slice of life

6 things to know about Paul McCartney before he plays the Carrier Dome Sept. 23

Courtesy of MJ Kim

Paul McCartney played "A Hard Day's Night" for the first time since 1965 earlier this month during his One on One Tour.

Paul McCartney will perform in the Carrier Dome Sept. 23 as part of his One on One Tour this summer. If you’re not a registered Beatlemaniac who could recite all of his lyrics, or if you are and just can’t contain your excitement, here are six facts to warm up with before the living legend plays his timeless hits.

He wasn’t originally a bass player

McCartney started as a rhythm guitar player with The Beatles’ preceding band, The Quarrymen. But when he and John Lennon heard George Harrison play a particularly difficult rock ‘n’ roll song, “Raunchy,” they took him on because he was so good. McCartney learned to play bass specifically because they needed a bassist.

He grew up in a musical household

McCartney’s father Jim, who served in World War II as a volunteer firefighter, was also in a jazz band in the 20s. He encouraged young McCartney and his other son, Michael, to take piano lessons. McCartney picked up the piano and trumpet, but preferred to learn by ear — and still doesn’t read music after 50-plus years in the music industry.

He is a vegetarian

Linda McCartney, his wife from 1969 until her death by cancer in 1998, was a groupie photographer before McCartney took an interest in her. A dedicated animal rights activist, she influenced McCartney’s conversion. He has been strictly vegetarian ever since. He’s even been known to forbid his crew to eat meat while they were touring with him.

He was not a big fan of LSD, even when the rest of the band was

One of the more controversial points of Beatles history is the copious amounts of acid dropped during the recording of the soon to be 50-year-old psychedelic record “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Recorded during the height of 60s drug use, many of the tracks are influenced by the band’s trips. McCartney, though he has tried it, never really found it attractive even while Lennon and Harrison loved how it allowed imaginations to run wild while tripping.

Paul’s most famous child is not a musician

All of the other Beatles’ children have gone on to start music careers. Both Sean and Julian Lennon are musicians. Dhani Harrison – who looks exactly like his father – is as well. Zak Starkey took an interest in the drums after his godfather, Keith Moon of The Who, gifted him a set as a child. McCartney has five kids. Mary became a photographer like her mother Linda. James became a musician and produced records with his father. But the most famous of his children, Stella McCartney, is known for her fashion design.

His favorite Beatles song is not the same as everyone else’s

While it’s inaccurate to say that “Yesterday” is everyone’s favorite Beatles song, “Yesterday” is the one of the most covered songs in the music industry, alongside “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and jazz standard “Cry Me a River.” McCartneys’ favorite, as stated in a 1984 interview with CBS, was “Revolver’s” “Here, There and Everywhere.”

 

Some people believe he’s dead

There’s a conspiracy theory that the real Paul McCartney is dead, and has been dead for a long time. The “Paul is dead” theory says that McCartney was killed in a 1966 car crash, and died when his head became completely decapitated from his body. First officially published in 1969 by the Drake University student newspaper, the theory claimed that after McCartney’s death, he was replaced by a Scotsman who had won a look-alike contest several years prior.

The band reportedly left messages in their music from 1966, cluing their friends into what had happened. One of the most well-known clues is that John reportedly said “I buried Paul” at the end of “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Another is that McCartney’s decision to walk barefoot on the cover of “Abbey Road” indicates that he is a corpse — Harrison, dressed in blue denim walking behind him is the gravedigger. Lennon, leading the pack in a white suit, is god, and Ringo in black is the undertaker, together comprising a funeral procession.

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