'THE LYRICS: 1956 TO THE PRESENT' out November 2nd
In this extraordinary book, with unparalleled candour, Paul recounts his life and art through the prism of 154 songs from all stages of his career.
Edited and Introduced by Paul Muldoon
Published 2nd November, 2021
You Gave Me The Answer - What changed your approach to music forever?
In the life of any music-lover, there are a number of firsts: the first record you bought, the first concert you went to, and the first time a song made you stop in your tracks and question everything you’ve heard before. These are all defining moments that shape the way we discover and enjoy music, so we were intrigued to read this question from Wayne on Instagram: ‘What is the one thing that has changed your approach to music forever?’
Paul: “The advent of rock and roll. It's very hard to imagine now that there was a time before rock and roll, because it's now history. But there really was! We were kids from Liverpool being brought up on more traditional music from my dad's era. It would be a family party and he would play the piano and people would sit around having a sing-song, so that was great. And I still love that kind of music. Then on the radio there was a lot of novelty songs, a lot of comedy songs. But then rock and roll came along and it was a completely different sound. And very exciting! And it was like – wow! It gave you a completely different feeling from anything you'd ever felt with music.
But it was ours, that’s what was great. We were teenagers, so hearing Elvis Presley sing ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ was shocking, in a good way. Hearing Little Richard screaming ‘Good Golly, Miss Molly’ or ‘Lucille’ was so revolutionary. And hearing Buddy Holly sing ‘That'll Be The Day’. Now that we know those songs quite well and they're part of musical history, it is very hard to imagine hearing them for the first time.
I remember hearing Ray Charles ‘What’d I Say’, which is a classic Ray Charles song, on the radio. There was this guy, David Jacobs, who was a rather posh DJ, but had great musical taste. He played ‘What’d I Say’ and at the end the crowd on the record sing, ‘just one more time’. And then David turned the record over because there was a B side and it started again. The fact that David Jacob played both sides was really cool. I mean, I loved him from that moment on. So yeah, it was a very exciting time and I think that's what changed my view of music forever.”
PM.com: It's amazing to think of everything that’s been influenced by rock and roll since then. You see its influence in pop, you see it in hip-hop…
Paul: “The only equivalent would be hearing rap or hip-hop for the first time, but even that kind of stemmed from Jamaica and the reggae the Caribbean artists used to do. And yeah, it is difficult to imagine. It's almost impossible!
I think that's why people of my generation say, ’You'll never know…’ I mean, I've got a jukebox at home with a lot of this old stuff on it, and I listen to it and remember the feeling of hearing that for first time. There's a Gene Vincent record called ‘Be-Bop-A-Lula’ and that was the first record I ever bought. We didn't have much money so I had to really save up for it. I remember going down to the shop, a place called Currys - an electrical goods shop – and it had a little record department in the back. Getting it home and playing it - it was so exciting, you know… It's just fabulous!”
It’s true, you never forget your first record! Paul recently talked to BBC Radio 6Music about ‘Be-Bop-A-Lula’ for their Record Store Day: Mail Order programme – listen to the full clip here.
Here at PaulMcCartney.com our firsts included S Club 7, Spice Girls, Kylie, 'We All Stand Together' by Paul and The Beatles' 'Yellow Submarine'! What music moment has been the most significant in your life? Let us know in the comments below, and keep those questions coming!