Paul McCartney has penned hundreds of timeless songs, tracks that have soundtracked the lives of millions of people all over the planet. His extraordinary catalogue with The Beatles is the envy of pretty much every other songwriter in the world and his post-Beatles career is scattered with gems that also elicit the green-eyed monster within other musicians. You’d think that McCartney would settle for his repertoire of music but, even a talent as great as Macca can feel the tinge of jealousy. However, the one song that he wishes that he wrote is an extremely surprising choice.
A polite way of describing his choice would be ‘peculiar’ and out of all the millions of songs that have ever been written, the Beatle choose to pick Sting’s track ‘Fields of Gold’. McCartney made this revelation when in conversation with Jarvis Cocker at The Liverpool Institute in 2018. An audience member pondered to him if there was a song that he wished he had written and the odds on anybody within the venue foreseeing the answer that he was about to give is minuscule, to say the least.
McCartney has previously described The Beach Boys’ ‘God Only Knows’ as being his favourite song, which makes its omission somewhat surprising. He once stated: “‘God Only Knows’ is one of the few songs that reduces me to tears every time I hear it. It’s really just a love song, but it’s brilliantly done. It shows the genius of Brian.”
However, he decided to pay homage to another track close to his heart and, after hearing McCartney speak, you can tell how he feels about ‘Fields of Gold’. After a moment of contemplation, he responds: “There’s always a couple that I hear that I think I’d have liked (to have written). I liked Sting’s ‘Fields Of Gold’, and I thought, ‘Y’know what, I should have written that.'”
McCartney then jokingly gives Cocker a deathly stare, before adding: “How dare he? ‘I told him: ‘You stole my song.’ I thought that was a nice one, y’know?”
Sting was elated after hearing the praise that Macca had sent his way, taking to social media to post: “Paul McCartney says he wishes he would have written ‘Fields Of Gold.’ There are more than a few of Paul’s that I wish I would have written. To hear this from someone I owe my life to is very special. Thank you, Paul.”
When he appeared on the Sodajerker podcast, Sting again addressed McCartney’s praise and made sure to show that the love shown was reciprocal: “Well there are enough songs on his side of the table that I would kill for. ‘Blackbird’, that’s a perfect song.”
The former Police frontman has always been open about how much he owes to The Beatles, telling Guitar World in 1996: “I recently sent Paul McCartney a letter thanking him for making it possible for us to have careers as musicians. Especially those of us who have to write and sing in counterpoint to our bass lines! [‘Love Me Do’] was the first Beatles song we heard in England. It was 1962, I was about 10, and I was at the swimming baths with my mates.
“Suddenly this came over the sound system, and we all just stopped, mesmerised. It was a simple tune, two chords, harmonica, but there was this incredible feeling and energy. Nothing was ever the same.”
To have the man who made you fall in love with music become a fan of your art is undoubtedly something Sting will keep close to his heart until his grave. If you told that 10-year-old Beatles-mad kid in Newcastle who idolised Macca after hearing ‘Love Me Do’ that one day Paul McCartney would hero-worship one of his songs, his face would have been a picture worthy of hanging in the Louvre.