Paul McCartney says he realised John Lennon song was genuine ‘cry for help’

Musician reflects on The Beatles’ heyday as he prepares to release a new solo album

Roisin O'Connor
Tuesday 08 December 2020 09:48
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Paul McCartney has spoken about the various struggles The Beatles members went through during the height of their fame, from mental health issues to drinking problems.

The musician, who releases his new solo album McCartney III next week, told The Sunday Times that he believed each Beatle went through periods where “we weren’t as happy as we should have been”.

“There were a lot of things we had to work through [and] you didn’t talk about mental health,” he said.

“It was something really that, as four guys, you were more likely to make fun of than be serious about. And the making fun of it was to hide from it.”

He said he realised after the release of “Help!”, written by John Lennon, was a genuine “cry for help”.

“You know, John [wrote] ‘Help! I need somebody’. And I thought, ‘Well, it’s just a song,’ but it turned out to be a cry for help,” he said.

Lennon made a similar comment in 1980, telling Playboy: “The whole Beatles thing was just beyond comprehension. I was subconsciously crying out for help”

“Same kind of thing happened with me, mainly after the break-up of the band,” McCartney continued.

“All of us went through periods when we weren’t as happy as we ought to be. Ringo had a major drinking problem. Now he’s Mr Sober of the Year!”

McCartney III serves as the follow-up to the artist’s 1970 self-titled solo debut and 1980’s McCartney II. Each song on McCartney’s new album was written and recorded by him, at his home in Sussex, England.

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“I was living lockdown life on my farm with my family and I would go to my studio every day,” McCartney said in a statement announcing the album in November.

“I had to do a little bit of work on some film music and that turned into the opening track. And then when it was done, I thought, ‘What will I do next?’ I had some stuff I’d worked on over the years, but sometimes time would run out and it would be left half-finished. So I started thinking about what I had.”

“Each day I’d start recording with the instrument I wrote the song on and then gradually layer it all up; it was a lot of fun,” he added. “It was about making music for yourself rather than making music that has to do a job. So, I just did stuff I fancied doing. I had no idea this would end up as an album.”

Mirroring how the photos for McCartney and McCartney II were taken by his late wife, Linda, McCartney asked his daughter, Mary, to take the shots for the new album.

McCartney III is released on Friday 18 December.

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