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December 13: Sir Paul Live on the BBC

This afternoon Sir Paul teamed up with  BBC Radio 1 presenters Mark Radcliffe and Marc "Lard" Riley for what he believes was his first live BBC performance.  (His earlier Beatles BBC sessions were pre-recorded).  Sir Paul on acoustic guitar was joined by Mark on drums, Lard on guitar, and engineer Chris Lee on bass for a  rough and ready live version of Freedom.  Sir Paul described the performance in this way:
"That's the worst load of rubbish I've ever heard in my life.  If there's any record executives listening in, we are available for your label."
Sir Paul's solo material is rarely played on Radio 1 these days since station executives do not believe that it appeals to their 15-24 year-old target audience.  The interview gave Sir Paul the opportunity to announce to this audience that he is planning begin to play live dates with a new band in March of next year.

Sir Paul had originally been scheduled to visit Mark & Lard in their Manchester studio a few weeks ago, but postponed his appearance when George Harrison passed away.  During today's show, Sir Paul talked about saying farewell to his dear friend:

 "The best thing for me was seeing him for a couple of hours and laughing and joking and holding his hand.  Afterwards I realized I'd never, ever held his hand. We'd been to school together and got on buses together and we didn't hold each other's hands.   It was like a compensation; he was rubbing his thumb up and down my hand and it was very nice."
Sir Paul and Ringo have spoken together about their loss:  "Just to touch base and say 'what a bummer'. It's difficult to know what to say."

The interview and the live performance of Freedom can be heard on the Mark & Lard website.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

December 12: Vanilla Sky

The album is out this week and the film opens on December 20, but you can listen to Sir Paul's new song Vanilla Sky now on the film's web page.   This song takes the place of the previously announced inclusion of Sir Paul's From a Lover to a Friend track from his Driving Rain album.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

December 11: Playing for Peace and for George

In his first concert appearance since the death of George Harrison, Sir Paul dedicated his Nobel Peace Prize concert performance to his friend and fellow Beatle.  Sir Paul sang two songs from his new Driving Rain album, Your Loving Flame and Freedom.  He announced:
"The first one I wrote for my fiancée, Heather, and the second one I wrote for the American people after September 11, but tonight I'd like to dedicate them both to my friend George.''
During an interview with Norwegian NRK television on Monday, Sir Paul disclosed that he had held hands with George for two hours during their last meeting in New York city just a
few weeks before he died.

At the close of the event, 200 musicians from nine countries joined Sir Paul on stage for the singing of the Beatles anthem Let it Be.

Heather Mills also participated in the concert in a pre-recorded video on behalf of the 1997 Peace Prize winner, the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines, in which she called on the audience to " Please join me in celebrating support for the work of this group. ''

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

December 10: Nobel Guest

This evening, Sir Paul and Heather Mills were guests at the Nobel Banquet at the Grand Hotel in Oslo, Norway.  The glittering banquet was held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the prestigious prize.  Sir Paul arrived amid tight security as this weeks events mark the largest ever single gathering of past Nobel laureates.

Earlier in the day, Sir Paul was interviewd by Norwegian TV2 after UN General Secretary Kofi Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  "It's such an important cause, peace," said Sir Paul. He revelaed that he had followed the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prizes "since I was a little kid".
In another interview with Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), Sir Paul admitted that being "a pacifist all my life", the September terrorist attacks on the United States placed him in a difficult situation:

"People kept asking me whether I supported the U.S. response. What else were they supposed to do? Just say 'don't do it again?"
Sir Paul stated that when a country is invaded, he is ready to set aside his pacifist beliefs and respond militarily.  He agreed that given all the terror-related conflicts in the world at the moment, it is a bit odd to be performing at a peace-related event. "But that's why it's so important," he said.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

December 10: Vote for Sir Paul!

Please don't miss this opportunity to cast your vote for Sir Paul in Rolling Stone magazine's Person of the Year Poll.  You'd better get busy.  As of today, Sir Paul only has 3% of the votes!

The site also contains and interesting interview in which Sir Paul talks about his new album and next year's tour, Linda, George, and John,  his marriage to Heather next year, and the time he spent in New York city following the attack on New York's World Trade Center - including his account of his visit to Ground Zero the following week:

"Heather and I went out to dinner and when we finished, I said, 'Would you like to get a cab and see how near we can get?' So we took a cab, and we went down to Canal Street, and then we started walking. It was raining. We went up to the police lines and asked, 'Could we go down  here?' A few of the guys recognized me and said, 'Well, you can come through, Paul!'  It was that kind of spirit. It was like, 'Good, you're down here,' and I was like, 'It's
great what you're doing.' Of course, the nearer we got, the smoke was in our clothes, in our eyes. You could see all the spotlights. We just stood there, said a little prayer, and that was it. Then we went to this bar nearby, which was nearly empty; maybe a couple of rescue workers were there. I said, 'I need a stiff drink.' "

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

December 10: Playing for Peace

A week of Nobel Peace Prize centennial festivities, including a three-day symposium attended by the Dalai Lama and 27 other peace laureates, will to culminate tomorrow with a concert headlined by Sir Paul McCartney.  Sir Paul says it will be a privilege to perform for this year's honoree, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, at the star-studded concert for peace which will be held on Tuesday in Oslo, Norway:
"I have always felt that the strength of peace and love can give the world hope upon which to build our future.  It is my honor to help celebrate 100 years of the Nobel Peace Price. It is also a privilege to perform for Kofi Annan.

"Peace has long been the theme of many of my songs and although I believe that the world could not simply ignore the events of September 11, I remain a pacifist and am happy to play for peace. "

Sir Paul will perform songs from his new Driving Rain album at the concert.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

December 9: The New York City Documentary

Filmmaker Albert Maysles has confirmed that he is working on a new film about Sir Paul and the Concert for New York City.   Maysles is best remembered for his The Rolling Stones: Gimme Shelter documentary which chronicled the band's 1969 tour that ended in tragedy at Altamont Speedway 32 years ago.  For this new documentary, Sir Paul asked Maysles to film in black and white, as he did in 1964 when he shot the Beatles for the movie Beatles: The First U.S. Visit, which was produced for Britain's Granada Television and released on video in the United States in 1991.  The new documentary will chronicle the Concert beginning five days before the concert up until the actual event. Maysles says he will spend the next six months editing the New York footage.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

December 8: Sir Paul to Appear in Liverpool Next July

Liverpool's Daily Post wrote today that Sir Paul will return to his hometown next July to appear in Liverpool's Summer Pops.  The 2002 Summer Pops will be held in a 4,500 seat big top at Kings Dock.  This will be an important event for Liverpool according to Council leader Mike Storey who explains: "Next year's Pops are crucial, because the actual judging of the city's bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2008, will be done at the same time. That is why we are determined that next year's event will be even better (than last year's)."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

December 7: Who Is Dennis Litter?

In the days following George Harrison's death, many of the articles written about his youth were illustrated with the first color photograph ever taken of  him with Paul McCartney and John Lennon.  Usually cropped out of this historic photo is the "Beatle" standing beside Paul McCartney, Dennis Litter.  Dennis wasn't part of the band for long.  Yesterday, he told the British journal Express:
"I just wasn't good enough.  I found it very difficult to play the guitar although like many teenagers in those days I fancied my chances. On the other hand, Paul was a natural."
The photo was taken in 1958 by Sir Paul's brother Mike during a regular gathering of the lads in the back room of their Auntie Gin's house in Dinas Lane, Roby, Liverpool.  Dennis explains:
 "Paul and Mike lived there after their mum died of cancer.  I lived across the road at number 92 and they would all gather there after school to mess about with guitars. I wanted to be like Hank Marvin of the Shadows and even when the Beatles were big he remained my favorite."
Sir Paul remained friends with Dennis even after the success of the Beatles:
"I recall being invited to Paul's 21st birthday party. Gerry and the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer and lots of other big pop names were there, but the highlight was when, at about one o'clock in the morning, Paul said he wanted me to meet someone.   It was Hank Marvin. I was so made up. And to this day he, not the Beatles, is still my number one."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

December 7: More Soundtrack News

Sir Paul may soon qualify for an Oscar nomination!  According to Daily Variety, the film I Am Sam with it's all-Beatles soundtrack of 17 cover versions of Beatles tunes will have an Oscar qualifying run in Los Angeles beginning on December 28.  The soundtrack is scheduled for release on January 8.  The first single from the film will be Rufus Wainwright's version of Across the Universe.  The second single will most likely be Ben Harper's version of Strawberry Fields.  Other tracks include  Eddie Vedder's You've Got to Hide Your Love Away, the Wallflowers' I'm Looking Through You, Sheryl Crow singing Mother Nature's Son, and Ben Folds performing Golden SlumbersDaily Variety claims that this is one of the most ambitious soundtrack projects in recent years and quotes V2 president Andy Gershon as saying: "I don't think music determines whether a film grosses $ 20 million or $ 30 million, but this music complements the emotions of  the movie. The soundtrack's success depends to a degree on the success of the film, but it still has to be a great record."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

December 5: She's Not A Beatles Fan

Today, the German magazine Stern quotes Sir Paul McCartney as saying that his wife-to-be, Heather Mills, knows very little about The Beatles:  "She doesn't know a single song. Heather grew up with classical music and had friends who listened to hard rock such as AC/DC. She had no Beatles records at home."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

December 2: Safe from Morton's Pen

Sir Paul has expressed some concern over the possibility of becoming the subject of Andrew Morton's next book.  (See November 17 and November 7 below.)  When asked about this by Chicago Sun Times columnist, Michael Seend, Morton confessed that Sir Paul, Fidel Castro, and Michael Jackson need not worry, even though he won't reveal the name of the person he is currently writing about: "Actually, I toss out those bits to keep everyone's interest up, but I wouldn't tell anyone yet -- and it's none of the above."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

December 1: TOTP Appearance Canceled

Due to the death of his friend, George Harrison, Sir Paul canceled his appearance at last evening's Top of the Pops ceremony.  Sir Paul had intended to go to the Manchester awards ceremony to perform Freedom and to accept his award as the first entrant into the ceremony's Hall Of Fame. Instead, Sir Paul sent a handwritten note which was read by host Jamie Theakston at the ceremony.  Sir Paul wrote:
"It was a great honor to receive this award, but because of the sad news I can't be here tonight to accept it.

"I would like to dedicate this award with love to my brother George, without whom it would not have been possible."

Stella McCartney had planned to hide at the ceremony and surprise her father by presenting the award to him.  Instead, the band Travis fought back tears as they performed their version of George's Here Comes the Sun.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

December 1: Good-bye Ant and Dec

In a pre-recorded message, Sir Paul led the tributes to Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly
during the duo's final Saturday morning television show for the BBC.  Ant and Dec were reported to look stunned as they listened to Sir Paul and others talk about their memories of the show. Both the men were left speechless and wiping tears from their eyes after the three-hour testimonial.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

December 1: More Words about George

Some reporters caught up with Sir Paul later in the day on Friday.  He had these few words to say to them about George:
"I found out last night and I'm devastated, obviously, like everyone is. He had a long battle with his cancer. And ... but I saw him three weeks ago and he was full of fun, like he always was. He's such a brave lad. To me, he's just my little baby brother. We grew up together and I knew him in my old home town of Liverpool. And we just had so many beautiful times together that that's what I'm going to remember him by. A lovely guy who's full of humor, as I say, even when I saw him last time and he was obviously very unwell. He was still cracking jokes like he always was. And he'll be sorely missed. He's a beautiful man and the world will miss him. So that's really all I can manage to say at the moment. And I'd just like to ask everyone, including--mainly the media, to be very kind to Olivia and Dhani, his wife and son, at this moment when they're going  to need a lot of help and support."
Sir Paul told other reporters that George was:
"A lovely guy who is full of humor. Very brave man. And I'm just privileged to have known him, and I love him like he's my brother. It's a very sad day for me and for a lot of other people.

"We will miss George for his sense of love, his sense of music and his sense of
 laughter.  He's a really beautiful guy who I love dearly. He was a great guy, full of love for humanity."

"We know he has been ill for a while and we have just been praying for some kind of miracle, It wasn't to be, but I understand from his wife he went peacefully, which is a great blessing, and it was a very peaceful golden moment, apparently.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 30: "I am devastated"

An understandably emotional Sir Paul emerged from his St. John's Wood home in north-west London this morning to speak to reporters about the loss of his dear friend, George Harrison.  Here are some of the thoughts he shared with them:
"I am devastated and very, very sad.  He was a lovely guy and a very brave man and had a wonderful sense of humor. He is really just my baby brother."

"He was a great guy, full of love for humanity but he didn't suffer fools gladly.  He's a great man. He'll be sorely missed by everyone."

"He will be missed sorely by all his friends and loved ones. I'd like to ask that everyone, mainly the media, treat Olivia and Dhani with great kindness at this very difficult time."

 "I've known George forever and he's a really beautiful guy who I love dearly."

 "He had a long battle with his cancer and I saw him a few weeks ago and he was full of fun and he always was. He's a brave lad. "

 "To me he's just my little baby brother - we grew up together and I knew him in my old home town of Liverpool and we just had  so many beautiful times together and that's what I'm going to remember him by."

 "A lovely guy who is full of humor as I was saying. When I saw him last time he was obviously very unwell but he was cracking jokes like he always was and he'll be sorely missed."

"I remember all the beautiful times we had together and I'd like to remember him like that because I know he would like to be remembered like that."

 "He's a beautiful man. The world will miss him."

Sir Paul said that although he was aware of the seriousness of George's illness, he still held on to the hope that some sort of miracle might happen.

Shortly after meeting with the reporters, Sir Paul and Heather drove away from his home in a blue Mercedes.

Later in the day, Sir Paul issued the following statement:

"Luckily Heather and I saw him a couple of weeks ago and true to form he was laughing and joking. George was a very brave man with a heart of gold but also someone who didn't suffer fools gladly.  I'll miss him and will always remember that without George it all wouldn't have been possible.  I'll always love him, he's my baby brother."
Sir Paul was scheduled to travel to Manchester today to be honored as the first person to be inducted into the Top Of The Pops Hall Of Fame.  Although has decided not to attend the ceremony this evening, Sir Paul has contacted the BBC to discuss his intentions to accept the award in George's name.

Some links to news sites (taken from the Beatlemania website): German News | engl. News (1) | engl. News (2) | engl. News (3) | Undercover Interview | BBC | BBC2 | CNN | n-tv | icLiverpool | Fox | Die Welt | NY Times | CBS

November 29: Attending A London Reception (update)

This evening Sir Paul and Heather Mills attended a reception at Canada House in London to mark the fourth anniversary of the Ottawa Convention on land mines.  The benefit was held to launch the Canadian Land mine Foundation 's Night Of A Thousand Dinners.  Sir Paul and Heather are urging  people will to cook a meal tonight and charge their guests whatever they can afford to raise funds to clear minefields and fit victims with prosthetic limbs.  Heather said:
 "We want people to charge their partners, friends, communities or corporations.  They can charge anything from £5 to £500 to £5,000, depending on how generous people are and how much they can afford.  It's nice if they can do a themed evening - looking on our website will give them recipe ideas - or they can just charge for a normal dinner.

"There are millions and millions of minefields around the world which we still have to clear.  One dinner can help fit up a child for 20, for 20,000 you can clear a minefield of acres and acres of contaminated land."

Sir Paul added:
"Our minefield has just finished being cleared today. It is an area around a cemetery and it will allow people to go to that cemetery, which they haven't been able to do.  It's great for the local community because it means they can have a degree of safety."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 29: U.K. Concert News!

BBC's Radio 2 has announced that Sir Paul will perform a live and exclusive solo concert for a select audience of just 200 people on Thursday, December 13 in the BBC's Radio Theater (Broadcasting House Portland Place, London W1).
Radio 2 is also offering the opportunity to enter a contest to win one of 50 pairs of tickets if one can answer the following question: How old was Sir Paul when he wrote his first song?  a) 6  b) 14  c) 20.

The competition closes on December 2.  (Sorry, overseas players are not eligible. The quiz is open to UK residents only.)

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 29: "He's a really nice guy."

In a Belfast News Letter profile of Seamus McGarvey, the Irish filmmaker shares a story about working with Sir Paul on the No Other Baby video.  To film this musical tribute to Linda, McGarvey and his camera had to climb into a tiny boat with Sir Paul.   It was a frosty cold day, and McGarvey was bundled in a coat trimmed with a fur collar which he tried to keep tucked inside out of respect for Sir Paul's animal rights convictions.  After struggling with this collar for a while, Sir Paul told him, "Listen mate, unruffle your fur. Don't worry about it. Thank you for making the effort,"  prompting Seamus McGarvey to recall, "He's a really nice guy."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 28: Give Ireland Back to the Irish

The News of the World reports that Sir Paul still wants Ireland to be given back to the Irish.  However, remaining true to his anti-terrorist position, Sir Paul has stated that while he supports the aims of the IRA and would like to see a united Ireland, his message to the IRA is clear:  "I don't like their methods."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 28: Driving Rain's Numbers

Last week, Driving Rain opened at No. 26 on the Billboard chart with 66,000 copies sold. This week it has tumbled to No. 65.  Industry executives explain that these days the market is driven by pre-teens
who load up on pop fluff, or by teenagers who focus on alternative rock who can be easily reached via MTV and youth-oriented publications.   Andy Allen, president of Alternative Distribution Alliance, an AOL Time Warner Inc.-owned music distributor states that it is more difficult to market music to the adult audience:  "Projects that are targeted towards adults don't have that slammin' movie-opening first week that some of the teen records have, but they do sell for a long period of time.''

What is key now is spreading the word via the radio, magazine articles, television appearances and other event-oriented promotions.   Sir Paul will spend the rest of 2001 focus on the European promotion of his new album.  Although he has nothing scheduled in the United States for the rest of the year, his Freedom charity single is receiving solid support from American radio stations.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 27: Sir Paul in Germany

On December 15, Sir Paul is scheduled to make an appearance on the German television show "Wetten, dass...?" (on ZDF, from 20:15 CET; freely available in analogue PAL and digital on the ASTRA satellites) which is aired live from Dresden, Germany. [tickets are long sold out since they are only available 6 months in advance]

This has now been confirmed by ZDF (link to German press information)

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins. Thanks to Evelyn Schwarz for the confirmation link)

November 27: "Smelly"?

In an NME interview this week, Sir Paul revealed that his Beatle tunes were not written under the influence of drugs:
"I actually don't think you write better high. I went through a period of thinking that and it would certainly feel nice, but you ask yourself too many questions. You get to a line where you've got a couple of alternative words to use and you'd spend three hours on that and I don't think it's worth it so I really don't do that now.  And we never did. In all The Beatles stuff that John and I wrote together, we never once smoked. Listening back was a different matter."
Sir Paul does support the softening of the British Government's stance on cannabis, whereby possession of a small amount will no longer be an arrestable offense:
 "I think it's a good idea because it creates too many criminals, particularly among kids. Like any drugs, you really have to be careful with it.  Decriminalization is a good idea because it gives you a light tap on the wrist and says, 'Hey, don't get too into that, don't rely on it, 'cos that's not cool'.  I like a drink occasionally but I hardly ever smoke now."
Sir Paul also revealed in the interview that Quincy Jones's nickname for Michael Jackson was "smelly":
 "Presumably there was some reason for that but I must say I didn't sniff anything untoward. We did swap pullovers, strangely enough, though.   Actually, I had a rather cool one and he said 'Let's swap pullovers', so I said, 'Yeah, go on then'. And he gave me one from, like, Marks & Sparks or something."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 27: More on the Nobel Concert

Sir Paul's appearance in the two-hour Nobel Peace Prize 100th Anniversary Concert (see November 2 below) will be televised in America on Sunday, December 16 on the Popular Arts Channel TRIO at 8:00 PM, EST with an edited one-hour encore performance to be telecast on the USA Network on Friday, December 21 at 3:00 PM, EST. 

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 26: It Was Almost A Dance Album

Knowing his new album would be competing with the works of Madonna and Britney Spears, Sir Paul revealed today that before the recording of Driving Rain he considered creating a modern dance music album.  Even though he thinks it would have been a good album, he decided against it because he and his fans find his own style much more interesting, and besides, his friends would not have approved.  He said that Elvis Costello "would have been on the phone immediately telling me off, and sure, this is a better way for me to work." However, Sir Paul added that he has never shyed away from experimenting with new sounds even though some of his experiments were not major hits:
"Sure, when I look back, I think it had been a good idea not to publish some of my records, but you do what you do. I'm not a person who regrets things."
And what is it like having to live up to the legend of the Beatles?
 "This Beatles monster has been a very nice monster. It's my friend. Even if one works in the shadow of it. I usually ignore him, maybe wave to him or say hello, then I go on with my business.''

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 26: The Creative Power of Friendship

Researchers at the Glasgow Caledonian University claim they have scientifically proven that the friendship between Paul McCartney and John Lennon enhanced their creativity and thus served as the key to the success of the Beatles.  Their tests revealed that when teams of students were asked to compose a piece of music, those partnered with their best friend produced more original and higher quality compositions than those paired with a stranger.

Raymond McDonald, a lecturer in music and psychology at the university, said: "A creative partnership forged in friendship has so much more going for it beyond the music. This could be the answer why Lennon and McCartney were so good. The fact they shared so many cultural reference points
facilitated the creative process."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 26: Tips from Heather

At the launch of the disability web site access4fitness at London's Cafe Royal the other day, Heather Mills offered a tip on how to teach youngsters to overcome their prejudice against amputees. "It's important to educate children from a young age so I suggest forcing children to tie one leg to their back for a day to see how they cope," she said with a grin. "If I'm in a gym and people see my metal leg popping off and bouncing all over the place I make light of the situation and that makes people feel more comfortable.  Disabled people should stop looking to others for help and try to help themselves. I get called one-legged hoppy model but I don't care."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 25: Good Rockin' This Week

This week, public television stations across America will broadcast Good Rockin' Tonight: The Legacy of Sun Records, a two-hour documentary from the "American Masters" series. (Check your local listings.)  For the documentary, Sir Paul recorded Elvis Presley's That's All Right with guitarist Scotty Moore, who backed Elvis on the original 1954 recording, and  Elvis's drummer, D.J. Fontana. "We were so turned on by your stuff," Sir Paul told the musicians before he strapped on his guitar.

The documentary shows Sir Paul blissfully rocking and bopping in a straight-backed chair in the old Sun studio in Memphis as he listens to the playback of his recording session.  With the faint strains of That's All Right leaking through his headphones, we see Sir Paul completely into the moment, oblivious to the camera, drumming out the rhythm with his hands on his blue-jeaned knees.

Sir Paul can also be heard on the first track of the tribute album, Good Rockin' Tonight: The Legacy of SunRecords.

Order It:

USA order from amazon United Kingdom Germany

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 25: Born Again

On the eve of his Concert for New York City, Sir Paul was asked by San Diego Union-Tribune pop music critic, George Varga, if the phrase "born again" could describe his journey from despair following Linda's death?
 "Yeah, I think so.  I feel like I've come through a difficult period, so I'm very pleased to find that (the rebound) has happened.   Because there was a point where I wasn't sure how it would go, whether I'd go down (permanently). I had a very difficult period, but I'm very lucky to have -- praise the Lord -- come out of it. And, yes, I guess you could say I was reborn. Although if you write that down," he added with a mischievous chuckle, "they're all going to be writing to me: 'Paul! Have you read this? Have you read The Watchtower?' "
How does Sir Paul feel about continuing to record and perform?
 "As long as I fancy it, as long as people enjoy it, I'll carry on.  I certainly enjoyed making this album, and all those (retirement) kind of issues just didn't enter into it, even once, for me. It's just something I really love to do; I'm surprised to find myself still enjoying it as much as when I started. I mean, that really is saying something, you know? But I love surprises, and I hope to continue being surprised -- in this way.

"Inasmuch as they are all original songs and I wanted to stretch it a little bit, keeping the same recording style, the same spontaneity, and not thinking about things endlessly, but just trying some other stuff.  So we ended up putting a couple of things on the album that were definitely 'deep-end.' But it was a great album to make, and I really had a lot of fun. I enjoyed the swim."

Doe the new album not only announce that he is back, but that he is back with a vengeance?
 "That's kind of how it's worked out. The thing I like about it, is that you can interpret it as saying not only 'I'm back, check it out,' but also: 'I'm a bass player.'  It opens with solo bass -- doon doo doo doon do . . . I thought: 'That's kind of interesting; it's signaling that this is a bass player's album.' "
The recording sessions began in February in Los Angeles, where 18 songs were cut in just two weeks with new three-man band: guitarist Rusty Anderson (formerly of Ednaswap and Animal Logic), drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. (who's played with Chocolate Genius and k.d. lang) and erstwhile Six Shooter keyboardist Gabe Dixon, the group's youngest member at 23.   Sir Paul was was prepared to play all the instruments on the album himself if he didn't feel a good rapport with these musicians, but it proved not to be necessary:
 "We soon -- immediately, really -- found a very good, easy working relationship.  So it was great to work with the  three young American guys, really cool. And, you know, I've got a lot of American relatives, so it's not unusual for me. My family is half-American, through Linda. My kids are half-American, and I'm here quite a lot. . . .

"Really, the bottom line is: 'Do the people enjoy making music? And are they good at it?' It doesn't matter whether they're famous or not famous. So the process of making albums, I'm still actually very excited by it. And I surprise myself. Because some people say: 'Don't you get fed up? Haven't you made enough albums?' And it's like, 'I don't think so.'

"Actually, the same thing used to happen with the Beatles.  Every time we came to make a new album, you'd think: 'I know how to do this.' And then you'd realize, you don't, because it's a new album. You knew how to make the last album, when you finished it. But you don't know how to make the next album.  And that to me is very exciting. It means it's an open book. And it's exciting when those things happen, in life anyway. And when it's on an album you're making, you stand back at the end, and say: 'You know what? I just made an album.' And for me, that's cool."

At the beginning, Sir Paul's new bandmates claimed to be in awe of him, so he had to work hard to put them at ease:

 "With fame, your reputation obviously walks ahead of you.  That's why, if I book reservations at a restaurant, often don't use my name. Because then everyone is standing around shaking, all the waiters are dropping dishes, you know. So what I do is, I just say: 'Oh, it's for so-and-so' (and give another name), and come in, and then they start dropping dishes. But they haven't got time to build it all up.

"So with musicians I'm a little bit aware of that. But these guys were pretty cool, actually. We'd sit around, have a cup of tea, have a little chat, and I'd just try and show them that I'm really, you know, one of them.

"And it is true, as well, that I don't come in with a gold cape and a retinue. It's just, like, me and my girlfriend will just show up. . . . It's good for us all. We all then know: 'Hey, you're not going to pull the big star bit.' And it puts it all on an equal footing, so I get more from them, and they have a better time with me."

Not content to rest on his laurels, Sir Paul is eager to keep exploring:

 "I try to teach myself to find out the bits I don't know about what I know.  I think that's a good statement, yeah. I tell you, I call it 'a sense of wonder,' that I will just go in the studio in the morning with one idea in mind, and it can suddenly just change gears.

"But I've always done that. You know, we did that with the Beatles. Suddenly, there's a better idea than mine on the table. And so instead of stamping my foot and going, 'No! We must have my idea,' I'd tend to swing and just go: 'Whoa, that's a good idea.' So, yeah, I like to do that."

Will there be a tour?
 "I don't know yet. There may well be a tour. I do things in sequence -- you make an album, then you do something like this (benefit) gig (in New York). And then I'll see if that says to me: 'Go on tour, young man.'  "And if it does, I will say: 'Verily, I shall respond in like manner.' "

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 25: Ready Steady Cook

Sir Paul and Heather Mills made an appearance at the end of Ainsley Harriot's Celebrity Ready Steady Cook (BBC1, Friday).

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 21: Heather Speaks

The London newspaper, the Independent recently asked their readers to pose some questions to Heather Mills.  Here are her responses (including information on how to acquire a free Adopt-A-Minefield video featuring Sir Paul and Heather):

Is fame attractive?

 "No. It helps with charity work but nothing else. Seek success, as this changes your life for the better, but never ever fame in the long term."
What was her input in the creation of Sir Paul's Freedom single?
"Witnessing the twin towers disaster from an aeroplane at JFK airport, I knew immediately it was terrorism. The next day, after being glued to the TV for 24 hours, I suggested a concert would be a good idea. Paul jumped at the idea. Then I thought a track called Freedom specially for the concert, as President Bush and New York mayor Rudi Giuliani talked of freedom, would be a good idea too, so Paul wrote it and I helped arrange it. Voilà."
Is the bombing of Afghanistan a necessary evil?
"The situation in Afghanistan, and the question of terrorism in general, is far too complex for me to analyse and give my full opinion on in a little paragraph or two. What I can say is that, whatever the rights and wrongs of a particular conflict, I strongly feel that innocent civilians should never be the victims."
How does Heather remain positive?
"My mother lost her leg at the same age as me and went on to become a psychologist at the Royal Marsden Cancer Hospital, which helped hundreds of people. If I hadn't lost my leg, I would never have had the public attention to help raise awareness about the disabled. This is enough to keep anyone positive."
Will she still send Sir Paul a valentine when he's 64?
 " I'll send Paul a valentine when he's 104 as he'll still be edible."
What is Adopt- A-Minefield?
"Paul and I have adopted a minefield in Croatia for pounds 25,000 through Adopt- A-Minefield, a charity that raises funds to clear landmines and help people who have been injured by mines. I have spent many years fitting more than 27,000 war victims (or survivors as I like to call them) with artificial limbs. Yet every time I fit one, another five would suffer landmine injuries. This is when I became more involved than I already was by joining Adopt- A-Minefield and bringing it to the UK. You can help by checking out our website, www.landmines.org.uk."
Based on her experience of pulling herself out of poverty, what advice does she have for poor students?
"Don't be snobby about what work you'll do. Getting on the first rung of the ladder is of the utmost importance. Many great people were once road sweepers and binmen."
If she had it to do over again, would Heather try to prevent her accident?
"I wouldn't change my accident as the good has far outweighed the bad. It has without a doubt helped to slowly erase the stigma of disability. If that just means one person suffers for the gain of many, then so be it."
What advice does Heather have for those who can still feel their amputated limb?
"It is actually a good thing your little sister can still "feel" her amputated limb - when she puts her prosthesis on, the sensation of her limb still being there will give her the confidence to bear down all the weight on her artificial leg. People can't even tell which of my legs is artificial because I still have those sensations and a comfortable, life-like limb. I fought for years to get the NHS to provide cosmetic limbs, and now they are; make sure you push for your sister to get one, or contact www.dorset-ortho.co.uk for a brochure. Make sure you tell her that confidence is everything in life, and with it she'll get whatever she wants."
Now that she is with Sir Paul, how does she cope with living in such a public arena?
"I lived in the public arena for eight years prior to meeting Paul, though now it's worldwide. I always advise others in the same situation not to read trashy papers; then they can never be hurt by idle gossip written by people who give nothing back in life and envy those who do."
What went through her mind when she witnessed the second tragic event in New York city, the plane crash in Queens?
"A feeling of immense sadness for the people on the plane and their families went through me, but I must say it was good news for the people of New York that it wasn't terrorism.

"I witnessed the start of the war in Yugoslavia, then worked there while the war moved through the whole country. I visited India, which immediately had an earthquake that killed 100,000 people and created 8,000 amputees. Now I've helped all of those amputees to be fitted with a limb or limbs in some cases. I believe that it's fate and the reason I'm there is to help make a difference."

Now that she has become vegetarian, does she plan to promote vegetarianism?
"I became a vegetarian when I lost my leg. Years later I changed back for a time (having read Eat Right For Your Blood Type) but felt so sluggish that I changed again. I promote it gently to my friends, who don't understand how I stay so slim. I say it's because my colon is not full of meat slowing my metabolism down. This tends to work better than shouting about the rights of the animals."
What was the inspiration for Night of 1,000 Dinners and how can one get involved?
"We wanted to do something that everyone could get involved in. Everybody eats, and most people cook. So on 30 November you can help by having dinner for your family and friends and charging them for the privilege. Or maybe, if you're a bad cook, charging them for not cooking and ordering pizza instead. Recipes and a video from Paul and myself are available for free from the website (or by calling 020-7265 4945), including lots of fun suggestions for a themed evening. All the money will be pooled together to clear many minefields and to help the survivors of landmine accidents."
 What is Heather's favourite Beatles track?
"Having been brought up by a father who thought he was a reincarnation of Richard Wagner, my knowledge of the Beatles was very limited until recently. I suppose if I had to pick one, it would be Here, There and Everywhere because it has a beautiful melody, is well structured and I love the changes."
What are her memories of her accident? Does she hold any bitterness?
"I had no bitterness towards the policeman until he sued me, one year after my accident, for anxiety, stress and loss of overtime. I never planned to sue until then, but I counter-sued and won in the end. I still lost a lot of money but won a standard for similar cases in the future. The sad thing was that, when I won, reporters who had previously supported me now wanted to do me harm because of my relationship with Paul."
Is there anything that her prosthetic limb stops her from doing?

"No, I can ski, rollerblade, swim, dance and run better than most."

How does her public image square with her internal reality?

"Whatever reality, there's inevitably a gap because my private family and friends are the only people that truly know me, and they get extremely angry with some of the media, but it's only a small percentage. Most wish to make a difference too, and I believe in karma: what goes around, comes around."
For more information about Adopt-A-Minefield and the Night of 1,000 Dinners, or to donate, contact 020-7265 4945 or info@landmines.org.uk 

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 20: Listen to Sir Paul on the Radio

You now have the opportunity to listen to Sir Paul's November 15th Virgin Radio interview with Pete and Geoff.  In last Thursday's thirty minute interview, posted in six parts on the Virgin Radio web site, Sir Paul answers questions, talks about his new album, Driving Rain, his website, and even plays the stylophone.

And that's not all !  You also have the opportunity to hear Sir Paul's November 19th interview with BBC Radio2's Steve Wright. 

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 20: The Concert Album

The double CD album of the Concert for New York City will be released on November 27.  Sir Paul appears on the last 4 tracks of disc 2 singing I'm Down, Yesterday, Let It Be, and Freedom.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


November 20: Top of the Pops

It has been eight years since Sir Paul has made an appearance on the BBC's Top Of The Pops.  Sir Paul last appeared on the program in 1993 to promote his single C'Mon People.  This week Sir Paul returns to the BBC Television Center studios to perform his Freedom single on Friday's show.  He may also sing From A Lover To A Friend, since the Pops web site tells us that:  "Apparently Sir Paul is just busting to let the Pops audience sample a taste of his tantalizing new track, even if he did record the song when he was half asleep!  'It was a rather, shall we say tired demo, but it had an intimate quality in the voice, so I tried to not clean up the record so much that I’d lose that lazy late-nightness,' said Paul."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 19: A Beatles Reunion in New York City

Last week, Sir Paul and Ringo Starr paid an emotional visit to George Harrison at New York's Staten Island University Hospital where he was being treated for a brain tumor.  The three surviving Beatles spent six hours chatting together and although George is said to be responding well to his treatments, it is reported that Sir Paul broke down in tears after the visit, overwhelmed by the sight of his old friend looking so frail and painfully thin.   "Paul cried", a family friend reported. "Paul was amazed that George was able to sit up the whole time."

Another friend reported, "George is responding well to therapy. His pain has completely abated. He's been able to get off all pain medicine and enjoy the company of his family and friends.  His situation is still guarded, but his turn around has been dramatic."  Even so, George's cancer is reported to be "widespread," and he is aware that he has entered the final stage of his life. "There is no way out," said the source. "The reason to treat him is to extend his life."

Last week it was revealed that Ringo Starr's 31-year-old daughter Lee Starkey has suffered a reoccurrence of a rare form of brain cancer called ependymoma.  Three weeks ago, Ringo kept vigil at her bedside as she recovered from surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.  A friend of Ringo's reports: "She's doing fine.  She went back this week for radiation around the tumor area, but she's totally clean."

George, his wife, Olivia, and his son, Dhani, were spotted at the Newark, New Jersey Airport on Thursday, where they boarded a private jet believed to be headed for the West Coast.  Ringo has returned to his home in Monte Carlo where is is monitoring both Lee's and George's condition by telephone.  Sir Paul is also staying in touch with George.  A few weeks ago, Sir Paul said: "I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago and he seemed good. He's my lovely brother and we speak a lot."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 18: A Wedding in Scotland?

Britain's Sunday Mirror reports that Heather Mills has indicated that she would like their marriage ceremony to be held at at Skibo, the historic Scottish castle where Madonna wed  Ritchie last December.   Sir Paul's friends report that he may like the idea.  He loves Scotland and the castle location would offer the event a great deal of privacy.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 18: Undaunted

The critics are calling Driving Rain Sir Paul's best work in a decade.  Responding to one reviewer who referred to the daunting legacy of his work with the Beatles, Sir Paul said, "The truth is, I should be daunted by it, but I'm not. I'm very fortunate in that respect."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 17: Concern Over New Biography

Now that biographer Andrew Morton, (see November 7 below) has decided that he has something to add to what has already been written about Sir Paul by Hunter Davies, Philip Norman, Barry Miles and the Beatles themselves in the Beatles Anthology, the British newspaper, The Independent, reports that Sir Paul is concerned not so much about what will be written about him, but what might be revealed about his friends and his fiancée, Heather Mills.  Andrew Morton, who considers himself to be a contemporary historian, a reputation for being a writer who has made his money snooping into subjects suitable only for trashy tabloids.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 17: 33 Is Too Old?

Britain's breakfast show, GMTV, canceled Monday's Driving Rain publicity chat between 33-year-old  host Kate Garraway and Sir Paul after he reportedly rejected her for being "too old", claiming she wasn't right for his "youthful" image, and insisting that he be interviewed by "a 20-something with edge."  GMTV responded by telling Sir Paul,  "Forget it - the whole thing's off."

Geoff Baker later explained that it was not Sir Paul at all, but rather an EMI record company representative who made the demands without Sir Paul's knowledge.  Last night Sir Paul agreed to do the interview on Wednesday, however it will not be conducted by the devastated Ms. Garraway as she will be off filming in Africa.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 15: Normally, He's A Pacifist

Before his interview with Gavin Martin of the London newspaper, The Independent, Sir Paul took a "bracing late autumn afternoon horse ride" through the Sussex countryside "just getting the smell of nature back in my lungs again after being up in the city."

Sir Paul had been up in the city to promote his Driving Rain album and Freedom single, a song which has prompted some to suggest that he is the first Beatle to have supported a war.  Sir Paul responded:

"Normally you're a pacifist and you don't want any kind of war at all, but occasionally something so atrocious happens there's gotta be some kind of response.  I'd like to see the bombing stop but what are you gonna do, turn the other cheek?  I don't think that is possible.

"When I started getting into thinking like this it took me back to conversations we used to have in the Sixties. All the guys sitting round saying if there was a war we'd be pacifist. But I made one little disclaimer and said, 'But if Hitler was invading, and I had a family, I really would feel I have to do something.'  I remember people thinking, 'Oh oh, stiffening of resolve here.' I knew it was true, deep in my veins.

"It's like we used to live with this thing every Christmas in London, where the IRA would say, 'We're doing a bombing campaign.' And we'd go, 'How irksome, I hope it doesn't hit me when I'm shopping.' After the New York attack, my attitude was like, screw you man, just screw you.  I've got kids living in London. Are you gonna do a bombing campaign? How dare you? If you want to take my kids out - well, screw you. Come and talk about it, right in my face baby."

And does this relate to the accounts of his childhood frog hunting published in his autobiography, Many Years From Now?
 "The old tortured frog syndrome? You could be right. I didn't have to own up to that stuff - but in my tiny young mind, I knew why I had to do it. We fully expected to have to join the army and be made a man of - that was the phrase. We all dreaded National Service back then; luckily, with the advent of the Beatles, all of that ended - otherwise, those of us that would have been drafted, would not have had a band, no way.

"When I saw army training films of guys running into dummies and bayoneting them, I had a vivid enough imagination to go, OK, that's what I'm gonna have to do, run at a guy with a big sword and kill him.' I'd seen enough films to be terrified by that as a kid.

"The whole idea of the frogs was: let's practice! We'd go in the woods and get a frog; I thought, if I can't kill a bloody frog, I'll never be a man. It was a terrifying bloody thing. I say to people, 'Didn't you do that too?' And they go, 'Noooo, I was at Sunday school'."

 What does Sir Paul think of the recent easing of the marijuana law in the U.K.?
 "I think it's a good idea, but it just happens to coincide with a period when pot isn't something I do as much any more. Why is that? Because Heather doesn't. I don't want to be sitting there at a restaurant and say, 'Hey baby, I have to run to the bog and smoke a joint.' It just doesn't occur."
With his new Driving Rain album, did Sir Paul deliberately set out to create songs that are raw, emotional, honest and soul baring?
 "I dunno.  That sounds true, but I'm just trying to write a song and it's not that easy. I do draw on things that seem important at that time. But it's like you have a dream: the minute you start analyzing it all this extra significance comes out. It's one of the reasons I love doing it: there's a mystery to it. And I've been involved in this amazing succession of mysteries."
How did he feel about being chastised in John Lennon's song How Do You Sleep?
"I felt deep pain.  Stick it in the jugular, why don't you, John. The funny thing is later I heard that he didn't write that line, that John, his manager Allen Klein and Yoko were sitting round together and someone came up with that line. But it was very painful, a bad period, there was a lot of deep messages in all the stuff we did then. I was really writing a lot of songs to John.

"Then I got this great story, in one of the last interviews John did, where he said this guy brought him a copy of Coming Up and he was, like, 'Bloody hell, Paul's on to something - better go back to work.' You better believe I love that story."

While recording Driving Rain, Sir Paul attempted to recreate the working methods the Beatles used during their Rubber Soul and Revolver sessions:
"That was the time I remember getting the best feeling of my recording career. By that stage we were young executives, we had the suits, the gear. We were hot."
And then there were the bad times with the Beatles:
"That was the period when the term 'heavy' was coined. I remember Tony Bramwell of Apple came to a meeting we were having at Apple, and it was really intense: you could feel a weight in your soul just sitting there...

"But the Beatles thing, the more you review it, the more insane it gets. Those guys did a lot of shit. And I talk about them as if I wasn't in them. Checkpoint Charlie - bing! But it's beautiful, man, so intensely beautiful, magical for me. I'm like a fan, it's not like I can't hear what a fan hears. Sometimes I might get a little drunk, and I hear a moment in a song and I'm like, yesss! I try my whole life to get that note, because sometimes I think we were the only guys that never saw the Beatles."

Sir Paul also discussed his latest classical work, Ecce Cor Meum, which he began to write during Linda's illness.  Although it was performed  in Oxford last weekend, he claims it is still a work in progress and hopes to premiere the finished work next year:
"John used to say if you get to the edge of a cliff, throw yourself off. I'd say, 'Well no, John, you throw yourself off, and tell me how it is when you do, and then I might  follow you.' That was John and me right there.  But now I find myself accepting an offer to do something with the Liverpool Philharmonic, and then halfway through the sensible me kicks in and I think, this is pretty hard. A serious choral person asks, 'What text are you using?' I go, 'I'm doing my own.' Everyone else has used some obscure French medieval poet who has written great stuff, and I'm thinking I'll make it up. It's weird, it's like going off the edge of John's cliff at last."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 14: Sir Paul Sells Freedom online

Sir Paul announced today that he is donating all proceeds from the on-line sales of his new tracks Freedom, From a Lover to a Friend, and From a Lover to a Friend (remix) to benefit the rescue workers and the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.  This is an historic event in that this will be the first digital download released by a solo artist with proceeds going to charity.  From November 13 through December 11, a 3-track digital download bundle can be purchased online for $3.99 through WindowsMedia.com, MSN Music, and Best Buy.  These sites will also link you to some behind the scenes clips of Sir Paul  from the all-star tribute "Concert for New York" which has thus far raised over $30 million.

Dave Fester, general manager of the Digital Media Division at Microsoft stated today that:
"This download is a great way to offer millions of Paul McCartney fans an easy way to help victims of the terrorist attacks and a chance to hear music from his latest release.  We're proud to be part of Paul McCartney's continued efforts to aid the WTC rescue workers and their families."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 14: He's Not As Busy As He Seems

This has been a busy year for Sir Paul.  He's been recording albums, publishing a poetry book, giving poetry readings, staging art exhibitions, overseeing the Wingspan album and documentary, and helping Heather with her campaign against land mines.  However, in an interview published today he claims that these projects make him appear to look busier than he really is:
"I have quite a bit of time. You'd be surprised. I do these kinds of things, like this promotion stuff now, and I do quite a lot of it in one spurt, but then I've got the weekend off.  I put spare time in. I'd have to or I'd just go mad.

"The other thing is, you know, I do like what I do. It's not really hard work for me. I love to paint. I love to write poetry. I love to make music. I mean, even talking to you is not a pressure."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 13: "I couldn't believe what I was seeing."

Last evening, Sir Paul had more to say about the New York air disaster he witnessed from the Concorde window.  As he saw the black smoke billowing from the wreckage, he cried:
"Oh Christ, not again.  You thought bloody hell. It's a nightmare again. I'm out here to get behind this move to help America recover - that's what Freedom is all about. I'd gone out to do radio promotion for a couple of days.  But coming in to land and looking out of the left hand side of the plane we could see masses of smoke rising up. They rushed everyone off the plane straight away and into the arrivals hall which was empty apart from FBI officers.

 "I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I looked out of the window as we taxied in and saw this giant plume of black smoke billowing everywhere.   My first thought was it might be burning oil or some pollution thing. But then I quickly realized it was something more serious.  It was like seeing the World Trade Center towers ablaze again. Terrible."

The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson was a fellow passenger on this Concorde flight.  Sir Paul and Heather had been at an awards ceremony in New York City with the Duchess of York on September 10   (see September 10 below) the day before the terrorists attacks.  She is in New York to promote Wedgewood, for which she is the U.S. spokeswoman. Sir Paul said:
"I turned to Sarah when we were told it was another plane crash and just said: 'How weird is this? The last time I saw you was September 10 in New York, now this?'  She was just like me - just kind of stunned at how it had happened again."
The Duchess of York added in her account of the tragedy:
"It was like some appalling Groundhog Day.  It was another clear blue sky in New York and all I could see from Concorde was this black smoke everywhere over the city again. I was with Paul and Heather on the plane and we realized the shocking coincidence of being together again around another terrible event so soon after the last one.
Speaking from his new York apartment, Sir Paul said:
"It's just awful to think of so many people dying. My heart goes out to their poor families at this tragic time.  We had had a really good flight and it felt great being back on Concorde again.  Then I saw the smoke. We must have been one of the first planes to land after the crash, literally a minute later or something. I looked out to my left and saw it coming from the Queens area and I turned to Heather and a few other passengers who were looking and said: 'Do you think this something we should be worried about?'  Obviously, in the current climate, the immediate concern was that it might be another disaster.  We didn't really get worried until we got through to customs and found nobody there to check our passports or anything.  We just stood there chatting for about 20 minutes wondering what the hell was happening until Heather overheard these two FBI guys saying the airport had been closed. Then we knew something big was going down.  We began asking questions and airport staff eventually said another plane had crashed.  We just stood there with Sarah and Hugh Grant, all of us just shaking our heads.  To be honest we were keeping our fingers crossed, hoping and praying that it was not another terrorist attack by bin Laden.  Obviously it was another terrible tragedy and many people had died.  But it would be easier for everyone to know it was an accident and not a bomb."
Sir Paul is in New York city to promote his charity recording Freedom:
 "This city needs our help. It needs some serious morale boosting. I hope I can do my bit to raise money for those who died and those who are fighting for our freedom right now.  America helped us in World War Two. They came to our aid against Hitler when we needed them.  Now they need us.

"We have to get on with our lives, otherwise the terrorists will have won.  This is another terrible shock, and another terrible blow to New York. But the city will recover, and we've got to help them."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 13: "Oh God, not again"

Once again, Sir Paul has witnessed a New York disaster.  Sir Paul's Concorde flight from London landed in New York City just minutes after the American Airlines jetliner went down over Queens this morning.  Sir Paul spoke minutes after landing safely at JFK International:
 "As Concorde was landing, the crash had just happened.  I looked out of the left-hand side of the plane and there was smoke all over the place and I thought 'Oh God not again'. It was like the Trade Towers all again.  It was a horrendous and tragic irony trying to raise money for the victims of the last crashes, and then something dreadful was happening all over again "
However, these incidents have not put him off flying or visiting the United States. On the contrary, his resolve to help those affected by the terror strikes has been even more strengthened:
 " That is why I wrote Freedom and that is why I am going to keep pushing it. I will not stop.  I am just going to keep on going and keep at it. We have got to get behind America. That is why I have done this song. They need people to carry on coming here and I am determined to do all I can."
Sir Paul said that the customs hall at JFK was practically deserted when he arrived.  The FBI provided him with an escort to help him safely leave the airport.  Sir Paul said he said he will say in New York and will press ahead with his plans to promote his new album.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 13: Download Driving Rain Album Sampler

Driving Rain Album Sampler

On Paul McCartney's homepage, a very nice Driving Rain album sampler
featuring previews of all 16 tracks is available for download (approx. 2.5 MB)

November 13: The Watch Camera Photos

The disk sleeve of the new Driving Rain album features 28 grainy pictures taken by Sir Paul himself with this tiny Casio watch-camera.  The photos were snapped as Sir Paul traveled across the U.S.A. to promote his poetry book, Blackbird Singing.  Shots of dogs and people walking down the street and little portraits of Sir Paul and Heather Mills appear in a mosaic of tiny images.  There's even a shot Sir Paul managed to snap while being interviewed on American television by Larry King:
Sir Paul: "I'm taking a picture of you on my camera watch here, Larry."
Larry King: "What with your watch?"

Sir Paul: "Look at that. Larry King Live! I was doing an interview with some guy and he was playing with one. I said 'What is that, a camera watch?' and I said 'Get me one'. And he did."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 12: Happy Thanksgiving

American radio listeners will have something special to listen to during Thanksgiving week.  Matt Hurwitz reports that MJI Broadcasting, in conjunction with MPL Communications,  will present a two-hour behind-the-scenes look at Driving Rain. Sir Paul recently sat down with MJI's Director of Rock Programming and Specials, Sal Cirrincione, for a candid  interview on the making of the album, life after Linda, Heather, his touring plans and much more. The program will air on radio stations across the United States from November 20th to the 25th.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 12: A New So Bad  Sounds So Good

Last summer, 15-year-old Lindsay Pagano was in a California recording studio working on her next album called  Love & Faith & Inspiration with Jude Cole.  It just so happened that Sir Paul was recording Maybe Baby at the same time and place.  He heard Lindsey singing, sat in on a few of her sessions, then suggested that she cover his tune So Bad.  The result is an enchanting rendition of the song, featuring Sir Paul himself on background vocals.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 12: Vanilla Sky Changes

First it was pulled from release so that Freedom could be added to the single.  Now From A Lover To A Friend has been pulled from the soundtrack of  Vanilla Sky to be replaced by a new Paul McCartney tune written especially for the film.  The song will be available as the title track on the movie's soundtrack CD which will be released on Warner Brothers Records.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 11: Tiny Bubble

Sir Paul told the Scottish Daily Record his new Driving Rain album contains a track called Tiny Bubble which was written in Scotland.   During a visit to his farm on Kintyre (where he also wrote Mull of Kintyre and  Maybe I'm Amazed) Sir Paul was inspired to write the tune and record a demo in his little Scottish studio.  He was so pleased with what he heard on the demo that he used much of it in the final recording of the tune for the album.  Sir Paul  went on to explain how Tiny Bubble sums up his view of the world:
 "I have always found inspiration in the calm beauty of Scotland and again it proved the place where I found inspiration. I just love the country.  Tiny Bubble was just a stream of consciousness, saying all the world's a tiny  bubble. It started a bit more ballady, but as happened with a a few of the songs when you bring them to a band - with a drummer - they hip up a bit."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 11: A Kiss for Chelsea

Oxford student and presidential daughter, Chelsea Clinton, attended last evening's  premiere of Sir Paul's Ecce Cor Meum and was greeted with a kiss by the composer himself.
This must have brought some comfort to Chelsea who says she has been feeling homesick and isolated after joining the university this year to pursue a post graduate course in international relations.

Reporters used the occasion to ask Sir Paul about the condition of George Harrison's health.  His reply,  "You probably know as much as I do."  What we do know from a Staten Island University Hospital source is that George is showing signs of improvement after receiving radical radiotherapy.  A hospital source reported: "It is accurate to say that this client is improving. His prognosis is still guarded but not as grim as when he was admitted.  He was gravely ill, but he is now well enough to continue treatment as an outpatient."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 10: More Revelations

Recently, Sir Paul spoke to the Daily Mail about how his relationship with Heather Mills has affected his children:
"When you are married and have a family, it's completely different starting a relationship and Heather and I had to be really sensitive to their feelings.  I'd seen Heather and I talked to the kids and said, 'How would you feel if I started getting feelings for another woman?'   It was a hypothetical question. They said they wouldn't mind as long as I was happy and were really nice about it and I needed them to say that. But even so, we still had to be sensitive and we were a secret for a while. After that, we tried not to do anything that would make them feel bad and Heather did a great job of that, but at first it was difficult. They were used to seeing me driving up in a car with my wife - their mum - and now I was with another woman. But we worked through it very slowly and tried to be very positive and tried to take into account everyone's feelings, including our own and managed to get through it and it's got much better."
Sir Paul admitted that the Driving Rain songs he wrote for Heather were difficult for him to play for his children, saying, "I felt a bit guilty, because it was like 'Oh my God, I can't play this to the kids."  Still, he has no regrets about Heather: "Falling in love with her has been great and very exciting. You're lucky to know that once in a lifetime - twice is amazing."

Following Linda's death, music was both a release and a therapy for him:

"'When she died, it was a case of waiting to see if I would want to write at all.  For a few months I was grieving and I didn't do anything. Then after a while I started to think,  'Yes', because I love music a lot. Then I found myself at home on the piano, writing some quite sad songs. I liked them and I tried one out for the new album, but it didn't quite work out.

"Towards the end of the year that Linda died, I wrote a song called Magic, about the night I first met her. It was a much more positive song and I've included it on the album - and I started to think then that I might be able to get back into it.

"I realized I had turned a corner with that song, because I suddenly thought,  'I'm really proud to have known someone as beautiful as Linda for 30 years', instead of thinking, 'Oh, we only had 30 years together'. Some people are together forever and don't have as good a relationship.

"I didn't know if I was ever going to want a relationship again.  I remember thinking I might get really monkish and never find anyone who matches up. There was that feeling, plus the worry and the guilt, thinking it was a betrayal of Linda in some way. But having gone through that and, as Linda would have said, beaten myself with a soggy noodle, I realized that wasn't how it was going to be and when I saw Heather I really fancied her.  I was a bit shocked to find I was normal, but felt I had turned another corner.  If Linda were here she'd have been after me with a big rolling pin, but I think she'd want me to be happy. That was the sort of love we had.

"I've had my sadness - my mum died when I was young and Linda died, but life changes direction whether you like it or not. Linda and I thoroughly expected to be a little retired couple sitting on the porch. We all hope for that, but we had this tragedy that meant it wasn't to be.  My life changed that day, but I do try to look at things positively and Heather is very good that way. She believes that things happen for a reason. She wouldn't have been at that awards ceremony if it wasn't for her accident and we would never have met."

In another interview with Q magazine, Sir Paul revealed that around 1968 he binged on cocaine for a year before Linda persuaded him to stop:
"I was lucky to have Linda, because she did ground me. There were certain things I was going off on that she could pull me back from. Linda would say, 'Are you sure you want to do that tonight?' And I'd go, 'Oh, there's an alternative?' She reminded me there was this real life there that I liked a lot."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 9: Driving Rain a Positive Album

Sir Paul is granting many interviews this week to promote his new Driving Rain album.  This particular interview took place in an office building he recently purchased in New York City's midtown Manhattan.  Although Driving Rain is the first collection of original rock music he has released since losing Linda, it is not a collection of sad songs.  Sir Paul said that has mourned Linda in music in his classical works, without words, "I just know that there were times when writing that music helped pull me through."  This, however, is a positive album, more about recovery than grief:
 "Some people I've talked to thought it might be kind of a somber album, a missing you kind of album, but I found when I wrote one or two pieces with Linda in mind that I wanted to remember the good things, the positive.  I'm not a very pessimistic person about things. I always try and rationalize things. I try to find a positive side. Even something bad, I will think, 'This might have happened for a reason.' You don't always know the reason, but I will try to find it.

"I think if you're happy making a record, then it shows.  For many years, I preferred to think that it doesn't.  You could be in the studio having a bad time and still make an OK record. But in some ways, I think this stuff leaks off the
record into the homes of the buyers.

"I went through a phase of thinking, 'what would they like, or what would the critics like, What, critically, would be judged the perfect thing for me to do now?' I found out that not only did I not like it, the critics didn't even like it.  I basically write now for myself, because I figure if I like it, there's a good chance that somebody else might.

"One of the things that began when we were doing Run Devil Run was me remembering that I'm the bass player. It's simple and satisfying. I sing and I play bass."

VH1 executive Bill Flanagan, author of a book about song writing, Written in My Soul, says:
 "This album is about picking up and carrying on.  But I don't think it's, 'all I have to do is whistle. He's carrying on with the full burden of what he's been through. If you go a little bit under the surface, the themes of redemption and perseverance are running through these songs.

"I love the guy when he's playing with some wildness and it's not too polished.  You feel like you're catching these songs as they're being created, not reworking something that's been gone over and over."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 9: The Concert for New York City CD

Columbia Records has announced that they plan to release the double CD of the October 20 Madison Square Garden concert on November 27 with a suggested list price of $24.98 with net proceeds going to the Robin Hood Relief Fund to benefit the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.  No date has been announced for the DVD/VHS releases.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 9: Ecce cor Meum Premiere

Sir Paul's latest classical work, Ecce cor Meum ( Behold My Heart), a 45 minute oratorio for choir and chamber orchestra, will receive its public premiere tomorrow in a "preview" performed by the Magdalen College Choir at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 9: A Russian Poetry Fan

The Russian McCartney fan, Eugenie Evenko, who hitch-hiked 3,000 miles from Siberia to Wales for Sir Paul's poetry reading this summer is in the news again.  (see May 30 below) It seems, she's decided to stay in the U.K - in Liverpool, to be exact.  She recently spoke about meeting Sir Paul at the Hay-On-Wye festival:
"There were no tickets left for the reading, it was totally sold out. So I made a sign saying I had traveled all the way from Russia and did anyone have a spare ticket. This man just came up to me as people were walking in for the reading and said, 'My brother is ill and couldn't make it, would you like his ticket?' I went in and the seats at the front were all reserved but I asked the security people if I could sit there. They told me to wait until everybody was in and miraculously there was one spare seat on the front row and I sat there - with Heather Mills one seat away."
You may recall that poet Adrian Mitchell informed Sir Paul that there was a girl in the audience who had hitch-hiked all the way from Russia to meet him and that he invited her to join him on stage:
 "He hugged me and I thought I would die. It was that moment when you meet your idol and you cannot think of anything to say. I was just speaking rubbish."
Three weeks ago, Eugenie attended Sir Paul's London poetry reading at the Queen's Theatre and managed to sneak backstage:
  "I caught his eye and I couldn't believe it, he actually recognized me. He shouted across the room at me to come over and told everybody about me.  He introduced me to his fiancé and she was really sweet - but a bit shy."
Eugenie is currently working in Liverpool at the old Beatles' haunt the Jacaranda, but will return to Russian next month when her visa runs out.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 9:  Light from Within

Linda McCartney's last photography book, Light from Within, contains more than 100 previously unpublished black and white and color images, including many pictures of Sir Paul and the McCartney children.  The title of the book comes from a song Linda wrote called, The Light Comes from Within. In the forward to the book, Sir Paul writes:
"The words were obviously close to her heart. It is particularly appropriate that she should use the word light because of her long-time interest in it, starting with her passion for photography in the sixties.

"Light was obviously something she studied , and drawing on her vast pool of natural instincts, she instantly recognized a situation where the light was perfect for a photograph.  She very rarely used a light meter and was able to judge the scene merely by looking at it. Sometimes she was so sure that she would only take one photo - unlike many of her contemporaries who would bang off a whole roll to cover themselves.

"This book of her photography, which has been put together so lovingly by our daughter Mary and Martin Harrison, with some small assistance from myself, shows what a keen eye she had for the world about her."
USA order from amazon United Kingdom Germany

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 8:  An Intimate London Concert

Sir Paul is planning a pre-Christmas concert in London:
"I'm looking at a London gig, not massive but a small gig to have a rock-out before Christmas.  I fancy that."
On the play list will be songs from his new Driving Rain album as well as some of his classic tunes.  Sir Paul's staff is traveling around London, looking for a venue ("the steamier the better") that will hold less than 1,000 people.  Under consideration are the 100 Club and the Marquee Club, although the larger Astoria, which can hold up to 2,500 is also a possibility.

Following the success of his Madison Square Garden appearance last month, Sir Paul is anxious to perform live again:

"There were a bunch of us - Elton, Billy Joel, Bowie, Jagger, The Who.  We did a good show. We pulled it off. We raised a lot of money, made a lot of people happy and gave New York some confidence. For an ordinary Scouser that's great. It makes me very proud."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 8: "It's Getting Better and Better"

In an interview with The Express, Sir Paul spoke for the first time about his children's difficult adjustment to his relationship with Heather Mills:
"In the beginning, losing Linda was a terrible tragedy for all of us. For the kids, it was very, very difficult.  And when, after 15 months, I found Heather they found it difficult - just the idea of me being with another woman.  But since then they've realized that what they really want is my happiness. And Heather makes me happy. As each day goes by, they get better and better and better and they understand and we now have a great relationship. It was difficult at the beginning, like it would be for anyone, but it's got better and better. And they're great kids."
In the beginning, the relationship was difficult for Sir Paul as well because he was still grieving for Linda:
"For the first six months, I was pretty much crying every day.  She was very supportive. But she was, like, 'No, I understand what you're going through,' That pretty much cemented our relationship. Otherwise it wouldn't have worked."
Sir Paul also revealed that meeting Heather has inspired him to write songs again:
"In Heather's case it's love songs I've written since we've got together just because being in love with her makes me want to write songs.  I'm not surprised I fell in love with her. A lot of people at the time said that if you've known great love it's more likely that you will meet someone. People who've known great love often can love again. So I was really just open to whatever happened."
Was it difficult for Sir Paul to write the songs for Linda on the new album?
  "If you're a lucky guy like I am it's not hard. For Linda's songs I was writing about the positive aspects of how lucky I was to know her rather than how sad I was to lose her."
This time, when Sir Paul was asked if he will have more children, he replied:
 "It's in the lap of the gods but we haven't made a decision either way."
And why won't he reveal the wedding date?
 "So no one has to lie and we don't have to shoot them."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 8: Professor McCartney

One of the benefits of being a student at the Canadian Trebas Institute is the ability to transfer credits to Sir Paul's Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.  One Trebas graduate , Adam Fulton, recalls an extraordinary experience he had while enrolled in a LIPA audio engineering and recorded music production course.  Fulton was selected to help Sir Paul and his sound engineer Geoff Emerick during a full-day recording session! His responsibilities included setting up, recording and assisting Mr. Emerick in mixing sounds:
"Paul acted as a producer.  The studio was set up so he could teach us and there were 30 other sound engineering students there who were breathing down my neck and wanted to be where I was. Paul brought some musicians and we went through the production of a CD.

"It's weird in that I think it was the easiest session I ever did. It was the most flawless, as well. He immediately puts you at ease. I could do my job even under such pressure."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 7: Sir Paul Talks About His Wedding

Sir Paul told The Mirror that he is anxious and excited about his forthcoming wedding to Heather Mills:
 "We've set the date, but I hope you'll understand if I don't tell you too much more." (This year?) "No, next year. OK? That's all you're going to get!"
In yesterday's interview conducted in Sir Paul's London business office, Sir Paul referred to Heather as  "one of the two great loves of my life".  His other great love, of course, was Linda:
 "I expected to be in a rocking chair aged 80 with Linda. Nothing else had ever occurred to me, but, that wasn't to be. I am not a wildly religious man, but I do in some ways feel that Linda is still here and this is all OK with her.

"In the early days, when I first saw Heather I felt I had to ask Linda if it was all right.  Look, if Linda was still here, she would have my guts for garters if I was seeing another woman. But she's not. And I just know she approves. My relationship with Heather would not seem so right to me otherwise.

"Heather and I have discussed the issue of kids, but as to whether we'll actually have any, I have really no idea.  But I'll tell you this, though: all this does kind of excite me. I just never expected to be going through all this again. I'm nervous and excited about our wedding.  Obviously, there is also a certain amount of trepidation because of who I am. Neither Heather nor I want to feel like hunted foxes on our wedding day. On the other hand, it is hard to keep things private."

The interview also reveals the reason a particular tune on Sir Paul's new Driving Rain album has the title, Heather.  It seems Heather heard Sir Paul working on the tune and asked him if it was a Beatles song:
 "Heather's like that.  We'll hear something like Get Back on the radio and she'll say: 'That's a good song.'  And I'll say: 'Actually, it's quite a well known song and if you're interested, I wrote it!' I love that about her."
The track, Magic, is about the night he met Linda:
 "I often joke to my kids about that.  We were in a club called Bag o' Nails, and saw her, and I did something that even then I didn't tend to do. I went up and started talking to her. So I tell my kids: 'If I hadn't had done that, you lot wouldn't be here!'"
Then he spotted Heather Mills at The Mirror's inaugural Pride of Britain Awards in 1999:
 "To put it bluntly, I fancied her. I hadn't felt that about a woman since I met Linda all those years ago. I would never have been unfaithful to Linda. And I was never the kind of guy who went up to good-looking women and asked for their number, or anything like that.  I went through a year of grieving after Linda died, when I just thought I was certain to live the rest of my life like a monk. Then, with Heather, I felt a bit guilty. But I certainly don't now.  Heather's in America at the moment, doing her charity work for people like her who have lost limbs."
Sir Paul recalled a time he spoke to Heather about the loss of her leg:
 "I said to her: 'You poor thing', but she immediately shut me up. She is very fatalistic and she believes everything happens for a reason. She wouldn't have been at that awards ceremony if it wasn't for her accident and I would never have met her. It has also changed her life in the most amazing way. She is such a great girl - I am so proud of her.

"We recently went on a driving holiday across America in one of those 4x4 Ford Expedition cars. It was great. We just moved across the country, checking into small hotels. We'd hang around in the bars at night, having a few beers and just chatting with people."

Then he spent five rainy weeks in Los Angeles recording rain Driving Rain in the quick, back-to-basics fashion of the early Beatles recording sessions:
 "That's the way we used to do it then and it was good to get back to that."
 Has Sir Paul been in touch with George Harrison?
 "Yes, I spoke to George only recently.  I want to tell you George is great. He's got an indomitable spirit, he's a trouper and he's a lovely guy."
Other friends of George report today that: "George is very sick. He looks like he doesn't have long to go. He is very frail and gaunt. He's nothing like the George Harrison we all remember from the Beatles. The word around the hospital is that the procedure he's having is the last chance at saving his life."

George recently secretly checked in to New York's Staten Island University Hospital under an assumed name.  As of last night he was awaiting revolutionary cancer surgery, called sterotactic radiosurgery under the guidance of world famous specialist Dr. Gil Lederman.  It is hoped that this procedure will restore him to health although, sadly, the survival chances for patients with lung cancer that spreads to the brain are minimal.

George's wife of 22 years, Olivia, is keeping a vigil at his bedside.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 7: Freedom Premiere

The US premiere of Freedom will take place at 7 and 9 a.m. (ET) on VH1.  As reported below, the song has been added to Sir Paul's new studio album "Driving Rain," and will also be released as a single.  Both recordings are scheduled to be in stores on Tuesday.
The new video of Freedom was first shown during the Men's World Day 2001 Awards ceremony in Vienna, Austria, last Saturday 3rd. Austrian TV ORF had recorded the event; it was subsequently shown on 3sat on November 6 (with some live footage of Paul in the audience intercut).

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 7: Another McCartney Biography?

It is being reported that Andrew Morton (author of Her True Story, the famous Princess Diana biography) is considering writing a book on Sir Paul McCartney.  Mr. Morton has recently published a controversial biography of Madonna and said he is interested in devoting his next work to either Fidel Castro or Paul McCartney:  "I'm looking at people who defined the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties and Nineties." 

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 6: The Source of the "Raw Edge"

Sir Paul has revealed that the new "raw edge" one hears in his voice on his new Driving Rain album can be attributed to an argument he had with a carpet salesman in Delhi, India back in February:
"A salesman told me that this carpet was the rarest thing ever but when I got to the next town I found another 20. I rang him and, during the argument, I started to lose my voice. So I came to L.A. to record with my voice in rough shape.  I let loose on one track, Rinse The Raindrops, and it came good. It's a nice quality, a rawness."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 6: Record-breaking Concert

The New York Times reports that Sir Paul's "Concert for New York City" has raised $30 million to date for the victims of the World Trade Center attacks, making it the highest-grossing concert ever held at Madison Square Garden.  (The previous record was set last year by Barbra Streisand who took in $7 million for two appearances.) About half the money was raised through the sale of tickets, which cost $200 to $10,000 each. The rest of the funds were raised through donations, corporate sponsorships, television rights and the sale of souvenirs.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 5: Honors for Heather

This evening in Washington D.C., Heather Mills was one of five people presented with the National Rehabilitation Hospital Victory Award in recognition of their courage, determination and grace in overcoming extraordinary challenges.   Upon receiving the award, Heather told the audience that  "I believe very much in fate, that everything happens for a reason."  She also drew laughter when she shared that after losing her leg she was told in the hospital, "Heather, you must realize you'll not be as attractive to men." And now she's engaged to be married to Paul McCartney!  More than 650 people attended the dinner and presentation ceremony which was held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.  The event was co-chaired by Doro Bush Koch, the sister of President George Bush and raised close to $ 1 million for the National Rehabilitation Hospital, a private, nonprofit hospital, which opened in 1986 to treat patients for spinal cord and head injuries, stroke, amputation and multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions.

Earlier that morning, first lady Laura Bush hosted a White House reception for Heather and the other Victory Award honorees.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 3: Sir Paul Honored in Vienna

This evening, Sir Paul was awarded the Men's World Day 2001 World Arts Award at the Imperial Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria.  Sir Paul was honored along with Steven Spielberg, Ted Turner, Sir Richard Branson, Luciano Pavarotti, Alain Delon, Dolce & Gabbana, Prof. Robert C. Gallo & Co. as "the men who have changed our world".  The World Arts Award was presented to Sir Paul:

"for his unique contribution to popular music for almost 40 years, with the Beatles, Wings and as a solo artist as well as for his exemplary character, his support of many humanitarian causes, his contributions to charity and his overall patronage of the arts. Sir Paul, 59, represents in many positive ways the best qualities of mankind in the 21st century. He has spoken out eloquently on, as well as openly supported, many important initiatives including the banning of landmines, cancer research, animal rights and the importance of a peaceful co-existence. Following the terror attacks in the United States he released the single From a Lover to a Friend with all proceeds going to the families of the policemen and firemen who gave their lives to save others."

The second annual Men's World Day awards ceremony was presided over by former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and dedicated to "the victims and heroes of September 11."  The gala was broadcast on television and shown throughout the world.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 2: Nobel Performance

It was announced today that Sir Paul has agreed to perform at this year's Nobel Peace Prize award ceremonies which be held in the 8,000-capacity Oslo Spektrum in Oslo, Norway on December 11, a day after the United Nations and its Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, are awarded the prize for peace.  Among the other musical guests scheduled to appear that evening are Wyclef Jean,  Natalie Imbruglia, Youssou N'Dour, a-ha, Russell Watson, and Kodo. The concert will be hosted by Meryl Streep and Liam Neeson and is expected to be recorded for broadcast on Norwegian and international TV stations in the following weeks.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 2: Yes, There's a Second Charity Single!

Sir Paul announced today that he is releasing his second charity single in a week to raise money for New York's emergency services.  Freedom will be released on Monday (November 4) in the U.K. just a week after From A Lover To A Friend went on sale in aid of police officers and firefighters affected by the terror attacks of September 11.  Freedom will appear as the B-side of the single From A Lover To A Friend, with a tentative release date of November 13 in the United States, the same day Driving Rain is slated for release. (As reported here on October 25, Freedom will also be included on the new album although the song will not appear on the track listing due to its late addition, but will be stickered as a bonus track instead.)  The single is being rush-released due to popular demand, according to publicist, Geoff Baker.  He said that Sir Paul has been besieged with requests from fans wanting to buy the single.

In a statement issued by Sir Paul he says that he wrote the song on Heather's suggestion following the atrocities they had just witnessed that tragic day in New York city.  The lyrics were inspired by the words of President George W. Bush and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani:

 "At the time the World Trade Center was attacked Heather and I were on a plane waiting to take off from New York and we witnessed the last moments of the twin towers. Like everyone else in the aftermath of the attacks we heard President Bush and mayor Giuliani talking about freedom and how the attacks were an attack on America's freedom.

We all have a right to a free life and we have to fight for that right and we're such freedom-lovers. I wrote this song at Heather's suggestion.  We hadn't reckoned on this demand for Freedom but as that's what people want we're getting it out fast to try to raise money for the firefighters and police of New York.  It is rather unusual to have two charity singles out within seven days of each other, but I think it is appropriate at this time because we all demand freedom.  The response to Freedom at the New York concert caused a whole new ball game. "

So now EMI record plants around the world are now working around the clock to meet the demand for the second single, which will also feature From A Lover To A Friend. It will be released on Monday in the UK and the following week in the United States.

It was also announced today that Sir Paul's "Concert for New York City has raised $30 million to date for the relief efforts.  "We're delighted the concert has raised such an amazing amount of money," said Anna Byng, spokeswoman for the Robin Hood Relief Fund.
Already, she said, the fund has provided $4.75 million in emergency grants to low-income people affected by the terror attack, as well as families of police, fire and rescue workers. Donations are still being accepted.  

Geoff Baker, who has traveled the world with Sir Paul, said the extraordinary experience of the concert in New York will stay with him forever: "It was very humbling. Meeting the New York firefighters really brought it home to me what they had to face. As Paul said most of us would turn and run from something like that but those people had to run inside."

Columbia Record's double CD from the six-hour concert will go on sale November 27.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 2: Role Models

In an interview with Marie Claire magazine, Trudie Styler, wife of singer Sting, revealed that Sir Paul and Linda have served as the couple's ideal role models in raising their four children.  Ms. Styler said it is difficult for a wealthy rock star to raise children, however, she says, "Paul and Linda McCartney did an exceptional job. In fact, when I was an actress I'd often run into little Stella on the Tube. I believe she had a crush on my husband at the time."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

November 1: Thoughts on Afghanistan

Sir Paul and Heather Mills joined Vietnamese Ambassador Vuong Thua Phong at the Royal Albert Hall in London this evening for the launch of of a new partnership between the Adopt-A-Minefield charity and the Mines Advisory Group.

Heather took the opportunity to call for an end to the bombing campaign in Afghanistan, "I don't think it should have lasted any longer than a week. If anyone thinks bin Laden is still in Afghanistan they are a bit naive. I think he got out a long time ago."  She also spoke of witnessing the attack on the World Trade Center and later speaking to former President Bill Clinton about it:  "I watched it with Paul. We were about to take off from JFK Airport when the captain put the brakes on and I saw smoke coming out of tower one. I said to Paul, 'It's terrorists' and then the second one was hit"  Heather also disclosed an interesting comment from former President Clinton, "I said to Clinton 'Do you wish you were president now?' and he said 'I feel I would be better trained for it, more prepared.' It must be frustrating for him. I did not like Bush before this happened but now I find him very human ... I understand them bombing terrorist camps, but they should be using more intelligence. It's only innocent civilians that are getting hurt."

Sir Paul refused to be drawn into commenting on the Afghanistan the issue, saying that he was attending the event to support Heather because he believes it is important to save innocent lives: "It's just because there is so much suffering, that is really why I am here. I'm against land mines in general but I'm not following the situation in Afghanistan closely enough to know what's going on. I just agree there has to be some responsibility for the terrorist act but I'm not in a position to say what that should be."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 31: Sir Paul, Essayist

Sir Paul has agreed to contribute an "inspirational essay" to a collection being gathered by  Marlo Thomas for Simon & Schuster called  "The Right Words at the Right Time".  The book will be a collection of  inspirational essays written by luminaries including Muhammad Ali, formerU.S. President Jimmy Carter, Jack Nicholson,  Bill Cosby, Venus Williams, Katie Couric, Sean Penn and historian Stephen Ambrose.  Sir Paul has been asked to write about the best advice he ever received and how it changed his life.  All of proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which was founded by Marlo Thomas's father, Danny Thomas in 1962. 

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 31: Yesterday on Exhibit in Australia

Paul's handwritten lyrics for Yesterday will join an ensemble of priceless objects for the Australian National Library's Treasures free exhibition which opens on December 7.  The National Library has begged, borrowed, charmed and cajoled 160 of the most priceless objects held by libraries around the
world for this new exhibition. Sir Paul's lyrics will be exhibited along with extraordinary treasures such as a Dead Sea scrool of the Ten Commandments,  Albert Einstein's original E=mc2 manuscript, Alexander Graham Bell's early drawings for the telephone, the Requiem composition Mozart was working on when he died, and JRR Tolkien's original blue and green watercolour illustration for his first book cover.  Very few of these artefacts have been seen together and they will not travel on to other venues because of their frailty and value, totalling hundreds of millions of dollars.  The exhibit will close on February 24, 2002.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 30: Mary's First Show

Sir Paul was on hand this evening for the launch of his daughter, Mary's photography exhibition at London's Hempel Hotel, where GBP 30,000 was raised for the Haven Trust,a charity that provides advice and assistance to cancer sufferers and their families.  Mary spoke in support of the organizations: "What I really like about the Haven Trust is that they encourage sufferers to take up free sessions of acupuncture or Reiki massage.  I found it quite complicated with Mum, balancing the medical side with a holistic approach.  I really wanted to help their cause, so I've overcome my natural instinct to stay out of the spotlight."

The photographic exhibition called Necklines was commissioned by Thomas Pink in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and featured a series of portraits by Mary McCartney Donald of the necklines of famous personalities including model Helena Christiansen, singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Zoe Ball, Jodie Kidd, and Twiggy.

When asked if Mary would be the official photographer at his forthcoming wedding, Sir Paul replied: "It's much too soon to say anything about that. To be perfectly honest, I haven't really thought about it yet."  And how is Sir Paul following his automobile accident?  "It was actually weeks ago, and I'm fine now."  Sir Paul expressed his pride for his daughter saying, "This is the first time she's had a show to herself. I always knew Mary was a good photographer.  She's been at it for years. She started on her own and then had help from her mother, Linda."

In an earlier interview, Mary recalled that morning in April, 1998 when she took those last pictures of her mother in a field of daffodils.  Although Linda had only three weeks to live, neither woman had any inkling the end was so near as they talked and laughed together in the grounds of the family's estate in Peasmarsh, East Sussex.  Mary recalls:  "I just remember it being a fun, positive day. I was doing publicity shots for her new vegetarian
cookbook and Mum, who seemed to be in remission right until the end, was changing outfits and making suggestions. We were enjoying working together. Neither of us
placed the sort of interpretations on the shots that people would later make."  The pictures Mary shot that day were to become a final, moving testimony to her mother's life, capturing the quiet dignity with which Linda faced her battle against breast cancer.

In the interview, Mary also talked about taking the first official portrait of baby Leo Blair: "It was a great privilege to be asked but, also, to be invited into anyone's home so soon after a birth is really special. There was such a lovely atmosphere: everyone was sprinkled with baby magic and nobody had their guard up. I was really scared beforehand - I mean, this was Downing Street! - but Cherie and Tony made me feel totally welcome."  Mary claims that baby Leo is a "gentle little soul". He already seems like a very nice person. I'm convinced you can tell, even at an early age."

And what does Mary have to say about the encounter she had with the media at a film premiere in back in 1994, when she covered her head with her hands and asked, "Why are you taking pictures of me? I'm nobody."  She recalls:  "Oh my god! That was the premiere of Sirens and on the invitation it said, `Dress like a siren',so I wore a pair of thigh length leather boots and a leather mini, which really isn't how I normally dress. The paparazzi were pursuing me down the street and kept clicking, even when I jumped in a cab, and I was wailing, "Why do you want me? Nobody knows who I am. Hugh Grant's out there, take a picture of him!' "

Mary is still shy at making public appearances: "I've had to pick up a couple of awards for Mum, and each time Alistair (her husband) has been fantastic, coaching me on what to say and how to behave. But as soon as I get up on stage, my mind goes blank and I end up
just saying, 'Thank you' and bolting back to my seat again."

Mary had more memories to share about her mother: " She inspired me, but gave me
space to do my own thing.  A lot of people had preconceptions about her, that she was a pushy American and hard-nosed, but nothing could have been further from the truth. I wish everyone could have met her just once, to see what she was really like.  She was full of vitality and enthusiasm, and had a wonderful way of putting people at ease.  If there was an important meeting, she'd bake buns or take everyone on a tour of the garden to relax the mood.  Mum was so maternal and the complete nucleus of the family - it's been hard without her, but we're all close.  We stay in touch by telephone and meet up for birthdays and such like.  At least my mum was able to live a full life and see her children grow up. I like to imagine she's up there looking over us, making good things happen. But, try as I might, I'm not entirely sure that I believe it."

Of her father's engagement to Heather Mills, Mary said simply, "I'm really happy for them

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 30: From a Lover to a Friend Debuts at No. 30

According to Billboard Magazine, Sir Paul enters his fifth decade on the Adult Contemporary chart with From a Lover to a Friend  debuting at No. 30 this week.  This is first new McCartney recording to appear on the Adult Contemporary chart since Off the Ground reached No. 27 in June 1993.  Sir Paul's first appearance on the Adult Comtemporary chart was with Something, which peaked at No. 17 in 1969.  Even though his was a George Harrison song, it was credited to the Beatles, thus allowing Sir Paul to appear on the AC charts for that five-decade span.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 29: A Pre-concert Automobile Accident

It has been revealed that before the big Concert for New York City, Sir Paul was injured in an automobile accident.   On October 15, Sir Paul and Heather Mills were driving their  brand new Lincoln Mercury Hertz rental car through East Hampton, Long Island when they were involved in a crossroads collision with another car.  The automobile pulled out into the intersection in front of Sir Paul's car.  The driver of the other car claimed "The sun was glaring in my eyes.  It was a very bright morning." Sir Paul told the police that he tried, but could not avoid hitting the car.  After the collision, Sir Paul's car crashed head-on into a tree.  

The woman driving the other car was Ronda Brown, a 32 year old bank clerk.  She told police, "It was my fault. I did pull up at the stop sign, but then I edged out and I just didn't see him coming. He had the right of way."  Ms. Brown said she was amazed when Sir Paul climbed out of the badly damaged car and she realized who he was. "I ran over and Mr. McCartney and his fiancee got out and hugged me. He said he was okay.  He said his back was hurting but that he was OK. He told the police he was speeding at 54 mph. He was on the way to catch his helicopter. I have always dreamed of meeting him, but never like this. I was the one in the wrong, but he's so sweet. He gave me a big hug and said: 'It's okay, love, ' in a very English accent.  I felt so embarrassed. I even forgot to get his autograph."

After the accident, Sir Paul complained of back pain but was not taken to a hospital.  The other driver sustained a minor injury to her arm.  Both cars were so damaged they had to be towed away.   The towing company reported that Sir Paul's car was "pretty banged up. It had damage to the side and to the front."

According to the police report, Sir Paul wasn't carrying his driver's license, but he wasn't issued a ticket even though he admitted he was going 54 mph in a 30 mph zone en route to catching his helicopter. The official police report said: "McCartney states that he saw the second vehicle travel into the intersection and he was unable to avoid a collision.  Brown stated she made a full stop, looked both ways and thought it was safe to continue. Brown states that McCartney looked to be going fast." Minutes after the accident Sir Paul and Heather, were driven to a nearby heliport by a police officer.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 29: Talking about Freedom

Is there is a new new McCartney single?  It seems that Capital Records has determined that Freedom, the tune written by Sir Paul on the day after he witnessed the terrorist attacks on New York city, is a more appropriate choice as the charity single replacing From A Lover to a Friend.  The single is a studio enhanced live recording from the "Concert for New York City" and features Eric Clapton on guitar.
You can listen to this song at hollywoodandvine.com/paulmccartney 

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 28: Sir Senior Citizen

Sir Paul has granted an interview to Saga Magazine, the British journal for senior citizens.
Mick Jagger was furious when he appeared in last month's issue, but Sir Paul welcomes the
opportunity to talk to the over 50 set about Heather Mills and his new album.   Geoff Baker reports: "I knew  where the interview was going.  There is a new album coming out and we are publicizing that."

Although he does not appear on the front cover of the November issue, four pages plus photos have been devoted to Sir Paul's interview with Sue Blackhall.  In the interview, Sir Paul reveals that for the first time since losing Linda he is feeling a new desire for life, and that his new romance with Heather Mills has also rekindled his love of music.  He says, "I feel as though it's a good time in my life, having had a bad one."

He also talks about his new Driving Rain album, describing it as "fresh and raw" and saying, "This is quite a romantic album. And the truth of the matter is that it's a good thing to have romance in your life. We all know that."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 27:  For Sale

VH1 and eBay have teamed up on "Auction For America" to give fans an opportunity to own some unique pieces of music history.   This week, fans can go online to place bids on McCartney memorabilia including some autographed posters, an Alvarez guitar and drum heads.  All proceeds will benefit the Robin Hood Relief Fund, established by the Robin  Hood Foundation, to meet the immediate and long-term needs of victims of the World Trade Center attacks.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 25: Freedom on Driving Rain

According to EMI Germany's website, Freedom, Paul's most recent composition which premiered at the Concert for New York City last Saturday, will be added as the trailing track to his upcoming album Driving Rain.

(thanks to Evelyn Schwarz/Beatlemania for this information!)

October 24: Sir Paul on "60 Minutes II"

Sir Paul's interview with CBS newsman, Dan Rather, was aired this evening.  They talked why Sir Paul organized the "Concert for New York City":
"I wanted to do something. Like a lot of people, I felt helpless. I'm not a firefighter but my dad was in World War II.  He was a volunteer firefighter in Liverpool, which got a lot of heavy bombing."
How did his parents deal with the war?
"My parents' generation went through World War II, so I know how they dealt with it.  And it was with humor, it was with courage, it was with strength. It was also with music. They had to have something to keep their courage up. So they did. There was a lot of humor, a lot of music. And if it was good enough for them, I think it's good enough for us."
Dan Rather took Sir Paul back to the Ed Sullivan studio and showed him a film of their February 9, 1964 appearance.  As Sir Paul watched, he said:
"Good group. Wow you had to take me  back there, didn't you?

"It doesn't feel like 37 years ago. It's one of those staggering things about life, you can just literally seem a few years ago. And it isn't - it's a long time ago. But I have memories. It was very exciting for us as Liverpool kids to come to America and then to suddenly be involved in something like that. A really big show. And then the reaction to it, I love. I still meet people who say, 'I know where I was, I was in our sitting room and their dads invariably say, 'Those are wigs. They're wearing wigs.' You look at it now. It looks pretty short, it looks pretty tame."

After living through the painful experience of losing Linda, Dan Rather asked Sir Paul if he any advice to those who are grieving for loved ones now:
"All I can really say is that I think it's important to let it out, and to not hold it in. That was really the single most important thing I found. As a guy, you like to think you're tough, you can take these things, and you can give me your best shot. But, of course, when you lose someone it's not really possible. You can put it inside yourself and hide it if you want, but I don't think that's a good thing. So, for me, what I found was to talk to people. A lot. Not worry about crying, like a baby sometimes if that's what you had to do. And not worried about who was looking at you. And just really let it all out.

"After Linda died I didn't really do anything. Some people said to me, 'Get back into work. That's what you should do, put yourself into work.' I just couldn't. I thought, 'I don't want to.' Didn't seem like the thing to do. After I'd sort of spent the year grieving, I said, 'You know, what? I'm really blessed to have 30 years with that girl. She's such an amazing woman.' And it's not everyone has 30 great years of married life. So I looked at the positive aspects of it, tried to kind of rationalize it. And felt that that helped me."

And how does he answer the critics who accuse him of being an opportunist, taking advantage of the terrorist attacks to hype his album?
"If we listen to them, we'll all just be pessimists. And no one will ever write an up word ever again. No one would be able to go back to work. I know why I'm doing it. So end of story for me. I want to do it because the Mayor and the President have told me that this is the way to go, and what, who am I to argue with that? Let's listen to the bosses, for one. Let's show some respect.
"I think the day it happened I heard someone say, 'Well, we got this knuckle head for a President.' I said, 'Okay, listen to me, stop there. Yesterday he might have been a knucklehead. Today he's not. Listen to me, he's your President. Get with it.' I'm not normally that political, but I think that you've got to do that in these circumstances.
You certainly don't want the Indians fighting the Indians. I mean, people have got to rally. So I'm doing it and if one or two people might think it's cynical, so what? I don't care. I'm doing it for good reasons. And it will help people.

"I'll get people on the streets, particularly here in New York, 'Yo, Paul! All right, man. 'Let it Be.' You know, truck drivers, taxi drivers, just people everywhere. It obviously hit a chord, like it had done for me. That's something I really feel very lucky to be part of."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 24:  Breaking Records

Last Saturday's "Concert for New York City" proved to be VH1's highest-rated night in network history.  According to VH1, roughly 16 million people watched all or part of the concert nationwide between 7:00 p.m. and 12:45 a.m. (ET).   AOL provided nearly a half-million streams of the live event to their members worldwide.   As of today, the concert has raised over $17 million to benefit the victims of the September 11 tragedy.

 CBS has obtained the American rights to the concert and plans to rebroadcast segments of the show. A CBS spokeswoman said it is likely that the concert will be cut down to fit into an hour time slot.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 24: More On Paul and Yoko

In his quest for top billing on the writing credits for Yesterday, Sir Paul recalled another incident that took place during a visit to Vienna.  Sir Paul tells the story:

"I was in a bar and I grabbed the piano player's book. I'm going through it and it's Moon River, Hey Jude and at the top of the page, it read:  'Hey Jude, by John Lennon.' " Macca, 58, fumes: "He didn't have room for my name at the top. This is exactly what I'm worried about; it's my reputation and people think it's a major bone of contention with me, like I'm worried about John over-shadowing me.  I'm not."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 24: Help for the Horses

Sir Paul and his daughter Mary have joined the Viva animal welfare workers in asking the public to back their campaign to halt a "barbaric" export trade in horses.  According to a 50-page Viva report nearly 100,000 horses, ponies, donkeys and foals a year are being subjected to horrendous journeys as long as 2,500 kilometres, often without food, water or rest. Some 70% of journeys resulted in fatalities, it said. Most animals are sent to Italy, where they were slaughtered on arrival.   "The suffering the horses endure is indescribable.  Both Polish and EU laws could be used to stop this trade dead in its tracks. The whole business operates illegally, without permits and with no veterinary control."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 23: The Concert CD

Sony Music has confirmed that November 27 has been set as the release date for the CD souvenir version of Saturday's Concert For New York City.  A film version of the show is also being prepared, but Sony had not set a release date for the concert VHS or DVD.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 21:  Party, Party, Party

After the "Concert for New York City", Sir Paul, Heather and Stella joined the festivities at the Miramax after-show party which was held at the Hudson Hotel on West 58th Street.  Sir Paul and Heather were still dancing  at 4:00 a.m. to Dan Aykroyd, Jim Carrey and Sheryl Crow's rendition of "Mustang Sally".  Sir Paul then donned a policeman's hat, and answered Dan Aykroyd's invitation to lead the band in singing "I Saw Her Standing There".

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 21:  Back to the Ball Game

Sir Paul joined 56,374 fans in Yankee Stadium this evening to cheer the team on to victory in game 4 of the American League Championship Series.  Early in the game, Sir Paul's smiling face was beamed across the scoreboard as he sang along to "I Saw Her Standing There" as it was played over the public address system .  At the end of the game, Sir Paul jumped to his feet, supportively pumping his fist in the air and cheered as Alfonso Soriano blasted the game-winning two-run homer against the Seattle Mariners in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the Yankees a 3-1 victory and a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 20: "I will fight for the right to live in freedom!"

In a pre-concert interview today, Sir Paul told a reporter:
"Like everyone else, I thought, I want to do something.  You know, I'm not a fireman, I'm not a rescue worker, so there's no point in me really going down there. I've got to think of something else.  And then a friend of mine, the head of Miramax films, Harvey Weinstein, started twisting my arm. He said, 'Will you do this show?  This is a good one.' So I realized  that instead of doing lots of little shows, and split the effort, it would be good to do this."
And good it was indeed!  Sir Paul masterminded what will probably be remembered as the most remarkable concert in the history of rock.  The world's most famous celebrities and thousands of New York's heroes rocked the world this evening in an astonishing and unique display of talent and emotion.

For five hours the rock stars paid tribute to New York city's heroes - the firefighters and police officers who have been searching the rubble at Ground Zero since the terrorist attacks on September 11. The best seats in the center of  Madison Square Garden were reserved for these heroes as well as for the families of their missing colleagues.   As the television cameras panned across the auditorium, families and colleagues held up treasured photographs of loved ones who died at the disaster site and mouthed their names. Children wore the hats of their fathers who died in the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center and young widows held the fire helmets of their late husbands on their laps.

Although many tears were shed both on stage and in the audience, the concert was hardly a somber occasion.  It was actually a raucous celebration!   One of the largest ovations of the evening was reserved for the 6,000 firefighters, police officers and rescue workers honored for their heroic efforts following attack on the World Trade Center.  Some of these emergency workers, firefighters and police officers joined the celebrities on stage while others laughed and danced in the aisles.

Sir Paul appeared as the final act of the evening.  The entire audience greeted him with a three-minute standing ovation.   Wearing an American flag pin on his baggy FDNY (Fire Department of New York) T-shirt (a souvenir from the previous day's surprise visit to Ladder Company 55), Sir Paul sang five songs: "I'm Down", "Lonely Road", "Lover to a Friend" , "Yesterday," and  his new song "Freedom" which he wrote in the aftermath of  the World Trade Center attack.  Sir Paul also took time to speak to the audience:

"How about tonight, eh?  We did it because we love New York, we Love America and we love the freedom it represents.  Democracy, freedom . . . give me your huddled masses.  Defending freedom - it's what America stands for. That's a small thing those people don't understand. That's what we are fighting for...

"I love you, I love you. I want to thank all the guys and girls who came along tonight. Defending freedom. It what America stands for..."

"This is one of the greatest nights for me.  I want to thank you guys for everything you've done, on behalf of the British, on behalf of  America, on behalf of the world.  My father was a firemen during World Word II in Liverpool.  Liverpool took some heavy bombings. I'm proud of him tonight. I'm proud of all of you guys."

[Earlier in the day, Sir Paul remembered his father's bravery in this way:
"My dad was a firefighter in the Second World War in Liverpool which got a lot
of bombing. I always knew he was a firefighter but by the time I was old enough
to really take that in, he had stopped doing that job. With the attack, it
brought it all back and I am really more proud of him than I have ever been.

"I'm not a firefighter so I couldn't help in that way. I had to do something.
The only thing I can do is write songs and try to entertain people."]

For the concert finale Sir Paul led the all-star cast along with some of the police officers, firefighters and other emergency workers, in a poignant rendition of "Let It Be" followed by a a reprise of "Freedom" sung by all the performers.

As the final bars sounded, a roar went up from the crowd and Sir Paul shouted:

"We did it!  In the name of the whole world, thank you!"
He did it, indeed!  It was an astonishing and unique display of talent and emotion and an extraordinary celebration of the spirit and courage of New York city.

The performance was seen by an audience of 20,000 in Madison Square Garden joined
by three billion viewers worldwide via live television link-ups in 88 countries.  Sir Paul stated his intentions before the concert:

"For me it was a chance to stand up for democracy. A blow of this magnitude against freedom is unacceptable.  The hope is to raise a lot of money and a few spirits."
The show not only raised spirits all over the world, it also promises to be one of the most profitable charitable events in history.   Ticket sales alone have already raised 14 million dollars with millions more expected from callers who viewed the live broadcast on VH1.  In the end, the concert is expected to raise more than $150 million to benefit the Robin Hood Relief Fund, an umbrella charity aiding victims, families, rescue workers and others affected by the tragedies of September 11.

Before the performance, Sir Paul met backstage with some of the New York city heroes.   One police officer, Brendan Murray, asked Sir Paul to autograph his chest.  Seeing this, President Bill Clinton joined them and also signed his name over the officer's heart.  Later, Officer Murray explained, "The reason I'm here is for my pals," and he removed his hat to show where he keeps cards with the names of firefighter pals Arthur Barry and Paul Keating who disappeared in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

President Clinton remarked backstage, "I met children who lost their daddies and I met a lot of people who survived.  This is the first time they've had a chance to clap their hands and shout and dance. This is a great gift to them."

Heather Mills kept a low profile during the concert, but joined in the festivities at the Miramax after-show party which was held at the Hudson Hotel on West 58th Street.   There she danced the night away with Sir Paul and even provided some of the harmonies as the stars sang and frolicked until well past 4:00 a.m.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 21: An incredible Paul ends Concert for NYC

The concert for New York City - it's been VERY touching and heartfelt. Have you made your donation yet? Way past the scheduled five hours, the nearly 30 minutes of Sir Paul performing were clearly the highlight of this concert - and definitely the highlight of Paul's performing career. I wonder what the critics will have to say - they oughta be speechless. Whoever said Paul can't do it anymore was proven wrong. The band and Paul, and especially Paul's voice - were in excellent shape. Even this webmaster had his doubts if Paul could manage to sing live so well. He just sang like a young Beatle! Paul reached the highest notes without any sign of his age. And the vocal range of his new composition Freedom is, to tell you the truth, just unbelievable! Has Paul ever performed so well before?

Here's the set list:

  1. I'm Down (Paul on bass & Band)
    For me this came totally unexpectedly. This old Beatles song starts off acapella with very high vocal notes. No problem for Paul!

    You must donate when you play this video:

    30 second real video excerpt of "I'm Down"

    stream (DSL or cable modem)

    download first, then play (slow modem)


  2. Lonely Road (Paul on bass & Band)
    The opening track from Paul's new album. An excellent performance, even with just one guitarist.

    You must donate when you play this video:

    30 second real video excerpt of "Lonely Road"

    stream (DSL or cable modem)

    download first, then play (slow modem)



  3. From A Lover To A Friend (Paul at piano & Band)
    The charity single. Paul opted to drop the "dreamy" voice (as on the upcoming CD) in favor for a as-good-as-possible voice. Well done, Paul!

    You must donate when you play this video:

    30 second real video excerpt of "From A Lover To A Friend"

    stream (DSL or cable modem)

    download first, then play (slow modem)


  4. Yesterday (just Paul at the microphone, and a string quartet)
    Again this came unexpectedly. Paul just standing there, without any instrument, and he starts singing Yesterday - acapella - in absolute great voice! Later on the string quartet joins in, faithfully reproducing George Martin's original arrangement. This performance was very touching.

    You must donate when you play this video:

    30 second real video excerpt of "Yesterday"

    stream (DSL or cable modem)

    download first, then play (slow modem)


  5. Freedom (Paul on ac-guitar & Band)
    This is an absolutely new song (not on the upcoming album) which has been composed very shortly after the terrorist attack. As reported before, Paul sings about freedom and our right to defend it. It's a very very catchy tune which finds Paul at his best vocal performance ever!

    You must donate when you play this video:

    30 second real video excerpt of "Freedom"

    stream (DSL or cable modem)

    download first, then play (slow modem)


  6. Let It Be (Paul at piano, Band & All-stars joining in)
    A nice, pro-longed performance with several guitar solos, the 2nd and 3rd performed by Eric Clapton. Unlike the 1985 "Live Aid" performance, this one was really good!

    You must donate when you play this video:

    30 second real video excerpt of "Let It Be"

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  7. Freedom (Paul on ac-guitar, band & All-stars)
    Encore performance: Paul does Freedom again, joined in during the chorus by the audience and the all-stars (most notably John Bongiovi). Again a really incredible vocal performance finding a Paul at ease with the highest and longest notes. Stunning!

    You must donate when you play this video:

    30 second real video excerpt of "Freedom"

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October 20: More treats for us privileged fans

In his 3rd posting during the "Driving Rain" promotion/Concert For New York rehearsals, Sir Paul posted the following message in the forum at www.paulmccartney.com, today:

BACKSTAGE FROM THE SQUARE... by Paul McCartney on 20-Oct-01 

A big hi to all you little webcasters out there from Madison Sq Garden. We are getting ready for the show
tonight and have just finished our afternoon rehearsal.

Thanks for all your messages it’s a beautiful day here and we’re all excited about tonight. We’ll be
debuting a new song written specially for the event, in which we hope we will be able to get the
audience to participate. 

The guys in the band send their best wishes. They are ABE LABORIEL JR on drums, GABE DIXON on
Keyboards and RUSTY ANDERSON on Guitar. 

Watch out for the special footage we’ll be sending of yesterdays rehearsals and clips from a couple of
the songs we’ll be doing tonight.

Greetings from all of us here to all you rainy drivers out there. I’ve been asked to say hi juli so HI JULI
and Hi to all our other friends out there in webcast land.


PS Heather says HI too. 

And he made available for us fans FIVE videos from the rehearsals! Including the world premiere of his new song FREEDOM (rehearsal):






October 20: Some broadcast details

The Concert For New York will start at 7 pm ET/PT - this is 1 am (on Sunday) in Central Europe. 
There will be many ways to watch the concert: VH1 will air the concert commercial free in the USA and many other countries. There is a webcast on AOL (http://www.vh1.com/thewire/features/america_united/). 
German fans should tune into RTL who will also air the five hours commercial-free. RTL can be freely received in PAL throughout Europe in analog and digital via the ASTRA satellite system. Germans can also listen to the concert on the public radio stations NDR2 and SWR3 (the latter will also air highlights later on Sunday).

Everyone who misses the concert today will be able to buy it on double CD and DVD later!

October 20: The Most Daunting Gig of His Life

Sir Paul says that this evening he is facing the most daunting gig of his life:
"Singing is the only way I know how to help the people of New York. My kids are half American and I was in New York when it happened, so I feel I am connected.  I was sitting on a plane at New York airport and watched it unfold through the windows. It will live with me forever."
His new song, "Freedom" was written they day after the tragedy:
 "I was in New York when it was attacked. Immediately after the disaster I wrote this song which is about our right to live in freedom against any who would attack that right.  The attacks on New York were an attack on that freedom and we have to make a stand against threats like that.  We are not going to buckle under to threats from anyone and all of us here are united in our desire to make this show of solidarity. Freedom is our right and we are pulling together tomorrow in defense of it."
The song "Freedom" is a "Let It Be"-type anthem that says:
"This is a right given by God to live in a free world. 
We're talking about freedom 
And I will fight for the right to live in freedom.  
And anyone who wants to take it away 
Will have to answer because this is my right."
Sir Paul feels sure this will be a very emotional evening with firemen, policemen and relatives of the dead in attendance, but he hopes to raise morale as well as money though this concert:
"People have to keep going at this difficult time. It's going to be emotional just looking at all the firemen and emergency guys in the audience and knowing what they and their families have gone through.  It will be one of the most daunting gigs I have ever done.''

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 19: The Fireman Visits the Firemen

Following his MTV appearance, Sir Paul paid some surprise visits to two downtown Manhattan firehouses today, distributing 100 tickets worth $2,000 each for his Madison Square Garden concert.  Sir Paul said:
"We found out that some of the guys here didn't have any tickets. This concert is happening to honor brave guys like these, so when Heather told me they didn't have tickets I thought, 'Well, we've just got to fix that, haven't we.' When we found out that some of the guys did not have tickets for the concert then we had to get down there - we wanted guys from each of the stations at the gig."''
So Sir Paul  and Heather headed off to ladder company 55 on Broome Street and ladder company six on Canal Street, both of which sit within blocks from the smoldering remains of the World Trade Center.  The firemen were sitting and talking and drinking coffee when Sir Paul surprised them with his visit.  They couldn't believe their eyes.  These visits gave Sir Paul an opportunity to express his admiration to these men for their bravery.   Later, Sir Paul said:
"My father was a fireman and I was a war baby. It reminded me of what my father did in the war. The heroism of the (New York) firemen hit me in particular. These people were going into the building when most people would have run away.  It will be an honor to perform for them at the show tomorrow night.

"I was planning to do a concert of my own, but then I heard that there were a lot of other concerts, a lot of other efforts that were being mounted. Then a friend of mine persuaded me to do this one. So we all pooled our resources, and we're just going to do one big show. This is a show of strength in support of democracy. America is one of the world's greatest democracies and the attacks on September 11 were a threat to its freedom.  We are doing this show to raise money for the victims of the attack and to make our stand against any who threaten our freedom."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 19:  Sir Paul and Mayor Guiliani on MTV

Sir Paul and New York city's Mayor Rudolph Giuliani appeared on MTV today on a live television show called Remember/Rebuild.   The program focused on how the tragic events of September 11th are affecting the lives of young people.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will join Sir Paul again tomorrow as the Concert for New York City's guest of honor.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 19: Paul's 2nd message and videos

In his second posting during the "Driving Rain" promotion, Sir Paul posted the following message in the forum at www.paulmccartney.com

"Greetings this Friday from beautiful New York where the skis are clear and the weather is good.
This morning I’ve have done a couple of interviews, 1 for 60 Minutes with Dan Rather (which I hope was Rather nice!!!) and the other for Access Hollywood, with Pat O’Brien and I’m now heading for a restaurant to get a bite of lunch, and this afternoon were off to Madison Sq Garden for our first rehearsal there.
Those of us on the driving rain train will be sending you some footage of yesterdays rehearsal which includes segments of a couple of the songs from the new album that we hoped to do tomorrow night.
I hope you’re enjoying the build up to the show and the new album; we certainly are and send our very best wishes to you wherever you are
All the best 

Shortly after this message, 3 new videos became available on the backstage section of his official website. Here are some stills:




October 19: A London Benefit

Sir Paul and Heather Mills are to be patrons of the preview benefit performance of Kiss Me, Kate at London's Victoria Palace theater on October 25.   Funds are being raised for the International Rescue Committee, a non-profit group that assists artists and scientists fleeing religious and ethnic persecution as well as those uprooted by war and violence.  Tickets for the charity event cost 75, 100, and 125 ukp, and include a champagne reception after the performance. For more information and tickets contact Tammy Mattinson International Rescue Committee, 39 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3EG or telephone 020 7436 1333.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 19: Heroes Inspire A New Song, Freedom

Sir Paul has announced that he will unveil a new song at tomorrow evening's "Concert for New York City" inspired by the heroism of Americans in the aftermath of the terror attacks on the United States.  As a tribute to the heroism of rescue workers and as a reflection of his own defiant stand against terrorists, Sir Paul has composed an anti-terror song called Freedom, which he will premiere with an all-star band at the end of tomorrow evenings program.  Sir Paul said today:

"I was in New York when it was attacked. Immediately after the disaster I wrote this song which is about our right to live in freedom against any who would attack that right.  The attacks on New York were an attack on that freedom and we have to make a stand against threats like that.  We are not going to buckle under to threats from anyone and all of us here are united in our desire to make this show of solidarity. Freedom is our right and we are pulling together tomorrow in defense of it."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 19: The Biggest Benefit Concert Ever

The story goes that Sir Paul's idea to perform a benefit concert for New York city's firemen and rescue workers grew into the mega-Concert for New York City the moment Miramax Film's Harvey Weinstein became involved.  How did this come to be?  It seems it happened on September 23 when Harvey Weinstein flew Sir Paul from New York to London aboard a Disney corporate jet. (Sir Paul and Harvey Weinstein have been friends for 20 years.)   By the time they were flying over Greenland, Sir Paul had agreed to headline the concert.   According to James L. Dolan, the president of Cablevision and chairman of Madison Square Garden,  "Harvey basically got on a plane with Paul McCartney and wouldn't let him off the plane until Paul said yes."  John Sykes, president of the VH1 cable network adds, "I was at a Viacom staff meeting and I got a note: Harvey Weinstein and Paul McCartney on line 2.  They had just landed, and Harvey made him go to a phone right there on the tarmac." "After Paul agreed," Mr. Weinstein said, "there was a dam burst."

With top tickets for tomorrow's performance selling for $10,000 (the best seats, however,  have been given to rescue workers and victims' families) the concert is expected to raise tens of millions of dollars.   In addition, Sony's Columbia Records will release a double CD recording of the event which will go on sale Nov. 27, with a concert DVD to follow.  In addition, eBay will auction concert memorabilia, including T-shirts, programs, autographed guitars, and signed stage clothing. With the sale of the concert album and DVD plus the international and network licensing,  T-shirt and memorabilia sales, this will be one of the most profitable benefit events ever held.

Corporate jets have been in almost constant motion during the last several days, bringing in celebrities from all over the world. "We're running the biggest private air force in America," Mr. Weinstein said.  Once the concert begins, 18 musical acts and 21 other events are planned, a lineup requiring 850 staff members backstage. Seven of the more exclusive New York hotels are donating hundreds of suites, and 60 limousines and private cars have been put on call to transport performers to and from Madison Square Garden. Not surprisingly, a larger-than-normal security presence is planned, and although officials will not comment on specifics,  500 armed police have been drafted to guard around the venue.  Madison Square Garden, by the way, has had only two days to prepare for the event.  Over 200 workers are busy building a stage over the ice rink that is currently being used for the New York Rangers hockey games.

Saturday evening's performance will begin with an all-star version of David Bowie's "Heroes" at 7 p.m. The music is not expected to end before midnight.  Presiding over it all will be Sir Paul himself, whose finale will include a trio of Beatles songs, a new song called Freedom, and his new single, the proceeds of which will also benefit the relief effort.  According to  John Sykes, "This will be a loud, loud rock concert."

Sir Paul has stated,  "It's going to be an emotional night for us. It's going to be emotional just looking at all the firemen and emergency guys in the audience and knowing what they and their families have gone through."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 18: Sir Paul vs.Yoko and Jacko

During a candid radio interview with Howard Stern this morning, Sir Paul addressed a topic he usually only "discusses in private", his business dealings with Yoko Ono and Michael Jackson.

The Jackson began troubles began when Michael purchased the publishing rights to the Beatles' songs:

"I wrote [Jackson] a couple of letters and I said Michael, don't you think that even if I was just a writer on the payroll - after 30 years of being reasonably successful to this company that you now own, don't you think I could have a raise? " (Sir Paul, speaking in his best Michael Jackson voice, continued) "And [Jackson] said, 'Oh Paul, that's just business.' "
They haven't spoken since:
 "[Jackson] won't even answer my letters, so we haven't talked and we don't have that great a relationship .... I think [Jackson's] cash problems may be true. The trouble is I wrote those songs for nothing and buying them back at these phenomenal sums . . . I just can't do it."
Sir Paul further revealed that Yoko had a romantic interest in him, but when she learned he wasn't interested in her, she moved on to John Lennon, whom she later married.   The tensions increased when Sir Paul approaced her a few years ago with a request to switch the  songwriting credit on Yesterday from "Lennon/McCartney" to "McCartney/Lennon."  Yoko refused:
"This is probably one of the reasons we don't have a great relationship.  John's name was always in front and I said, 'Could we just on this one [song] just switch it, so it would say written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon?' And for one reason or another [Ono] said 'No.' It wouldn't have cost her any money. This is all legal stuff."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 18: A Rare Look Behind-the-Scenes

Sir Paul announced today that behind-the-scenes onsite footage of his rehearsal sessions for the Saturday's "Concert For New York," will be posted on MSN Music , WindowsMedia.com , and paulmccartney.com  moments after he completes his rehearsal.   This exclusive rehearsal footage will be available beginning today and continuing through Friday, October 19.   Sir Paul will also be available to chat via paulmccartney.com both on Thursday, October 18 and Friday, October 19.    He will be logging on periodically throughout the day to chat with his fans.  His first personal message posted there reads:
Paul at Howard Stern

As of 20:15 CEST, backstage video footage of the Howard Stern Show is being available.

Greetings to all you webcasters from the beautiful city of New York. We have started the build up to Saturday nights concert for New York in aid of the fire fighters and police dept and we are gonna be sending some pictures to you over the web real soon.

I started my day under a bright blue sky at Howard Stern’s radio show and I I’ll send you my greetings from there later. I met up with Ozzy Osborne for the first time and you can see a little of that.

We’ll also be sending you some street scenes as the excitement starts to build. I’m off now to rehearsals with the guys who played on “Driving Rain”, my new album released in November, so goodbye for now, keep tuned in for more fun from the big apple

All the best Paul 

Sir Paul will also give his fans an opportunity to listen to two new songs from his upcoming release Driving Rain - "From A Lover To Friend" and "Lonely Road", a song he recorded in his hotel room in Goa.

According to Dave Fester, general manager of the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft: "This rare glimpse into Paul McCartney's preparations for a major concert is a special event for his fans around the world.  Our hope is that this online special helps to make the concert a success in benefiting victims of the recent tragedy in New York."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 18: The Fireman Rushes In

Sir Paul has revealed yet another reason for feeling compelled to organize Saturday's "Concert for New York City" fund-raiser.  It was a request for New York's mayor, Rudy Giuliani.  Sir Paul said:
"I've been ordered back to work by the mayor and that's good enough for me.  

"It's a marathon, a bit of an epic.  The hope is to raise a lot of money and a few spirits. For me, it's a chance to stand up and be counted for democracy.  A blow of this magnitude against freedom is unacceptable. I wanted to put my feelings somewhere and help out.

"I personally think music plays a big part in the healing process. People find solace and comfort in music. It can be good for your soul. As a kid, I remember how listening to an Elvis Presley record would instantly get rid of a headache."

Sir Paul feels that the participation of so many of his fellow countrymen (Mick Jagger, Elton John, The Who, Eric Clapton and David Bowie) is a testament to the solidarity between the United States and Great Britain:
"We are allies, and this will prove it one more time.  The American government has been very sensible and measured in building a diplomatic and political alliance instead o rushing into something. Most of the world, including many Islamic nations, support this action."
With  5,000 firefighters in the audience at Madison Square Garden, Sir Paul anticipates that the concert will be a moving experience both for the performers and the audience.  "Just looking at them will be emotional,"Sir Paul said.  Their heroism has made him appreciate the bravery of his own father who served as a volunteer fireman during World War II:
 "It never really struck me before.  It was just me dad's job. But when the guys in New York were going into those buildings while everyone else was running away, I realized, gosh, my dad did that type of thing. Maybe it took this to awaken me. I felt so proud of him."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 16: Cooking for Charity

On November 30, Sir Paul will be helping Heather in the kitchen as they prepare a vegetarian dinner for their friends.  (See May 26 below) In return, their friends will be asked to contribute to their Adopt-a-Minefield charity.  Sir Paul and Heather will be among 1,000 other cooks preparing meals that day to raise money for landmine victims. In light of the recent tragedies of September 11, organizers hope that the participants will use this Night of a Thousand Dinners™ as a forum to not only discuss the global landmine crisis, but also the broader issues of global peace and security, and the vital role each one of us can play to ensure a safe and healthy world for all its citizens.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 15: The Driving Rain Cover

The cover for Sir Paul's new Driving Rain album is causing a bit of a stir.  It is a self-portrait of the artist in the loo.  Sir Paul took his unusual picture of himself with a mini-camera built into his Casio watch.  A friend of Sir Paul's has told the press that: "Sir Paul has always been interested in art and photography, so the watch-camera gives him the chance to capture the world from a different angle. He just thought this one shot was really funny. He has a really good sense of humor."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 15: A Longer Show, More Stars and Still More Tickets

It was announced this afternoon that the running time for the "Concert For New York City" will be expanded another hour to accommodate the increasing number of artists and celebrities who have come forward to lend their support to this fund-raising event.  The concert is now set to begin at 7:00 p.m. (ET)  The five-hour show will be telecast live and commercial free on VH1 (internationally on VH1 UK and VH1 European). The concert will be simulcast on the VH1 Radio Network and Westwood One and will be webcast on AOL.com.

As of today the all-star line-up includes Sir Paul, of course, Bono and Edge of U2, David Bowie, Elton John, Destiny's Child, Janet Jackson, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, The Who, Backstreet Boys, Bon Jovi, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Macy Gray, Goo Goo Dolls, Melissa Etheridge, Marc Anthony, Five For Fighting, and India.Arie, Harrison Ford, Selma Hayek, Will Farrell, Jim Carrey, Meg Ryan, Michael J. Fox, Susan  Sarandon, David Spade, Julia Stiles, Denis Leary, John Cusack, Adam Sandler, Jimmy Fallon, Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe. Paul Shaffer will serve as musical director.

Due to updated production reconfigurations, a limited number of new tickets will be available beginning at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday (Oct.16) morning via the Madison Square Garden box office, Ticketmaster phones, outlets and the Internet.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 15: Sold Out Tickets Still Available on eBay

Although tickets for Sir Paul's "Concert for New York City" have been sold out since last Monday, VH1 and Madison Square Garden have donated 250 special tickets to eBay's Auction for America, where goods are being sold specifically for the purpose of raising money for the victims and families of the September 11th terrorist attacks.  Tickets are being offered in pairs with bids opening at $1500.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 15: Sir Paul Speaks to Reader's Digest

The November issue of Reader's Digest contains a long and interesting interview the magazine conducted with Sir Paul in his London office.  The issue hits newsstands on October 23, but the full interview plus audio clips from the session and a gallery of McCartney photos are currently available on RD.com.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


October 14: Sir Paul's Views on the Air Strikes

In a statement delivered to CNN television, Sir Paul implicitly endorsed
the United States and Great Britain's air and missiles strikes against
terrorist targets in Afghanistan:

"I was very pleased to see that President Bush had an Islamic prayer read at the Washington Memorial.  That made the point that the current conflict  is not an attack on Islam, but just the opposite.  We are involved in striking  a blow for the freedom of religions, including Islam."
Sir Paul called the terrorists attacks against the United States threat to
freedom and called the United States "one of the greatest democracies on
Earth, containing people from all races and religions."
"To some people the West may appear to have millions of faults, but the West doesn't allow Hitlers, that is our strength. It may be our only strength, but it is a bloody good one."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 11: A Yankees Fan

If you were watching the second game of the major league baseball best-of-five Division Series between the New York Yankees and the Oakland A's this evening you might have noticed a highly visible
Yankee fan, Sir Paul McCartney, watching the match from his front row box seat behind home plate.  In fact, just before the top of the fourth inning Sir Paul was introduced to the crowd. The scoreboard camera zoomed in on his smiling face while Band on the Run was played over the public address system.  The 56,684 fans in the ball park cheered while Sir Paul waved to the crowd and and rocked his head to the beat of the familiar tune.  After the seventh-inning stretch, Sir Paul was seen wearing a blue New York City Fire Department cap on his head (and some reports say he also appeared to be enjoying a nice cold bottle of Budweiser beer).  Sir Paul left the game clutching an autographed baseball from the Yankee dugout. (Oh, the Yankees lost the game, btw.)

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 10: More McCartney Assistance for the New York Firefighters

Sir Paul announced from London today that he will donate all proceeds from the sale of his latest single, From a Lover to a Friend, to help the families of the over 340 New York firefighters killed or missing as a result of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.   Sir Paul stated :

 "I witnessed the last moments of the World Trade Center twin towers. Out of the window of the plane I could see the towers smoking and in flames and, like everybody, I could not believe what was happening.  As the airport was then closed, I stayed in New York for a week after the attack I was able to also witness the tremendous heroism that has come out of the city, including the bravery of the firefighters and police officers.  I have great admiration for the courage those guys showed. I feel a connection with them because my father was a volunteer fireman in Liverpool during World War Two.

"We're doing this big concert in New York to stand up for democracy, to honor the rescue workers and benefit the victims of the attacks and I hope that the sale of this new single will help to raise more funds for the firemen and their families.

"America is one of the greatest democracies on Earth, containing people from all races and religions and this attack on September 11th was a threat to that freedom. This is why we all need to stand up and be counted - that's why I'll be standing on stage at Madison Square Gardens with a bunch of mates in a show of solidarity."

The single will be released worldwide on October 29. The concert takes place on October 20 at Madison Square Garden in New York city.

New York's Mayor Rudolph W. Guiliani thanked the organizers of the concert in this statement today:

"New Yorkers are united in our resolve to rebuild in the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center.  The spirit of our City is stronger than ever, and it has been bolstered by the extraordinary generosity of individuals throughout our City and across our nation. Now, the Robin Hood Foundation, VH1, Cablevision, Miramax and AOL are organizing 'The Concert For New York City' to benefit the families of the brave firefighters, policemen and many others who lost their lives.  On behalf of all New Yorkers, I want to thank the entertainment industry for using their unique talents to aid our recovery effort.  Together, we will rebuild our lives and our City."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 10:  Sir Paul to Read His Poetry for a Case of Wine

Sir Paul has agreed to give a poetry reading at the the University of East Anglia nextmonth in exchange for a case of Adnams wine.  The reading will be a part of a literary festival at the university organised by Professor Chris Bigsby who said, "Universities don't have money, and anyway, what could I offer him that would induce him to come?  He's not coming for the money, he's coming because he's decided he would like to come to a writer's festival."

When asked about this arrangement, Sir Paul's publicist, Geoff Baker, said that "wouldn't surprise me. Certainly it is something he has done in the past. In the early 60s, The Beatles once accepted 'all the coke they could drink' for doing a gig."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 9: Charity Single for New York Firefighters



PAUL McCARTNEY is to release a global charity single this month in aid of the New York firefighters.

Paul is to donate the proceeds from the sales of a new song, "From A Lover To Friend", to aid the families of the New York firemen whose bravery has won the salute of the world.

The single will be released worldwide by EMI and Capitol Records on October 29th - nine days after Paul fronts an all-star concert at New York's Madison Square Gardens to benefit the victims of the September 11th attacks.

More than 300 firefighters are missing following the collapse of the World Trade Center twin towers.

Paul McCartney was in New York at the time of the attack on the World Trade Center. From an airplane waiting to taxi at the airport, he watched the tragedy happen.

Said Paul: "I witnessed the last moments of the World Trade Center twin towers. Out of the window of the plane I could see the towers smoking and in flames and, like everybody, I could not believe what was happening.

"Through staying in New York for some days after the attack I was able to also witness the tremendous heroism that has come out of the city, including the bravery of the firefighters.

"I have great admiration for the courage those guys showed. I feel a connection with them because my father was a volunteer fireman in Liverpool during World War Two. We're doing this big concert in New York to honour the rescue workers and to benefit the victims of the attacks, and I hope that the sales of this new single will help to raise more money for the firemen and their families".

(Thanks to Matt Hurwitz!)

October 8: Sold Out!

{short description of image}Tickets to Sir Paul's Concert for New York City went on sale this morning at 9:00 and sold out almost immediately.  The tickets ranged in price from $250-$500.  Some VIP tickets are still available available through the Robin Hood Foundation on a first-come, first-serve basis.  The three price levels are:

       • Platinum Ticket(s) at $10,000: the best seating plus an exclusive reception in the VIP Lounge with visits by the performers.

       • Gold Ticket(s) at $5,000 each: prime seating and private cocktail reception.

       • Silver Ticket(s) at $2,000 each (SOLD OUT): great seats! 

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 8: Stella's Paris Debut

Security is tight this year for Paris fashion week, but that didn't prevent Sir Paul from being there today to support his daughter, Stella, as made her eagerly awaited solo debut with an energetic Spring/Summer 2002 ready-to-wear show, her first collection under her own name since she became part of the Giucci fashion empire earlier this year.  Stella dedicated this first collection to "all those touched by the tragedy of September 11".  

The show took place at 9:45 this morning in the Entrepôt de la Sernam ( 8, rue Rambuteau, Paris 4e), a warehouse near the Georges Pompidou Center. Sir Paul, with Heather Mills and Chrissie Hynde at his side, showed support for his daughter by raising his hand and giving the peace sign from the front row. Security guards blocked photographers so that he and Heather could enjoy the show.  (Chrissie Hynde's reactions to the show were philosophical: "I think it's a very superficial thing, fashion, but I think it's a bit of fun. Some people can afford it. For me, it's always in perspective.'')  Other front-row guests included actors Dennis Hopper, Sadie Frost and her her actor-husband Jude Law, and artists Damien Hirst, Nan Goldin and Sam Taylor-Wood.

Stella's show is said to have pulled the Paris fashion crowd out of their depression. Her models strutted down the warehouse runway to the sound of hip-hop and reggae music wearing masks, veiled satin top hats, lacy body suits under long tailored trench coats, T-shirts bearing provocative slogans, mini dresses with science fiction and monkey motifs, and carrying handbags in the shape of a Paul McCartney guitar.  The show closed with all the models standing on a revolving podium in darkness under swirling laser lights bathed with the music of John Lennon's classic Give Peace a Chance.  Stella stepped out on to the runway, flashing peace signs with both hands, and said, "There is forever hope to build for peace."

Later backstage, humming Give Peace a Chance, Sir Paul paid tribute to his daughter:

"She's my baby and she just gets better and better. The clothes were beautiful and Stella is as ballsy as ever. The ending was moving -- there couldn't have been a better choice at this time."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 4:  Eric and Mick to Join Sir Paul in New York

Yesterday VH1, Cablevision, Miramax Films and AOL announced that Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Marc Anthony, Five For Fighting, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, David Spade, Julia Stiles, and Denis Leary have been added to the list of stars who will be appearing with Sir Paul at Madison Square Garden on October 20 for his Concert For New York.  This concert, conceived by Sir Paul, will benefit the victims of the September 11th attack on New York City and pay tribute to the spirit of New York and the heroism of the rescue workers who worked (and continue to work) tirelessly to save others.   One hundred percent of the money raised from the concert will go directly to aid victims of the attack and their families.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 4: Sir Paul in Paris Next Week?

Paris is said to be in a somber mood following the tragic events of last month.  Perhaps the McCartney family will brighten up the city of light when they arrive to support Stella's fashion debut next week.  Proud papa Paul will no doubt be in attendance on Monday when his daughter presents her first ready-to-wear clothing collection under her own Stella McCartney label.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins) 

October 3: Wingspan on DVD

An expanded DVD of the Wings documentary, Wingspan, will be released in the United States on November 13th. It includes original promotional videos of "Jet", "Rockestra Theme", and "Let 'Em In." 

Pre-order the expanded Wingspan Special:

USA order from amazon
order from amazon
United Kingdom (not available yet)
Germany (noch nicht verfügbar)

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

October 1: New Single Released to Radio Stations Today

Sir Paul's new single, From a Lover to a Friend, is being released to radio stations across the United States today and experts in the music world expect that this will be Sir Paul's most promising single in years. According to Jeff Pollack, a programming consultant form top radio and music video channels, "There's much more anticipation of a new McCartney record than there has been in years.  Paul being involved in a lot of key upcoming events sends a signal to people that he's back doing relevant things and should be taken seriously."

Music experts believe that the somber, reflective, nostalgic mood of the nation and the world since the tragic events of September 11 will be reflected in this bittersweet romantic ballad which speaks to closing a chapter in one's life and bidding farewell to lost love.  Beatles scholar and ICE magazine editor Pete Howard says, "The single probably will be received with open arms by the radio community, much more than just another McCartney single would have been in the last few years.  I hate to say it, but it's a good time for a new McCartney single like this.  Obviously, the most important thing is the song itself. Paul still writes great melodies, and in view of the events of past few weeks, there may be more reception at radio to a mellower song."

Meanwhile, the debate continues over who inspired the song, Linda or Heather?   To whom are the lyrics directed? "From a lover to a friend, Take your own advice, Let me love again. Now that you turned out to be, Someone I can trust, Someone I believe."  According to spokesman, Geoff Baker, Sir Paul himself doesn't really know: "He said he was not sure exactly what it means. But he admitted the more he hears it the more he is aware that it does have a meaning."

As reported earlier, the song will be featured in Cameron Crowe's new film, Vanilla Sky, starring Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz.  The release date for the film has been postponed until December 14.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

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