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Credit: Jerzy Bednarski


How a rainy romantic getaway inspired a Paul McCartney song


The subjects of Paul McCartney‘s love songs are fairly well known. In the early to mid-1960s, Jane Asher was his muse. For a brief period of time, Francie Schwartz inspired a song or two from McCartney. Most of his most well known romantic material came from his marriage to Linda Eastman, but after her death, Heather Mills got a few songs dedicated to her.

McCartney’s current day marriage to Nancy Shevell is only a decade old, but he has already written a few of his best modern-day compositions as odes to his present relationship. One of the first songs written for Nancy came at a time when McCartney was courting Shevell, asking her to go on a holiday with him and his brother to Morocco.

“Because we weren’t an item, we didn’t stay in the same room,” McCartney explains in The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present. “But it rained the whole bloody time, and we had paid all this money to come away to this paradise, and we might as well have stayed in Manchester!”

Adding: “There was a pianist in the foyer of the hotel where we were staying, and every evening we would go down there and have a few drinks and listen to a guy play a few tunes… The piano was sitting the foyer all day long, till the pianist came for cocktail hour in the evening, and because the rain would not stop, I sometimes went and just noodled on the keys.

“It was all very romantic,” McCartney continued. “I was thinking all sorts of loving thoughts towards Nancy, and while I was at the piano, I could see the waiters who were clearing up were listening. You can tell when someone’s got half an ear on you, even when they’re pretending just to do their work. But it was nice and romantic, it was a perfect moment, and I thought to myself, ‘we’re not going to stay in separate rooms tonight.'”

‘My Valentine’ came out of those rainy nights. Most people probably couldn’t get away with having a writing session in the middle of a swanky hotel, but when you’re Paul McCartney, I can’t imagine anyone is going to tell you not to play. The song, which channels the same Great American Songbook type of songs that McCartney had heard at the resort, would be the first kernel that lead to the eventual album Kisses on the Bottom. The single original would be McCartney’s ode to Shevell that he wrote while wishing those rainy days away in Morocco.

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