Paul McCartney discussed the creation of his new album, McCartney III, and shared a handful of Beatles memories in an interview with Zane Lowe that will air in full on his Apple Music 1 show Monday, December 21st, at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT.
McCartney made his new album while in lockdown — or as he called it, genius that he is, “rock-down” — after finishing up some music for an animated film. The musician said he was enjoying himself so much in the studio that he set about finishing old songs and writing new ones.
“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,” McCartney said of working during such a chaotic time. “It kind of saved me, I must say, for about the three or four months it took to make it.”
Elsewhere in the interview, McCartney allowed himself to offer a more fully fleshed out answer to the perennial question of his favorite Beatles tune. He reiterated the left-field answer he usually gives, the charming b-side “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” — “We had such fun making it, it’s like a little comedy record!” — but also ticked off classics like “Strawberry Fields,” “Hey Jude,” “Blackbird,” and “Eleanor Rigby.”
McCartney also spoke about John Lennon’s decision to leave the Beatles, noting that there’d long been plenty of bickering amongst the group, but there was no big blow-up when Lennon announced his decision. “It was that sudden,” McCartney recalled. “And you didn’t want to say, what do you mean? Because you knew exactly what he meant. And looking back on it, I think, he’d just hooked up with Yoko [Ono] and he was in a completely new track for his life. He had a strong woman… he loved experimentation, and here was Yoko saying, ‘Let’s take all our clothes off for the album cover.’ That’s the kind of thing that appealed to John.”
McCartney went on to say that getting the chance to repair his relationship with Lennon before his death was “a huge blessing.” He remembered their conversations about parenting and baking bread and suggested that even their competitiveness regained a good-natured tone.
“I know that when I’d done McCartney II, I know he’d listened to it, because I heard that he was very keen on the song, ‘Coming Up,’” McCartney said. “And what would happen with me and John was — and he wrote this later — he’s saying, ‘Oh, bloody hell, Paul’s come up with something good! That means I’ve got to!’”