Sir Paul McCartney has spoken of how revisiting songs he wrote decades ago uncovered new meanings behind them.
The Beatles star answered fan questions on his official website 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.
Asked by a fan about the process of putting the book together and about “lyrics or memories that came back to you and reminded you of a time you’d forgotten”, McCartney began to reminisce about “I Lost My Little Girl”.
“It wasn't really a forgotten memory, but revisiting the first song I ever wrote, ‘I Lost My Little Girl’, was interesting,” he said.
“It kind of turned into a therapy session, because I thought I was happily writing a little pop song when I was 14, but if you look at the timing of it I had just lost my mother,” he said.
He explained that the song seems to have a much deeper meaning than he had initially thought as it could have been written subliminally about his mother.
“I've always said ‘Let It Be’ was written after dreaming of my mum, but some of the lyrics from ‘Yesterday’ might have been to do with my mum as well,” he said.
“Then there were surprising memories that would come out, like when I got into talking about John and was reminded of the hitchhiking trips we'd taken as kids, and with George.
“I think the whole process of analysing the songs took me to stuff that I hadn't thought of recently, not because I didn't want to, but because there was never a clue, never a prompt, never a trigger to think about those things.”
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McCartney said ultimately it became about “more than just the songs: it became the memories that the songs evoked”.
“It was a nice process, actually,” he said. “Better that being with a psychiatrist!”
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.
The Lyrics: 1956 To The Present by Paul McCartney is out now.
Additional reporting by Press Association
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