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2006-Jun-18: Today He's 64

Sir Paul celebrated birthday number 64 with a family barbecue at his estate in Sussex. Sir Paul's three grandchildren and his four eldest children presented him with a slightly off-key recording they made of his tune "When I'm 64". A family friend told the Daily Mail:

"It was such a lovely gesture that Paul couldn't help but be touched. He is still pretty low but the terrible singing on the record by his family was enough to have Paul in hysterics."

Heather was not present for the festivities, but did deliver him a bottle of wine as a gift.

CBS News broadcast an interview with Sir Paul recorded during the promotion of his Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard album. After having released so many albums, does he still care about what the critics have to say?

"I care. I care, yeah, I just don't dare read 'em in case there's some terrible little line in them. I said to myself, 'I'm gonna make a good album.' I gave myself a task. Whereas normally you come in, something you do, it's your job, you just come in to work say, 'Oh, I wonder what's gonna happen today. Here's a guitar, oh, okay, let's do some.' But on this album, I thought, 'No, don't start. Don't, don't stop there. Actually just come in the studio with some stuff you're really proud of and then work this record, don't let anything escape. You know, I think when someone gets successful and famous as I did with the Beatles, I think the sort of assumption is he's fireproof, nothing can get to this guy. Well, I haven't found that. You know, I'm just some guy. You know, I, I'm pretty famous. I know people look at me like, 'Oh, you're just some guy.' Believe me, inside I feel like just some guy. There's this other guy who's amazingly famous and who's written all these songs and has got all this stuff. It doesn't alter who I am," McCartney says. You know, I'm not one of these people that just because I've done all that I now become Superman. You can't touch me. You know, you can touch me. I'm very, unfortunately, very reachable."

What was Sir Paul's relationship with John and George:

"John and I had had a lot of arguments through the Beatles breakup, but I was very lucky because we had reestablished our friendship. You remember little things about people. I remember sort of seeing him and he comes in and gives me a hug and says 'touching is good.' I'll never forget that. Touching is good. So I do a lot of hugging now. George I never really fell out with. We had a beautiful last meeting. It was very emotional for me. It was very touching. We sort of held hands and I realized we'd never done that 'cause you don't. You're Liverpool guys. You grow up together, you know? Here he was sort of terminal illness and we were holding hands.

"I think, I think it all is informing me, yeah. I think, you know, you, you've got great memories, you've got great emotions. I think one of the things I like about getting older is you can free your emotions more. When we were kids, George and I used to hang out and we had, we had one little party piece which was to show that we weren't stupid. So we used to do this thing by Bach that was our own little version of it, and we got it wrong [Sir Paul explains as he strums a guitar]. But we didn't know that and that's the bit where we changed it, I realized. And then I realized what I was doing was making and I made that same thing into Blackbird, so it came from Bach to Blackbird. So then, so then because I've got this (guitar), the bass thing going with the melody, same style and then it just sort of goes into Jenny Wren.

"If I'm writing a song and I'm stuck, I might then go, 'OK, what would we have done?' But it's not like, 'Johnny, help me baby.' You know, it's not quite like that. 'Yes, Paul, put that word in.' You know, it's actually come out a little bit like that, so I'm playing that down now. You know, it always informs you. I think who you are, what you are, what you've done, what you've written, what you haven't written."

Sir Paul doesn't need money, he doesn't need adulation, he doesn't need validation - so why does he continue to tour?

"You know obviously I ask myself that for those same reasons. You know, it's kind of hard work to put a big tour like this together, but the audience is so great and that's what it is. You know, it's the only point in your career where you actually get all these people sitting there (and) back this thing that you just felt. And it's pretty powerful. And it's, it really, it hooks you. But I've looked out at audiences, I've seen the effect some of these songs -- it's like, it's hard to be me and sing them. You know because I mean, I remember just in Europe -- in Finland -- I saw this very stately, older man -- gray-haired man and his wife, a gray-haired lady. And he's just sort of standing there and he just had his arms around her. Very emotional. And she was just on his chest, you know, and I was just doing -- it was a Beatles song, and I just was singing it, and I caught them in the audience, and you do. And it's just like a picture, it's like a Rockwell or something. Very emotional. It's not every day you get that, but you get that kind of thing from an audience. I mean, this is like, real. Oh, these are the moments we love. This is why I do it, man. This is why I do it."

Will "When I'm Sixty Four" be on the tour's playlist this year?

"No. Perhaps, next year.... You know losing John, losing Linda, losing George. You know these are all very sort of difficult things to deal with obviously. I was on holiday and there was this lady and she said, 'I play piano in an old people's home [the woman admitted playing Beatles songs]. 'I hope you don't mind,' she said. I said, 'Of course I don't.' I said, 'What song is it?' She said, 'Well, it's When I'm Sixty Four. I said, 'Great' [he laughs] 'But I had to actually change the lyrics. I play when I'm 84 because 64 doesn't seem very old to me'."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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