Paul McCartney rounded off a hectic week promoting his newly-released album ‘New’ by signing copies for 500 fans at the recently-reopened HMV in London’s Oxford Street today (October 18).
Fans had queued for two days to meet their hero, who finished a pop-up concert in nearby Covent Garden less than an hour before signing CDs and vinyl copies of ‘New’.
Many fans burst into tears in the queue, while several more began crying with joy after meeting McCartney. The Beatles icon chatted patiently with each fan, signing for a total of 50 minutes. He told NME on Thursday that he was looking forward to his appearance as a chance to meet “real fans” rather than professional autograph collectors, who he dubbed “bounty hunters”.
Before signing, he announced: “We’ll have to cut this off after a certain time”, bursting into a verse of opera song ‘O Sole Mio’. First in the queue was Alan Harrington, invited by HMV as he had been the last customer at the HMV store when it closed in 2000. The chain’s flagship branch reopened last month. Harrington said: “I was invited by HMV, as I’ve been a Beatles fan since I was 11 in 1962. I’ve met Paul a few times, and he’s always a real gentleman.”
Dutch fan Rose Van Den Eyden had queued for 30 hours to meet McCartney. She also brought a bunch of flowers to present to him, though these were confiscated by security guards. Van Den Eyden said: “It was tough, sleeping in the alley, but Paul is a superstar and worth some discomfort to meet. I’ve come from the Netherlands especially for today.”
One fan performed a somersault in front of the laughing McCartney after her album was signed, while the singer later began singing ‘New”s title track with a fan sporting a ‘New’ T-shirt and a tattoo of McCartney’s face on his forearm.
Speaking to NME before the signing, McCartney said he relished his show at Covent Garden, commenting: “It was sensational, like being in a dream, suddenly playing to all those people. It was crazy; I kept giggling inside. It was great and very nice of all those people to come out.”