Dear Paul McCartney
A six-part television series on the Beatles starts on Sunday, and technology resurrects John Lennon for two new songs. Paul, just what are you trying to prove?
Friday 24 November 1995
A generation of people remember what they were doing when Sgt Pepper came out, in all its ground-breaking glory. The next generation (mine) grew up with your music in the air. We first heard "Yesterday" in our cradles, sung as a lullaby. Beatles songs were folk songs that everyone could hum.
Both these sets of people will be by their televisions on Sunday: the Sixties nostalgics who listen to non-stop Gold radio, and the sons and daughters of the Summer of Love.
You refused to look back for more than 20 years. You knew this money- spinning reunion would not have been possible while John Lennon was alive. So why the new enthusiasm? Isn't it because you want to rewrite history in your own cheerful image?
You always wanted us to love you, and we do. As Macca, Mr Thumbs Aloft, the good egg, the smiling, winking wonderboy. You worked hard to become the most successful solo Beatle, a clean-living family entertainer, the Gary Lineker of pop. The only mystery is why you have yet to get a knighthood, like Sir Cliff. It can only be a matter of time.
Never mind music industry talk of you as mean, highly demanding and driven by a thirst for the adulation you used to enjoy. We love you more than dour George and daft Ringo, and differently to late, lost John. Because you're normal. You're all about life on the farm, green concern, having well-balanced kids and saving your local hospital. The richest working- class lad in the world.
But you are not a real, risk-taking artist like Lennon. That hurts, doesn't it? You still hate us thinking that it was your hip, arty, savagely witty friend and nemesis who really drove the band.
After all, you were the first Beatle to admit taking LSD. You mixed with the artists of Swinging London counter-culture while John was out of his head in the country. It was you who made art films - and who released one about the Grateful Dead earlier this year. You played guitar with Allen Ginsberg when he brought beat poetry to the Albert Hall. You paint, have classical pretensions and have just become a Fellow of the Royal College of Music.
So why aren't we convinced? Is it because you are trying so hard?
Let it be. Your place in 20th-century culture is guaranteed. But only in conjunction with George, Ringo and John. Four less-than-fab boys overtaken by magic, despite their bickering and failures, who collectively became an icon to match Elvis and Marilyn. Apart, you just seem self-obsessed and lost.
This is the last time you'll be able milk your old Beatles identity. Unlike the Stones, you are unable to reinvent yourself and keep on trucking. The future, even retired to the life of a country farmer, looks pretty bleak.
Life & Style blogs
Karl Lagerfeld's famous cat made £2m last year - that's more than Cara Delevingne earned
Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
Fast food Britain: The number of takeaways soars across the nation's high streets
Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
The Clove Club: The restaurant where you will pre-pay for your food
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Katie Hopkins reported to the police for race hatred by Labour MP Simon Danczuk after tweet about Pakistani men
- 1 Rape threats, death threats and a police investigation after video poking fun at an Islamic Party in Malaysia goes viral
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
- 4 6-year-old writes ice cold Valentine's card to his stepmother
- 5 Syrian child photographed 'surrendering to camera because she thought it was a gun'
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...