It was only his second poetry reading in front of an audience, but Beatle great Sir Paul McCartney handled it in typically assured fashion. McCartney delighted a packed house last night (April 24) at
It was only his second poetry reading in front of an audience, but Beatle great Sir Paul McCartney handled it in typically assured fashion. McCartney delighted a packed house last night (April 24) at the 92nd Street Y on Manhattan's Upper East Side with selections from his recent poetry anthology "Blackbird Singing," followed by an interview with TV host Charlie Rose.
Looking dapper in a black suit and blue button-down shirt, McCartney recalled being inspired to write songs as a teenager only after one of his poems was rejected by the school magazine. In poems such as "Ivan," "In Liverpool," and "Dinner Tickets," he reflected fondly on his Liverpool upbringing, littering his verse with the sights and sounds that stuck in his mind, much as he did on the Beatles' classic "Penny Lane."
"Chasing the Cherry" featured more surreal, dream-inspired imagery ("credit cards dropping from rainclouds" and "teachers in apple pie beds"), while "Imaginary Tale a Neighbor Might Tell" and "Trouble Is" were short, succinct observations marked by McCartney's trademark wit.
The artist struck a mock poetic stance before reading the lyrics to the Beatles' "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," as the crowd roared on cue with the line "Rose and Valerie / screaming from the gallery." The mood turned solemn with "Jerk of all Jerks," McCartney's rumination on John Lennon's assassin. Beforehand, he offered thanks that he and Lennon had patched up their differences in the years just before the latter's death.
"Here Today," recorded for 1982's "Tug of War" album, presented an imaginary conversation between John and Paul. Lines like "as for me I still remember how it was before / I'm holding back the tears no more" rang especially poignant in the town where Lennon prospered following the Beatles' breakup.
The multi-faceted grieving process was chronicled in a series of poems about McCartney's late wife Linda, who died of breast cancer just over three years ago. In "City Park," McCartney clears his head by jogging in a park near where his wife is hospitalized. In "Her Spirit," he revels in nature's ability to jumpstart his memories.
The poetry reading segment closed with McCartney requesting, and receiving, audience interaction for a smile-inducing reading of the Beatles' "Why Don't We Do It In The Road."
Throughout Rose's interview, McCartney said he didn't "think there was any difference" between writing poetry and lyrics, and added that he never published his poems before simply because "no one asked me."
He spoke excitedly about the forthcoming documentary and greatest-hits set "Wingspan" from his post-Beatles band Wings, and told Rose he had recorded 18 songs with producer David Kahne for his next MPL/Capitol solo album. As McCartney told Billboard Editor-In-Chief Timothy White in March, the album will include a hymn-like homage to Linda.
When asked if "Yesterday" was the best thing he'd ever written, McCartney stopped short of an affirmation, but did admit it was "the flukiest." Instead he named "Here, There & Everywhere" as one of his favorites, because "it is a bit more crafted."
In closing, Rose asked McCartney what he looks forward to most for the future. With a boyish grin belying his 58 years, he replied in his imminently positive style, "enjoying myself."