Paul McCartney is a musician whose name is chiselled into the annals of music history. A founding member of The Beatles, one half of the most successful songwriting partnerships on the planet and, some 60 years after he made it into the big time, Macca is once again returning with yet another new album. Given the accolades relentlessly and appropriately thrown at him, it becomes hard to imagine any other person on the planet could leave a figure of his magnitude tongue-tied.
However, even for Paul McCartney, a person who has sold well over 700 million records, it all had to start somewhere. The musician, who has often been open when discussing his inspirations and admirations, recently revealed that there was one artist that still left him starstruck and it’s someone who he has met many times before.
Speaking to The Penguin Podcast a couple of months ago, McCartney revealed that, despite the aura that surrounds him, in reality he’s an affable guy when it comes to fame. Having dealt with the rollercoaster of fame for six decades, the Liverpudlian has come to expect a certain amount of silly and embarrassing behaviour.
The ‘Hey Jude’ singer conversely revealed that he too, on occasion, would be in the same situation if he was asked to interview a famous actor or musician himself. “If I had to interview someone famous tomorrow, I’d be like thinking about it all night and all morning, ‘oh my god what am I gonna do?’” the former Beatles bassist said. “And I imagine that’s what they’re going through and normally you can see this bit of fear in the eyes or there’s shaking.” The question arose after Macca was asked whether he prefers to be called Sir Paul McCartney, as is his title. He added: “So I like to put people at ease and say, ‘Look, it doesn’t matter [about calling me Sir Paul], I’m just some guy.’”
McCartney, who has relentlessly lived life in the limelight, a path which has seen him develop an understanding approach to the world of celebrity. When asked if any other iconic person had the ability to make him quiver with fear, he responded: “Yes, there’s one or two people who I would be nervous of.”
Detailing further, the former Beatle continued: “Bob Dylan would actually make me a little bit like, ‘oh my god what am I going to say…is it going to be okay, is it going to be good.’” It’s a hilarious concept considering he and Dylan have known each other almost as long as they’ve been famous. Given his admission, it would appear that the feeling was mutual, “They were fantastic singers. Lennon, to this day, it’s hard to find a better singer than Lennon was, or than McCartney was and still is,” said Dylan of The Beatles.
“I mean I’m in awe of McCartney. He’s about the only one that I am in awe of,” Dylan continued. “But I’m in awe of him. He can do it all and he’s never let up, you know. He’s got the gift for melody, he’s got the rhythm. He can play any instrument. He can scream and shout as good as anybody and he can sing the ballad as good as anybody, you know so… And his melodies are, you know, effortless. That’s what you have to be in awe… I’m in awe of him maybe just because he’s just so damn effortless. I mean I just wish he’d quit, you know. [laughs] Just everything and anything that comes out of his mouth is just framed in a melody, you know.”
McCartney, again reflecting on his time with The Beatles, compared his relationships amid the swinging sixties to the slower pace of life today. Discussing a more recent meeting between him and the freewheelin’ Dylan, Macca said: “But I did see him. He did a Coachella, but it was like Old-chella, because it’s like Stones, us, Neil Young…it was older acts.
“But I got to talk to Bob there and he was really very nice, so I don’t know why I would have been nervous, but you get that with some people. It is a funny thing actually when you think about it. What do you have to do, to get secure in yourself?”
There you have it. Not only is Sir Paul McCartney one-quarter of the biggest band in pop music but he also lacks self-confidence. Who knew?