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Music

Why Paul McCartney called Quincy Jones a "crazy motherf***er"

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Insulting The Beatles is blasphemy, and Quincy Jones found this out the hard way when he made reckless comments about the Fab Four. Paul McCartney is not averse to criticism, and his response to Jones’ taunts was perfection.

The two men are among the most celebrated musicians on the planet, have countless awards between them, and have reached the pinnacle of their respective crafts. Thankfully, McCartney and Jones are friends who managed to see past the ill-thought comments from the latter, which led to the Beatle’s response.

In 2018, Jones spoke to The New Yorker and inexplicably called The Beatles “the worst musicians in the world”. He continued: “They were no-playing motherfuckers. Paul was the worst bass player I ever heard. And Ringo? Don’t even talk about it”.

The only experience that the producer had with the group was following their split when Ringo Starr recruited him to assist with his debut album, Sentimental Journey. Starr worked with a series of arrangers on the record and brought in Jones for his cover of The Four Aces’ ‘Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing’.

It was a torturous experience for Jones, but one that he regrettably still remembers vividly. He continued: “I remember once we were in the studio with George Martin, and Ringo had taken three hours for a four-bar thing he was trying to fix on a song,” the producer recalled. “He couldn’t get it. We said, ‘Mate, why don’t you get some lager and lime, some shepherd’s pie, and take an hour-and-a-half and relax a little bit.'”

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He added: “So he did, and we called Ronnie Verrell, a jazz drummer. Ronnie came in for 15 minutes and tore it up. Ringo comes back and says, ‘George, can you play it back for me one more time?’ So George did, and Ringo says, ‘That didn’t sound so bad.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, motherfucker, because it ain’t you.'”

Jones didn’t mean it to be a personal attack and tried to caveat his sentiment by saying Ringo is a “great guy, though.” Unfortunately, that didn’t quite compensate for his previous remarks, although McCartney was unfazed by the comments.

He later was asked for his thoughts on Jones’ comments by GQ and explained why it was typical of the character he’s come to know. “He’s totally out of his tree,” McCartney explained. “But the great thing was, he rang me after this. I’d only heard about it and I’d thought, ‘I’m not sure it’s true.’

“The joke is, I love Quincy, even after this. He’s a crazy motherfucker. But I respect him, he’s done a lot of very good things. So he rang me, and I’m at home on my own. And I’d finished work, so I had a drink, and now I’m grooving at home, I’m cooking, I’ve got a little bit of wine going, I’m in a good mood, and I don’t give a shit.”

When you’re McCartney, you don’t need to seek affirmation from others, and he’s self-assured enough in his own abilities to not let Quincy Jones’ opinion dampen his spirits. Jones might be one of the most acclaimed producers of all time, but even he is capable of delivering a monstrously bad take.

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