Sir Paul McCartney is an infinitely patient man. The 78-year-old music legend has been answering many of the same questions about his time in The Beatles for the past 50 years, but ever the proper English gentleman, he never fails to provide cheery, thoughtful responses.
Case in point: McCartney sat down with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe to talk about his new quarantine solo album, McCartney III, as well as the tumultuous time after the Fab Four broke up, and his feelings about John Lennon leaving the group.
So when talk turned to running down his all-time favorite Beatles tracks, McCartney offered his frequent oddball reply, the loose, samba-esque 1970 “Let It Be” B-side, “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number).” “[It’s] a zany, zany little B-side that nobody knows, but we had so much fun making it,” McCartney said. “But there’s a lot of songs that I love of the Beatles. I think ‘Strawberry Fields’ is a great song, I think, ‘Hey Jude’ worked out great. I’ve got a lot of favorite songs. ‘Blackbird’ I love. ‘Eleanor Rigby’ I love.”
As for which one of the many, many Beatles songs he’s listened to the most throughout his life, it’s “Let It Be,” naturally. “It’s the most ubiquitous,” he said. “It sort of got everywhere. Ubiquitous from the Latin, ubi quo, meaning ‘everywhere.’ Come on, give it up.”
In the wide-ranging interview, McCartney also said that he definitely “rocked down” during the COVID-19 lockdown while recording the just released McCartney III, finishing off a group of songs he’d meant finish in 2019, and inadvertently saving his sanity by staying busy.
“There was a big connection with trying to keep equilibrium. Because you know, the whole world was going mad,” he said. “Suddenly there was a thing that we’d never heard before. I mean there was AIDS and there was SARS, and there was avian flu, but all these things seem to happen to other people and then suddenly it was happening to everyone and everyone I knew, and everyone in the world. So it was quite a shock. It was really good to be able to play music, and make up music, and put your thoughts and your fears, and your hopes and your love into the music. So it kind of saved me, I must say, for about three or four months it took to make it.”
The chat also touched on the “difficult” period he went through after the Beatles’ breakup, understanding Lennon’s frame of mind when he announced he was quitting, and how the dynamic songwriting duo had begun to mend their rift before John’s murder in 1980.
“With John, the great thing was, we had begun to get our relationship back together,” he told Lowe. “That was a huge blessing for me because when he was tragically murdered, I think if we’d have still been fighting, I’m not sure how I would have dealt with that. But it was great that we’d been speaking to each other.”
Check out McCartney’s interview below.