Forgiving Paul McCartney

I have always held a grudge against Paul McCartney for being such an asshole. Suing Lennon over whose name was first on lyrics credits and being one of the main causes of the Beatles breakup – he was just such an asshole during the White Album recordings and throughout the entire breakup.
Yet, I’ve always been sure to praise his songwriting and musical capabilities because it would be stupid to deny that he’s gifted when, clearly, he is. However, I still never gave his solo career any attention.
The thing is, as I’m getting older and maturing, I’m realizing all people do stupid things when they’re younger and all people do stupid things when they’re stressed and I’ve lightened up on many of my grudges. Paul being one of them. Despite the fact that I still don’t really care for him as a person, his music is wonderful. George has and always will be my favorite Beatle, regardless that I don’t really care for the majority of his solo career, it’s not the music that I love him for. Lennon has always been my favorite when it comes to music and his ability to weave music and politics was incredible. But, I have to say that so many of the things I’ve always loved musically about the Beatles are embedded in the solo career and other projects of McCartney, and listening to his music feels like a velvet cocoon.
His music is kind and incredibly pleasing to the ears. I should feel guilty for never listening to much of his solo work, but it had to be at the right time and the way I’m feeling right now… how perfect.
It’s so wonderful to grow up with music as my teacher. Because I can see past Paul’s flaws and embrace the talent that I’ve always ignored for “personal” reasons, I can use that knowledge to battle my own flaws.
“Forgiving” Paul McCartney means opening my eyes to a new way of thinking and understanding that we all fuck up and we’re all going to continue to fuck up. If only everyone’s balance for their mistakes were as beautiful as Paul’s.

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7 comments

  1. He never sued John about whose name appeared first. He simply switched the order of the names a few times when he performed the songs live. Do you know that his name was originally first until John went behind Paul’s back and convinced Brian that it should be the other way around? Check the credits on the early songs. Paul decided just to go with it if it was so important to John.

    And you do know that Paul was the one who worked hardest to keep the Beatles together and that John was the one who really wanted out?

    Are you aware that John made many public statements that were critical of Paul while Paul chose not to speak negatively about John?

    All these things are very clear from all reports about the group. I’m not sure where you got your impression of Paul as a person.

    1. There are all sorts of reports and books on the subject, but the articles and books I’ve read, personally, and the interviews I’ve seen have regarded Paul with a sort of negativity because of him trying to “take charge” of the band and order everyone around. I certainly didn’t set out to dislike Paul when I first discovered The Beatles. Obviously, John’s attitude towards the end didn’t help the situation, but from what I’ve come to believe, Paul instigated a lot of the problems (I’m not saying I’m right, just from what I’ve gathered). If anything I’ve read or seen was biased, I certainly didn’t know it. I’m also very aware that John, at the beginning of his solo career, was filled with animosity towards McCartney — anyone who’s listened to How Do You Sleep could figure this out with little effort. However, I did read that Paul actually sued Lennon, I don’t remember where, but I did read it somewhere. If you’re saying he didn’t though, all the better and more to like. 🙂

  2. What you might have read is that Yoko recently threatened to sue Paul if he again reversed the credits. And those who have read all or almost all of what’s been written about the Beatles know that much of it is biased against either John or Paul.

    Yes, John was filled with animosity toward almost everyone in the aftermath of the breakup and made a point of publicly insulting pretty much everybody in the group and inner circle. Those who knew and loved John, Paul included, knew that he had a cruel streak but just referred to it as John being John. The song you mentioned How Do You Sleep, has been criticized by virtually every writer, even those who are big John fans, as being completely over the line. John later admitted that he regretted it and that he and Paul were okay with each other.

    As even Yoko admits, John had a love/hate relationship with Paul, much of it fueled by jealousy. But he also referred to him as his best friend and his brother at various points in the 70’s.

    In my opinion, Paul’s tendency to be bossy in the studio is of a completely different order of magnitude than what John dished out. Even some of George’s comments were unnecessarily cruel. You can search but you won’t find anything like that from Paul directed at the others.

    I’m glad you’ve discovered that you enjoy Paul’s music. I do, too, There is a reason why it comes across as kind.

  3. Amen sister.. I feel the same way about Paul.. I never will forgive him for writing “Silly Love Songs” .. John would have never allowed that saccharine bullshit on any Beatles album.. So I dunno if Paul is naive or simply not the sharpest knife in the drawer.. He certainly doesn’t understand the copyright issue.. when Pirate Bay got shut down he said.. “if you want to ride the bus you have to buy a ticket”.. so I guess I still can’t stand the chump.. but my buddy said he saw him recently in concert and said he was awesome.. go figure.. ;o)

    1. Oh, he’s amazingly talented but I still think he’s a snob. I thought it was great that Michael Jackson screwed him over with his own advice and as soon as he died, Paul bought the rights to the music back. Chump indeed.

  4. He was too trusting of MJ. They had just worked toether and Paul thought that they had more than just a business relationship. I don’t think that his good faith and trust in MJ should be considered to be that of a chump, although I suppose that one of the traits of a chump is that they see too much good in people.

    As Marie wrote, you will be hard pressed to find Paul slandering anyone publicly; even MJ. Marie also mentioned that both John and George at some points said bad things. I remember seeing an interview with George where he stated that he thought much of Sgt. Peppers was “shit”.

    I have yet to see Ringo in any interviews say bad things about the other guys, although he did mention during the Anthology interviews that Paul was a slave driver in the studio. He did it in a respectful fashion so I don’t really see it as saying something “bad”.

  5. in one of the many interviews posted to youtube, john said that “how do you sleep” turned out to be more of an indictment of himself at the time than an accurate description of his true feelings for paul. john was always in a state of change and was never afraid or embarassed to declare that his opinion(s) on a subject had changed from what they once were, even if they had changed a complete 180 degrees.

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