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'I overdid it': Paul McCartney reveals he was driven to drink by stress of The Beatles split leaving him unable to write songs as worried Linda begged him to 'cool it'

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

 

Sir Paul McCartney has told how his drinking got out of control as he turned to the whisky bottle for comfort while The Beatles were breaking up.

The musician admitted the problem got so bad in 1970 after he retreated to his Mull of Kintyre home in Scotland that he struggled to write songs and was told to cut back by his concerned wife Linda.

Sir Paul - who will today perform in front of The Queen at her Diamond Jubilee concert - confessed that although moving to High Park Farm was meant to be 'an escape' from the stresses of the band the 'business hassles' followed him and he drank to try to block them out.

 
Sir Paul and his late wife Linda and their children on Kintyre. He has admitted he had the freedom to drink whenever he fancied when he was there

Sir Paul and his late wife Linda and their children on Kintyre. He has admitted he had the freedom to drink whenever he fancied when he was there

 

The musician, who will be 70 on June 18, admitted: 'I over did it, basically'. 

He lifted the lid on his troubled times on Kintyre for a candid interview with Paul Draper, the former lead singer of the band Mansun, about songwriting techniques for Drowned in Sound.

 

 

Speaking about the volume of alcohol he drank, he said: 'Yeah... no I did, yeah. That was kind of a feature of that time, because what happened was The Beatles, towards the end, was very constricting,' he said.

'You were in a corporate world suddenly....... It’s not what you get into music for, but it’s there, it’s a fact of life, especially when you were the label. We were doing Apple, The Beatles ‘Apple’, and it got very heavy, so me and Linda escaped with the kids, but the business hassles were still there.

'So I think I was just trying to escape in my own mind. I had the freedom to have just have a drink whenever I fancied it. I’d go into the studio, maybe have another drink and so on. I over did it, basically, I got to a point where Linda had to say ‘look, you should cool it’.

George Harrison, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney pictured in 1964. Over the years Sir Paul has quietly bought-up five farms in total on Kintyre

George Harrison, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney pictured in 1964. Over the years Sir Paul has quietly bought-up five farms in total on Kintyre but has admitted he hit the bottle after the band split in 1970

 
Nancy Shevell and Sir Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney with his wife Linda McCartney in 1970
 

Sir Paul McCartney and his new wife Nancy Shevell pictured last year and right Sir Paul with Linda in 1970, the year the Beatles split up. The couple tried to escape business 'hassles' by staying at their Kintyre home

 

 

 

He said: 'I’d be getting like ‘heeyyyy, nice and fuzzy’ and it’s not a good thing to write. Least for me it’s not. Me and John (Lennon) were always very straight when we wrote, and it was normally in the middle of the day when you had your wits about you.'

Sir Paul said he would spend his time drinking whisky 'of which there was a large supply in Scotland.'

Also in the interview, which coincides with the re-release after 41 years of Sir Paul’s solo album Ram, which he wrote at High Park Farm, he said he had given up smoking cannabis for the sake of his daughter Beatrice after decided 'enough's enough'. 

Sir Paul spoke about his average day when he started writing the album, much of which was written in Scotland.

Paul McCartney with former girlfriend Jane Asher and sheepdog Martha on Paul's farm on Kintyre, in 1967. The musician has spoken about his battle with the bottle there

Paul McCartney with former girlfriend Jane Asher and sheepdog Martha on Paul's farm on Kintyre, in 1967. The musician has spoken about his battle with the bottle there which worried his late wife Linda

Picturesque: Port Campbeltown on Kintyre. High Park Farm has always been special to Sir Paul. It was where he discovered vegetarianism, where he fled with Linda

Picturesque: Port Campbeltown on Kintyre. High Park Farm has always been special to Sir Paul. It was where he discovered vegetarianism, where he fled with Linda

He said he would get up, have breakfast with the family, the 'maybe go into my little studio.'

He added: 'Linda was a big horse rider. At some point in the day we would have gone for a horse ride. I might have played with the kids, and they liked to go on horse rides too. Then in the evening, I’d drink whisky, of which there was a large supply in Scotland.'

Speaking about the song writing, he said: 'Having written with John for all those years, we had a kind of system, which was: you just sat with a pad of paper and a pencil, and you sat at your guitar or your piano, and you make a song, and within about three hours, you should have finished the song. That’s how we always did it. So I continued to do it that way.

 
Paul McCartney and his wife Linda McCartney arrive at Uxbridge Magistrates court where Linda was fined £75 for possession of cannabis

Paul McCartney and his late wife Linda McCartney arrive at Uxbridge Magistrates court where Linda was fined £75 for possession of cannabis in 1984. Sir Paul said he has stopped smoking cannabis 

'I remember with some songs, I would go out into the fields if it was a nice day with my guitar, so those would probably be like ‘Heart of the Country’ and the more pastoral efforts. It was mainly just what I’ve always done. Then, if I would have a writer’s block, I look back now and can say that was the over stimulation.

Paul McCartney and his bride Nancy Shevell arrive with bridesmaid Beatrice McCartney for their wedding last year

Paul McCartney and his bride Nancy Shevell arrive with bridesmaid Beatrice McCartney for their wedding last year

High Park Farm has always been special to Sir Paul. It was where he discovered vegetarianism, where he fled with Linda - who died from breast cancer in 1998 - to rebuild his shattered confidence following the break-up of The Beatles, and where he also got caught growing cannabis.

High Park Farm is about 20 miles from the Mull of Kintyre - the most south westerly point on the peninsula - which he immortalised with the song Mull Of Kintyre.

Over the years Sir Paul has quietly bought-up five farms in total on Kintyre so that in effect he has a glen to himself.

Sir Paul said he was re-releasing Ram because it reminded him of his 'hippie days' on Kintyre and the 'wee hills' of Scotland.

The iconic cover of Ram featured the ex-Beatle holding one of his sheep on his farm.

The album topped the charts hitting Number 1 in the UK and Number 2 in the US.

The album also gave Sir Paul his first solo US number 1 single with ‘Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey’ and a Grammy win for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists.

But John Lennon believed that a number of songs on Ram contained jibes aimed at him, particularly 'Too Many People' and 'Dear Boy' - and the picture of two beetles copulating on the back cover was symbolic of how Sir Paul felt the other Beatles were treating him.

Ringo Starr and George Harrison were also unhappy.

Lennon’s response was the scathing 'How Do You Sleep?' on his Imagine album, and it has also been considered that 'Crippled Inside' from the same album was directed at Sir Paul. Early editions of Imagine included a postcard of Lennon pulling the ears of a pig in a parody of Ram’s cover photograph.

Among the songs Sir Paul wrote at Kintyre was The Long And Winding Road - a ballard about the disintegration of The Beatles for the Fab Four’s last album, which was recorded as they drifted apart.

Other great songs have flowed out of Kintyre, like Maybe I’m Amazed as well as Mull of Kintyre, one of the biggest selling singles of all time.

Ironically Sir Paul bought the farm more than 40 years ago after viewing it with his then fiance Jane Asher.

But it was left in a rundown state for years until the break-up of The Beatles. After that the McCartneys restored the buildings, planted vast acres of trees, rode their horses and farmed sheep.

 


You can read the original article HERE

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