An American Beatles fan visiting Liverpool for the first time struck lucky when he bumped into Paul McCartney himself while touring the star’s old home city. Retired actor Lance Mancuso was posing for a picture outside the barber’s shop on Penny Lane during a day-trip to the city when the music legend walked up behind him and said, ‘Hi, I’m Paul’.
Lance, 59, from Las Vegas, who had been brought to Liverpool by his British cousin Clive Langley, was over the moon and the pair exchanged greetings and shook hands.The encounter was even more extraordinary considering Penny Lane shop keepers have lived and worked there for some 40 years without ever seeing the musician who put the street on the map. Paul was in his hometown filming with comedian James Corden. Looking fit and in good spirits he quickly drew a crowd of well-wishers during his unscheduled visit to the street made famous by his 1967 song. ‘I was standing outside the barber’s shop in Penny Lane, I looked around and there was Paul McCartney,’ Clive Langley told.’He walked into the barber’s shop and said hello to everyone in there. There were people having their hair cut and others waiting.’ Mr Langley had brought his American cousin, Lance to visit Tony Slavin’s salon, which is the ‘barber’s shop’, mentioned in the song Penny Lane. ‘We couldn’t believe it. Then Paul McCartney walks out of the barber’s shop and says ‘Hi, I’m Paul’, as if we didn’t know who he was! ‘One shop-keeper told us it was a million-to-one shot that we had seen Paul McCartney. ‘There’s a woman who runs has run a second-hand clothes shop in Penny Lane for 40 years and she said she had never seen him.
Paul shook hands with Lance, 59, a retired film actor from Las Vegas, and exchanged greetings.’Paul McCartney was very charming,’ Mr Langley, 61, from Leicester, explained.’He noticed that Lance was wearing a veteran’s jacket and he thanked him for serving in the armed forces.’Lance told him that he was a big fan and that he loved his music.’Paul McCartney was only in the street for a couple of minutes but he quickly drew a crowd. People came out of the shops around to have a look.’James Corden was with him. They were recording something for his show, the production team explained.’
Paul, who was travelling in a Grey Mercedes people carrier with blacked-out windows then led the film crew around his native city, passing by the various statues to The Beatles, before visiting his childhood home in Allerton.
Lance Mancuso added: ‘Paul McCartney was very cool.’He was very gracious and had a nice handshake. He looked like he was enjoying himself being back in Liverpool. ‘I came to Liverpool to try to feel some of the Beatles magic and I met Paul McCartney himself, I couldn’t believe it!’
A week earlier the retired actor and volunteer fire-fighter had bumped into the former Beatle’s daughter Stella McCartney outside her fashion house in west London.
When the McCartney family moved to 20 Forthlin Avenue, it sat in a neat council estate in a respectable suburb. On his return, Sir Paul will have been struck by the stream of tour buses and taxis bringing Beatles fans to the National Trust-owned attraction. But Allerton, about five miles from the city centre, still encapsulates the ‘blue suburban skies’ of his much-loved evocation of nearby Penny Lane.
House prices, however, have rocketed from less than £2,000 in the mid-1950s to about £160,000 for a three-bed terrace.
Retired electrician Tony Roberts, 87, who has lived next to No20 for almost 50 years with his wife Rene, said: ‘Apart from all the taxis and fans, the houses in Forthlin Road haven’t changed all that much.
‘Allerton is still the safe, friendly place that we moved to in 1970 but the high street has changed a lot. There’s hardly any independent shops.’
They have been replaced by bookmakers, charity shops and a Costa although Adam’s Apple greengrocers has survived.
There, shop assistant Carol Bilsborough said: ‘Sir Paul will have seen a big change in the local shops.
‘But Allerton is still a really nice place to live, with good schools and lovely parks, and I’m pleased that he’s come back to remember his roots.’
Speaking in 1997 about moving from the more rough-and-ready Speke, Sir Paul told biographer Barry Miles that his mother wanted ‘to get us out of a bad area into a slightly posh area so perhaps some of the posh might rub off on us’.