Paul McCartney has revealed that he still judges new songs by imagining how John Lennon would react.
McCartney spoke to NME about the release of latest solo album ‘Egypt Station’ and confirmed that he still judges new material by imagining what the Beatles would have said about it.
He said: “You know, you do sometimes, particularly if you’re wondering about a line and you think, is this any good or is it crap, I sometimes will just think, oh right, OK, Beatles session, writing session with John, and I say, ‘What do you think of that?’ And he’ll either say, ‘It’s great, keep it,’ or, ‘No, it’s no good, re-write it.’
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“So you often, you know, look to the past for reference. But I don’t do it all the time. That’s just occasionally if I’m wondering if it’s going to work, remembering things like when I’m writing ‘Hey Jude’ and playing it to John for the first time; I said I’d change the line ‘The movement you need is on your shoulder’ and he said, ‘You won’t, you know’. So those are the little moments I refer to and think, ‘Is it one of those lines or is it rubbish’.”
Speaking to NME in this week’s Big Read, Macca also presented a more nuanced version of John Lennon, who has recently been reduced to an acidic caricature.
McCartney said: “Oh yeah, you know. Working with John with great. Those are the kinds of things you remember. In a film, you remember that bit where the guy says ‘Hasta la vista, baby’ or whatever, and John definitely did have those withering putdowns, you know, but it was two percent of who he was and it’s the two percent people remember. Most of the time he was very generous, very loving, very easy to work with.
“But both of us had this sardonic streak that we could bring to each other’s things. I’m writing, ‘It’s getting better all the time’ and he chips in with, ‘Couldn’t get much worse’. And the song keeps moving ahead because of that. But he was a very warm guy actually, John. His reputation, cos of things like that, has gone a bit the other way.”
That still didn’t stop Lennon from trying to convince McCartney to drill a hole in his skull.
The Beatles bassist released ‘Egypt Station‘, last week (September 7). In a four-star review, NME said: “Mostly, ‘Egypt Station’ is a record that’s going to delight McCartney’s fans and – importantly – Beatles fans who might sniff at some of his solo work.”
Earlier this month, McCartney announced a string of tour dates for 2019.