Paul McCartney Talks Beatles Secrets, New Album & More for iHeartRadio's 'Inside the Studio': Listen

Paul McCartney
Mary McCartney

Paul McCartney

In a very candid interview with iHeartRadio's Inside the Studio on Tuesday (Oct. 16), Sir Paul McCartney spilled the tea on some of the legendary stories and secrets of his emblematic career. From his Beatles days to living a normal life after nearly 60 years of fame, Sir Paul opened up about his long musical journey, proving once again that age is simply a number.

Despite of being one of the most famous rock stars in the world, McCartney insists that he lives a normal life -- the only difference is that he gets recognized now. "I walk down streets. They're for walking down. I like to get out and about and people say, 'Oh no, you've got to have acres of security behind you and stuff,' but I like to just get out, just so as you feel like yourself, instead of like a rock star. So I like to just get out like I always did when I was a kid. It keeps me sane. I've got quite a lot of freedom, actually, and I value it."

Although success came early for The Beatles, McCartney is still filled with constant motivation and stimulus -- ironically, that same early period of his career is also one of the biggest sources of inspiration. "Even when we were like maybe 20, 24 years old or something, at the height of The Beatles, we often would try to work out something on a song or what we were gonna do with a recording, we'd often say, 'What would we have done when we were 17?' And we'd check back to our 17-year-old selves, who we thought were the coolest people in the world. It's your formative period, it's when you get a lot of your ideas, and in my case if you're writing songs, those memories are very rich wells of inspiration," he shared.

Still, the 76-year-old makes sure to remember his roots: This year, he played a show at his old school and at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England, where everything started. "It made it fun, interesting and each little thing was different, so it was great. Yeah, Cavern were happy and I was happy with the ideas we were cooking up together. As long as they were good ideas that were exciting everyone, we had a blast."

Laying out the creative process for his newest No. 1 record Egypt Station, Sir Paul shared his experience of working with both Greg Kurstin and Ryan Tedder. "When I was working with Greg, which was most of the time, I had a lot of songs I wanted to record. So I came in and we worked on them together, but they were ready written. Then there was a period there where Greg couldn't work, but I had a couple weeks off so I took one of the weeks as a holiday and then the other week, my manager said, 'Do you want to keep the momentum going? You're on a bit of a roll here, and if you want to keep it going, I can suggest other people you might work with.' So he sent me a few suggestions."

Soon came Ryan Tedder, who ended up being a perfect match for the new album. "I liked what I was hearing that Ryan was doing. I didn't know much about him. I phoned him up and we had a great conversation, so I said, 'Well, come to my studio in England and we'll just figure it out. We'll just think of something.' So I said, 'I've got a couple of songs. We could do these.' He said, 'No, no. Let's just make it up.' We didn't have long. We just had the seven days, it might have even been five days. So we just made them up and we ended up making up three tracks."

On the endless Beatles stereotypes, the "Yesterday" singer defined the quartet as "four corners of a square" -- all constantly embracing each other's traits and qualities. "You'll get that John was the dark one, Paul was the cute one, and that's not true, because we each had a bit of that or the other. George could be very much the one who'd bring that. When I'm talking about it, I always use that example of the song "Getting Better." I go, 'It's getting better all the time,' and John goes, 'Couldn't get much worse,' so you know, that's a good example of how we would do that. Often it could be George who'd do it just as much as John would, and I think I would sometimes take John's songs and darken them. We had those kind of influences on each other," he explains.

"The story sticks that John was the dark one, I was the light one, George was the mystic one, you know. To some degree that's true, but we each had aspects of all those kind of forces, and Ringo too."

Listen to Paul McCartney's full interview on Inside the Studio below.