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Music

Paul McCartney's sweet final words to Linda

@SamWKemp

As one of the greatest lyricists of all time, Paul McCartney has a profound understanding of the power of words. He made a career crafting pithy fragments of imagery that encapsulated much broader emotional states.

From the epiphanies of ‘Blackbird’ and “You were only waiting for this moment to arise” to the existential meditations of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and “All The Lonely People, where do they all come from?”, McCartney’s best songs are both concise and deeply reflective, allowing him to distil complex human experiences with the lightest touch. This control over language saw McCartney become one of the most revered songwriters of his day. But it was when his wife, Linda, was on her deathbed that the true value of his talent became clear.

Paul McCartney’s early Beatles hits were mostly written bout Jane Asher, an actress whose parent’s house on Wimpole Street served as the backdrop for the creation of ‘Blackbird’. The pair stayed together for many years, announcing their engagement in 1967. But after finding out that her fiancee had been seeing Francie Schwartz while she was away on a shoot. Asher decided to dump McCartney on live TV. Shortly after the breakup, the Beatles bassist travelled to New York, where he was reintroduced to a photographer called Linda Eastman, who he’d met in 1967 at a Georgie Fame concert at The Bag O’Nails nightclub in Soho, London.

According to McCartney, there was an instant attraction between them and, shortly after, the pair decided to go for a drink. During their sprawling conversation, Paul mentioned that he really liked white rabbits. Eastman bought a white rabbit and sent it to his address the next day. As her friend Miki Antony recalled, Paul “rang her up and said, ‘Thank you so much for the white rabbit, would you like to come out for dinner again?’ That’s how I knew they’d started dating. The rest is history.” The couple decided to tie the knot on March 12th 1969, and went on to have three children together: Mary, Stella and James.

For more than 25 years, the couple lived happily, their love one of the greatest romances in music history. Then, in 1995, Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer. After fighting the illness for three long years, in 1998, it became too much. She died on April 17th at the age of 56. In those final hours, McCartney held his wife’s hands, telling her of a landscape just beyond the horizon: “You’re up on your beautiful Appaloosa stallion,” he said, his mouth to her ear. “It’s a fine spring day. We’re riding through the woods. The bluebells are all out, and the sky is a clear blue.” And with that, she passed.

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