Sir Paul McCartney often gets thanked by people who tell him his music is the soundtrack of their lives.
More memories will be made when McCartney kicks off his One on One tour Wednesday, April 13, with a concert at Fresno’s Save Mart Center. It is one of only nine announced performances in the United States and the only one in California.
The artist who changed the music world first as part of the Beatles, then with Wings and finally as a solo artist through innovation, promotion and performances, believes his work is important to people because music can make you flash back to a memory no matter where you live.
“It’s global. Language doesn’t matter. You can play someone ‘Claire de Lune’ and they can tell it’s about the moon. How can that happen? I think the emotional factor is very important,” McCartney says. “It’s one of the things I’m most proud of, actually, to have lucked out to be in a profession like this where I can actually help, heal, let people get in touch with their emotions, and me, by the way, at the same time. It’s a magical thing.”
Talking during an interview with TV critics to talk about the Showtime special “The Love We Make,” McCartney discussed his long and winding career.
“We did so many groundbreaking things. We didn’t set out necessarily to do that, but as we got more popular, things came our way,” McCartney says.
All he ever wanted to do was to make the best music possible.
“I think a lot of these things have happened to us, rather than being things that we instigated,” he says. “But I do love it, and I’m very happy and proud to have been part of so many big things.”
He couldn’t have cultivated fans over the decades without such a strong songbook.
Dr. Matthew Darling, a Fresno State professor of music, has taught and headed the percussion area at the university since 1991. As part of his duties, he lectures about the influence of the Beatles.
“You can argue they are one of the top five influences on music of the 20th century,” Darling says. “The Beatles brought pop music, a music for teens, to an art form. Once you get to albums like ‘Rubber Soul’ and ‘Revolver,’ they are no longer doing pop music.”
Darling points to McCartney as a major part of that transformation because of his musical photographic memory – he can hear a piece of music and then recall it perfectly when incorporating it in his work. He considers that pure musical genius.
The influence McCartney has had on the music world has lasted a lot longer than McCartney expected.
“We didn’t really think it was going to last too long. When you first start off, like anyone, you’re very nervous because you don’t know how to do this thing and so you’re learning as you go along. Then, we got to the Beatles stage, which was where we were better. We’d learned more and it evolved into something different. There were still nerves attached,” McCartney says. “Then it became Wings and I had to kind of do a whole new thing all again. So those kind of nerves attached to it. But again, it was something exciting because it was different.”
The audiences are really so fabulous now, that it’s evolved into something completely different from early days: Beatles, Wings. It’s now something different again.
Sir Paul McCartney
McCartney keeps performing because he genuinely enjoys it.
The atmosphere is different today compared to when the Beatles took the stage. Every Beatles show was filled with nonstop screaming. Now that McCartney’s audience features so many different generations, the noise level is not as deafening.
It’s that screaming that McCartney remembers most from his days touring with the Beatles.
“You really couldn’t hear anything. It was like a billion seagulls screaming, and we just looked at each other,” McCartney says. “You can see it if you look at the film. We’re just in hysterics. John ends up doing a solo with his elbow.”
Those are the kind of things you remember. At the time you think, this is a very modern event. But you get this far in the future after it, and you think, well, no. It’s now an ancient bit of history. I love it anyway. I do love it, and I have very fond memories of both of those things.
Sir Paul McCartney
McCartney has always tried to keep his set list secret, an effort made almost impossible with the Internet. You can count on him doing songs from his days with the Beatles and Wings. He adds some of his solo work.
One of his best-known tunes is “Yesterday,” which has been covered by more than 2,200 other artists. He would love to take credit for all the work it took to create “Yesterday,” but like “Let It Be,” the song came to McCartney in a dream. It wasn’t just a phrase but an entire tune in his head.
“I had no idea where it came from,” he says. “Best I can think is that my computer through the years loaded all these things and finally printed out this song in a dream kind of thing. But I certainly had this song that was to become very famous in the world and I just dreamed it. So there’s no way out of it for me. I have to believe that that’s magical. I have no other rational explanation for it.”
Paul McCartney’s One on One tour
- 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 13
- Save Mart Center
- This show is sold out, though tickets are available on the secondary market