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Wings Over America
Wings Over America
(2013 Remaster)

2001-May-01: GMA, part 2

In the second installment of Sir Paul's Good Morning America interview he revealed his source of inspiration for the words of one of his most famous lyrics:

"He was a--a black friend of mine called Jimmy Scott. And he--he--he used to just say, 'Hey, what's happening, Jimmy? Say ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on, bra.' An African guy. And so, I just thought, 'That's a great saying. Ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on, bra.' And whenever I'd see him, he'd say that.

"I remember talking to George Harrison, who was saying that he didn't write songs the way I did. He always writes from personal experience, which most of the poems are. But he said, 'I don't know how you write this ob-la-di, ob-la-da, Molly and Desmond. Do you really know people?' I said, 'No, I just make them up like a novelist makes characters up.'

And Blackbird?

"Blackbird is a--was a song originally. And it's the title of the book, Blackbird Singing. And it was, for me, I wrote it in the '60s when the civil rights movement was at its height or it's beginning. And I like to think of a blackbird singing as being a kind of symbol for a black woman."

Do his inspirations announce themselves as lyrics or poems?

 "Yeah, I think the poems announce themselves as poems."

But could he put the poems to music?

"Yeah, I think I could do that. "

After reading Maxwell's Silver Hammer Sir Paul was asked if his lyrics seem different to him when read as poetry?

"Well, it's--it's kind of fun to read it like that, you know, especially when you get to the 'oh ho ho ho,' which works in the song, but here it has a different kind of meaning altogether."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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