Paul McCartney is one of the most successful and accomplished rock stars alive, yet the former Beatle still believes he has a lot of work to do.
In honor of The Beatles‘ White Album 50th anniversary, McCartney sat down with 60 Minutes on Monday (Oct. 1) for a trip down memory lane, sharing fun facts, recalling some of his favorite times and as always, showing off his young-at-heart spirit.
Despite a five-decade-long career, McCartney said he still doesn’t know how to write music down. “I don’t read music or write music. None of us did in the Beatles. We did some good stuff though. But none of it was written down by us. It’s basically notation,” he shared. “That’s the bit I can’t do. ‘Cause I don’t see music like dots on a page. It’s something in my head that goes on.”
“When you are writing these songs, who are you trying to impress?” journalist Sharyn Alfonsi then asked. “Everyone, I suppose!” McCartney laughed, adding, “I think people worry about things. And it doesn’t matter how elevated you get, or your reputation gets, you still worry about things.”
When asked what is he actually worried about (and what he could be trying to prove) at this point of his career, McCartney wisely added, “I’ve heard people say that about me: ‘Oh, you know, he wants to be liked.’ But I’m going, doesn’t everyone?”
When touring the Beatles’ hometown of Liverpool, one stop brought back extra fonder memories: Liverpool’s Cavern Club, where the Beatles performed around 300 times. Despite of the massive amount of performances, McCartney admitted he sometimes needs to re-learn his own songs. “There’s too many. Too many words. Too many notes,” he said. “They’re very hard. I mean, you know, it’s not like they’re all three chords!”
On his relationship with the late, longtime creative partner John Lennon, he opened up and recalled sweet memories. “We were competitive. Not openly, but we later admitted, ‘Yeah, you know, so Paul’s written a good one there, I better get going.’ And I would similarly go, ‘Hmm, that’s a bit good, right, here we go, come on.’ If he’d have written ‘Strawberry Fields,’ I would write ‘Penny Lane,'” McCartney shared of the duo’s friendly competition.
“John gave me a compliment once, the whole time. I think it was on Revolver, it was ‘Here, There and Everywhere.’ John says just when it finishes: ‘That’s a really good song, lad. I love that song.’ I was like, ‘Yes, he likes it.’ You know…I’ve remembered it to this day,” McCartney fondly said. In turn, he’d try to return the praise: “I would tell him his stuff was great. You’d normally have to be a little bit drunk. It helped.”
To learn more, read the full interview and check out a few snippets of Paul McCartney on 60 Minutes below.