lunes, 19 de diciembre de 2011


Macca has the world in palm of his hand

By Sarah Walters | Fri, 16 December, 2011

There hasn’t been a name on the MEN Arena schedule this year that is better known or more celebrated than Sir Paul McCartney.

One half of the most revolutionary writing teams pop music has ever seen with John Lennon in The Beatles, Sir Paul has sold more singles than everyone currently in the collective Top 40 and more albums than everybody else ever.

Pretty staggering statistics. And that’s before you even consider the 15 Ivor Novello awards and seven Grammys that The Beatles collected, or the fact that McCartney himself penned the most covered song of all time – Yesterday – and was recently voted the greatest composer of the millennium.

On Monday, he plays the penultimate show of his tour in Manchester, on the back of a successful global trek that’s taken him to Europe, America and even the United Arab Emirates.

After so long in the game (this year marks the 50th anniversary of Paul’s debut into music, with The Beatles’ AA-side single My Bonnie/The Saints, and 40th anniversary of his first Wings LP, Wild Life), new experiences are hard to come by, and Paul says he’s excited that music is still a voyage of discovery.

“Abu Dhabi... it’s interesting,” he says. “I didn’t quite know what to expect. “A lot of ex-pats, or maybe a lot of local people, or maybe a mixture. So, I was into it – I like good weather!

“I think the particular excitement of going to Abu Dhabi was the F1 aspect, for me and particularly for some of the members of our crew who are F1 fans. 

“I went to Monaco with The Beatles – that was good but loud! Even louder than our show.

“In some places The Beatles were illegal,” continues Paul, who as a solo artist has since visited several cities that The Beatles never reached, including the Russian capital of Moscow and its second city, St Petersburg.

“It adds a certain fascination to realise that you are playing to a group of people that once weren’t allowed to listen to you.

“In Russia, playing in Red Square, it was amazing. It was great to play Back In The USSR twice to the audience, because I’d always wanted to go and play that song. Other performers had gone to Russia before I got there and they had played it.”

He’s also used his world tour as a chance to polish his linguistic skills, reacquainting himself with (among others) the basics of Swedish and Finnish. And perhaps he’s so passionate about the world around him right now because he’s a man in love again, having recently married his partner of four years, Nancy Sewell, last October. 

Paul’s love life has been conducted almost as publicly as his music 
career. He had been due to marry flame- haired beauty and actress Jane Asher before he met the girl would be become his first wife, American photographer Linda Eastman – whose happy marriage was cut short by her 
untimely death from cancer in 1998.

A tumultuous marriage to model Heather Mills ended in 2006 (and was dragged through an expensive legal ending in the divorce courts in 2008) before Paul hooked up with Linda’s former friend, Nancy, in 2007.

Maybe, though, he’s just grateful to still be able to perform on this scale? 
Those children of the 1980s whose first brush with McCartney’s songwriting genius was The Frog Chorus ditty We All Stand Together might – with no knowledge of the Liverpudlian’s past – have dismissed him as a one-hit wonder. 

But he’s largely responsible for some of music’s best compositions; for the Beatles, he penned Let It Be, Hey Jude, Penny Lane, Blackbird, Can’t Buy Me Love, Lady Madonna, Eleanor Rigby, Paperback Writer and Helter Skelter (selected from an endless list) alone and ground-breaking tunes like A Day In The Life and Tomorrow Never Knows with John Lennon. Of course, Paul was inspired by the best. Elvis’ moody ode to loneliness, Heartbreak Hotel, made him want to write, but he was also the son of a jazz club regular – Jim McCartney: trumpet player, pianist and band leader.

Young Paul was encouraged to take up music too, and he wrote When I’m Sixty-Four at the tender age of 16 (later a hit for The Beatles in 1967 and added to the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album).

But as Paul has said himself, he never expected a little musical knowledge to lead to a career: “We didn’t all get into music for a job,” he told one interviewer. “We got into music to avoid a job, in truth – and get lots of girls.” 

Certainly, he achieved both those ends – and more. He’s now one of the UK’s wealthiest men, with a fortune close to £500m. But he’s always been adamant it hasn’t changed him. 

“You know, I’m not one of these people that just because I’ve done all that I now become Superman,” he once remarked.

“You can’t touch me. You know, you can touch me. I’m unfortunately very reachable.”

On Monday, then, MEN Arena ticketholders should prepare for a close encounter with a bona fide legend. And prepare for it to a be with a particularly happy McCartney, because he for one can’t wait to get back to the north west – and his home town of Liverpool where he ends the tour on Tuesday.

“The idea of going back to Liverpool – when you play Lima, Peru, Santiago, Chile, Brazil, Buenos Aires and then you go to Yankee Stadium, New York or Wrigley Stadium in Chicago – there is always that  feeling of, ‘it would be good to play this for the home crowd’.

“So now it’s become a bit of a tradition to have a bit of a homecoming. 
Obviously for me that’s Liverpool. Most of the people in the audience would be friends of mine. We love it, and the audience does too. So that’s an unbeatable combination!”

MEN Arena, Monday, £50-£95.

Paul McCartney is rock royalty

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