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April 30: Some Fresh Air

Here are some excerpts from Sir Paul's interview with Fresh Air host, Terry Gross:

What or who was the inspiration for the song Blackbird?

"Well, "Blackbird" was something I wrote in the '60s and the music came from--I used to play a kind of version of a Bach piece. Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da- da-da. I used to play a little kind of finger-picking thing on that. And so the music was inspired by that. And then the words were actually to do with the civil rights movement. I was imagining "Blackbird" being symbolic for a young black woman living in America at the time, experiencing the injustices that were going on then, particularly. And this was hopefully to be an inspirational song where, you know, even though she was going through all these terrible times, she'll be able to look and listen to this song and be inspired by it to continue to fight against the injustices."

And who was Ivan Vaughn for whom the poem "Ivan" was written?

" Well, Ivan Vaughn was one of my best friends at school, who was born on exactly the same day as I was in Liverpool. So when we discovered this fact in the playground chatting, we became instant good mates. And he was a really lovely man. He turned out to be a classic scholar. He went to Cambridge to study Greek and Latin. And the other important thing was that he actually introduced me, one day, to John Lennon because he was very good friends with John, part of John's crowd. And Ivan said to me, 'Come along to this village fair.' That was in the village of Walton where John and Ivan lived. And he said, 'Why don't you come along? It'll be quite a bit of fun,' you know. He said, 'And my friend's playing in one of the bands.' So I arrived there and saw John, and so I was introduced. So it was Ivan who actually introduced me to him.

"And so we knew each other for a long time and had this sort of mad sense of humor, so some of the references in the poem--there's a little line goes: 'Cramlock navel, Cramlock pie.' That would be the kind of thing Ivan would say and wouldn't explain it because that was his sense of humor. So he was a lovely friend of mine, and he actually contracted Parkinson's disease at a very early age, in his 30s, which is quite unusual 'cause he was so bright, a very intelligent guy. He understood exactly what was going on and he could keep up with all the research on it. So it was particularly sad that he died at an early age. So I then was moved to write a poem, and that really then started me on the path of writing the other poems that you find enclosed in this poetry book."

He was a bass player?

"Yeah. In those days, they had these things called skiffle groups, which is the beginning of the rock 'n' roll craze for us. None of us could afford real instruments. The one or two guys who would have these guitars which were guaranteed not to crack, that you found in the back of magazines, very cheap. But most of us couldn't afford that kind of thing, and so Ivan had a tea chest, one of the kinds of things that the tea used to arrive in at the docks. And these things, once they'd taken the tea out of them, they would go in spurts. And people used to use them for storage and things like that. And our crowd used to attach a broom handle and a piece of string and knot the string through the tea chest, the top of the tea chest base, and then stand the broom on the top. And then, with the tension on the string, you could get various notes. You could dup, dup, dup, dup, dup, dup, dup, dup, dup, dup.

"So an ace bass player then would have his tea chest and Ivan had drawn on the side of it 'Jive with Ive, the ace on the bass.' And he would play a sort of dup, dup, dup, dup, dup, dup, du-du-du-du dup, dup, dup. And you
didn't have to be very musical to do that, but he was great and he was in the spirit of things. So, of course, it didn't last long. Once we got actual professional equipment, I'm afraid he was out."

The first time Sir Paul heard The Quarrymen, what were they playing?

"They had a repertoire of kind of folksy sort of bluesy things mixed with early rock 'n' roll. And John and the band were playing a thing called Come Go With Me, which was a record for a group called the Del Vikings. It was an early rock 'n' roll record. But John obviously didn't have the record, and he probably heard it a few times on radio. And being so musical, he just picked it up. And so he was doing a version of it. But what impressed me was even though he didn't know the words, he would make 'em up and he's steal words from sort of blues songs. So instead
of the real words, which I don't know, but he was singing 'Come go with me down to the penitentiary,' which was more off Big Bill Broonzy or somebody, you know. But I thought, you know, that's inventive. That's ingenuous. So I warmed to him immediately hearing that.

"Well, they were doing two sets. There was one in the afternoon when I first of all saw them, which was outdoors, and then there was to be one in the evening. And meantime, they had all this time to fill, so they went into the village hall where the evening gig was to be. And they were sitting around, and with all this time on their hands, John, who was one and a half years older than me, had got hold of some beer from somewhere and was having a little drink. And we were sitting around and just playing various songs. And even though I was left-handed, I kind of learned to turn the guitar upside-down and just about play songs 'cause my friends wouldn't let me retune their guitars, obviously. Too inconvenient for them. So I had to learn this left-handed method. So I turned the guitar around--I think it was his guitar--and I played a song, an early Eddie Cochran song, which was called Twenty Flight Rock.

"And I must have done quite well because a couple of days later I was cycling around Walton, which was the area where I met John, and one of the friends, a guy called Pete Shotton, cycled up to me and said, 'Hey, we were talking about you. You know, we enjoyed that Twenty Flight Rock. And Would you like to be in the band?' you know. So I said, 'Well, I'll have to consider this, you know. This is a big move to me. I've never been in a professional outfit before.' I'd never actually even hardly sung on stage before. I think I'd just done it once, sort of holiday camp somewhere. And so I said, 'I'll get back to you on that.' Well, then a couple of days later I did and said, 'Yeah, you know what? That wouldn't be a bad idea'."

In fact, he missed his first  The Quarrymen gig because he opted to go off on a Scout camping trip:

"Well, I mean, you've gotta have priorities, haven't you, in life.  Well, exactly, you know. I mean, you know, come on. No, you know, the Scouts was kind of an official thing I took part in. And so if you missed it, you know, there was problems, whereas this was a new venture, you know, the band. And let's face it; none of knew it was going to lead to any of the heights it did lead to. So it was the kind of thing I was likely to pass up the band in favor of an important Scouting gig. So that had to go, I'm afraid."

When was the "Here Today" written?

 "I wrote that shortly after John died, and I wrote it in the upstairs room of what is now my recording studio. I seem to remember we had some time off in Key West, Florida, and it was because there was a hurricane and we'd been diverted I think from Jacksonville. We were supposed to play a gig in Jacksonville and we couldn't get in 'cause there was some great hurricane. So we had to spend a night or two in Key West. That's where we ended up anyway. And at that age, with that much time on our hands, we didn't really know what to do with it except get drunk. And so that was what we did. And we stayed up all night talking, talking, talking like it was going out of style. And at some point early in the morning, I think we must have touched on some points that were really emotional, and we ended up crying, which was very unusual for us because we members of the band and young guys, we didn't do that kind of thing. So I always remembered it as a sort of important emotional landmark."

What were they talking about?

"Probably our mothers dying because John and I shared that experience. My mother died when I was about 14 and his died shortly after, about a year or so after, I think. So this was a great bond John and I always had. We both knew the pain of it and we both knew that we had to put on a brave face because we were sort of teen-age guys, and you didn't talk about that kind of thing where we came from."

John wrote some very emotional songs about the loss of his mother, but Paul never really did?

"Well, no. Mine's veiled. My style is more veiled. And also, at the time the songs were written that you're talking, like Mother,  John was going through primal scream therapy ... And, you know, that's going to get it out of you... I didn't actually go through any of that. I had my own sort of more private scream therapy. So my stuff tended to be more veiled, or I would tend to talk to friends, relatives, loved ones about it in private. Mine would emerge, I think, probably in songs like "Yesterday." It's been put to me, although it's kind of subconscious, that the song "Yesterday" was probably about my mother. 'Why she had to go, I don't know. She wouldn't say. I did something wrong. Now I long for yesterday. That's yesterday, all my troubles were so far away.' I'm sure that was to do with
my mother dying. But as I said, the kind of age group we were then, it wasn't a done thing to talk about things like that. And it was much later, when John got into therapy in America, that he wrote some songs that directly dealt with it."

Musically, hat did he have in common with John Lennon?

" I think, in common, we both loved music. We both loved the same kind of music, and it was a very large spectrum. People often think of John as quite a hard guy. Natural fact, he had a very soft center. And I was privileged to see that, particularly in early days of our relationship. So he would love songs like "Little White Lies," which is an old song. [Walter Donaldson?]  Yeah.  It's a very beautiful song, with some beautiful chord changes. And it's not the kind of thing you'd associate with John. He was quite a sentimental guy. And I think he had to cover it up more. I was very lucky. I had, and still have, a very large supportive family. I've got relatives who are breeding as we speak. But John had quite a small range. He had a very strange upbringing, actually, which didn't help his emotional profile. He didn't live with his mother. He was brought up by his auntie.  And then his Uncle George died. And John I remember telling me once that he felt he was some sort of jinx on the male side of his family 'cause his father had left home when John was three. So I think John always felt somehow guilty about that kind of stuff. So I'd always had the strength of my family. I had people to talk to. So I think I'd be more open about that and John wasn't able to talk about that quite so well, I think, until he was much older and therapy helped him.

"So what did we have in common? We had a deep love of music, a love of song writing, which stretched from very early old songs that were beautifully crafted to much later rock 'n' roll songs, through people like Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, through a lot of Elvis Presley stuff, through Chuck Berry, who to us was a great poet. I think Chuck is a great American poet. Bob Dylan is another who we both loved. So we had a love of music.

" As to what our differences were, I don't know really. I don't really think about our differences. I prefer to think about what drew us together."

Did he write poems when he was a child?

"Not really because in school we weren't really encouraged to write poems so much as essays. So there was a lot of prose involved. I wrote a lot of prose. But I did once--as I say in the introduction to this poetry book, I did once have a goal and wrote a poem that I was hoping would get in the school magazine. I wanted to be published, like everyone.  But it was turned down flatly. And I didn't like that at all, so I've been trying to get my own back."

Is it true that most Lennon-McCartney songs were not actually collaborations?

"Yeah. Well, what happened was in the early days, they were pretty much--the very earliest days were separate. We wrote one or two songs separate before we actually got together. But when we got together and actually started writing, the earliest Beatles' stuff, everything was co-written. We hardly ever wrote things separate. But then after a few years and as we got a bit of success with The Beatles and didn't actually live together, or weren't just always on the road together sharing hotel rooms, then we had the luxury of writing stuff separately.

"So John would write something like "Nowhere Man" sort of separately in his house outside London, and I would write something like "Yesterday" quite separately on my own. And as you say, we would come together and check them out against each other. Sometimes we would edit a line of each other's, but more often we just sort of say, 'Yeah, that's great.' And very often, a line that one of us was going to chuck out, we would encourage the other not to chuck out because it was a good line.

"I had a line in "Hey Jude" much later that said, 'My movement you need is on your shoulder.' And I thought that was me just blocking out the line, and I said, 'I'll change that.' And he said, 'You won't, you know. That's the best line in it.' And similarly I would encourage him to keep lines in his songs that he didn't think were very good. And I'd say, 'No, that's a really great line.' There was a song of his called "Glass Onion" where he had a line about the walrus, 'Here's another clue for you all, the walrus was Paul.' And he wanted to keep it, but he needed to check it with me. He said, 'What do you think about that line?' I said, 'It's a great line. You know, it's a spoof on the way everyone was always reading into our songs.' I said, 'Here we go, you know. We give them another clue to follow.' So we would check stuff against each other, and it was obviously very handy for our writing to be able to do that."

Was he ever sorry that his songs were co-credited?

"Well, it was an arrangement we made in the early days, very early days. And of course, you know, a lot of people don't realize that we--our admiration goes back to people like Rodgers and Hammerstein, Rogers and Hart. We loved a lot of the work of those people. And so we were looking for something similar, so Lennon-McCartney grew up so that we would be a song writing team in the tradition of those people.

"For the first few years, it was fine. And it never bothered us. But more recently I must say it started to bother me because the kind of thing that would happen, in actual fact, to do with the poetry book we're talking about here, although we veered off into Beatle territory, Terry.  Let's veer back soon. What happened was the kind of thing that would spark the feeling that they, maybe, should be better credited the songs was that Adrian Mitchell, who helped me edit my poetry book, did an anthology of verse where he had my poem, "Blackbird"--my song or poem, "Blackbird" in it. And, of course, it was credited '"Blackbird" by John Lennon and Paul McCartney,' which was just not true. John hadn't had anything to do with that. So I started to think, 'You know, this is a bit of a nuisance because I don't want any credit if John's stuff gets separately put in something like a poetry anthology,' you know. 'And I don't want any credit for "Give Peace a Chance," even though I am credited on that. Some of John's stuff was purely John. And I'd rather it be that.

"So that kind of started me thinking. And then when we had -- The Beatles, Anthology record came out, I actually did request that on the song Yesterday, which was solely penned by me, that, for the first time in 30 years, I be allowed to actually have my name in front of John's; not remove John's name, but that we credit it, 'Yesterday by Paul McCartney and John Lennon.' As I say, John didn't actually have anything to do with the song at all. He didn't sing on it or play on it or write it. So I thought that was fair enough. And, in actual fact, I wasn't allowed to do that. That was vetoed. And it started me thinking that, you know, with the computer generation coming in and data being stored for the future, that there probably is a scenario in the future where someone will think that "Hey Jude," "Let It Be," "Long and Winding Road," "Blackbird" were written by the guy who came first, because you know the way computers often knock off the ends of sentences ...

" I mean, I just went to see "Miss Congenea" the other night. Do you know that I mean? On the ticket it didn't have time...It didn't have time for the 'lity.'   So this kind of thing happens. And I was actually in Italy and I was looking at a pianist's songbook, the fake book that the pianist was using. And I--you tend to flick through and look for your own songs, you know. You see, Fly Me to the Moon,  very, very nice. You see Moon River; lovely. You see, Hey Jude,  you go, 'Wait.' And this was credited 'Hey Jude"by John Lennon' just because his name comes first. So you've hit on a sore point of mine, there.

" I don't want to remove his name, but I must say just for kind of Trades Descriptions Act, as we call it over here, I wouldn't mind on the songs that I just did without John to have my name first. I think it would inform future generations as to what was happening. And it all began with my poem, Blackbird being, as I thought, miscredited."

Why didn't he include some of his early song lyrics in the new collection, such as Love Me Do or She loves you, yeah, yeah yeah?

"As my father would have said, 'Paul, there's enough of these Americanisms around. Couldn't you write She loves you, yes, yes, yes.?'  Even though he was very working class, he was fussy about his words.

"But, no. You know, Love Me, Do sounded good the way you just did it, I thought. So you know the truth of why it wasn't included was I actually--Adrian--my editor on the book, Adrian Mitchell, actually chose which lyrics he wanted in it. And so I allowed him that decision. I didn't want to have to choose between my lyrics, actually. So I just said to him, 'Which ones do you think will work best on the page?' And he included them even down to Why don't we do it in the road? Why don't we do it in the road? No one will be watching us. Why don't we do it in the road?, which, I thought, it's made to include that. But I actually did a poetry reading in Liverpool the other night, my first ever in the universe, and, you know what? I ended with that and got the audience to join in. And we had a ball."

What inspired that song?

"That was inspired by Lord knows what; probably sexual feelings, Terry... For such a nice guy. Yeah, you know, but I have my lewd moments. Don't we all?"

Dinner Ticket had no life as a song?

"That's right. That's just a poem, yeah. I'll do what I did at this poetry reading the other day. As I look it up, I'll tell you something about it. The story was the we used to have these things called dinner tickets where you used to get five a week; one for each day of the week. And they cost a shilling, English money, each. And sometimes, for one reason or another, you wouldn't use them. So my mother used to go through my shirt pocket to see if I had any leftover dinner tickets. And, unfortunately, one day she discovered a drawing which I had done--speaking of lewd moments. We've segued right into it. I used to do--I had a knack of doing these drawings which, when they were folded up, it was a fully clothed woman. When you opened the drawing--opened the paper, she'd leapt out of her clothes and now she was naked. And for teen-age Liverpool guys, this was a great talent and much appreciated by the other lads. They used to get me to draw them for them.

"Now, unfortunately, I'd put one of them in my school shirt pocket and my mother found it. Well, the shame of it was just terrifying and she couldn't talk about it. She got my dad to talk to me about it. And I couldn't admit to it. It took three days before I'd admit. And I said, 'No, it wasn't me. I have no idea how that got there.' I lied through my teeth for three whole days and then, eventually, broke down.

"And so I ended up doing a poem about it. And when I thought of the poem, it was one day when I was working out in the woods, which is one of my hobbies. So the poem is intercut with scenes from me out in the woods. It
goes like this:

(Reading) "Dinner Tickets." 'My mother always looked for dinner tickets in the breast pocket of my gray school shirt. Dried mud falls from my work boots. Zigzag sculptures leave a trail as I head for the woods. She found a folded drawing of a naked woman. My father asked me about it. Chain-saw makes easy work of young birch blocking my path. For days I denied all knowledge of the shocking work of art. Resting on a fallen log, I wiped the sweat from my brow. Admitting I had made the drawing, I wept.'

"It's a true story."

Since his father was an amateur pianist, were there a lot of records in his house?

 "No, not so much records. We didn't. We listened to the radio and he played piano in the house. But in actual fact, I can't remember him having one record, let alone lots."

Did the songs he heard when he was growing up affect his song writing?

"Yeah, very definitely yes. I loved listening, as a kid, to him play the piano. I can still remember now, sort of lying on the floor with my chin cupped in my hands listening to him play. He played from another era--songs from another era. One of my favorites he played was a song called Lullaby of the Leaves.  He used to play things by Paul Whiteman and his orchestra. He played Chicago --(singing) Chicago, Chicago.

"So I loved all those songs. You know, I loved hearing him and he would actually take me and my brother and he would educate us in his own primitive way, because he didn't know how to read or write music. He'd learned by ear, but he was very musical. And so we'd be listening to the radio and he'd say, 'Can you hear that deep noise, there?' He'd say, 'That's the bass.' So he'd pick out things for us to listen to. And he would sometimes show us how to do a harmony. He'd say, 'Now here's a tune and this is the harmony to it.' So in The Beatles--in the early days of The Beatles, I was very keen on us doing harmonies and I would have to put that down to him."

The vocal harmonies?

" Yeah. I would always encourage The Beatles to do harmonies or, if John had a song, I would immediately harmonize to it. And you can hear that right the way through The Beatles' career. I'm often harmonizing a third above John or we're often harmonizing as a group. So I think my love of harmony came from him actually sitting my brother, Mike, and I down and saying, 'This is how it goes'."

It seems The Beatles loved the energy of the harmonies?

"We did, you know. We loved it. I still do, you know. It's something I always say to people that if someone sacked me and I wasn't allowed to do this again, I'd still do it as a hobby. I love it so much, you know. I--you know, whenever I'm on holiday, I'm always picking up a guitar or playing a piano. In fact, I can't go through a room that has a piano without having to tinkle on it, even if it's just 'ting.' I just can't resist it, you know, much to the embarrassment of some of my friends."

Yesterday is the rewriting of his first song I Lost My Little Girl?

"No, that's not quite true. The--my very first song was called I Lost My Little Girl.  And that was written at the age of 14, but where, I think, the confusion is is that Yesterday was a rewriting of the original lyric of Yesterday because the song Yesterday, the tune of it, came to me in a dream. I just woke up on morning and I had this melody in my head. And being, by then, a professional musician, I thought, 'I wonder what that is?' And I had a piano by the side of my bed, so I actually sort of got some chords and put this tune to it. But I didn't have any words, so the original words to Yesterday were (singing) 'Scrambled eggs; oh, my baby, how I love your legs, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. I believe in scrambled eggs.' And I thought, 'You know what? The tune's too nice to have those as the lyrics.' So Yesterday is a rewrite of "Scrambled Eggs."

Ira Gershwin and other great lyricists used to use fake lyrics to give them the rhyme scheme for the melody.

" Well, that's it. Yeah. I call that blocking in. It sometimes happens as you're doing a song, you get a tune and it feels sort of silly going, 'Bah, dee, dee, bah, dee, bah, doe, dee, dee, doe, boh, bah, dah.' So you just go, 'I've a girl, dah, dah, dah, and somebody, bah, do, bah, day,' and you find words just come to you, some of which you keep; some like 'Scrambled Eggs' you lose quickly."

So did he mind when performers added  Yesterday to their nightclub acts.?

"No, it was very nice. It was very nice to have that because, you know, we thought what we were doing was quite good and we were proud of it. And there was this sort of backlash, particularly >from the elder generation. People tell me stories now. They say they were watching that first Ed Sullivan Show and it's always the dad in the family who sort of says, 'Well, them The Beatles, yeah.' He never likes us. And he always says, 'You know, those are wigs.' They always thought--the dads always swore the kids--yeah, the kids say, 'We knew they weren't. We knew they weren't.' So it was always the problem; the dad was always the problem. So I suppose he was symbolic of the problem. So that when people started to like anything out of our repertoire--it was a certain victory. And Yesterday was a personal victory of mine.

"I mean, for instance, the great clarinetist Benny Goodman, who we had loved and thought was great talent, started with some reason--and maybe it's just a journalistic thing--but he came out against us. He said, 'Oh'--you know, I can't remember what he said, but of course we hated him from then on. And we started saying, 'He's a lousy clarinetist. I mean, what does he know?' you know. So there was this sort of group that didn't like us that thought we weren't very good. So when  Yesterday came out I think a lot of them had to change their tune. And it eventually got recorded by way too many of them."

Does he remember the lyrics to his first song I Lost My Little Girl, that he wrote when he was 14?

" Yeah. Sure. I got to remember it now. This is a memory test. 'I woke up late this morning, my head was in a whirl. And only then I realized I'd lost my little girl. Her clothes were not expensive. Her hair didn't always curl. Duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, I lost my little girl.' Oh, my God, you would have to go through that, wouldn't you? I'm trying to look grownup and poetic here, and you're taking me back to my worst memories. No, no. It was the line, 'It made my toes curl,' and that perhaps should have been a line in it, 'She never made my toes curl.' Was her hair--'her hair didn't always curl,' which always got grimaces from my friends. But, hey, you know, I was 14. It's not bad for 14."

Does he remember the melody, too?

"Yeah. I'm not singing it on your program, Terry ... Buy the record."

Sir Paul was asked to read his poem Lost, a poem he wrote for Linda.

"Yeah. OK. One of the things about poetry for me is that it seems a good way of dealing with grief. And when I'm feeling low--when I was feeling low particularly after Linda died, words came to me in the form of poems. One of the two came in the forms of songs. But mainly they were just words and things would happen that I felt I had to set down, so quite a few poems, as you said, at the end of this book were words that occurred to me then. And this one is one of them, called Lost:

'I lost my wife. She lost her life. Until then, the luxury of no responsibility chopper wouldn't fall that night as clinched inside a glove we sucked each other's energy'."

And the line"'until then, the luxury of no responsibility"?

"You know, I was married for 30 years, and in a good marriage you've got plenty of responsibility, but if you're lucky, you don't feel like you've got any. So even though I had a lot of responsibility, obviously with the kids, Linda was cool enough to make me feel like I didn't really have any. I had the freedom; all the freedom to do whatever I wanted. So that's really what that line is about. It should perhaps be the luxury of feeling I didn't have any responsibility. But it came out in that shortened version."

The fact that his mother had cancer was hidden from young Paul until after she died.   Did he learn something from this when he had to face Linda's cancer?

"Yes. Oh, you know, we just have to face up to it by then because it was a different era, a different civilization. We knew that for instance we would have to talk to the kids about it whereas in the era I was brought up in, post-war Britain, it wasn't the kind of thing that women talked about. And there were a lot of things that women didn't talk about.  Periods, for instance, were completely forbidden for a mother to talk to her sons about. I think there are still a lot of people like that, but it was particularly that way. So when she got ill, she just got ill. And when she went to hospital she was just in hospital for a short while. And it was all not spoken about it. And it wasn't until much later that I learned that she had in fact died of breast cancer. So it's particularly chilling when
Linda contracted it. And there were plenty of echoes that I actually tried not to notice."

What kind of echoes?

"All sorts of things. I mean, my dad--I remembered my dad saying to my mom when she would get tired, because of her illness, 'Why don't you go upstairs and have 40 winks?' So that was something that I was very careful never to say to Linda out of sort of superstition, you know. I just thought, 'No, don't ever say that. Whatever you do.' So I would say, 'Why don't you take a nap?' You know that kind of thing. So there were all sorts of echoes. And obviously we were hoping that she would pull through and she would conquer it. We didn't realize how serious it was. So we stayed very optimistic and very positive right up until the end."

After being thanked for the interview and for reading >from his poetry book, Sir Paul responded:

" Good. Thanks, Terry. I'm glad you enjoyed the book. It's been really sober here in England, as we speak. And it's doing amazingly well, which is great. It's lovely for me just to have a poetry book, because I think it's the kind of thing a lot of people fantasize >from the very early age about, particularly if you like your literature. So it's lovely to have a book. And it's lovely to talk to you."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 30: GMA, part 1

The Good Morning America program is featuring a weeklong series of interviews with Sir Paul.  The topic of the first installment was the death of John Lennon:

"Like everyone, I was just totally shocked and horrified that this great person had been snatched from us. And we'd been robbed of this beautiful human being. And, at the end of the day, because it happened, we heard, in the morning in England. At the end of that whole day, after everyone had said all their bits, the phrase "and after all the tears", the phrase that kept coming into my head about the guy who had done it was, 'jerk of all jerks'.

"It's that guy. We all know him. We're all at risk from that kind of a person. But that--like I say, that was particularly, to me, to do it, the guy who killed John.

When asked about the significance of these lines in Here Today:

"What about the night we cried,
Because there wasn't any reason left to keep it all inside.
Never understood a word,
But you were always there with a smile"

Sir Paul replied:

 "That's actually a song that I wrote for John. And, after he died--and it was just me imagining 'if you were here today what would you say, you know, would you--you'd laugh--laugh it off and wouldn't want to get serious about it.

" The night we cried was a real night when we'd been diverted from--we were due to play--the Beatles--on tour, we were due to play Jacksonville down South. And there had been a hurricane warning, so we couldn't go in there. And we were diverted to Key West. We stayed up all night and we got drunk and we talked a lot. And we got way too deep and got into each other's characters. We never had enough time to do that with the Beatles, so this was probably a good thing. And we ended up crying. So in the song, I just--that's something we wouldn't have admitted later. I'm just reminding myself that we got that intimate, that's why we loved each other so much in the Beatles."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 30: The Paradox of Sir Paul

His "millions" of Liverpool relatives ("in fact, they're breeding as we speak") would never dream of calling him Sir Paul, he told the Manhattan audience at his poetry reading last week.  Such humility poses an interesting paradox to some - a humble knight who insists on going first class.  One New York publicist who succeeded in acquiring one of the few interviews he granted last week noted that Sir Paul has achieved the clout to have almost total control over his work and how his work is presented. For example, he chose the elegant walnut-paneled hall of the 92nd Street Y as the venue for his only American poetry reading, fully aware that this room had previously hosted such literary icons as Dylan Thomas and Seamus Heaney. According to the publicist: "When you're dealing with Paul McCartney, you do things his way, and then you say thank you."

Yet he impressed Bob Weil, the executive editor of his poetry book, with his humble and dedicated work ethic.  Mr. Weil remarked that he was impressed not only by the wisdom displayed in his work but also by how Sir Paul agonized over "a word choice, the placement of a stanza, the order of the poems. This is a man who doesn't delegate, doesn't leave it to a staff. If he's going to be a writer, he's going to do it personally. This is a man who has never lost his sense of self. He has not isolated himself in a cloud."

Rejecting the notion that he is "a Renaissance man", Sir Paul says rather that, "I have a passion for things."  During recent conversation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, he asked the "spry old codger" for guidance.  His one word directive: "Enjoy" and that, says Sir Paul, is what he intends to do.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 30: Autograph Signing in Berlin, Germany

According to a report of the German news agency dpa from last Wednesday, Paul McCartney will be in Berlin, Germany, on Monday, May 7th, in order to promote the new double-CD Wingspan, and to conduct an autograph signing at a yet-to-be determined location.
(thanks to Sven Keienburg for this information)

In the meanwhile, we have received further details:

PRESS CONFERENCE: Adagio Club, Marlene-Dietrich-Platz 1, Berlin
12.40: Arrival Paul McCartney
14.00: Entry press/media correspondents
14.45 - 15.00 Screening of the ABC Wingspan TV special (excerpts)
15.00 - 15.30 Press Conference and short photo call

AUTOGRAPH SIGNING: Stella Musical Theater, Marlene-Dietrich-Platz 1, Berlin
16.00 - 17.00: Autograph signing in the foyer

According to the management, Paul will only sign copies of the new album Wingspan. Up to one hundred fans might get the chance to get an autograph.
(thanks to the Beatles Museum Halle for this information!)

April 30: Wingspan Websites

Just like with Paul's last albums (Flaming Pie, Liverpool Sound Collage) or the Beatles record-breaking compilation "1", the internet is being used for promoting Wings' upcoming "Greatest Hits and More" 2CD package and TV special "Wingspan."

April 28: Sir Paul vs. McDonald's

Sir Paul has announced that he will refuse to appear as a guest on Chris Evans' Virgin Breakfast Show on May 11 unless he is assured that there will be no mention of McDonald's on the broadcast that day.  Sir Paul had agreed to appear on the show six weeks ago, long before he knew about the McDonald's sponsorship which began this week. According to Geoff Baker:

 "It doesn't take a genius to work out that McCartney and McDonald's don't mix. We don't sleep with the enemy so we're certainly not going to wake up with them on a breakfast show.  Everyone knows Paul's views on this and it's ridiculous to think he'd go on in these circumstances."

Virgin claims they will not withdraw the advertisements: "Paul and the Beatles music feature regularly on Virgin Radio. We'd love him to appear on the station. While we respect his views, as a commercial station we have a commitment and loyalties to our sponsors."  

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 26:  "Oh, this is fun!"

For only "the second time in the universe" Sir Paul treated an audience to a reading of selections from his new Blackbird Singing poetry book . "Oh, this is fun," Sir Paul exclaimed as each poem was greeted with rapturous applause by the audience of 1,500 who attended the 92 YWHA Theatre event.

The audience was also moved to tears, particularly with the reading of three poems dedicated to the person who inspired them, Linda.  He spoke at length about her and the rest of his family including children Heather, Stella and James.   His voice broke occasionally as he spoke of  Linda,  whom he called "my soul mate, the biggest influence on my life":

 "My favorite New Yorker was Linda and it became a very special city for me through her. When we lost Linda, for our family it was a terrible time. But all of us felt that she was still there. I hear things and see things that convince me that she is still around. We have these wind chimes and they would move and make the chimes ... and there would be no wind. I knew it was her. And I would be horse riding, which was something that she introduced me to, and for the second time in my life I saw a white squirrel. It looked at me and stared me in the eye. I thought it was her.  She was a very beautiful woman. It just takes one woman."

The audience rewarded his moving performance with a well-deserved standing ovation.

Following the reading, Sir Paul was interviewed by Charlie Rose for an American PBS television program to be broadcast next month.  Referring to his interest in music, poetry, and painting, he confessed:  "I'm a little wary of being a Renaissance man who does this and this and this.  I try to restrain myself so I don't come out with too many things."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 26: A Japanese Bonus Track

An interview with Tokyo's Daily Yomiuri Sir Paul revealed that a bonus track will be included on the Japanese release of his Wingspan CD. Sir Paul is also pleased with the timing of the release of the Wings project: "We couldn't have planned it better.  The Beatles 1 album wasn't even dreamed of when we started Wingspan. The timing is just lucky."

As always, Wings is always being compared the Beatles:

It was always in the shadow of the Beatles, even when we didn't realize what we were doing.  The critics gave us a hard time, and so we tended to believe them. If they tell you that enough times, you think maybe they are right. It was always like, 'We can never be as good as the Beatles because the Beatles were so good.' But we fought it. It was like a battle we had to fight to continue the music.

"In '76 we had a big tour of America, which was fantastic, much bigger than anything the Beatles had ever done.  Not that we were trying to outdo the success of the Beatles, but we did.  It was very gratifying to have two success stories and the second one was even outdoing the first one, which was amazing."

Sir Paul admits that this project helped him to rediscover his band:

"At first I didn't think there would be enough Wings stuff. We didn't realize how many successes we had.  People would say, 'I didn't realize that was a Wings track.'  It's interesting because it's not a well-documented period. It turned out there were 17 songs that sold over a million. That turned out to be enough time for one CD, the hits CD.  But there was still a lot on my list, so for the second CD I thought this could include the history; the stuff that wasn't a hit, but it's a good song, or it's important, or it's an unusual or historical recording. In the end there was more than enough for 2 CDs. I really like the two records and I play them in the car all the time."

Sir Paul also decided to include some of his solo work in the compilation:

"I thought it's a shame not to have songs like 'Pipes of Peace' and 'No More Lonely Nights,' which were big hits and from the period but were recorded solo. So the categories became Paul McCartney and Wings and (we included) any song that fitted into either of those categories. That gave us a bit more freedom.  That's why we called it Wingspan, which is just a period of time or actually the distance between bird's wings. The subtitle is The Hits and History of Paul McCartney, so it's not just Wings."

The story of Wings in intertwined with the story of the McCartney marriage.  Not only was Linda the only permanent member of the band, but she also served as the inspiration for most of Sir Paul's most popular tunes.  The Wingspan project gave him the opportunity to document their life together and to defend Linda's musical contributions to the group:

"Wingspan shows how cool Linda was, it really does.  That was a great reason to do it. As a woman she took a lot of flak. There weren't many women in groups. Now there are plenty of women; they are fully established. But they weren't then. It's great in the documentary to hear her talking. She has really great opinions on things."

In the interview Sir Paul shared some candid thoughts about his 1980 arrest at Japan's Narita airport:

"It was a strange thing. We'd come to Japan and we weren't very well prepared. I was worried because we hadn't rehearsed enough. Normally, we had rehearsed a lot, but with this new band, we hadn't.  We had a few days once we arrived when I hoped we could really rehearse. We had been warned repeatedly not to take drugs to Japan. We said 'We're not going to.'  I still don't know why I did it; I mean I must have been mad. At the last minute, like a maniac, I took some drugs. Which was an awfully big amount, it terrifies me. You see in the documentary the customs man's face, and you feel sorry for him. He just opened the suitcase and it's not even hidden underneath or anything.

"Now, looking back, it scares me. What was I on? It was very crazy. But I think I almost did it to myself because I was scared of this tour. In the end we didn't do the tour and we had to pay 1 million pounds in damages to the promoter, as it was sold out. It cost me a lot more than 10 days in jail.  At the time, it was very traumatic. It did end the tour and therefore did kind of end Wings. I'd become fed up with the whole thing so it gave me an excuse to get out of it."

Returning home to Britain, Sir recorded his experiences in a book:

"I wrote it for my children.  That castaway experience in a foreign country is so frightening. I wrote it all down when I got back, while it was fresh in my memory and called it Japanese Jailbird. I gave copies to my children and some friends. I figured one day, they'd wonder what it was like."

Sir Paul is proud of the tremendous success of the Beatles 1 album:

"I think it's fabulous, I think it's a great record. I played it a lot over Christmas, which is unusual for me. I was very impressed with the structure of the songs. That's what hit me--like an architect looking at buildings he'd made in the past.   And it's loads of new kids listening to it, which is great. It's reaching a whole new generation. The parents say the kids don't care what generation it comes from; its just good music to them. I actually signed seven copies of the record for Steven Spielberg's children."

Could this new popularity prompt a Beatles reunion?

"As I've said before, the Beatles can't reunite because John isn't here, and it's the same with Wings. They couldn't reunite because Linda isn't here."

And what kind of music does Sir Paul enjoy?

"Some people create barriers for music, they say they like only folk music or jazz or whatever. I like all fields of music. My record collection contains records from Chopin, Nat King Cole, Radiohead, the Beatles, and Indian music. I have very wide tastes.  Many people put these barriers in life. I've been very lucky to be liberated quite young in the '60s. My mind got free and I realized that it was possible to do many things if you want to."

And might there be another tour in the future?

"I don't see why not. I'm 58 and I can't believe it. I'm really enthusiastic and I love it and I feel exactly the same inside. I have so much energy. I feel really good.  I have had a very difficult period since Linda died; that was a very difficult couple of years. Dealing with her illness was very, very hard. But I feel like I'm coming out of that now. It's like coming out the other end of the tunnel. It feels nice. Springtime is coming and I've got a new album and I've got Wings."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 25: Memories of the Japanese Prison

After 21 years, Sir Paul has revealed some of the details of his experience following his arrested at Tokyo airport in 1980 when customs officers seized marijuana from his suitcase.  During an interview for the Wingspan documentary, he told his daughter, Mary:

"I was thrown into nine days of turmoil in that Japanese jail.  It was very, very scary for the first three days. I don't think I slept very much at all. And when I did sleep I had very bad dreams.  I don't know what possessed me to just stick this bloody great bag of grass in my suitcase. Thinking back on it, it almost makes me shudder.  I think, I don't believe that, how could I do that? How could Linda who was much smarter than me let me do that?  I must just have said, 'Oh baby, don't worry, it'll be alright'.

"I really thought I was such an idiot. I didn't have a change of clothes. I couldn't see anyone. I couldn't even have a book. And of course they were all speaking Japanese and I couldn't understand a word of it. It took me three days to realize that you were allowed a change of clothes. I'd just worn this green suit that I'd arrived in and hadn't taken it off.

"I was scared because the actual penalty for what I did was seven years hard labor.  After a few days I started to see lawyers, but nobody actually said they would be able to get me out.  After a few days I became like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape. My sense of humor and natural survival instinct started to kick in. 'I realized from all the movies I'd ever seen and from all the books I'd ever read that the gig in the morning is that you've got to clean your cell. They'd put a reed brush and a little dustpan through the grill in the cell door.  I started to realize, 'Right, I'm going to get up when the light goes on, I'm going to be the first up, I'm going to be the first with his room cleaned, I'm going to roll up my bed, I'm going to do this, I'm going to do that.' You had to clean your room and then sit cross-legged on your blanket, and you went 'Hai and the guard came and said, 'OK, you can get washed'.   The first couple of days I'd been the last to get washed because I hadn't figured it out. But once I understood what was needed I started to become the guy who was cleaned first, who got to do his teeth first.

"During what they used to call the exercise period I'd squat down with all the other prisoners and you were allowed to have a cigarette. You squatted around a tin can, like a baked bean can, smoking your cigarette and tapping the ash in the can.

"There was one guy who spoke English. He was a student, in for social unrest. He was quite clever a bit of a Marxist. I could talk to him.  There was another guy who was in for murder, a gangster guy. He had a big tattoo on his back which is the sign of gangsters in Japan. I started to become one of the lads. I started doing games with these guys. One of my games was something we'd played in the studio with The Beatles. It was who can touch the highest part of the wall. Of course, because I was taller than the other prisoners as they were Japanese, I tended to win that game.

"So I was doing all of that, almost enjoying it by the end.

After 9 days, he was released, returned home, had a cup of tea and a long sleep, and never spoke of his "very, very scary experiences" until now.    "When I got out Linda said I'd got institutionalized."

It was after this Japanese experience, he decided to disband Wings:

"It wasn't fun anymore and the bust definitely sort of cemented that. It was like, 'Oh God, who needs all this '  The band was very annoyed with me because me being busted had blown one of their big pay days. Nobody was too happy with me at the time.  Everyone had told us, 'Don't take drugs to Japan'."

From the start, the McCartneys had met with fierce criticism for taking their young children on tour with them:

 "Basically we took the kids on the road with us because we love them. The idea of leaving them with a nanny or in a boarding school was abhorrent to us.  Our concern was always that we'd be in somewhere like Adelaide and some nanny would ring up from back home.  She'd say one of the children had a serious fever.  Linda and I wouldn't be able to stand that, your child being ill and you not being there at their side."

All the kids turned out to be very smart.  They all passed their exams in the end, so it obviously wasn't a bad thing to do.  And we all turned out to be a very close, loving family."

The production of  Wingspan has been a family affair largely through the work of  his son-in-law Alistair Donald:

"I once said to Linda, 'You know, all these home movies and snap shots that we've been taking of the kids growing up, when do we intend to look at them?'  Unknown to me, Linda had had another special album made up of photos and she'd asked Alistair to put together with Mary what they called The Anniversary Tape.

"At the end of seeing it, Linda and I said: 'You know, that would have made a great TV show.'  It was a little bit too personal for TV, but it gave us the idea for Wingspan.  We decided that Alistair should tell the story for the first time."

The documentary opens with the period following the breakup of the Beatles:

 "It was the hardest act to follow. I could have just got together a super group of famous friends.  Or I could have just gone on tour on my own and just sung my Beatle songs.  But I decided not to do that and the best thing was to just totally learn our craft again from the ground up, like going back to the shop floor.

"Linda and I used to call it our 'funky period' with Wings because it was pretty funky.  We were going against all of the normal rules and just seeing if you could do it this different way. Really it was just the beginning of all of that alternative lifestyle."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 24: The McCartneys do New York City

While Stella McCartney was arriving hand-in-hand with Gwyneth Paltrow for the festivities inaugurating the Metropolitan Museum of Art's exquisite exhibition, Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years, her father was attending a gala on the other side of Manhattan, the Lincoln Center benefit for the international writers' organization PEN.  Sir Paul donned his tuxedo and sneakers and joined hundreds of famous best-selling authors such as Wally Lamb, Frank McCourt, Dominick Dunne, Barbara Goldsmith, Oscar Hijuelos and E.L. Doctorow to honor the intellectual courage of prosecuted Iranian publisher, Shahla Lahiji and political prisoner/novelist Momadali Mahmudov both of whom received the 2001 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award.

Between dances with Heather Mills, Sir Paul discussed his own literary work with fellow musician/poet, Paul Simon, who plans to publish a poetry book of his own next year.  Sir Paul's advice about dealing with the literary critics:   "I can't be bothered with reviews at this stage of my life. If you don't like it, read my lips - **** you."

Ms.Mills offered a critique of her own, stating that the lyrics to "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" are some of his best verse:  "I find it very visual and a little bit scary.  And nothing scares me much."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 24: Poetry Reading in New York City

Sir Paul's poetry reading/interview is sold out!  He will appear at 8:00 p.m. this evening at New York City's leading cultural center, the 92nd Street Y (1395 Lexington Avenue) to discuss his poetry book, Blackbird Singing.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 24: Sir Paul Live on BBC Radio 5

On Tuesday, May 8 between 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Simon Mayo debuts his new BBC Radio 5 Live program featuring Paul McCartney as his first celebrity interview guest.  

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 23: It All Began with a Toss of a Coin

Sir Paul fondly recalls the spontaneous early days of Wings in an interview with Patrick Humphries of the Sunday Express. It all started in front of their London home when the McCartneys flipped a coin to determine if the band would travel north or south for their first gig.  North won the call, so the band drove up to Ashby de la Zouch "but they didn't have a university, so we proceeded to Nottingham and they did have a university, so we played there - 50p on the door!" Sir Paul recalls.   Following the bitter breakup of the Beatles, he wasn't quite sure how to get stared again:

"I wanted to continue doing music but I didn't want to do a Blind Faith-type supergroup.  I don't know why - that would have been easy, and more profitable probably. I didn't know how you got a group together because I'd always joined a ready-made one, but it seemed to me the best way was to start something just for fun and see if anything serious developed. So I got together a bunch of mates, including my wife, that I thought I'd feel comfortable with.

"I wanted to tread the path that would remind us where it was all at rather than the cosseted, 'Why don't you start at the London Palladium with an orchestra, or with some famous people alongside you?'  It wasn't like going back to square one. At least at square one we'd gone home at night and had something to eat. It was very strange - we had dogs and children with us but it got a great camaraderie going within the band, so we had some laughs."

Sir Paul also recalls the harsh criticism Linda attracted:

"She would sometimes cry before the shows, which was nerve racking. But if you want to go back to square one you have to brave it. I use the word brave because there is fear involved but alongside that fear was also a lot of hysterical laughter.  There were some great moments, such as the night she forgot the opening chords to Wild Life. I went '1-2-3 1-2-3 ' and there was silence from the back of the stage. I looked back and she gave me a look of blind terror. The audience tittered a bit and I thought, 'Well, I remember them' so I went back and stood at the keyboard. Now it was beginning to look like a comedy act.
It was beginning to look good - the best bit of professional business we had. And then I couldn't remember them either!

"The tittering was growing, so I walked back to the microphone thinking we'd better do another song and suddenly she said, 'I've got it'. The audience cheered loudly and loved that song. Actually, I think audiences like that because it shows you're human."

Sir Paul is pleased that his new Wingspan CD will give him the opportunity to recognize Linda's important contributions to the band:

"Her original panic gave way to learning chords and she became very capable. People prefer to hold on to their first impression that she couldn't do it but she became very good at harmonies and keyboards.

"We started out knowing we wouldn't be very good, and that we'd have to make our mistakes in public. But she got much more confident as her abilities improved. She became the ballsiest member of the group. Very upfront, really relating to the audience. So many of the things people would say to put her down came full circle. They made fun of her fashions but she was a huge influence on Stella - Stella will tell you that. How's that for full circle?"

Linda also served as the inspiration for one of Wings' best-loved songs My Love:

"Whenever you sit down to write, you want to write the best song you've ever written. I don't think you ever want to write the second best or the worst. So I sat down wanting to write a great ballad for Linda and was very happy when that one popped out."

And then there's the Picasso story:

"We used to go to Jamaica a lot because we really loved reggae and the whole musical atmosphere. It just so happened that Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman were filming Papillon near where we were staying. We got spotted by someone on the film crew and became friends with Dustin and Steve, and Dustin asked us back to his house.

"His lawyer was rewriting the script, which struck me as a bit funny but apparently they do those kind of things in Hollywood.  We were having a drink and I was sitting around strumming my guitar when Dustin said, 'Can you write a song about anything? What about this?' and he pulled out the Newsweek report about Picasso's last night on Earth and the last words he'd said to his friends before going to bed: 'Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can't drink any more'.

"So I just strummed a G-chord and started singing them. It was a great moment. He started yelling to everyone, 'Come and listen to this, he's making up a song about this. I just gave him the words and he's done it'. You know, if you're a songwriter and you can do that kind of thing, it's a bit of a party trick. I'm very glad he inspired me to write it - although Picasso gave me the lyrics. That's a nice lineage: Picasso via Dustin Hoffman via me."

Despite enjoying great success with both Wings and his solo career, the Beatles still remain Sir Paul's ultimate triumph:

"That's my problem, following on. In my case, a lot of it is following on from John, and, in Wings' case, following on from the Beatles, which we all knew was impossible to do. But I'm happy to be the person who followed on from John. I think it's a privileged position but it does mean some people dismiss the stuff I do.

"It is an unfortunate fact for people who don't like me that I wrote the majority of that album ('1'). It's not something I want to boast about but in my own mind I'm satisfied that I did OK - and that John did OK too, but not appreciably better than me. That's a difficult thing to say because he got murdered. And he's so well thought of - mostly by me - but I think when it comes to a sort of boxing match, you've got to put your dukes up.

"John had an upbringing that caused him to be fearful of the world, and his answer to that fear was to get a very hard shell. But John was great - a soft guy, in the nicest sense, a great lovable guy. People who really knew him, not people who just knew his hard-hitting image, knew that, and that was actually what you ended up loving about him.

"John would like to have time off - as would I - but if he heard me doing something he thought was good, he felt he had to wake up and go to work. That was the great thing about the Beatles. We woke each other up occasionally.

"I heard a great story, that one of John's mates was in New York and brought him Coming Up, and John said, 'Oh f***, I've got to go back to work!' Now, I love that. That rings very true and I think in many ways sets the record straight. He was a very insecure guy as well as being massively talented."

Then in 1977 there was the huge success of Mull Of Kintyre which became the biggest selling single ever released in the UK, replacing the previous record holder, the Beatles' She Loves You:

"Yeah, I had a hand in that one, too. I shook my head to that - and I wiggled my sporran to this one. But it wasn't my answer to punk. It wasn't planned. I just happened to be spending quite a bit of time in Scotland and it occurred to me that there hadn't been any new Scottish songs for a while, so maybe I should try and write one.

"I asked the local head of the pipers up to the farm and we sat in the garden because the pipes were too loud for the kitchen and I wrote Mull Of Kintyre like a little folk song. Then the pipers came up and we had a fantastic evening - with McEwan's beer. By the end of the night, they were all very red-faced and beaming. And they said that's a #1, that is. I thought, well, it does sound good but I don't know about #1. "

There were dark times as well, such has his arrest during the 1980 Japanese tour:

"I do surprise myself how silly I was. But after having been warned by everybody not to take dope into Japan, I took a very big bag and put it right on top of the suitcase.

"Maybe I'm mad, maybe I'm perverse, or maybe I'm amazed. But when I see that film it brings back how embarrassed this Japanese guy is opening my suitcase and right on top of it was this very big plastic bag of this herbal-looking substance. I still can't believe it.  I had plenty of time to reflect but not to be rehabilitated, unfortunately, during my nine days in jail. I was just left to reflect."

About recording his new album in Los Angeles he says, "I've just had a really cool couple of weeks." And what about Heather Mills?  Is she more of a Wings than Beatles fan?

"Yeah, definitely, she's more Wings. She didn't hear much Beatles stuff when she was growing up. She had a very strange childhood, involving all sorts of deprivation and stuff, so she didn't have much chance to hear the music then. But now, having heard quite a bit of it, she still likes the Wings stuff.

"It is a generational thing and I like that layering of generations. It's great for me to realize that I've spanned quite a few - and now, with the Beatles' 1, it's come full circle. People say to me, 'You know, my eight-year-old loves you...'."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 22: Troubled Waters

The paparazzi spoiled their lovely afternoon in New York City.   Sir Paul and Heather Mills were enjoying a paddle around Central Park in their row boat when they spotted a photographer hiding in the bushes.  Sir Paul was forced into a hasty escape from the park, complaining that the intruder had ruined his day.

Meanwhile, back home, daughter Heather is having some unhappy (and bizarre) new homeowner experiences of her own.  After purchasing a cottage near her father's home in Pett, East Sussex, she arranged for an old tree on her property to be removed as it was damaging the foundations of her new home.   The local villagers have risen up in protest, attempting to prevent the 150-year-old "landmark" from being chopped down.  One of Heather's friends states that: "She's worried sick about upsetting the village.  She just wanted a chance to live in peace among amenable people."

Now Heather has been informed that she has also incurred the wrath of another group as well.   Hundreds of druids and white witches are preparing to surround the tree on May 7 (the pagan festival of the waking of Jack in the Green) to protest the impending tree removal because they believe the yew to be "sacred" (they use its wood to make their wands).  One Arthur Pendragon, who claims to be the reincarnation of King Arthur, has threatened to chain himself to Heather's tree.

Meanwhile, the parish council has placed an emergency preservation order on on the tree.  According to a local citizen:  "We haven't got anything against the McCartney's, it wouldn't matter if the Queen lived there, yew trees are hallowed ground."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins) 

April 21: New York's Adopt-a-Mindfield Benefit

Last evening Sir Paul appealed to the 200 guests at a new Cherry Bar cocktail party held in his honor to open their wallets and "adopt-a-minefield" so that his dream of a world without the killer weapons can become a reality.  He asked them to imagine living in a country where, after the end of a terrible war, one would no longer be able to walk on the beach or in the countryside for fear of stepping on a mine and being killed or severely injured.  ''My take on the whole thing is that it's not a brave weapon.  That's why I want to see the world rid of these weapons.  We hope eventually -  no,  more than hope - we ARE going to clear this world of mines,'' he said.

Sir Paul's appeal hopes to raise funds to clear existing minefields, an effort which can cost from thousands  up to millions of dollars depending on the complexity of the project.  The campaign has raised $2.9 million to date and hopes to top $3 million with contributions from Friday evening's guests which included U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, designer Tommy Hilfiger, actors Aidan Quinn and Steve Buscemi, and band leader Paul Shaeffer.

Bill Leurs, president of the United Nations Association of the U.S., the organization which implements the Adopt-a-Minefield campaign, invited all the guests to yet an even larger fundraiser next month.  The event, chaired by Sir Paul and Heather Mills, will be held in Los Angeles on June 14.  Film director Steven Spielberg will also participate in the function.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 20: He's the Music World's First Billionaire

According to the London's Sunday Times' annual list of the country's wealthiest people, Sir Paul tops the list as the U.K.'s richest musician.   Last year his personal fortune increased by 163 million pounds ($235 million) to 713 million pounds ($1 billion) placing him at the top of the music list, and 36th on the overall list.  Sir Paul's worth was boosted by the 138 million pounds ($200 million) he inherited Linda's estate as well as the rewards reaped from the Beatles "1" album which has sold more than 12 million copies. George Harrison was placed at #12 on the list with £120 million, and Ringo Starr at #16 with £115 million.  Ian Coxon, the lists' editor, explains part of the secret to Sir Paul's success: "McCartney is quite canny with his money.  He doesn't spend a lot."  

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 19: The Meeting With Secretary Powell

Standing outside the State Department after his 9:00 a.m. meeting with United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, Sir Paul reported that:

"We had a really good meeting. And Secretary Powell was very helpful. And we basically explained to him our point of view, which -- a lot of which he agreed with. He expressed his support for Adopt-A-Minefield, which is hoping to clear all the mines in the world and allow people to go back to their fields and to their towns and get on with life.

"I expressed the point of view that even brave soldiers who defend the country, who have to be involved in that, I think even they themselves dislike the idea of leaving the war behind them and causing grief for civilians.  You have to imagine that you're living in a war zone and peace is suddenly declared.  The army goes away, you go to work on Monday morning and there are still snipers shooting at you in the trees. It's still dangerous to live in that country and this is the reality in places where landmines are.

"So the secretary is very understanding about that. And we're hoping now to use this meeting as a launch for a campaign to -- around the world -- to increase awareness about the land mine issue and eventually get to a mine-free future."

Did Sir Paul sing?  "I didn't sing, no, he sang for me," Sir Paul said with a smile, referring to the slightly hearing-impaired Secretary Powell.

And why is he launching this landmine campaign?  "I got roped in to lend my celebrity to the whole thing which I am very happy to do." he said, and pointing to lobby of the State
Department he added: "I must have signed about every autograph in there."

Secretary Powell offered no commitment to the landmine ban but said the meeting had been productive:

"I'm very proud of U.S. efforts to support the Adopt-A-Minefield program. And, also, we've contributed something like $500 million over the last several years -- seven years, to be precise -- to remove minefields. We still have concerns about the convention that Paul and Heather are so supportive of. We have some reservations. But there are many areas in which we can cooperate. And I was very pleased to have a chance to exchange views with both of them. And now I turn them over to you while I have to go back to work. Thank you. Good to see you, Paul. Bye-bye."

Sir Paul also announced today that his new solo album will be released in September.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 18: Sir Paul and the Super Furry Animals

A new item is about to be added to the collaborations list.   Sir Paul's unique talent will be heard on the Welsh group Super Furry Animals' new album, Rings Around The World.  He has worked with the band before on a track for his Liverpool Sound Collage. For this new recording, Sir Paul joined their string section on a track titled Receptacle for the Respectable.  His instrument?  A stick of celery!  Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys explains: "He's on the record chewing celery in time to the rhythm of Receptacle for the Respectable.    That's a song in four parts, it goes from 60s harmony pop to early 70s glam rock in the Bacharach balladry then goes death metal. It's not an obvious single."

This is not the first time Sir Paul's veggie chomping skills have appeared on a recording.  His chewing can be also be heard on the Beach Boys' Smiley Smile album (April, 1967) on the Vegetables track .

The Furry Animals Rings Around The World CD/DVD will be released on July 16.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 17: Sir Paul to Meet With Colin Powell

"I want to do what I can to re-awaken people's consciousness."   True to his word, Sir Paul will be in Washington D.C. on Thursday to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to discuss the issue of land mines.   Although the United States has thus far refused to sign the international treaty banning anti-personnel land mines, needing to protect its troops deployed on the Korean peninsula, Secretary Powell is known to be sympathetic to the cause and has promised that the United States will continue to work toward keeping the world safe from the indiscriminate use of land mines.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 17: A New York City Party in His Honor

Sir Paul at opening of the SMSP last yearOn Friday evening, Sir Paul and Heather Mills will be honored for their work as United Nations goodwill ambassadors on behalf of Adopt-A-Minefield.  Sir Paul and Ms. Mills have been actively supporting this anti-landmine campaign in hopes that their efforts will raise awareness of how civilians have been killed and injured by land mines in more than 70 countries.  The project raises funds for mine clearance and victim assistance projects worldwide.  The hosts of Friday evening's party will be William H. Luers, the chairman and president of the United Nations Association of the United States, which runs the Adopt-a-Minefield program, and Barry S. Sternlicht, the president and chief executive of Starwood Hotels and Resorts International, which owns the W Hotel chain. The party will be held at Rande Gerber's new bar, Cherry, located in the W Hotel Tuscany on East 39th Street in New York City.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 17: Another Tribute Album for Linda

On this the third anniversary of her death, it has been announced that another Linda McCartney tribute album is in the works.  This double CD will feature artists such as Britney Spears, Madonna, Queen, the Corrs, Art Garfunkel and Lenny Kravitz singing Beatles tunes.  All proceeds from the album will be donated to the Women and Cancer charity.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins) 

April 16: Happy Birthday, Dear Dudley

Sir Paul sang at New York's famed Carnegie Hall this evening!   A surprise concert?  No, Sir Paul joined other celebrities at a birthday party for actor Dudley Moore and joined thousands of enthusiastic audience members who sang Happy Birthday to him at the close of the three and a half hour all-star program.  It was reported that: "Sir Paul was going to perform on stage but then decided against it.  He wanted to enjoy the evening and celebrate Dudley just by being there.   He felt that if he had taken the stage, the spotlight would not have been focused on Dudley." Dudley Moore suffers from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy an incurable and debilitating form of Parkinson's Disease.  The Carnegie Hall celebration was held to pay tribute to him and to raise funds for PSP research.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 10: Sorry, But He'll Be in New York City

Sir Paul will not be appearing on Graham Norton's chat show after all. He was very keen on the idea of being the star attraction on the final show of the current season, however on the day of the filming, April 25, he's also been scheduled to be in New York to promote his new Wingspan CD.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 10: Sir Paul to Appear on Chat Show

British TV audiences will have the opportunity to see Sir Paul's appearance on Channel 4's So Graham Norton show next month.  Sir Paul will join the Irish comic to promote his new retrospective album, Wingspan, of which he says:

"I thought I would choose an album that I like. Just like Wings itself, this album doesn't stick to any particular rules." 

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 9: Stella Gets Her Own Label

Stella McCartney announced today that she is leaving France's fashion house of Chloé to launch her own designer label.  She has signed an agreement with the Italian Gucci Group to develop a new Stella McCartney label focused on the production of luxury women's ready-to-wear clothing and accessories.  The partnership will involve the creation of a new business, jointly owned by Stella McCartney and Gucci and operated as an independent company under the Gucci umbrella.   The new business is expected to open Stella McCartney boutiques in all the major fashion capitals of the world.  Stella McCartney will serve as the artistic director of the new company, with "full creative control and autonomy".

Stella has issued a statement saying:

"I am incredibly excited about the decision to launch my own label. In the
Gucci group I have found a partner with the skills necessary to make this
business a success."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 9: Sir Paul to Appear at the Hay Festival

The Sunday Times is reporting that Sir Paul has accepted an invitation to appear at their 14th annual Hay Festival of Literature, one of the UK's leading national cultural events.  Regarded as the world's greatest literary festival, the event offers an opportunity for readers to hear, question, and be entertained by novelists, poets, playwrights and scientists of international repute.  Sir Paul will be appearing with his fellow Liverpudlian poet and editor, Adrian Mitchell.

The festival will run for 10 days, from May 25 to June 3, in Hay-on-Wye, Herefordshire, Wales.  Although it previously took place in the town's cattle market, this year it is being moved to "a prettier setting" - a marquee on the lawn in front of the medieval castle.  The events will be webcast and transcribed so as to be accessible to readers and scholars worldwide. 

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 7: The Pride of Britain Awards

Sir Paul and Prince Charles will head the list of more than 100 celebrities gathering this evening at the Hilton Hotel on London's Park Lane to honor some of Britians most extraordinary and inspirational citizens at the Mirror's Pride Of Britain Awards 2001.

It was at this ceremony two years ago that Sir Paul first met Heather Mills who was presenting an award for courage and used the opportunity to appeal for help for her charity, the Heather Mills Trust, which provides limbs for war zone amputees.  Heather may soon become Lady Mills as she is currently considering an offer from Prime Minister Tony Blair to accept a peerage, an honor which would make her a member of the House of Lords.  

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 6: Blue Skies?

The Mirror reports the the title of Sir Paul's new album will be Blue Skies.
The reason?  After the dark days of Linda's illness and death, Heather has brought back the blue skies.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 4: Wingspan Press Release


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NEW YORK--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--April 2, 2001--Wingspan will feature 40 songs, including 17 hits that sold more than a million copies each; two-and-a-half hours of McCartney music on a double CD that will sell for the price of a single album. Wingspan (Capitol Records) is the soundtrack of how Paul McCartney dared to follow The Beatles with Wings in the Seventies; forming with his wife Linda an initially back-to-basics band that rose to become one of the biggest selling acts of the era.

Wingspan will be launched in tandem with a two-hour film of the same title that tells the intimate inside story of Wings for the first time on television. The film will be world-premiered on Friday, May 11th, at 9:00 pm on ABC. The Wingspan film has been three years in the making. It candidly reveals how Paul and Linda tried to raise a young family and front a new band against the handicaps of battling the Beatles, pot busts by police and bans by the BBC.

Despite setting themselves the hardest job in rock & roll, in the space of nine years Wings soared to international success with 17 million-seller singles, five USA No. 1 albums and eventually a USA stadium show that broke The Beatles' attendance record.

The two-CD Wingspan album totals 151 minutes of music. CD1 -- the "Hits" disc -- features; Listen To What The Man Said, Band On The Run, Another Day, Live And Let Die, Jet, My Love, Silly Love Songs, Pipes Of Peace, C Moon, Hi Hi Hi, Let 'Em In, Goodnight Tonight, Junior's Farm (DJ edit), Mull Of Kintyre, Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey, With A Little Luck (DJ edit), Coming Up and No More Lonely Nights.

CD2 -- the "History" disc -- features: Let Me Roll It, The Lovely Linda, Daytime Nightime Suffering, Maybe I'm Amazed, Helen Wheels, Bluebird, Heart Of The Country, Every Night, Take It Away, Junk, Man We Was Lonely, Venus And Mars/Rockshow (single edit), Back Seat Of My Car, Rockestra Theme, Girlfriend, Waterfalls (DJ edit), Tomorrow, Too Many People, Call Me Back Again, Tug Of War, Bip Bop/Hey Diddle and No More Lonely Nights (playout version).

Said Paul McCartney: "I thought I should choose an album that I like. Just like Wings itself, this album doesn't stick to any particular rules -- but in my mind it's the best of that period."

April 2: A House on Heather Road

Tired of staying in hotels while in Los Angeles, Sir Paul has purchased a $4 million French country style house in Hollywood Hills.  He has been leasing the four bedroom, 4,700 square foot (423-square-meter) home from Courtney Love while in California working on his new album.  The home, surrounded by 2 acres (0.8 hectares) of land, offers seclusion and privacy with it's long, gated driveway and stone walls.  Built in 1938, it has been recently refurbished. The home is surrounded by mature trees and has a swimming pool.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, Blackbird Singing is working its way to the top of the charts.  It stands at #9 on London's Daily Telegraph in the hardback non-fiction bestseller list, which is considered quite a high rank for a poetry book.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 1: She Borrows His Tatty Clothes

In the May issue of Arena magazine, Sir Paul reveals that his daughter Stella enjoys borrowing his tatty clothes:

"She doesn't mind what I wear.  I've got a real clapped-out old comfortable glove of a farm jacket and she actually nicks it to wear.

"She's a really talented designer. She could take the easy route and use fur but she's too ballsy and too sensible and way too cool to do that.   She's ballsy enough to tell Madonna off for wearing fur in public and in private. She's brilliant. She's cool, man. She's the real thing."

Also in the interview Sir Paul discusses the relationship he formed with Heather Mills following Linda's death:

"Well, it is very hard, not was.  It's very difficult for anyone to step into that position. Linda and I had such a beautiful relationship for so many years that there's no question of replacing her, but even having said that, it's still difficult.  That fact is that life goes on and I fancy Heather and the kids appreciate that. It was awkward, yeah, but it's getting better by the minute."

Sir Paul describes their relationship as being:

"... very nice, lovely, very surprising.  Linda and I were very lucky.  We were totally faithful to each other for 30 years 'cos there didn't seem any reason not to be and that, in most people's books, is amazingly lucky.  After she died, I remember Ralph Lauren telling me, 'I couldn't go through all that again', and I know what he meant, but you don't know what's just around the corner."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

April 1: Paul the Precocious Quarryman

"I like to think that was my greatest contribution to the history of the Beatles - not letting John chuck Paul out of the Quarrymen," Eric Griffiths confided to Beatles biographer Hunter Davies who has just completed a book on John Lennon's first band, the Quarrymen.  Eric Griffiths, a schoolmate and Quarryman, reveals in the book that 16-year-old John Lennon feared that the "precocious" 15-year-old Paul McCartney would take over the band:

"Paul was very good.  We could all see that. He was precocious in many ways. Not just in music, but in relating to people."

Griffiths recalled a particular incident which took place during a walk to a rehearsal with John, Paul, and John's best friend, Pete Shotton:

"I was walking ahead with John. John suddenly said: 'Let's split the group, and you and me will start again.'
We could hear Paul behind us, chatting to Pete as if he was Pete's best friend. John knew we were all his pals, but now Paul was trying to get in on us. Not to split us up, just make friends with us all. I'm sure that was all it was, but to John it looked as if Paul was trying to take over, dominate the group.

"I said to him: 'Paul's so good. He'll contribute a lot to the group. We need him with us.' John said nothing. But after that the subject was never mentioned again."

However, Griffiths added,  when Paul announced he was going to wear a "white sports coat" for his debut performance with the band, John appeared in a similar on so there would be no mistaking who was the leader of the band!

This Hunter Davies book is scheduled for release on April 12.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

March 31: A Cuban Tribute

Last year Sir Paul and two of his children paid a brief visit to Santiago, Cuba's second largest city.  They dined in a restaurant in the fortress of San Pedro de la Roca.  The Cuban press reports that to commemorate the event, a bronze plaque has been affixed to the restaurant chair in which he sat, inscribed with the date of the visit and offering "many thanks" to Sir Paul.

This tribute is significant in that the music of the Beatles was banned in Cuba for so many years.  John Lennon has also been memorialized in Havana.   His statue (portraying him in a casual pose wearing jeans and his wire rimmed glasses) was dedicated last December to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his death.    The glasses were promptly stolen, but quickly replaced.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

March 30: Mark Lewisohn Observes

Spokesman Geoff Baker described Sir Paul's Liverpool appearance last week as ''Beatlemania all over again - the adulation for him has never gone and I think he's probably more popular now than ever.''

In a Leicester Mercury interview, Beatles authority Mark Lewisohn was asked was asked to comment on this phenomenon:

''I don't think his appeal has ever really diminished. I have been at events attended by a room full of famous people and celebrities and yet when he walks in they turn to look at him. Clearly he has a stature that is beyond most people.

''Paul positively thrives on adulation. It is oxygen to him. I once asked him about being famous because it does impose restrictions. But his reply was that he was very happy with where he was, he wanted fame and he loves it.

"You would never hear him moaning about the downside of it. And, of course, performing and creating is the breath of life to him. I can't see him ever retiring from it.

''He once said he has met presidents and prime ministers but never met anyone with more common sense than the everyday Liverpool working man. He loves the city and the people, and they recognise that.

''People don't lose interest in him because he is always out there trying something new. He always goes for it, and dares to be different. He gets a hard time sometimes for that, but it doesn't stop him.''

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

March 27: The Kew Project

A collection of scarves inspired by photographs taken by Linda McCartney during her last photo shoot is being launched today by Sir Paul to benefit the Kew Gardens Millennium Seed Bank.  In February 1998, Linda and textile designer Sue Timney decided to join forces to produce designs for scarves which could be sold to raise funds to support the Seed Bank (which preserves hundreds of millions of seeds from the world's most endangered species of plants.) A few months later, Linda was gone, but Sir Paul was determined to complete the project.  He worked with Sue Timney helping her to select the bright colors which Linda adored and then named the scarves  - Loving Memory, Daisy Chain, and Flower Garden.

Linda became friends with Sue Timney 10 years ago when she designed the silk shirts worn by the band during the McCartney world tour. "Linda and I instantly gelled," she remembers. "Both of us had four children and, within an hour, Linda grabbed me and said we must work together."  Sue accompanied Linda on that last Kew photo shoot.  "It was wonderful to have a good cause - the seed bank - that was also something we loved doing. We didn't announce we were going. We just walked around, taking photos."

Sir Paul, recently discussed the project in his Soho Square office, with Independent on Sunday (London) reporter Hester Lacey.  He explained how over the years Linda and Sue had made a few scarves as gifts for friends. Caressing the turquoise scarf on his knee, he explained:

The few people who got these, they love and treasure them.  It's like they've got a little bit of Linda.  Now we're going to use them to help out at Kew.  Unfortunately Lin died before they managed to finish.  I know Linda would have liked to finish what she started, so we're going to do this in her name.

Sir Paul recalled that Linda once said that she saw better through the camera.  Who influenced her?

"Cartier Bresson she loved. Georgia O'Keeffe was a strong influence. I think she would have liked to have grown that old and become that rugged. You know some women don't like wrinkles?  She was looking forward to getting them, so she'd look like an old Red Indian. She loved that look."

What was one of the first things that impressed him when he meet Linda?

"The way she held a camera. We got photographed so much as the Beatles that you could really tell an artist when you met them. Some guys were just 'All right, over here', bang bang bang, but she had these beautiful long fingers, very slim hands, very elegant, she looks like she knows what she's doing just by the way she's holding the camera." (Ms. Lacey noted that he often speaks of her in the present tense.)

Sir Paul added that, wherever possible, Linda preferred to take natural shots:

"She did occasionally do some studio set-ups, but didn't really like them, wasn't comfortable, and she didn't often use a light meter.  She just had a very keen eye. She was an amazing observer. She loved life and she was enthusiastic about a million things, so she'd see some far out reflections in a skyscraper in Chicago or a glass teapot that was in our kitchen. It was something to with looking through the lens, she could see things I couldn't."

Which of her photos does Sir Paul like best?  He cannot say:

"It's like asking me which songs I like of mine - it's too much. I can pick out some images that I love. I love her Jimi Hendrix portraits; I love one she did of our son James, called Boy Shape, which everyone thought was an embryo, but it was him jumping on a trampoline I was holding."

In spite of the fact that her work was widely exhibited and published, Linda was best known as Mrs. Paul McCartney:

"She was a little bit overshadowed by me. But it didn't really matter, because her work was so strong.  I always feel a bit sorry for people my fame casts a shadow on, because it's not really necessary."

Sir Paul recalls how their love of nature drew them together:

"I hadn't had pets as a kid. My mum and dad both worked; mum was a midwife and dad was a carpet salesman. Me and my brother always wanted a dog but they always said we couldn't have one, even when there were free puppies being given away a street away. But I always carried round the Observer Book of Birds, and I used to love to read about what bees do in their hives and all kinds of things like that.  Linda and I got together, and I realized that even though she was into rock'n'roll and the music scene, she was an animal lover. I remember once we were in a garden on holiday somewhere tropical, and there were these frogs, and all the ladies were saying, 'Euch, frogs.' Linda was saying, 'No, they're great'; she's picking them up and I've got shots of her kissing them as though they'd turn into a prince.

"All of her photography is nature, because it's either people or animals or landscape - that's all nature ..."

Sir Paul introduced Kew to Linda shortly after they met:

"She loved the place. Kew is very much in line with her philosophy of
preserving nature, which is really what vegetarianism's about if you think
about it."

He also recalled her passion for the causes she supported.

"She pulled no punches. We'd be at a dinner party and there'd be non-veggies there and she'd start right up, and I'd go 'Oh my God...' - I just wasn't as daring. She was just the killer. She felt, 'If the animals can't speak I must, at all costs', and it sometimes was at all costs; it didn't always make her the most popular dinner guest. Some people are rabid meat-eaters, and you could see them going off her in a big way. She would go up to someone in a fur coat and go 'You know that's dead animals?' I'm not quite so confrontational."

Actor Liam Neeson may not agree. While on holiday after Linda's death, Sir Paul describes an event which took place during a dinner with a group of friends:

"We were having a lovely evening. But then I started talking veggie and Liam started disagreeing. I got into a bit of a row. Two things not to talk about at dinner are politics and religion: well, there's a third, vegetarianism. And you shouldn't do it. But I just thought, 'Sod it', and I suddenly felt Linda's spirit come into me, and I was saying to Liam: 'You know what it's like for me, Liam? It's like Hitler, killing the f*** Jews!' His hackles are rising, he does not want to hear anything to do with Hitler, and we're almost standing up, very heated, people saying 'Come on you two, calm down.'

"You're bloody lucky my wife isn't here, mate, she'd wipe the floor with you!

"I felt I had to do it because I knew she would.  Luckily, the next day we made up."

Linda still remains a strong presence in his life:

"I'd rather have her with me, obviously that's the bottom line, but since she isn't, then I like to be reminded of her. Our kids do too. With my girlfriend at the moment, it's a given that we've got to be able to talk about Linda. I do feel a little sorry for her; it might be easier if that didn't exist. But it does exist, it is a fact. It's like John Lennon; he and Linda were such huge people in my life - Linda particularly so, we were so intimate."

He still stays in contact with Linda's friends:

"I felt sorry for her close lady friends, because Linda was a great girlfriend - they'd talk for hours on the phone. There's a huge gap in their lives. So I
started phoning them, saying 'Look, I'm a guy, so it won't be as good, but
let's chat, so you don't miss Lin so much.' It helped all of us over our

[Linda was] "an endlessly fascinating woman, and everyone who knew her says that. One or two people who didn't know her would bitch about her, but all of the people who knew her said they felt they met their best friend for life when they met her. She was so intimate, no barriers."

He is still coping with her loss:

 "You could cry every time you talk about her, but you don't. So you turn it into something else, something joyful. People ask me: 'Are you sad you lost Linda?' And I say: 'I really am, but I'm blessed that I had those 30 years with her.' I will always turn it round like that, because that's how she was and that's how I
am, and I think it's the best way."

The Linda McCartney Kew scarves (priced from pounds 49 to pounds 89) are now available at the Kew Gardens shop, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB (tel: 020 8332 5654 for mail order).  One can claim 10% off the price by quoting ref. Kewlm02.

An exhibition of Linda's photographs of the Kew Gardens will run from March 26 to Monday 16 April in the Kew Gardens Gallery, Cambridge Cottage, Kew Gardens.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

March 25: Nova, Sir Paul's Music of Hope

The orchestral debut of Sir Paul's composition Nova performed by the London Symphony Orchestra can be heard on a new CD titled Music of Hope.   Through this album Sir Paul, along with New Age composer Tim Janis, Billy Joel and Ray Charles, hopes to raise $3m to benefit cancer research.  Further, it is hoped that the album's healing, uplifting music will help people through difficult times in their lives.   100% of artist royalties and record company profits from the album will be donated to the American Cancer Society. Listen to a sample.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

March 23: Sir Paul and the Great Daffodil Day Internet Auction

Sir Paul has joined yet another fundraising extravaganza in support of
cancer research. Today you will have an opportunity to bid on Sir Paul's contribution to the Great Daffodil Day Internet Auction being held to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society.   Sir Paul has donated a framed lithograph of one of his favorite paintings of Linda, signed with a special greeting from the artist himself.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

March 22: "He Was Rocking!"

Forty years to the day that the Beatles played their first evening gig at Liverpool's Cavern Club, Sir Paul walked on to another Liverpool stage and announced with a wink:

"This is my first ever poetry reading, and I'm not in the least bit nervous, of course."

Having been introduced as "the people's poet" by his friend and poetry book editor, poet Adrian Mitchell, Sir Paul filled the next 25 minutes with both laughter and tears as he recited 12 of his poems, including the lyrics to Maxwell's Silver Hammer.

The small audience of 400 people were especially moved by two poems one written in response to the loss of his lovely Linda and another composed in reaction to the brutal murder of his great friend, John Lennon.

Introducing his poem about Mark David Chapman, Jerk Of All Jerks, Sir Paul remembered that dreadful evening:

"I was sat at home watching all the pictures on TV and the first thing that came into my mind was that he was the jerk of all jerks.  This terrible guy who comes out of nowhere for no reason at all. I was filled with disgust and sadness at the whole thing."

The most poignant moment of the evening came at the end of his poem City Park in which he recalls the grief of his daily jog around Regent's Park and his wish that Linda would be cured of her cancer.  At that moment, his voice broke with emotion and he looked to his friends in the audience for reassurance.

The performance ended on a high note with a rollicking audience participation reading of "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?".  All reports say the he came off the stage "rocking".

The reading, billed as An Evening with Willy Russell and Very Good Friends, had been arranged by Sir Paul in secret as a tribute to the Mersybeat poet, Adrian Henri, who passed away on December 20 of last year.  Sir Paul was meant to appear as a surprise guest following the reading of three other poets - Tom Pickard, Willy Russell and Adrian Mitchell, editor of his poetry book Blackbird Singing.   Up until Monday, most of the 400 ticket holders had no idea Sir Paul would be making an appearance.  Even last evening,  one audience member confessed,   "I didn't know until tonight that Paul McCartney would be here.  I thought he was fantastic. His poems were not as complex as the others but his narrative was still very similar to his singing and was a really good balance to the three other poets."

"Paul wanted a group of people who wanted to see poetry - not him," said Everyman's Theater spokesman, Paul Bell.

And, as Geoff Baker added: "He said, 'If I'm going to do this, I want to do it in Liverpool first'." 

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

March 21: Backstage Jitters

This evening Sir Paul McCartney confessed that he's a bit anxious about making his debut as a poetry reader as he prepared to go on stage at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, England:

"I've got a bit of first night nerves because I've never done it before.  It's not like singing. I hope it's going to go well. I'm just going to wing it as usual. I am used to standing with a guitar in front of me, so we will see. I am going to be naked."

Have the critics been kind?

"The critics are always mixed with me.  I always say they sharpen their pencils when they see me coming. But I don't care, you know, they criticized Sergeant Pepper and look what happened to that."

Many of the poems being read this evening were inspired by the loss of his beloved Linda, "a feeling would just come onto the page".

Does he have a favorite?

"I don't have a favorite poem. I love them all.  Each day there is a different favorite."

During the rehearsal, Sir Paul was asked how he liked the band Hear'Say of TV's Popstars (their debut single Pure and Simple went straight to number one this week, the third fastest selling record of all time).

 "Popstars is what it is. They are kids looking for a break. I wish them the best luck in the world. They will need it."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

The Liverpool Book Signing

The crowd of over 3000 fans chanted "we love you Paul" outside the WH Smith book store on Church Street in Liverpool today as Sir Paul arrived about 1:00 p.m. to autograph copies of his new poetry book.  Sir Paul slipped in through the back door of the shop wearing a black T-shirt, black suit and trainers. Joan McCartney, Sir Paul's 76 year old aunt from Bebington, Wirral, was there to greet her nephew with a hug as he entered the shop.  "It's always lovely to see him and I am always very proud.  I have had a quick scan of the poems and they seem very good."

"It's great to be back, " Sir Paul told his fans.   Back?  Yes, Sir Paul's last Liverpool signing was in 1963 at Brian Epstein's NEMS music store.

After the signing, Sir Paul ventured out into the crowd, shaking hands and accepting flowers.  He declared that it was "great - the fantastic reaction overwhelmed me.  It was really good to see so many people."  In all, it was estimated that Sir Paul signed around 500 copies of his Blackbird Singing.

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

March 19: A Poetry Reading in Liverpool

Sir Paul will present his first public poetry reading before a select audience of 400 at Liverpool's Everyman Theatre on Wednesday evening, March 21.   Declining invitations from the Royal National Theatre of London, the Oxford Union, and the Los Angeles Festival of Books, Sir Paul has chosen Liverpool as his debut venue, seeking to learn how his hometown followers will react to his work:

"I'm interested to hear what people think of my poetry. But I don't take me very seriously. If we get some giggles I don't mind.  I'm just one of those people who jumps into black holes and does things like this."

He hints that we may soon hear some of his poems set to music:

"One of two of them are lyrics that nobody knows are songs because I haven't recorded them yet. I wonder if anyone will spot them."

Along with Sir Paul, other readers at the event will include Adrian Mitchell, the editor of Blackbird Singing, Newcastle poet Ton Pickard, and playwright Willy Russell.

Sir Paul has scheduled a New York reading of his poetry for next month.
  (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

March 15: Wingspan and Abracadabra

Billboard magazine has printed the official tracklisting for the double album Wingspan - which can be found under Wingspan within this site's CD Discography (Albums) section.

Paul's contribution to the upcoming Ian Dury tribute album Brand New Boots And Panties, a song titled I'm Partial To Your Abracadabra, is making the rounds on the internet, as a rather low-fi mono mp3 file, probably made from a BBC radio broadcast. This song, which is a heavy rocker, features a marvellous Paul on vocals (and bass?), has the potential to become a top-ten hit, if it was released as a single.
You can find more info about the song and album on this website:
I'm Partial To Your Abracadabra (Promo maxi CD) has been added to Promo CDs.
Brand New Boots And Panties (Ian Dury tribute album) has been added to Collaborations (Paul McCartney)

March 14:  "She Makes Music With Her Clothes"

Sir Paul was back in Paris to support his daughter Stella at the opening of her Fall/Winter 2001 collection for Chloé.  With the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde seated beside him, Sir Paul shared the front row cheering section at the Palais du Louvre's Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs with friends George Martin, Peter Blake, Sir Richard Branson,  Kate Moss, Debi Mazar, Liv Tyler and her boyfriend, Jefferson Hack.

Once again, Stella demonstrated that she is still a champion for the cause of animal rights showing designs she fashioned in fake fur and leather:

"All I'm saying is that you don't have to use real fur and real leather when fake looks just as good.  I know what I want to wear and I know what girls want to wear to make them feel good. There's no mystery."

Sir Paul's impression of the show?

"Stella's work just gets better and better and better. The collection is fantastic, beautifully made, feminine and has such style. I try to make all her shows. And I also give her so much advice but she never takes it.  I always suggest outfits but she doesn't do them . She's got a mind of her own. She makes music with her clothes."

To another reporter, he declared:

"She's my daughter and I am very, very proud of her. Her collections are futuristic, yet classy, traditional and at the same time very sexy. To quote an old song, 'it's getting better all the time'."

Stella was also quoted in the press this week with a charming insight into being the daughter of a Beatles legend:

"You're always embarrassed about some things in your family but we're all very close ... Dad's an icon and I have to remember that when I talk about him."

(submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

March 12:  More on the New Albums

In an interview with Billboard magazine, Sir Paul disclosed that his new solo album, which hopefully be released later this year,  will include a hymn-like tribute to Linda.

May has been set as the release date for his double album, Wingspan.    Disc one will be titled Hits and will contain 19 tracks including   Band On The Run, Live And Let Die, and Silly Love Songs.  Disc two, titled History, will feature a new mix of No More Lonely Nights.  Sir Paul explains:

"The priority has been the album, and then one or two funky mixes that we're doing for radios.  There are songs on there that strictly speaking aren't Wings. We've stretched the envelope... I always like value for money. You get all this music, over two and a half hours of it, for the price of one CD."

In the interview, Sir Paul also revealed that he enjoyed listening to his Beatles "1" album over the holidays:

"It's fantastic, lovely. I took the time over Christmas to listen to it, and I really like it. I thought, 'Shit, this is good'!"
  (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

March 10:  An Interview with a Poet

From his Los Angeles recording studio, Sir Paul buoyantly reports that the recording his new album is going well.  Last Saturday evening, Sir Paul took time between tracks to discuss his newly released book of poetry, Blackbird Singing: Poems and Lyrics 1965-1999,  with fellow Liverpudlian poet and London Daily Telegraph reporter, Roger McGough:

What is the difference between writing poetry and song lyrics?  Does the melody ever get in the way?

Sir Paul: "I think so. There is a little bit of a crutch with the music. I do think of them separately, although Adrian Mitchell (who edited and introduced the book) doesn't. He's into 'Sweet Little Sixteen'  and rock'n'roll lyrics and he sees the poetry in them. Originally I only wanted poems in the book, but he talked me into, or rather, persuaded me into including the song lyrics. I used to hang out a bit with Allen Ginsberg in the sixties, and later on during the last couple of years of his life we became good friends. And he said to me 'That Eleanor Rigby is a f * good poem, man.'  So I thought, well, he's no slouch, and so, with Adrian pushing me, I looked at them again, and thought, yes, some of them could be read. "

Is having a book published different than having an album released?

Sir Paul: 'Yes, there's a big difference. I'm used to doing albums, but this is a bit special. My neck is on the line."

Was he interested in poetry as a student?

Sir Paul: "I did A-level English at the Inny [Liverpool Institute], which is my scholastic claim to fame, and we had Alan 'Dusty' Durband, a lovely man, who showed us the dirty bits of Chaucer, you know, 'The Miller's Tale', and 'The Nun's Tale', which were dirtier than anything we were telling each other. He had studied under FR Leavis at Oxford, and he brought a rich pool of information to us guys, and when we would listen, which was occasionally, it was great. He introduced us to Louis MacNeice and Auden, both of whom I liked. It was a good period of my life and I enjoyed it."

In the early sixties, poetry wasn't really regarded a macho thing to do.

Sir Paul:"I agree. It was all very well to be artistic, but poetry was just that bit too far. I used to hang around bookshops like Phillip, Son and Nephew and surreptitiously read the stuff and be turned on by it. I would go and see plays at the Playhouse and the Royal Court and get excited by what I experienced, but I was never going to do anything with it. "

How does Sir Paul write a poem?

Sir Paul: "For me, how art works is I get a mood, a desire to do the thing, usually writing songs, but sometimes this passion to paint. The feeling has to be there.  I do it for pleasure. I'm not a great one for, as Linda used to put it, 'Beating myself with a wet noodle.'  So with a poem, a line comes to me and I sort of doodle with it in my head. I can't stop it. I realized the other day that the great thing about being a composer is that you are doing nothing. What a doss! I was recently on holiday in India, having a fabulous time doing nothing, and I  wrote three songs that I've just recorded. It's a lovely thing to be able to say in my profession, 'I have to be doing nothing'."

Does he use a computer?

Sir Paul: "Pencil and paper. I'm not a typist. Funnily enough, John became a red-hot typist towards the end of his life. He had always had this 'Arts Correspondent in Kowloon' kind of dream. But for me it's pencil and paper by the bed . . . those moments between falling asleep and just before waking are good. I've got this little book that Stelly [his daughter, Stella] gave me and it's full of scribbles and drawings."

Is he interested in poetic forms?

Sir Paul: "I really haven't got into structure yet, but I can see how it can be effective from reading other poets. Like a mantra. Allen [Ginsberg] always used to say, 'First thought, best thought', and I'd think, 'Oh, brilliant.'  But the joke is, of course, that Allen was always revising. I think he was the first person I showed my poetry to. He came over to the house in Sussex to ask me if I knew anybody who would accompany him on guitar at a gig he was doing at the Albert Hall. So I suggested Dave Gilmour and Dave Stewart and a few others. Then when he'd gone it dawned on me that he wanted me to do it, so I rang him and said OK. So we met up and I stuck a little Bo Diddley jinkity-jink behind his 'Ballad of the Skeletons', a really cool poem, and he introduced me to the audience as his accompanist. He loved to be the Don, did Allen, the controller, and I loved to give him that. Anyway we sat down with my poems and he knocked out all the 'thes', and any word ending in '-ing.  And I said, 'Allen, you're going to make me into a New York Beat poet, and it's just not me.'   In the end I thanked him for going over them, and it was good to have an annotated version in my drawer, The Ginsberg Variations, as I called them, but I wouldn't be using them. It was a lovely process, though, and I should be so lucky. "

Will there be another poetry book?

Sir Paul:  "It depends how many I write. I think a lot of the poems in this book were written out of grief. The one for my friend Ivan, for John and the ones for Linda are like private notes, confidential letters that seemed to me more powerful than writing songs. I really felt that it was Linda who was moving the wind chimes and only a poem could express that feeling. I remember Peter Ustinov saying, 'I like being interviewed, it allows me to know what I'm thinking.'   It's a little bit true of poems. It's like therapy; you write something down and then you can remember what you were thinking. In my case the depths, in your case the poems are more humorous, but with an underlying sadness that you're probably just covering up."
  (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

March 9:  Sir Paul, the Fourth Tenor?

Opera singer Luciano Pavarotti has expressed hopes that Sir Paul will join him on stage during his annual benefit concert this summer.  "I have spoken to Madonna and Paul McCartney.  I would love to sing with them, as they are the best--and I'm not bad myself--but we don't know yet if that will happen."   (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

March 8:  Bravo

Sir Paul offers his tribute to fashion designer Giorgio Armani during the television program Bravo Profiles Giorgio Armani premiering on the U.S. cable station Bravo on Wedesday, March 14 at 10:00 p.m. est.   (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

February 28:  Jamming in Rajasthan

Some of the guests of the Lake Palace hotel in Udaipur, Rajasthan were treated to an impromptu McCartney concert last month when Sir Paul couldn't resist forming a jam session with the classical sitar music ensemble who were providing background music for the hotel diners. An hotel guest who witnessed the event that evening reports:

"Sir Paul had quite a session but when he had finished he came up to us and said, 'I'm so sorry, I hope I haven't spoilt your evening.' He hadn't of course because everyone thought it was great."  (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

February 26:  Brother Mike Exhibits at London's National Portrait Gallery

For the next six months, Londoners will have the opportunity to view some rare and intimate photos of the Beatles from their pre-Ringo Cavern Club days.   The photographs of John, Paul, George and Pete were taken by Paul's brother Mike just after the band's return from their historic gig in Hamburg, Germany.  Mike McCartney recalls:

"They had bought these wonderful leather suits out there, all new and shiny, and they looked absolutely amazing.  The best thing about that picture was the instructions I gave them.  I told them to look at the light bulb so they would look cool. But only John and Paul did, so you've got two looking one way and the others somewhere else .
"When I was about 14, I taught myself photography in the back bedroom. I did my own developing and printing. The music was important to my brother and the photography was important to me.
"The Sixties were a magic time, and we were living the magic.  You can see it in these photographs. But I decided to take them out of the public gaze because I felt it was time to move on."

Another photograph in the collection allows a peek into the McCartney family home at 20 Forthlin Road in Liverpool.  Although Paul appears to be relaxing as he reads his newspaper, brother Mike reveals that,  "Paul looks all nonchalant and at ease, whereas in fact his leg was over the arm of the chair to hide a hole where a spring used to poke out."

Eleven of Mike McCartney's photographs have been purchased by the National Portrait Gallery and will go on exhibit beginning March 17.   (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

February 25:  Sir Paul Helps A Sad Elephant

Sir Paul has joined in the effort to bring poor Rhanne, the beautiful Asian elephant,  safely home to Britain.  For 30 years Rhanee (her name means "Queen")  spent her life on the road as a circus animal suffering beatings and abuse causing her to become mentally disturbed.  She is currently being treated at an animal facility in Spain.   Sir Paul is supporting the campaign to save this poor elephant.  He states:

"Rhanee has suffered for many years at the hands of people who should know better.  Human beings have not respected Rhanee's needs to date.  Please let the Rhanee Appeal make amends for past abuse and support the campaign to let her live the rest of her life in the sanctuary she deserves."

His daughter Stella echoes his sentiments:

"I was incredibly saddened to see the brutal way Rhanee has been treated. Now she deserves love and respect."  (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

February 24:  Brand New Boots And Panties for Paul

Sir Paul recently completed his musical tribute to the late Ian Druy who passed away last March 27 following a valliant battle with cancer.    Together with Druy's backing band, The Blockheads, Sir Paul has recorded his rendition of  "I’m Partial To You Abracadabra", track three of Ian Dury's 1977 classic New Boots and Panties album.  The tribute album, which will be titled Brand New Boots and Panties, is scheduled for release on April 9 on East Central One Records.  A portion of the album's proceeds will be donated to the Cancer BACUP. the UK's leading cancer information service.   (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

February 22: T-shirts for Charity

Sir Pauls has lent his artistic talents to raise funds to support the cancer charity, the Haven Trust, designing a T-shirt for their celebrity auction.    The Haven Trust is a national charity dedicated to providing a network of welcoming and friendly support centers for people affected by breast cancer.    The professionals who staff  the Haven centers offer information, advice, counseling, and therapies to all  free of charge and all under one roof.   (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

February 21: The McCartney Sisters

Stella McCartney has earned one of the British fashions worlds's highest honors having been chosen to receive the  New Generation Designer British Fashion Award 2001.  The award, which recognises emerging talent,  was presented to her by singer Natalie Imbruglia. Stella McCartney has become one of the most popular designers for young European and American fashion set.  Last year Sella was the winner of the British Fashion Glamour award.

Meanwhile, her sister Mary continues to follow in her mother's footsteps, making a name for herself in the photography world.  Mary has been selected to snap the backstage photos at this year's Brit Awards ceremony, the British music industry's most prestigious event.   This is indeed an honor for her as she is the first photographer to have been invited backstage at the Brits.  Mary is quoted as saying she is thrilled at the opportunity and delighted to be given the chance to take portrait photographs of her generation's hottest rock stars.    Sir Paul is said to be very pleased and immensely proud of his eldest daughter.   (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

February 17:  Sir Paul, the Prince, and a Pink Squirrel

Remember the pink squirrel?  (see the entry for September 15 below)

Sir Paul's enchanting drawing proved to be the auction's top seller, fetching  £4,000 for the The Calvert Trust and Northumbria Wildlife Trust charity auction  (far  surpassing the bids for Prince Charles' watercolor resulting in HRH withdrawing his art work due to lack of interest on the part of the bidders.)  Northumbria Wildlife Trust was raising money to protect endangered Red Squirrels in the region while The Calvert Trust (which uses a squirrel as its logo) will use the funds raised in the auction to organise holidays for the disabled.   (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

February 15: Look for Wingspan in May

Wingspan, a two-hour television documentary about Sir Paul's Wings era, is set to be released worldwide May.  Sir Paul's talented daughter, Mary, has spent three years on the project which chronicles McCartney life from 1970-1980.   The documentary will contain extensive and candid interviews with Sir Paul in which he discusses the anguish he suffered following the Beatles' bitter breakup, the help and support he received from his family life, and his decision to form  his ''back to basics'' band, Wings.    In Sir Paul's words: ''I always thought that you couldn't follow the Beatles. Wingspan is the story and the soundtrack of how we set out to do it.''

Along with the interviews, the program will feature some never-before-seen home movies of Paul, Linda, and the McCartney children along with rare concert footage of Wings concerts.

Wingspan will premiere on ABC TV in the United states in early May and will then be broadcast on television networks around the world.

Also in May, EMI/Capitol Records will release a 40-song double CD compilation of Wings hits to coincide with the broadcast of the television program.   The CD release will be supported by the reissue of videos, promotional films and an extensive internet and advertising campaign.  Happy Spring!  (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins) 

February 4: A Mid-February Recording Date

The LA Times reports that Sir Paul is about to start work on his new album. A 2-3 week recording schedule is set to begin in mid-February.  Sir Paul has selected Warner Brothers' A&R head David Kahne to produce the album.  A highly skilled producer, Mr.  Kahne excels in a wide variety of musical genres ranging from straight-ahead pop to alternative rock to mainstream rock.  His production credits appear on the albums of such artists as Sublime, Sugar Ray, Shawn Colvin, Fishbone, the Bangles, Romeo Void, Wire Train, Jorma Kaukonen, and Rank And File. Mr. Kahane was awarded a Grammy for his production of Tony Bennett's famous come-back album "MTV Unplugged."   (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

February 2: Sir Paul to Join Prince William at His First Official Public Function

On Wednesday, February 7 Sir Paul will join other recording artists, film stars, television celebrities, politicians and members of the British royal family at the newly refurbished Somerset House in central London for the Press Complaints Commission's 10th anniversary party.  The gathering will celebrate the success of independent self-regulation of the British press which is credited for having raised their reporting standards over the last decade. The event is significant in that it will mark 18-year-old Prince William's first official engagement since his coming of age.    (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

January 31: Dispelling the Wedding Rumors

"Look, I'm not getting married," Sir Paul told reporters at his North London home.  "I am NOT getting married in the same church as Mary. I am NOT going to the Mull of Kintyre or Jamaica for my honeymoon."  Having made this statement, Sir Paul pulled out a vintage Nikon camera and snapped a few pictures of the press.    (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

January 29: From Jeff Baker's Answering Machine

Had you telephoned Sir Paul's PR man, Jeff Baker, yesterday you would have heard the following message:  "If you are calling on that story about Paul marrying Heather, no, it's not true, it's just a flier that has been doing the rounds. So discount that one."  (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

January 26: The McCartney team loses their ticket to ride.

"Call it a day and walk away", was Sir Paul's response to a last minute plea to save the  Linda McCartney Racing Team.  Britain's only professional cycling team and the world's only vegetarian cycling team has been dissolved due to lack of adequate financial support from the team's new sponsors.  Linda McCartney Foods, backer of the team since 1988, ended their sponsorship of the team last year but agreed to allow the team to carry their name and logo to help attract new sponsorship. "There are 35 jobs at stake here and for some of us it will mean the end of our careers," said one cyclist.  The Linda McCartney team enjoyed notable success during the 2000 season, but according to a team insider, "As things stand, the Linda McCartney team no longer exists."   (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

January 24: Sir Paul and the Millennium Dome

The British press reports that while in America on business last week, Sir Paul was asked by  pop impresario Harvey Goldsmith to assist him in his bid to turn London's  Millennium Dome into a top concert venue.   Sir Paul was said to be 'genuinely interested' and will make a decision in the next few days.  Sir Paul's role in this project would be highly desirable in that he would be able to attract some of the world's top pop and as well as classical artists to the venue - a space equal in size to 13 Albert Halls! (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins) 

January 21: Congratulations, Sir Billionaire!

Thanks to the huge success of the Beatles "1" compilation album and his inheritance from Linda's estate, the British press reports that Sir Paul is about to become the world's first pop star billionnaire!   He is already pop's first dollar billionaire but is expected to become a sterling billionaire next year.

Also a court correspondant from Buckingham Palace reported this week that in celebration of the golden anniversary of her reign, Queen Elizabeth is considering opening the grounds of several royal residences between May and August, 2002 to host free pop concerts reflecting the popular music of her 50-year reign.     The featured artists at the top of her list: the three surviving Beatles.   Will we see a royal command performance?  We shall see. (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

January 11: Sir Paul in India to Attend a Mega Hindo Festival

Sir Paul, accompanied by "a posse of private security men" is in New Delhi to attend the Maha Kumbh Mela, the world's largest religious gathering.  The 42-day festival being held in the northern town of Allahabad is expected to draw up to 30 million pilgrims seeking to wash away their sins at this place where the hoy Ganges and Yamuna rivers converge.  It may well be the largest public gathering in history. (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

January 4: Another Grammy?

Sir Paul's Liverpool Sound Collage has been nominated for a Grammy Award in the best alternative music album category. (submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)

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