Icons don’t come much bigger than Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen, so when the two collided for a rendition of ‘Twist and Shout’ during the latter’s headline performance at London’s Hyde Park in 2012 it was unsurprisingly a beautiful moment.
However, the momentous occasion of the two joining forces was cut short after the microphones were switched off for breaking the event’s curfew leaving it as a notable ‘what if’ moment in rock and roll history.
Springsteen, along with The E Street Band, were headlining the 2012 edition of the now rested Hard Rock Calling Festival which had also seen sets from the likes of Iggy and The Stooges, Paul Simon, Gary Clark Jr and many more over the course of the weekend.
But it was Springsteen’s trademark three-hour set and the controversy regarding the end of his performance that stole the headlines. With Springsteen’s set being dramatically cut short when he, McCartney and his band all had their microphones turned off before they could thank the crowds or even finish their set.
McCartney would reveal his version of events to NME some months later: “Bruce, sort of, got in touch and said, ‘do you wanna get up? We’d like you to get up’. I said, ‘well, I don’t know, I’ll just come along to the show’, so we’re in the side of the show in the wings, and he says ‘are you gonna get up, man?’, I said ‘I don’t know, maybe’. Then his roadie says ‘I’ve got a bass for you, I’ve got a guitar, It’s all tuned, it’s ready to go’ I go ‘oh, you’re REALLY ready! So they’re all really ready to go, so, what have they rehearsed?”
With a huge back catalogue, they had their fair share of choices: “He said ‘Twist And Shout’, and ‘I Saw Her Standing There’. So at last minute, I sort of have to say, ‘yeah, I’ll do it’, so I go on, and it’s great—they really have rehearsed it, and I’m the only one who sort of doesn’t know it, even though I wrote the bloody thing.”
The former Beatles man continued: “So then they go to ‘Twist And Shout’, and I’m singing it, and someone had whispered ‘we haven’t got any time, we can’t do it’, but it was such a nice, yeah Bruce is going ‘yeah come on, man’ and Bruce is you know, he’s a do-er, a go-getter, so I was happy.” Macca continues: “We’re rocking away, all our monitors stayed on, so we weren’t really aware that the plug had been pulled on the audience, that you see on the youtube later, it’s all gone dead.”
He then added: “And he’s singing, he’s gonna then go back and sing ‘Good Night Irene’, which I think was all dead, but we had a laugh again. You’ve gotta’ have a laugh, it would just be so terrifying if you didn’t so we just had a laugh afterwards, I was just apologetic like ‘I’m sorry, man, only in Britain!’.
“It’s the only place… you can’t imagine in New York somewhere like that, them pulling the plug.” It’s hard to disagree, two legends of the game playing to a raucous crowd in the centre of Londonwere cut midway through a joyous performance. “That was the big story,” he continued, “Everyone in America was going to me ‘is it true, man? They pulled the plug on you and Springsteen?!’ I’m saying ‘yeah, well, you know, just some guy: some bloody jobsworth!”
Before the two were cut off, they performed gorgeous renditions of ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and ‘Twist and Shout’ which you can watch below.