Unseen photos of Paul McCartney’s Kintyre hideaway
by MIKE MERRITT
Published on the 03 November 2014
HE once sang that his desire was always to be there. But previously unpublished photographs reveal that life was not always so idyllic on Kintyre for Sir Paul McCartney.
The images show the former Beatle practising on his bass guitar in a chilly converted barn in front of an electric fire, next to an old curtain.
He is sockless and wearing what appear to be a pair of elderly slippers.
Sir Paul McCartney during Wings at the Speed of Sound rehearsals at his hideaway on Kintyre.
In another of the photographs taken by his first wife Linda, Sir Paul looks a little dishevelled as he rehearses for the Wings at the Speed of Sound album in December 1975.
The McCartneys had gone to Scotland around Christmas that year in a brief family break from a hectic touring schedule.
The work was the fifth album by Wings, the band formed in 1971, a year after the break-up of the Beatles.
The band included, from 1974, Jimmy McCulloch, the Dumbarton-born lead guitarist who died in 1979 aged 26 from heart failure caused by a heroin overdose.
The photographs have been published for the first time to mark the reissue today of Wings at the Speed of Sound, as well as previous album Venus and Mars. Sir Paul has previously spoken of his bruising battle with the bottle on his hideaway High Park Farm on Kintyre after his split from the Beatles, which was so bad that it desperately worried Linda and led to him being unable to write songs because he was so drunk.
The musician, now 72, would spend his time drinking whisky “of which there was a large supply in Scotland”. “I overdid it, basically,” admitted Sir Paul, who in 2012 also explained that he had finally given up smoking cannabis for the sake of his youngest daughter Beatrice, after deciding “enough’s enough”.
“I had the freedom to just have a drink whenever I fancied it. I’d go into the studio, maybe have another drink and so on. I overdid it, basically – I got to a point where Linda had to say ‘Look, you should cool it’.”
There are few more special places for Sir Paul than High Park Farm. It was where he discovered vegetarianism and where he fled with Linda – who died from breast cancer in 1998 – to regroup following the break-up of the Beatles.
High Park Farm is about 20 miles from the Mull of Kintyre – the most south-westerly point on the peninsula, which he immortalised in song.
Over the years, Sir Paul has bought up five farms in total on Kintyre so that in effect he has a glen to himself.
Among the songs Sir Paul wrote at Kintyre was The Long and Winding Road – a ballad about the disintegration of the Beatles for the group’s last album, which was recorded as they drifted apart.
Other great songs have flowed out of Kintyre, such as Maybe I’m Amazed, Blackbird, and of course, Mull of Kintyre, one of the biggest-selling singles of all time.
Sir Paul bought the farm more than 40 years ago after viewing it with his then fiancée, the actress Jane Asher.
He once said the only thing he does not like about the place are the midges.
Now his company MPL, and Concord Music Group have reissued the two Wings’ albums as the next releases in their Paul McCartney Archive collection.
Including the international hit single Silly Love Songs, Wings at the Speed of Sound went on to become Sir Paul’s most successful American chart album.
Wings: Linda and Paul, with Danny Laine strolling in the heather during filming of the promotional film for their Mull of Kintyre single