Paul McCartney: ‘Once I’ve finished with my song, I don’t mind who makes what interpretation of it’
Sir Paul McCartney joins Nile Rodgers on Deep Hidden Meaning Radio on Apple Music 1.
During the discussion, Paul McCartney tells Nile how he came to own Elvis Presley’s double bass, and his hopes for it to go to a museum after his death. Nile reveals how he had his first kiss with a girl he describes as ‘an angel’ during The Beatles’ legendary performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, plus the pair explore the ‘deep hidden meanings’ behind some of Paul’s best loved songs, including ‘A Day in the Life’ and ‘Jet’.
Nile Rodgers on His First Kiss at The Beatles’ Ed Sullivan Performance
Nile Rodgers: My first kiss was a girl from my elementary school who took me to see The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. This girl was like the most beautiful thing in the world, she was like an angel. I’m going, “She’s taking me?” I’ve got these big thick glasses and I looked so funny and ridiculous. And I’d never heard of The Beatles and she drags me over and at the end of the show she’s screaming and going crazy. Now, we’re young teenagers and she kisses me and I’m like, “Woah, The Beatles are it!”
Paul McCartney: No wonder you liked The Beatles, yeah. Come on, man! [laughs]
Paul McCartney on his “Elvis double bass”
Nile Rodgers: I’m looking right behind you at a double bass but it’s a double bass that I’ve never seen before. Is there a story about that?
Paul McCartney: You walked right into that one. You have seen this bass before, and I’ll tell you where you’ve seen it. If you’ve ever seen photographs of Elvis Presley and Scotty Moore and Bill Black – that is his bass. That is the Elvis Presley bass that’s on all those early records of Elvis’s. We knew a guy in Nashville. The bass was just in a barn, nobody bothered with it anymore ‘cause Bill Black himself, the player with Elvis, had died. So Linda actually got it for me for my birthday. So there it is man, you’ve seen it, the world has seen this bass. And you know what my ambition is? One of these days, maybe when I pop my clogs, this has got to end up, this bass side by side with my little Hofner bass, in a museum somewhere.
Paul McCartney on song meanings
Paul McCartney: Once I’ve finished with my song and I release it then I don’t mind who makes what interpretation of it. At least, for me, they’re thinking about it. They’re free to think it means this, that or the other. If they ask me what it means I’ll say, “OK, well this is what I think it means but you’re free, feel free to think of it as anything you wish.”
Nile Rodgers tells Paul McCartney how ‘A Day In the Life’ was the first song he learned on guitar and how that changed his life
Nile Rodgers: “A Day In the Life” for me is insane. I was a classical musician when I was younger and I played many different instruments, and they were all woodwind instruments. And then – boom – hippies came into my life and the guitar became the instrument of choice. So I tried to play a song. I got a Beatles songbook and the favorite song in my world at that point was “A Day In the Life.” And I kept trying to play it. My mum’s boyfriend comes home, and he sees me struggling over this thing. Now, I’d been working on it for a couple of weeks. He walks into the room and he says, “Man, what have you got that thing tuned like?” I didn’t know anything about guitar, so I probably had it tuned like a violin or something like that. Anyway, he comes in, he retunes the guitar for me and then I play the chord positioning and all of a sudden it rings out perfectly, it’s in tune. I go [imitates guitar strum] and I go very slowly [sings] “I read the news today oh boy” really slow “about a lucky man who made the grade”. And I’m going, “Oh my God” and it sounded incredible.