“I used to think anyone doing anything weird was weird. Now I know that it is the people that call others weird that are weird.” – Paul McCartney
After years of speculation, it has finally happened. The legendary bassist, singer-songwriter and cultural icon Sir. Paul McCartney will be gracing Australian shores for the first time since 1993. Few living people can claim the prestigious career history that McCartney can, having been one-half of the world’s most famous song-writing duo, and arguably being one of the most recognisable names in human history. His work with The Beatles is obviously unparalleled, and with the other three members of that band, he helped change the course of musical history, and open doors for future artists. The Beatles daring musical nature and their willingness to break out of genre confines and expectation led them to the level of god-like fame which they achieved. Now, only half of The Beatles still live – McCartney and Ringo Starr. Starr toured Australia a couple of years ago, and now McCartney is fulfilling fans dreams by bringing his show back down under.
In celebration of this monumental occasion, we thought we would have a flick back through the pages of McCartney’s illustrious career and pick out the strangest moments we could find.
That time he appeared on The Simpsons, on one specific condition.
In 1995, each of the living Beatles (Ringo & George) had appeared on an episode of The Simpsons. The only hold out was McCartney. The show’s staff wanted to get him to appear but knew that they needed to approach him with the right story. That story turned out to be ‘Lisa the Vegetarian.‘ During the episode, Lisa – generally the moral compass of the titular family – realises the cruelty of eating animals and decides to abstain. As McCartney is a vegetarian himself, the staff figured that the episode would be perfect. McCartney did agree to appear, but on one condition – Lisa was to remain a vegetarian for the rest of the series, not simply revert back to eating meat the following week. The Simpsons kept up their end of the bargain, and to this day Lisa’s vegetarianism is a core aspect of the show. McCartney appeared with his wife Linda, who told Entertainment Weekly that the appearance on the show was their chance to “spread the vegetarian word to a wider audience.”
That time he said, “it’s a drag, isn’t it?” in response to John Lennon’s death.
It cannot be easy to lose someone who you shared so much of your life with. McCartney and Lennon were friends since boyhood and saw one another rise to the status of global megastars. As the well-worn story goes, their relationship disintegrated due to various creative and personal disputes towards the end of The Beatles run. In an interview as recent as 2015, McCartney has expressed dissolution towards the way that Lennon is remembered by the world, claiming that he remembers “the real” John Lennon and was frustrated at how is he is revered as a “martyr.” After news broke of Lennon’s death in 1980, even with their strained relationship, this could not have been an easy time for McCartney. In a now famous segment of footage, McCartney is seen surrounded by press badgering him with questions. When a reporter asks him how he feels about Lennon’s death, he replied with a deadpan ” It’s a drag, isn’t it?” Perhaps this response could be seen to have been disrespectful and cavalier, but it is more likely that he was simply in shock, and caught at a bad moment by the leering press.
That time he collaborated with Kanye West and Rhianna
While it is certainly pretty cool that someone of his age is so willing to immerse himself in the music of a new generation, there was something utterly surreal about McCartney’s 2015 collaboration with Kanye West and Rhianna. The song was more in line with McCartney’s style of music than his collaborators, and this led to a lot of praise being heaped on Kanye and Rhianna for their largely unprocessed vocal performances. The song was a hit across the world and helped bring McCartney’s name to a youthful audience who may not have identified with him prior, perhaps considering him a relic of their parent’s era. Even with all that considered, it is undeniably strange to see the three of them in the same video.
That time Bob Dylan accidentally introduced McCartney and the rest of the Beatles to weed, because of a misheard lyric.
In the classic Beatles song ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ there is a repeated lyric which reads – “I can’t hide.” Back in the late 60’s, it wasn’t possible to simply look up song lyrics on the internet. And so, Bob Dylan, another icon of legendary status, misheard and misinterpreted the lyric from ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ as saying “I get high.” On August 28th, 1964, Dylan was invited to hang out while The Beatles were in New York, staying at the Delmonico Hotel. Due to his perception that The Beatles already “got high,” Dylan proceeded to roll a joint, which the band smoked with him. The Beatles road manager Mal Evans decided to follow McCartney around for the evening writing down the things he said. Apparently, McCartney spoke about how he was “thinking for the first time,” and discovering the seven levels of existence, metamorphosing to each one. Deep, dude. Arguably, this event flicked the switch in the band which led them from being clean cut pretty boys to icons of the hippy movement.
That time McCartney told an interviewer that he stands on his head at the gym to impress younger men.
In a truly strange revelation, McCartney told an interviewer in 2015 that he stands on his head as part of his workout routine. He claims that it is more about flexibility, not strength, and is something he learned during his yoga days in the late 60’s and early 70’s. “What’s cool about it is that I’ll be in the gym with all these guys doing really big weights, whilst I’m there doing not big weights, and afterwards, when I’ve done my headstand for about five minutes, these big guys will come up to me and say, ‘That was pretty impressive, man!'”
Paul McCartney will be returning to Australian and New Zealand shores this December. Get prepared for pre-sales and ticket sales here.