He’s as famous and accomplished as a man can be. He could just stay home, relax, and count his money. But Paul McCartney is as driven as ever. Which is why he’s still making music and why he has loads of great stories you’ve never heard—about the sex life of the Beatles, how he talked John Lennon out of drilling holes in his head (really), and what actually happened when he worked with Kanye.
It begins gently enough, with McCartney taking measure of the distance he has come.
“Talk about: Pinch yourself,” he says. “I never thought I would be a singer-songwriter. Who dreams of that?”
“I think with Elvis appearing I did think, ‘It’d be good to get a bit of that,'” he concedes. “And John was thinking that, and George was.4 When we got together, we sort of started to dream that. It was a bit of a far-off dream, and it was just a dream. It wasn’t anything that we really ever thought would turn out to be more than that.”
McCartney’s father was the kind of parent who had impressed upon his son the need to buckle down and get a job. At school, McCartney says, he was advised to think about going into teaching. That didn’t feel so great to him. He had a different fantasy, but one that in its own way shows a kind of eccentric pragmatism at work. The young Paul McCartney imagined himself as a long-distance truck driver—in particular as a truck driver fueled by a deep Catholic faith, a faith far stronger than the real McCartney had. “Just driving forever, going on these long journeys, full of faith in God and the world,” he says, remembering how he had felt back then. “To me, that would be quite good.”
Thinking of all this leads McCartney to explain, unbidden, that his actual faith, such as it is, has always involved cherry-picking from different religions the parts he felt were most valuable. “I mean, Saint Francis of Assisi was my big favorite,” he says. “And I turned out to be for animal welfare, animal lover and nature lover. But the picture of him in the Bible sitting on his throne-like chair, birds all over him, and rabbits, and they’re all interested in him—that was magical to me.”
“Yeah. I still try and block that. Because I’m now devout animal welfare, wouldn’t kill a fly.
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