all the others, in with all the contracts and going in to the meetings and everything.
“He`s getting pissed off with it though – I sense it. I`ve had a couple of good conversations recently with just John, and I`ve felt a lot of common ground with him. And I watched him on the Parkinson show, and really a lot of the things he`s into, we`re into as well.”



Did he like John`s albums?
“I liked `Imagine`, I didn`t like the others much. But really, there`s so much political shit on at the moment that I tend to play them through once to see if there`s anything I can pinch.” And how does he sleep?
“I think it`s silly. If he was going to do me he could have done me, but he didn`t. That didn`t phase me one bit. `You live with straights`. Yeah, so what? Half the f-king world`s straight; I don`t wanna be surrounded by hobnailed boots. I quite like some straight people, I`ve got straight babies. `The only thing you did was Yesterday`. That doesn`t bother me. Even if that was the only thing I did, that`s not bad, that`ll do me. But it isn`t, and he bloody knows it isn`t because he`s sat in this very room and watched me do tapes, and he`s dug it.”
But back to Wings. There`s Paul, and there`s Linda, and Denny Laine, and drummer Denny Seiwell who Paul found in New York before he did “Ram”. He was auditioning drummers in a dark basement, and he asked for rock and roll beat. Denny went straight to his tom toms – all the others went to the high hat. Denny got the gig. “I play all the lead guitar on the album,” said Paul, “except for a few places where Denny (Laine) and I play in harmony. I fancy myself as a guitarist, see. He did have a solo but I took it off him.” Denny smiled.


Linda sings, writes with Paul, and plays a lot of keyboards. “I like what she does. Her style isn`t like that old, hard pro thing that`s got all the technique, but it`s like children`s drawings. That`s not a very good simile, but it`s got what children`s drawings have got… innocence.”
The album was recorded with very little rehearsal, and a lot of the basic tracks were done live in the studio – a far cry from the painstaking technical methods of something like “Ram”. Why hadn`t he done something like this before?
“Well in a way I did, but it was me playing all the instruments, and you can`t get into it in the same way. `McCartney` was more or less me testing out the studio in the house – the kids in the back, Linda cooking dinner, and me sitting down and having a play. That was just that album, and then “Ram” was just the next album. But whereas with `Ram` I tried so hard that I really wanted people to like it, with this one I don`t care so much because I like it.”
How important was it to him that people like reviewers liked his work generally? “It was a little too important to me, but obviously I hope people will like what I do, so it gets to me. With this one it might get to me a bit if it gets shitty reviews but I don`t think it`ll get to me so much. I had to rationalise things after `Ram`.”
Wings have made an album, but the idea has been to form a group – a group that won`t just make records but that`ll play together a lot, and go on the road.
“We don`t know exactly how we`re going to do that yet, except that we know we`re going to do it quietly until the band`s got the confidence to know we can play anywhere. But I don`t want to start with a big `Wings at the Albert Hall!` thing, with all the Press and business people there. The basic idea is for us to turn up at a place that we just fancy visiting at the time, and try to arrange a little gig. Do it under another name or something. If we do it the other way, then we`ve got to be THEM, and do the whole bit, and when it comes to the night we just might not fancy playing anyway.
“My best playing days were at the Cavern, lunchtime sessions, when you`d just go on stage with a cheese roll and a coke and a ciggie, and people would give you a few requests, and you`d sing them in between eating your cheese roll. That was great to me, I think we got something great going in those days – we really got a rapport there, which we never got again with an audience. And if an amp blew up or something, it didn`t matter, because we`d just pick up an acoustic and sing the Sunblest commercial or something – and they`d all join in.


We used to do skits and things too – I used to do one on Jet Harris, stagger around looking moody and a bit drunk, playing “Diamonds”. He`d been to the Cavern once and fallen off the stage.
“That was the stage with the Beatles I thought was best, and that`s the way I`d like to be able to play again – if a few people happen to turn up to a gig then it`s usually great, but if you`re all sitting there like penguins waiting to judge me, then I`m going to be nervous, and I`m not going to enjoy it. I`m not like John, who swallows his nerves in Toronto and be sick just before he goes on – that I`m not going to go through thank you. It`s not necessary, and if it`s not necessary, I`m not going to do it.
“With this band we play good together live because nobody`s too hung up about what he`s playing. We`ll go round to Denny`s house and just sit there playing songs that we half-know. It`s good.
“We don`t want to be a media group – we don`t want to go everywhere and plug everything and have knickers with our name on them and all that. That won`t work for me now – it`s all done. It was great while it lasted but its over now.”


Did he really enjoy all that while it was happening?
“Yeah, it was great, obviously, and I did enjoy it, loved it, but it got to be a bit tight at the end. It was when we got to be Beatles with a big B that things began to be difficult because even if we wanted to go out and play, how the hell could we do it? We`d have had to have done a big million seater thing, and that`s why I was suggesting them that we all just go away somewhere and play, like I want to do with Wings. Ricky and the Redstreaks at Slough Town Hall or something – and everyone turns up for the Saturday night dance and finds it`s us.
“We`re all musicians, and the fun of being a musician is being able to play live to people. For us, it might be a year, it might be two years, or it might be next week. We don`t know, we might not even fancy going live in the end, and if that happens it`s all right too.
“I`m just trying to keep things loose, because life itself is loose. I don`t want to have to say `I`ll be in Slough tomorrow` on the way I feel today, because tomorrow I might not feel like it, and it`s great to be able to give yourself the evening off. Everybody talks about freedom and all that, but all you`ve got to do to have it is just to take it. You don`t have to do a Santana and tour the world or something – I`d rather have a few people annoyed that we didn`t turn up, or rather that Ricky and the Redstreaks didn`t turn up, than go through all that again. And as long as we keep that basic freedom, I don`t think we`ll go far wrong.”


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Ray Charles, Marc Bolan, Bell & Arc, Ornette Coleman, Rory Gallagher, The Who, Felix Pappalardi, Van Morrison, Mr. Fox.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.