LIFE WITH THE FAMILY: MR.& MRS. McCARTNEY.
Linda and I met in a club in London called the Bag o' Nalls, which was right about the time that the club scene was going strong in London. She was down there with some friends. I think she was down there with Chas Chandler and some other people, and I was down there with some friends, including a guy who used to work at the office. I was in my little booth and she was in her little booth and we were giving each other the eye, you know. Georgie Fame was playing that night and we were both right into Georgie Fame.
When did you first realize you wanted to marry her?
About a year later. We both thought it a bit crazy at the time, and we also thought it would be a gas. Linda was a bit dubious, because she had been married before and wasn't too set on settling. In a way, she thought it tends to blow up things, marrying ruins it. But we both fancied each other enough to do it. And now we're glad we did it, you know. It's great. I love it.
Some of the critical notices on her debut performances seemed to ask where she had come from.
Yeah. Well, the answer is, nowhere, really.
Mick Jagger had that quote. He wouldn't let...
...his old lady in the band, yeah. That was all very understandable at the time because she did kind of appear out of nowhere. To most people, she was just some chick. I just figure she was the main help for me on the albums around that time. She was there, every day, helping on harmonies and all that stuff.
It's like when you write millions of love songs and finally when you're in love you'd like to
write one for the person you're in love with. So I think all this business about getting Linda in the billing was just a way of saying, ''Listen, I don't care what you think, this is what I think. I'm putting her right up here with me."
Later we thought it might have been cooler not to introduce her so bluntly. Perhaps a little more show business: "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce you to my better half. Isn't she sweet and coy?"
It turns out it didn't matter, it didn't matter one bit. At the time it was a little tough, maybe. At the time it was rough for her. None of us realized what... it was like someone marrying Mick, you don't realize... you know there's going to be a lot of fans who are going to hate it, but you still end up thinking, well, it's my life. I know of a lot of rock and roll stars or even just show business people who will regulate their life to their image. It can mess you up a lot. I know a lot of guys from the old days who wouldn't get married, even if they wanted to. Wouldn't get married because it might affect their careers. The old management thing - "You can't get married, all your fans are going to desert you." So the guy doesn't get married.
But the thing is, in a couple of years, his career is over anyway. And he didn't get married, and he went and blew it. So I didn't. "Well, I'm not going to let that kind of thing interfere with me." Although I didn't wish to blow my career, I thought it was more important to get on with living. We went ahead and just did what we felt like doing. Some of it came out possibly a bit offensive to some people, but it turns out that it didn't matter in the first place. You just keep going.
Did your friends in music stick by you at that time or did you find it a little tough? Or did you have that many friends at the time?
I remember Ringo saying at the time "How many friends have I got?" and he couldn't count them on one hand. And that's what it bulls down to, really. You can have millions of friends, but when someone asks you how many friends you've got, it depends on how honestly you're going to answer. Because I don't think I have that many. No one went against me or anything, I just isolated myself a bit. It's just one of those things. We had just met for the first time. We're very romantic, the both of us, and we didn't really want to hang out with anyone else.
Do you often go back to Liverpool?
We visit to keep in touch with the Liverpool scene. My family roots are up there, our kids love it, and my brother still lives there. In fact, we're going to make an album with him in January.
Will it come out as a Mike McGear album?
That's right. It's a singing thing, he's quit comedy for the moment. We're going to do it at Strawberry Studios in Stockport. We'll play it by ear, it's Mike's album.
Is it difficult for the kids, being your daughters?
I don't think so. I don't think they're going to be crazed-out kids. But it is funny sometimes. I remember I was sitting in a field and Heather was leading Mary and little baby on a pony, and Mary just said to me, "You're Paul McCartney, aren't you?" When she's talking to me normally, she'll just call me Daddy. When there's company around, she knows I'm Paul McCartney, in inverted commas.
It's nice that we have all girls. If we had a son it might be harder on him, like Frank Sinatra, Jr. Everyone assumes he'll turn out to be his dad. At the moment, there's not much to worry about with the kids.
Did you feel scared when McCartney was released, since that was your debut and the first song was pegged at you?
Linda: No. I didn't take it as seriously as I probably should have. I think it was good copy at the lime to slag everything. Everybody was getting slugged, the Beatles were getting slagget. I personally didn't realize you had to explain yourself a lot once you get in the public eye. I just carried on with my normal life, like I had in New York, and I just got all this slagging. It never really brought me down much, though.
Do you think any Mrs. McCartney in that situation would have been slagged?
Linda: I think in what was going down then, yes. There was so much trouble for everybody, not done by one particular person, that everybody was getting blamed. I still can't look at it from the angle that I'm Mrs. McCartney. You know what I mean? I still see me as the person I've always been, either you like me or you don't. Paul likes me. (Laughter).
And stood up for you during the slagging.
Linda: He was living with me, he knows I'm a good chick, he knows I don't have any bad motives. I'm not a grabber, I'm not any of that. He wouldn't have married me if I had been. So he stuck by me.
I just read totally bizarre stuff about myself. People would do an article on me and then an article on Yoko from childhood on up. I couldn't believe it. It was total fantasy. I mean, none of that happened, folks.
Unlike John, who went to a solo career, Paul went to a group.
Linda: John didn't really go to a solo career, there was the Plastic Ono Band and that. But Paul is very much a teamwork person. He doesn't like working just on his own. He still gets nervous. He likes working with people, bouncing off people and having them bounce off him. He likes helping people.
Have you ever entertained the thought of doing a record by yourself?
Linda: Not Linda McCartney's Great Single, no. I fool around with the songs I write, but I don't take it as a serious career.
You do have the novelty single coming up?
Linda: Yes. I did a song. 'Seaside Woman,' right after we'd been to Jamaica, about three or four years ago, I guess. Very reggae-inspired. That's when ATV was suing us saying I was incapable of writing, so Paul said, "Get out and write a song." And then about a week ago we went in to a B side for it of something I'd written in Africa, and we just talk over it. It's very sort of Fifties R&B, the Doves, the Penguins. I love that, that was my era. I'm New York, you know. Alan Freed and the whole bit.
We're going to put the single out under the name Suzi and the Red Stripes. When we were in Jamaica, there had been a fantastic reggae version of 'Suzi Q,' so they used to call me Suzi. And the beer in Jamaica is called Red Stripe, so that makes it Suzi and the Red Stripes. It'll be out someday, but I've been saying 'Seaside Woman' will be released since 1971 and we still haven't bothered. It's a bit like my photography book. Someday there will be a book.
Was it strictly through you that your father became associated with Paul as his lawyer?
Linda: It's through me, actually. I remember saying to my father, when I'd met Paul a few times but wasn't living with him, after Brian died, that he helped a lot of people out of messes, could he help? He said well, I don't know. I said it would be great because I know you could help them out. So then I introduced Paul to my dad, and they got along instantly. If he hadn't met my father, Klein would have just hawked in there.
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(At this point we retire to the control room. Linda goes over the Walt Disney Christmas Show script; Linda and Paul are to co-host the BBC holiday special. She talks on the phone to someone at EMI. "I think the only bit we'd like to add is a little bit from '101 Dalmations'..."
Paul talks to Alan Parsons, engineer of Dark Side of the Moon. They marvel at its sales record, and the engineer notes that Pink Floyd are going to give him a Christmas present. ''Ask for a percentage," McCartney recommends. "It's the best present they could give you. What that album has done so far is amazing. In France it's outsold Abbey Road...")