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Wings Over America
Wings Over America
(2013 Remaster)

2001-Dec-26: Canadian Interview

This morning, CTV Television's Canada AM program re-ran Lisa LaFlamme's London interview with Sir Paul which originally aired on November 22.   She noted that listening to his new Driving Rain album made her feel as if she were reading entries from his diary.  Was that what he had in mind?
"I think that's what you sort of are always doing in songwriting, often doing in songwriting and particularly on this album, yeah, there was an aspect of that. I was sort of coming out of a tough time, and this was to be my sort of first collection of new songs. I had done a rock 'n' roll album, but those were all rock 'n roll classics, wasn't my sentiments. So this was going to be songs about that. And so finding new love and enjoying myself for the first time in a while, you know, because it had been a tough period."
 Is the song Lonely Road Sir Paul's tribute to Linda?
"I think so. You know, it's a tribute to Linda on one hand but it's also a tribute to Heather on another hand, because a lot of the songs are about Heather, you know."
Did Heather have a hand in writing Freedom?
"Yeah, she did, yeah. Well, what had happened, we had been..., the whole drama had been unfolding and we had seen President Bush and Mayor Giuliani go on television trying to sort of cool everyone down, you know, because it's quite a sort of scary thing I think for everyone in the world, you know. And they kept saying, you know, this is an attack on our freedom, the freedom, our way of life, and the freedom we enjoy. And I did realize that, you know  The end of the World War II, you had all these people coming to America to escape -- and Canada -- to escape all these sort of oppressive regimes and they came to these lands where they had this amazing freedom that we take for granted. So I thought, yeah, I could,... it would be nice to write a song, and she said it would be good to write a song about freedom, you know, wouldn't it? So I said, yeah, okay. So I started doing this. And wrote it from the perspective of some guy or girl who lives in America or Canada or in one of these free democracies that we enjoy, saying this is my right, you know, a right given by God and don't try and take it away because I really value this."
How was he able to find the focus to be able to write the song the day after September 11?
"Well, you know, I knew I was looking to do a concert. Heather and I talked about it might be a good thing. I had had a concert planned in Russia, actually, and I was going to go back to England, do this concert in Russia, this autumn. But once September 11 happened, I thought, no, this is not a good idea, it doesn't seem as appropriate. I thought it should be, I should switch those plans to New York. So once I knew I had this show I thought instead of just doing what people expect me to do, like, Let It Be and songs that I'm kind of known for, it would be really good to have a song, if I could come up with it, that would really be specifically for the concert. So it had to be very simple. So I started writing something, "This is my right --", imagining the crowd, "-- talking about freedom", making a very simple chorus so by the second chorus they could join in with me.

"And it was great. We went to, the concert went down really great. It raised a lot of money and raised a lot of spirits, which is the great thing for me. I thought: a lad from Liverpool raising New Yorkers' spirits. I'm very proud of that.  But we went to a New York Yankees baseball game the next day and there's guys in the crowd saying, 'Hey Paul, thanks for the concert, man! Freedom!' You know, so it kind of worked. It did what I wanted which is raise people's spirits and give them somewhere to put those feelings."

During the early days of Wings, Sir Paul wouldn't perform Beatles songs.
"Yeah, at the beginning we wouldn't, no.  Yeah, because the idea was "Was there life after the Beatles?'  If after the Beatles each of the individual members of
 the Beatles just went and did Beatles songs, it seemed like an anti-climax because you wouldn't be with the Beatles anymore. It would be a solo member doing a Beatles thing. So John went off and did Give Piece a Chance and Instant Karma and the kind of stuff he did around that time."
The Beatles were always socially responsible.
 "Pretty good guys, the Beatles. And lucky, with the amount of success we had, that we weren't real weirdos. Because we could have persuaded people to pretty much anything. But lucky when you think about it, Give Peace a Chance, All You Need is Love, it's kind of nice stuff, really."
It is as if he has had so many lives.
"I have. It's amazing. And I'm still having one of them. It's, I'm not that nostalgic. It occasionally will hit me when something like the Beatles 1 album came out and I listened to it and suddenly it's, it's like drowning, you know.  There's all those hits and I just think, God, that sounds great. I can see why 10-year-olds like it. To me, to me as a songwriter I look at it and go, 'Good structure.' Those songs are well structured at least."
How did From a Lover to a Friend come to be?
"It's a bit of a mystery how I do songs, you know. And that is really how I feel about it. It's always difficult to talk. Actually it's always better for other people to talk about my songs, because when I did Yesterday I just dreamed it, right. I was asleep and there was a piano over there and, 'What is this tune?' You know, I go, 'What is that?' "
Was it really scrambled eggs?
"It was really scrambled eggs. 'Oh, baby, how I love your legs'. I thought no, maybe that's not the top lyric. So it came to me like, you know, completely in a dream. It was like, you know, a magical thing. So I have to believe that. There's no way back when Yesterday arrives in a dream and it's the most recorded song, you know, in a long while ..."
Does he ever go back to Liverpool? Does he still have family there?
"Yeah. It's great up there. The great thing is I'm nobody -- in my family. Everywhere else I'm known, but in my family it's like, Paul, how are you doing?', you know. And I really have to like, you know, fight to get acknowledged. It's great. I love it. It really keeps me in my place, you know."
Does he think of his songs when he is in Liverpool?
" A little bit. You know, if I'm driving past Penny Lane, you know, I will go, hey, that's where we, Penny Lane, the song in Liverpool ... it has a lot of those kind of
 memories for me. Just going back up there, it's great fun, you know. I love it because I love the town. I love the people. I think there's a great warmth in Liverpool people. They're, you know, they're good in adversity, they're strong people. They've been through a lot as a city, so they're cool people."
He he spoken to George?
"Yeah, I have, and he's a strong, good-spirited man. t's terrible when anyone is ill. You just cross your fingers, you pray to the Lord and you just hope for the best. That's really all I do. The rest is really private. I don't like to get into it on interviews and stuff."
But he puts other private thoughts on a public CD.
"Yeah, that's public/private. But that's good. That's different, you know, that's like, I'm really like, you know, showing, like you say, it's a bit of a diary. I'm saying to people, 'Okay, this is me.' A friend of mine once called it like a postcard, you know, 'Hi, I'm on holiday and this is what I'm thinking, the weather is good, I found a girlfriend ... "   It's like your message-from-the-front kind of thing, you know. So that's what this is to me. And it's got a lot of things that I'm feeling at the moment."
 Where is he most proud of his contribution to the world?
"The one thing that people always come up to me and the other guys in the Beatles and say is, 'You've really saved my life'. It would be, 'I was in college and I was going through the worst time but your music got me through.' Or, 'I was ill', you know, there have been quite a few cases like that, 'and your music got me through it, you gave me some hope.' That to me is the greatest thing about what we did, is that it reached people on such a sort of huge level. And you know, that's what I like about putting out a new album. I'm still hoping, I mean, I met some college kid when I was in America and he said, 'Oh, your music, I was having a terrible time in college, your music really got me through it.' I said, 'Oh, you mean Beatles music?' He said, 'No, Flaming Pie.' So sometimes it's your new stuff gets people through it. So that's why I do it."
Is it difficult to win over a new audience?
"Well, the younger audience were won over by the Beatles 1. It was No. 1 in 34 countries and like I say, I went to LA and everyone goes, 'My eight-year-old loves you,' or I was out walking once and there's this little girl who I would think I didn't really have any connection with, other than I'm just another grown-up. And her mother sort of says, 'This is Paul of the Beatles'. I'm going hi and I'm messing around like you do with kids, 'Hey, I want no trouble from you," just joking and she goes, 'Yellow Submarine! Sing it for me.

"It's all there. So, it's very great stuff."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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