Earlier this week, I was spending time with my friend and record dealer, Lin, looking at a few albums he had picked up recently to resell. On top of the pile he showed me was Wings’ live, two-record album Wings Over America. As always, I reminded Lin that Wings Over America was the first record I bought from him. I followed with, “We have Paul McCartney to thank for our friendship,” which may or may not be true. Thanks anyway, Paul.
Even if Paul McCartney isn’t the reason I love Lin, Lin is certainly one of the reasons I love Paul McCartney. My appreciation for The Beatles has grown exponentially in the last two years, but I didn’t appreciate Paul McCartney as an individual until I heard Wings. And, if I love The Beatles now (I do), I love Paul McCartney.
Last week, I picked up Rolling Stone‘s Special Collectors Edition Paul McCartney issue. The newest addition to my small collection of magazines is part photo essay, part retrospective, and part recycled Rolling Stone articles reprinted for the benefit of my generation, who weren’t around to read them when they were published.
In the last pages, Rolling Stone also makes arguments for what they believe are Paul’s 40 best solo songs. They start with “Maybe I’m Amazed,” which I won’t fight them over.
And I don’t know how I didn’t know this before reading this issue, but Paul McCartney came up with the tune to “Yesterday” in his sleep. I like his explanation for it:
“I have this sort of theory that all the time you’re inputting your computer with information from the world and one day it prints out for you. I think in the case of ‘Yesterday,’ it was an involuntary printout. On the other hand, it might be God. I’m not ruling that out.”
I’ll admit that the photos included are a huge motivation for buying these special edition magazines, but, as I read the articles collected in this issue, I had a sense of being given a glimpse into the mind of a creative legend, yes, but of a genuinely intelligent, good-natured, and positive human being, as well.
While I’m sure that being a McCartney fan in the ’60s had its perks (for example, Lin will always be able to talk about seeing The Beatles live at the Hollywood Bowl in ’66), I’m happy being a McCartney fan now. Paul McCartney has aged into a damn cool 75-year-old, and I find his thoughts on aging and critics, among other things, incredibly uplifting.
Unsurprisingly, The Beatles are mentioned in every article. In an article called “With the Beatles,” the author, Simon Vozick-Levinson, writes, “After all these years, thinking about what it was like to be a Beatle can still make [Paul] smile. ‘Yeah,’ he said. ‘It’s really quite a cool feeling.’” I bet it is.
In other articles Paul talks about his life philosophies (“Ah, let’s try and enjoy ourselves”), his religious beliefs (“I believe in a spirit, that’s the best I can put it”), and a message from the maharishi that he took to heart: “Radiate bliss consciousness.”
I’ll end with a quote from Paul, that I am taking to heart: “Just be cool and you’ll be all right … That’s rock & roll religion.”
Thanks again, Paul.