Paul McCartney On The Healing Power Of Music And Memories Of New York
HollywoodNews.com: Showtime is airing a documentary on Paul McCartney’s experience in New York on 9/11 and his preparations for The Concert in New York. On behalf of “The Love We Make,” McCartney appeared before the Television Critics Association via satellite to share his wisdom on the healing power of music.
“I’ve thought of that a lot because that’s my game,” McCartney said. “I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s magical. More than words, more than speeches, more than comedy which are all important, music has some property that can really be very healing that people find it to be that way. I’m very interested in that whole idea. It can bring you to tears, it can make you smile, it can make you flashback to a memory. People say, ‘Thank you for the music, it’s the soundtrack to my life.’ It’s one of the things I’m most proud of, that I can help, heal, let people get in touch with their emotions and me at the same time. I do believe that.”
Indeed, just putting on a show helped people deal with the aftermath of 9/11. McCartney had direct experience with people who shared with him. “A girl rang me up, said she was from Boston and she was never going to fly again after these attacks, but she was flying for this concert. That’s something we can do. The audience had that feeling. It was a post-fear, we were emerging from the fearfulness of the immediate impact and now you were seeing the emotion from music. You could see the firefighters, volunteers and their families.”
New York has been an important place for McCartney, going back to his time with The Beatles through today. “I think my original connection was with The Beatles, with Shea Stadium, Ed Sullivan. When you talk to me about New York now, it’s the people. I married a NY girl, Linda. I’m about to marry another one. I think I would think first of Linda and her family and our family and our connections with New York, then my upcoming connections and then Shea Stadium, Ed Sullivan, 9/11, John [Lennon’s death] Most recently the Yankees and City Field before that, closing Shea with Billy Joel.”
Even at the height of Beatles fame, McCartney was able to explore New York incognito. “I would come to New York a lot with Linda who was from there and whose relatives were there. We would just go and hang out. Around that time I’d grown this big black beard. We were dressing like old army stuff from thrift shops. I had complete anonymity. I could be on the streets of New York and people said, ‘Aren’t you worried about someone mugging you?’ I said, ‘No, I look the guy who’d be mugging you.’ I went to Harlem. I was able to go there and go to record shops and talk to the guys, talk to the people there. That was a good restful time to see the world as it was and not just the hysteria.”
Displaying his anecdotal sense of humor, McCartney recalled when Maysles previously filmed The Beatles for the 1964 documentary What’s Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.A. Nearly 40 years later, McCartney was comfortable letting Maysles in at such a vulnerable time.
“I first met Albert and his brother David when we came to America, came to New York, and they were filming us. We were big fans of cinema verite, it was happening in Europe at the same time as America. The greatest memory of meeting the guys was we asked, ‘What do you want us to do?’ David or Albert said, ‘We just want you to ignore us.’ We thought it’s the best piece of direction we’ve ever received. We can do that. I can ignore anyone. We did and we just had a great time and they were right to direct us in that way. Eventually when I started thinking about what we might do on this, I thought of the idea of Albert. I knew Albert was still filming. I rang Al up and asked, ‘Are you vaguely interested in doing this? I could ignore you again and we can make a great film.’”
“The Love We Make” premieres September 10 on Showtime.
Photo by PRPhotos
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