Paul McCartney has revealed that Charles Manson put him off playing 1968 track ‘Helter Skelter’ live for a long time.
American cult leader Manson, whose followers were responsible for the Tate/LaBianca murders in 1969, appropriated the song title for his prophecy of an apocalyptic race war between whites and blacks.
“He was quite certain that The Beatles had tapped in to his spirit, the truth – that everything was gonna come down and the black man was going to rise,” said Catherine Share, one of Manson’s followers, in 2009.
Speaking to NME in this week’s Big Read, Paul McCartney says that Manson’s use of the title ‘Helter Skelter’ stopped him from playing the song live.
McCartney said: “Well, that put me off doing it forever. I thought, I’m not doing [‘Helter Skelter’], you know, because it was too close to that event, and immediately it would have seemed like I was, either I didn’t care about all the carnage that had gone on or whatever, so I kept away from it for a long time.
“But then in the end I thought, you know, that’d be good on stage, that’d be a nice one to do, so we brought it out of the bag and tried it and it works. It’s a good one to rock with, you know.”
He also shot down claims the track is The Beatle’s most heavy metal song, saying, “No! I’ve never claimed it, you know. People said it, but, if you think about it, it was near the start of heavy metal, and it was us trying to be heavy.
“I’d heard [The Who’s] Pete Townshend saying they’d done the dirtiest, filthiest record ever, so we were trying to out-filth The Who. So if that communicated itself, there might have been some little guy living up in Rotherham thinking, Aye, we’ll have a group, we’ll just do that.”
McCartney spoke to NME about the release of his new album ‘Egypt Station.’
The Beatle, now 76, is set to go on a world tour in support of his new output and has shot down any thoughts of retirement just yet. And in the build up to his new album, Macca has been busy drumming up attention.
Earlier this month, McCartney announced a string of tour dates for 2019.