Monday, November 14, 2016

Chat with a modern "Legend"

This story was taken from the  London Sunday Times but I have the U.S. printing of it from the San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle dated October 2, 1966.

Paul McCartney, Beatle
Chat with a modern "Legend"
By Hunter Davies

Paul McCartney was in his new mansion in St. John's Wood.

He lives alone.  A Mr. and Mrs. Kelly look after him.    Nothing so formal as a housekeeper and butler.  Their job, he says, is just to fit in.

The house has a huge wall and an electrically operated black door to keep out non-Beatle life.  Inside there is some carefully chosen elderly furniture.  Nothing flashy, affected or even expensive-looking.  The dining room table was covered with a while lace tablecloth.  Very working class posh.

McCartney, along with John Lennon, is the author of a song called "Eleanor Rigby."  No pop song of the moment has better words or music.

"I was sitting at the piano when I thought of it.  Just like Jummy (sic) Durante.  The first few bars just came to me.  And I got this name in my head -- Daisy Hawkins, picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been.  I don't know why."

"I can hear a whole song in one chord.  In fact, I think you can hear a whole song in one note, if you listen hard enough.  But nobody ever listens hard enough."

"OK, so that's the Joan of Arc bit.  I couldn't think of much more, so I put it away for a day.  Then the name Father McCartney came to me-- and all the lonely people.  But I thought people would think it was supposed to be my dad sitting knitting his socks.  Dad's a happy lad.  So I went through the telephone book and I got the name McKenzie."

"I was in Bristol when I decided Daisy Hawkins wasn't a good name.  I walked round looking at the shops and I saw the name Rigby.  You got that?  Quick pan to Bristol.  I can just see this all as a Hollywood musical...

"Then I took it down to John;s house in Weybridge.  We sat around laughing, got stoned and finished it off.  I thought of the backing but it was George Martin who finished it off.  I just got bash, bash on the piano.  He knows what I mean.  

"All our songs come out of our imagination.  There never was an Eleanor Rigby.

"One of us might think of a song completely, and the other just add a bit.  Or we might write alternate lines.  We never argue.  If one of us says he doesn't like a bit, the other agrees.  It just doesn't matter that much.  I care about being a song writer.  But I don't care passionately about each song."

"'Eleanor' is a big development as a composition.  But that doesn't mean 'Yellow Submarine'  is bad.  It is written as a commercial song, a kid's song.  People have said 'Yellow Submarine?'  What's the significance?  What's behind it?  Nothing.  Kids get it straight away.  Kids have got it.  It's only later they get messed up.

"I tried once to write a song under another name, just to see if it was the Lennon-McCartney bit that sold our songs.  I called myself Bernard Webb--I was a student in Paris and very unavailable for interviews.   The song was 'Woman' for Peter and Gordon.  They made it a bit hit.  Then it came out it was me.  I realized that when I saw a banner at a concert saying 'Long Live Bernard Webb.'

"I really can't play the piano, or read or write music.  I've tried three times in my life to learn, but never kept it up for more than three weeks.  The last bloke I went to was great.  I'm sure he could teach me a lot.  I might go back to him.  It's just the notation - -the way you write down notes, it doesn't look like music to me."

"John's now trying acting again, and George (Harrison) has got his passion for the sitar and all the Indian stuff.  He's lucky.  Like somebody's luck who's got religion.   I'm just looking for something I enjoy doing.  There's no hurry.   I have the time and the money.

"People think we're not conceited, but we are.  If you ask me if I wrote good or bad songs, I'd be thick to say bad, wouldn't I?  It's true we're lucky, but we got where we are because of what we did.

"The girls waiting outside.  I don't despise them.  I don't think fans are humiliating themselves.  I queued up at the Liverpool Empire for Wee Willie Harris' autograph.  I wanted to do it.  I don't think I was being stupid.

"I can go out and around more than people think without being recognized.  People never really believe it's you.  They don't really expect to see you in the street, so you can get away with it.

"I think we can go on as the Beatles for as long as we want to, writing songs, making records.  We're still developing.  I've no ambitions, just to enjoy myself.  We've had all the ego bit,  all about wanting to be remembered.  We couldn't do any better than we're done already, could we?"

1 comment:

  1. remember reading Hunter Davies book over & over when it first came out and believed it all to be true -lol now