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Wings Over America
Wings Over America
(2013 Remaster)

2002-Nov-24: "Washington Post" Interview

In an interview with a reporter from the "Washington Post" Sir Paul discussed his respect for the medium of television:
"Growing up in England, we saw the first flickering television programs in our generation when it came into our homes in the early Fifties and we realized the importance of this thing that was now in our homes because at the bus stop the next day, you would say, 'Did you see that!' and you could see that everyone was affected by it."
Sir Paul recalled the Beatles' first major television appearance  on England's  top rated variety program, Sunday Night at the London Palladium on October 13, 1963.  The group performed a five song, 12 minute set in front of a nationwide audience of 15 million:
"It was the big vaudeville variety show that everyone tuned in on Sunday night.  It had a revolving stage, and at the end, everyone stood on the stage and waved, and the stage went round. It was like 'Wow!' "
Then there was their February 9, 1964 live American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show:
"We saw the immediate impact, but the import sort of came later.  You need a little time for history, for importance to be attached to events.  [The fans]  They all seem to remember their dads saying we were a bunch of whatever! Their fathers, whose hair was probably dropping out, all swore we were wearing wigs and didn't like us and often walked out of the room. But the kids, who are now great big grownup judges and gynecologists and attorney generals, remember it vividly."
In the fall of 1965, ABC introduced "The Beatles," a half-hour weekly cartoon series that ran Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m.   The Beatles themselves did not participate in this project.  Sir Paul recalled:
 "We just didn't want to do the work.  We had other things to do--at the time, we were Sergeant Pepper-ing and things like that, and the idea of doing voice [dubbing] was not our favorite kind of thing.  [The cartoon series was] okay - we were kind of amused by it. We didn't take it too seriously, but it was put to us that kids loved it. We thought the graphics were a bit weak, but people said, 'No, no, all kinds of hearts exploding on the screen saying love-love-love is fine.' We thought it was a little bit pre-teenage for us and for our tastes at that point. I suppose it was a bit of business, really. We got used to it."

On June 25, 1965, the BBC engineered the first global television broadcast during which the Beatles sang All You Need is Love to an audience of an estimated 400 million people.  Sir Paul remarked:

"It was another giant step for television.  [Global events such as this] They got to be significant just because so many people watched. Even when you're bad they're going to remember."
The Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" aired on the BBC as a prime-time Christmas special in late December 1967:
"Talking about significant events, one of the big ones is Christmas day, and somebody always has a special, normally a beloved comedian, and we all sit around the telly and watch it.  And we sort of broke that tradition by the beloved Beatles' doing something a little too wacky, just a little too psychedelic for their own good. It was groundbreaking and it was very crazy. I think, personally, there's some really good things in there."
Sir Paul also discussed The Beatles Anthology project:
"Lots of people were putting their spin on the Beatles' history, not only because it's of interest, but because it's a lucrative field.  There was a lure for a lot of people, whether they knew a lot or not. And we thought, with the memory cells--while we still vaguely remember what went on--we should put it down. We did, and it was very good to do that because at least it's from our own mouths. There was a kind of closure on the Beatles thing by putting it down in our own words."
"The next natural move for us" Sir Paul said, was last year's Wingspan: An Intimate Portrait project:
"The idea came to us right at the very beginning of Linda's illness.  Again, it seemed like we should do this, we should take this opportunity to remember as much as we can so it's there for the record. Then anyone else can go and put their spin on it. So there was closure on both of those projects."
Sir Paul also discussed being in New York city during the terrorist attacks and organizing the Concert for New York:
"You felt personally identified with all of that and then I noticed after that people would just stop me on the street here in America and say, 'Thanks for what you did.' And out of something that we just decided to do, to stand up and be counted, it became something significant for a lot of American people."
And this led to his "very special" Driving USA tour:
"I hadn't been out in a long time ...  We were set to do a nice tour: I knew I had a good band, and when we did the songs in rehearsal, they felt good. But once we hit the audiences, things really started to notch up and each gig just got hotter and hotter.  The response we got was phenomenal and that increased the sense of fun."
Sir Paul notes that those who purchase the concert DVD will be given access to a secret Web site offering even more even more McCartney material:
"There's a time limit on the telly and DVD, like there is on anything, and we had to excise a lot of good edited material.  [So Sir Paul decided to offer] a whole extra parking lot of stuff that we can keep changing. Having once been this little guy who spent all his hard-earned money on a record and really needed it to have value for money, this DVD and the [30-track] CD is ridiculous value for money."
When he found out Mac users would not be able to access the Web site, Sir Paul telephoned Apple co-founder Steven P. Jobs to find a solution:
"He came around to one of the concerts, and now it's going to happen, and every computer in the world will be able to access this.  I'm not low-tech, I'm no-tech. I can just about work my computer music program, but I don't send e-mails and stuff. I'm hopeless, really, in a cool kinda way, and now I feel very much on the cutting edge of technology!"
Sir Paul's next project is a new version of the Beatles Let It Be recording.  Not only will there be a soundtrack stripped of all the Phil Spector production elements, but there will also be a digitally-restored version of the television documentary produced as well.  Sir Paul recalls:
"I remember sitting in a rather bare white room in the Sixties listening to [the original master] and being almost scared by it because it was so naked and thinking, this is certainly unadorned and to put this out would be quite a break.  Whereas Winston Churchill's papers get older and browner and crinklier, with modern technology the Beatles' music gets less hissier, gets shinier, gets more audible. And you've got these four guys--five with Billy Preston, at times--in this room with you, sort of 5.1 [Dolby SurroundSound] and it's quite uncanny, quite the opposite of how history normally goes. It's . . . getting . . . better . . . all . . . the . . . time."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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