Paul McCartney says parents inspired many of his Beatles and solo songs

McCartney made the comments as a new exhibition of his personal artefacts opens in London

Elizabeth Aubrey
Friday 05 November 2021 19:35
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Sir Paul McCartney has said that his parents were “the original inspiration” for many of his songs.

The revelation came as part of a new exhibition of McCartney memorabilia that opened at the British Library.

It includes family photos from his childhood as well as drawings and over 35 previously unseen items. McCartney has provided insights and quotes for each of the items.

While McCartney said there were many influences on his songwriting, he said the greatest came from his parents.

“Thinking about songs that I’ve written at every stage of my career, I came to realise that my parents, Jim and Mary McCartney, were the original inspiration for so much that I’ve written,” McCartney said.

“My mum was very reassuring and, like so many women often are, she was also the one who kept our family going. She kept our spirits up.”

McCartney added that his father was “loaded with colourful expressions, as so many Liverpool people still are today”.

“He loved to play with words, juggle them in his head, and he had loads of little sayings that were sometimes nonsensical, sometimes functional, but always rather lyrical,” he added.

“When he was shaking your hand, he would say, ‘Put it there if it weighs a ton’.” McCartney later used the lyric in “Put It There” which he released as a single in 1990.

The free exhibition opens at the library in London on Friday today (5 November ) and runs until 13 March 2022.

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It comes ahead of the release of his new book, The Lyrics, which offers a detailed look at 154 songs from all stages of his career, spanning The Beatles, Wings, and his solo work.

As well as revelations and stories about his songs, The Lyrics includes never-before-seen photographs and drawings from McCartney’s personal archive.

The book has been edited and introduced by Pulitzer Price-winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon.

The Independent’s book critic Martin Chilton described it as “a beautifully presented treasure trove from McCartney’s archive”.

“Even for non-diehard Beatles fans, it’s interesting to find out more about the people and places that inspired so many fantastic songs,” he said.

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