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Paul Mccartney—the Stories Behind the Music

Linda enjoys searching for fascinating travel destinations, seeking relaxation and fun, and (of course) eating great food.

paul-mccartney-the-stories-behind-the-music

Sir Paul

Six years ago I was privileged to witness the One-on-One Concert presented by Sir Paul McCartney. Privileged? You might think that word too strong, but consider this:

  • Paul McCartney has been knighted. Yes! Knighted by the Queen of England!!! How many of you can say that?
  • He has more money than God. Seriously, his net worth is at least $1.2 billion dollars. He isn’t doing this for the money!
  • The man is 79 years old. Most septuagenarians that I know are using walkers and going to bed at 8 pm. Beginning at 8 pm he gave us three full hours of non-stop entertainment. And YES, he can still hit those high notes.

I won’t go so far as to say that it was a religious experience, but the evening began by seeing one of the two surviving Beatles on stage, bathed in white light with the introductory chord of “A Hard Day’s Night” ringing through the arena—it was invigorating, exciting, and filled me with unadulterated joy.

McCartney and his band took us on an amazing journey, spanning five decades.

Read Me

If you don't want to read this entire article, at the very least I hope you will listen to the video of the band's performance of "Live and Let Die". Turn up your speakers, expand the screen view, and be prepared to be blown away.

An Evening of Story and Song

A Hard Day’s Night” is certainly a signature song for The Beatles, and with it, all of us were instantly transported to afternoons of listening to 78’s on our turntables. While other musical artists tend to distance themselves from their early roots, McCartney recognizes how meaningful these moments in time are to the fans that have been a part of his career that began in 1960 with The Quarrymen.

During the course of the evening, McCartney shared with us the history behind some of these songs. I will share the playlist with you, and the stories we learned along the way.

  • A Hard Day’s Night (The Beatles)
  • Save Us (McCartney 2013)
  • Can’t Buy Me Love (The Beatles)
  • Letting Go (Wings)
  • Temporary Secretary (McCartney 1980)
  • I've Got a Feeling (The Beatles)

An Homage to Jimi Hendrix

  • Let Me Roll It (Wings)

I attended this concert in Seattle—the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix, and so it was only fitting that McCartney would precede one of his songs with the introductory chords of “Foxy Lady”.

Paul shared with us a story about that late-great artist and how their paths had crossed. Hendrix lived for some time in London. He was a great admirer of McCartney’s writing skills, and McCartney, of course, was in awe of Hendrix’s artistry with the electric guitar. Jimi purchased “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” the day it was released and covered the title song just two days later at the Saville Theatre in London. McCartney was in the audience and spoke of how honored and humbled he felt at this performance which was "simply incredible, perhaps the best I have ever seen him play."

And a Tribute to Nancy

  • My Valentine

This song is a new addition to McCartney’s playlist; he wrote it in February as a loving tribute to Nancy, his wife of 5½ years.

paul-mccartney-the-stories-behind-the-music

Showmanship

Sir Paul demonstrated his skill in keeping his audience entertained and engaged. His sweet tribute to his wife put us in a dreamy, mellow mood, certainly pleasant but he had promised us not a quiet reverie, but a roller coaster ride.

  • Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five (Wings)

This final track of Wings' 1973 album Band on the Run brought the audience out of the melancholy with lively vocals, pounding bass, and invigorating orchestration.

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Then the mood changed again, turning back the clock to 1966 with the Beatles' Here, There, and Everywhere, a ballad inspired by the musical stylings of Brian Wilson's God Only Knows for the Beach Boys.

  • Here, There and Everywhere (The Beatles)

Perhaps His Finest Love Song

  • Maybe I’m Amazed

Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman were wed in 1969 and were inseparable until her death in 1998. McCartney credits her with pulling him from a deep depression that he suffered when The Beatles disbanded. “Maybe I’m Amazed” is Paul’s tribute to Linda and is regarded as one of his finest love songs; it achieved the number 347 position in the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list compiled by Rolling Stone magazine.

paul-mccartney-the-stories-behind-the-music

Time for a Nostalgic Look Back in Time

  • We Can Work It Out (The Beatles)
  • In Spite of All the Danger (The Quarrymen)
  • You Won’t See Me (The Beatles)
  • Love Me Do (The Beatles)
  • And I Love Her (The Beatles)

A Song of Hope

Blackbird (The Beatles)

McCartney explained that he wrote this song as a response to racial tensions escalating in the United States during the spring of 1968—a song of hope for a brighter future.

A Friendship Even Death Could Not End

Paul McCartney and John Lennon met as teenagers in July 1957. Lennon had formed a band named The Quarrymen and a mutual friend had suggested that McCartney come and watch them perform. Paul played the guitar for John who was so impressed he asked McCartney to join…and the rest is history. Together the two would compose over 180 songs. Although they often worked independently, it was rare that a song would be completed without input from one for the other. Much has been written of the McCartney-Lennon relationship both in and outside of the recording studio. At times the relationship was strained, contentious. But in the final analysis, McCartney says that the two were friends.

On December 8, 1980, John Winston Lennon was gunned down at the entrance of the Dakota, his New York City apartment. Paul wrote this song as a tribute to his friend.

  • Here Today
paul-mccartney-the-stories-behind-the-music

And the Songs Just Continued!

  • Queenie Eye (McCartney 2013)
  • The Fool on the Hill (The Beatles)
  • Lady Madonna (The Beatles)
  • Four FiveSeconds (Rihanna and Kanye West and Paul McCartney cover)
  • Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles)
  • Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! (The Beatles)
  • Something (The Beatles)
  • Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles)
  • Band on the Run (Wings)

Back in the U.S.S.R

Paul McCartney and his band performed in Red Square in 2003. He related the story of his nervousness at the prospect of meeting the foreign ministers of the Soviet—key officials of the Kremlin. His fears were soon erased when one of them confessed to learning English by listening to Beatles songs in his youth.

Live and Let Die

This is the one you've been waiting for.

This was by far the one performance that brought absolutely everyone to their feet. As you know, the first verse of the song is a gentle, melodic ballad:

When you were young
And your heart was an open book
You used to say live and let live
You know you did
You know you did
You know you did
But if this ever changin' world
In which we live in
Makes you give in and cry…

But with the chorus, a pyrotechnic display shook the arena. I was sitting 30 rows back but could still feel the heat on my face and one hour later my ears were still ringing. It was FANTASTIC!

So, turn up your speakers and revel!

Live and Let Die

A Song to Heal the Heart of a Sad Little Boy

When John Lennon left his wife Cynthia to live with Yoko Ono, Paul wrote “Hey, Julian” as a message of encouragement to a little 5-year old boy in the midst of a difficult separation and divorce. The title was later changed to "Hey Jules," then finally "Hey Jude," because it was thought Jude was a stronger sounding name.

paul-mccartney-the-stories-behind-the-music

The End?

This was the end. The last song. And Paul left the stage. What a fitting end to an amazing 2 1/2 hour concert.

But wait…there’s more. About one minute later Paul returned to the stage exclaiming “They told me you want to keep going!” And yes, we did!

Encore

  • Yesterday (The Beatles)
  • Hi, Hi, Hi (Wings)
  • Birthday (The Beatles)

A Surprise Visitor

McCartney has admitted that some of his music was influenced by the grunge sound born in Seattle. Is it any coincidence that in the city of Seattle Krist Novoselic (bass guitarist of Nirvana) would appear on stage with Paul to perform a thundering rendition of this classic?

  • Helter Skelter
  • Golden Slumbers (The Beatles)
  • Carry That Weight (The Beatles)
  • The End (The Beatles)

And it was almost the end. But for three amazing hours, we heard the Paul McCartney of yesterday explain a bit of his past. But he also gave us a glimpse of the artist that evolved through the years and will be in the future.

Saving the Best for Last

  • Yesterday (The Beatles)
  • Hi, Hi, Hi (Wings)
  • Birthday (The Beatles)
  • Helter Skelter (The Beatles)


Sources

© 2016 Linda Lum

Comments

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on July 07, 2016:

Bravewarrior - So glad that you stuck around and made it to the end of this hub. It was fun to put together--I still can't believe that I actually got to see Paul McCartney perform live. It's something I will never forget. I am glad you enjoyed.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 07, 2016:

I was excited when I saw this title, Diva. I love music and behind-the-scenes looks at the artists we admire. It sounds like you had a blast at the concert. I can't believe Paul's 73 and still going as strong as he is!

I knew "Hey Jude" was written for Julian when he was little (so was Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds - based on a drawing Julian did when he was little for a girl named Lucy). But no matter how I try to re-interpret the words, it still sounds like a song about shooting up.

I really enjoyed this article, Diva. I took me three tries during lunch hours to get through it all. So glad I did!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on June 29, 2016:

Lawrence - That is what impressed me to much. He does give back, knowing that if not for his fans he would be....? Do be sure to turn up the volume and be prepared to be wowed.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on June 28, 2016:

Wow! This was amazing! Sir Paul may be a billionaire and may have been knighted by the Queen but he's never forgotten his roots.

I'm gonna go home and play the clip on my laptop!

Loved this

Lawrence

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on June 08, 2016:

Thank you Eric. I'm surprised at how much traffic this is getting today. I guess people enjoy music even more than eating (LOL). I pray you are well.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 08, 2016:

Wow you sure know how to share an amazing experience. It was nice to learn more and visit the past of the great artist that influenced so many.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on June 08, 2016:

Kaili, you're right--it doesn't seem real. I can't say that it was on my bucket list (I don't even HAVE a list) but as soon as I heard about the concert, I knew that I HAD to get tickets. So glad that I did. Thanks for sharing and for your support.

Kaili Bisson from Canada on June 08, 2016:

Oh wow, you must still be pinching yourself. He is a treasure, that's for sure. Just love him. Thank you for putting this wonderful hub together...sharing!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on June 08, 2016:

Hi Rachel - I agree with you. Paul was (and still is) my favorite (he's the cute one). I'm glad this brought back good memories for you.

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on June 08, 2016:

Hi Carb Diva, Just the name Paul McCartney brings back memories of high school. I graduated in 1966 and the Beatles were very popular then. Of course, Paul McCartney was my favorite. I never knew that the song Hey Jude was supposed to be Hey Jules and was about John's son. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on June 08, 2016:

Good morning Bill. The Beatles in '65 cannot compare with Paul in 2016. He has grown so much as an artist and a person. I am glad that you enjoyed this one.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on June 08, 2016:

Thank you Jodah. It was something I will never forget (barring dementia, of course). I am glad that you enjoyed it.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 08, 2016:

Well hooray for you! I would have used the word "privileged" as well. I saw the Beatles in '65 in Seattle....one of the highlights of my life.

Happy Wednesday, Linda, and Happy Cooler Weather!

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on June 08, 2016:

Wow, what an experience...a Sir Paul McCartney concert! This is a wonderful hub, Linda, packed with great information, song lyrics and videos. I can feel your passion in every word. Well done.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on June 07, 2016:

Flourish - You are a music-lover if ever there was one, and so your comments mean a great deal to me. I agree that Paul McCartney's depth as a composer and certainly as a musician (electric and acoustic guitar, bass guitar, percussion, piano, keyboard) grew tremendously after The Beatles. He was such a major influence in the Fab Four--I wonder what they would have sounded like years later if the group had stayed together.

I also agree with you about the love between Paul and Linda. It brings tears to my eyes--you can't listen to "Maybe I'm Amazed" and not be left gasping for breath. It is such an amazing testament of his love and devotion to her. Did you know that he recorded it in a studio outside of their home, and he performed every part--guitar, drums, keyboard, etc. on his own? He wanted to do all of it for her, totally for her. ...I can't imagine being loved like that.

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 07, 2016:

Your enthusiasm is contagious. The way you described your experience was exquisite. I prefer McCartney's classic songs to any of the Beattles' work. The love story between him and Linda was beautiful.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on June 07, 2016:

Hi Lions44. Believe it or not this was my very first concert--and I remember hearing The Beatles when they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Somehow, I just knew that I HAD to be a part of this. It was that important. I'm so glad that I did.

Thank you for your support.

CJ Kelly from the PNW on June 07, 2016:

You had me at McCartney. Great job. Sharing everywhere.

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