Upbeat McCartney plays up his ‘peaceful message’ ahead of Tel Aviv concert

By David Horovitz September 21, 2008

Ex-Beatle talks to ‘the Post’ about fame, inspiration and the ‘amazing’ human race

In a markedly optimistic, life-affirming interview ahead of his Tel Aviv concert this Thursday, Paul McCartney told The Jerusalem Post at the weekend that he considers the human race to be ‘amazing’ and the world to be ‘a magnificent place… We are blessed to be on it.’

Discounting Islamist threats over his show here, the 66-year-old ex-Beatle said ‘any high profile event brings with it some worries,’ but ‘I think that most people understand that I’m quite apolitical and that my message is a global one and that it is a peaceful one.’

McCartney was speaking by phone from England, where he has been rehearsing ahead of the Yarkon Park concert. He promised a few changes to his usual set for Tel Aviv, though no major surprises. He would not, for instance, be bringing the only other living ex-Beatle, Ringo Starr, with him. ‘I think he’s otherwise engaged,’ McCartney said dryly.

McCartney sounded genuinely delighted to learn how keenly the concert is being anticipated. ‘That’s great,’ he said, when told of the extensive radio play for his music in the run-up. ‘You can never assume that the whole of the audience knows all of your repertoire.’

He was also anxious to know whether much of the crowd would understand English well enough to comprehend his between-song anecdotes and introductions. The Post was happy to assure him that, his Liverpudlian accent notwithstanding, concert-goers would likely follow along just fine.

McCartney, who first joined up in with John Lennon in The Quarrymen way, way back in 1957, talked to the Post about a half-century lived in the fiercest glare of global celebrity, explaining that he had realized in his early 20s that if he wanted to stick with his music, he was going to have to find a way to cope with the accompanying fame. ‘So I’ve always known what I was letting myself in for.’

He discussed his beliefs, calling himself ‘spiritual rather than religious as such.’ He noted that his daughter Mary had just had a baby ‘and I see that as a miracle.’ Chuckling richly, he added: ‘How does all of that happen, man? Through the simplest of methods comes the most divine of results!’

And he recalled the puzzling, even blessed inspiration behind his most cherished song, ‘Yesterday.’ He woke up one morning with ‘this tune in my head,’ he said, and spent the next week asking people if they knew it. But ‘nobody could define what it was. So I eventually realized I, in some way, had written it… Over 3,000 people have thought it a song that was fit to cover,’ he marveled, ‘and I don’t even know how I wrote it.’

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