Paul McCartney knew he’d never top The Beatles — and that’s just fine with him

Terry Gross as heard on NPR:

It’s been more than 50 years since The Beatles disbanded, and Paul McCartney wants to set the record straight: “It’s always looked like I broke up The Beatles, and that wasn’t the case,” he says. McCartney traces the rumor to the 1970 documentary Let It Be, which followed the bandmates as they wrote, rehearsed and recorded the songs for their final album. The film and the subsequent press coverage created a narrative that pointed to Paul as the instigator of the breakup, and the story was so pervasive that McCartney even began to doubt himself. “I kind of bought into that a little bit,” he says. “And although I knew it wasn’t true, it affected me enough for me to just be unsure of myself.”

…”We were just like most young guys. We just wanted to have a girlfriend and basically do as much as we could, was the idea. So as we got fans, that became our motivation, which was, we were trying to be attractive in any way you like — visually, physically, sexually. We didn’t mind, as long as we were attractive, because as kids, we were apparently not very attractive and we certainly weren’t the big kind of quarterback who attracted all the girls in town. It was kind of the opposite for us, so I suppose, as we got more and more popular and the girls started screaming, to tell you the truth, we just enjoyed it. It was the fulfillment of all our dreams. … It really was just we young guys trying to get laid, as Americans would say.”

On how the screaming of Beatlemania got old

“Later then, it got a bit worrying because now the first sort of flush of the excitement had been going for quite a few years and we were maturing and we were sort of out of that phase. It was like, OK, it would be quite nice to be able to hear the song we’re playing. And we couldn’t because it was just a million seagulls screaming.”

More here.