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This article appears in the November 2018 print edition with the headline “The Eternal Sunshine of Paul McCartney” The Atlantic…

…the story of Paul and the milkman…. Paul McCartney, vital young Beatle, is lying in bed one morning in 1963 when he hears the milkman making his rounds. The milk bottles are clinking and clanking, doorstep to doorstep, and the milkman is whistling, as milkmen will. And what he’s whistling is the Beatles’ new single, “From Me to You.” Da da da, da da dum dum da. Paul sinks back into his pillow, into his morning-warm mattress, vibrating head to toe with a nice horizontal buzz of gratification. He knows he’s cracked the code…Very McCartney, that story.

Paul is 76 years old, and currently on a world tour to promote his new album, Egypt Station.The first song on Egypt Station is “I Don’t Know”: lovely, trudging, Beatle-doleful piano, and McCartney singing in a voice striated with age. I got crows at my window / Dogs at my door / I don’t think I can take any more. The song is a dialogue between this figure—this small, embattled Paul, besieged by omens—and the supernaturally consoling presence that appears before him in the chorus. It’s all right, sleep tight / I will take the strain / You’re fine / Love of mine / You will feel no pain.


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