Over the course of the 90-minute chat, the two talked quite a bit about McCartney’s days with the Beatles. Early on, Stern, who seemed a bit starstruck, discussed the long-running debates about who wrote which Lennon-McCartney song.
“I know exactly what you mean, and it does get to be a total piss-off sometimes,” McCartney said. “But then, they’re still talking about me.”
Stern asked whether it bothered him early on that other groups copied the Beatles. “We didn’t mind at all,” McCartney replied. “It was kind of amusing and very flattering. I remember with the Hollies — they were from Manchester. We were from Liverpool. A bit of a rivalry. We played Manchester one day in very early Beatles days and we would travel half an hour to play there. And we had the look. And there were a couple of kind of young guys in the audience, who said, ‘Hello, we’re in a group. We’re the Hollies.’ ‘Hey, how ya doin’, boys,’ you know, patting them on the head. ‘Great, good look.’ And we went back the next week … ‘
“They had your look,” Stern said and McCartney agreed.
He also told a funny story about his musician father James sharing thoughts on the making of the Beatles breakthrough hit “She Loves You.”
“Your dad said, ‘Forget “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Do yes, yes, yes,” said Stern. McCartney said that was true.
He had musical ability but he didn’t have hip ability,” he replied.
“Did you even consider it for a second?,” Stern asked. “No-o-o-o,” McCartney said.
He also said that director Franco Zeffirelli had wanted McCartney to play Romeo in his film “Romeo and Juliet.” He called the offer “flattering,” but turned it down.
McCartney, who found himself on opposite sides from John Lennon and Yoko Ono after the breakup of the Beatles, said it was Lennon who broke up the group. “There was a meeting where John came in and said, ‘I’m leaving the group.’ And looking back on it, he’d reached that stage in his life. We all had.” But he also acknowledged that Ono was a good choice for Lennon. “Even though we thought she was intrusive because she used to sit in on the recording sessions and we’d never had anything like that. But looking back on it, you think, ‘The guy was totally in love with her. And you’ve just got to respect that.’ So we did. And I do.’”
McCartney also talked about a recent encounter with Jack Nicholson. He said the actor came to a party he was at and sat down next to his niece, and then announced himself by saying, “Big balls coming in.” “That’s a little opening line,” McCartney said.
McCartney also said he loves touring — which is unsurprising for a man who’s toured nearly every year since 2002. He recently announced a new tour called “Freshen Up,” that will begin in Canada this year and hit several places but won’t, as of now, hit the U.S. until next summer.
The two didn’t talk about McCartney’s new album, “Egypt Station,” until the last few minutes of the interview. He said the title of the album was derived from one of his paintings. “I did a painting that kind of had Egyptian-y stuff in it because I like Egyptian [writing].” When Stern played a portion of the song “Fuh You” from the album and said it was from an expletive, McCartney laughed. “Is that what it said?”
Stern’s Sirius/XM interview of McCartney, which will be available on demand, is part of a full week of programming on the channel featuring the former Beatle on the Beatles Channel (18). “Paul McCartney Track-By-Track Special,” with McCartney premiering and discussing his new “Egypt Station” album, premiered Tuesday and will repeat at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, 2 a.m. E.T. Thursday, 2 p.m. Friday, 9 p.m. E.T. Saturday and 11 a.m. E.T. Sept. 9.. Also included is a repeat of McCartney’s 2010 Apollo Theater concert at 6 p.m. ET Wednesday; “Eight Songs a Week: Times Two,” a special with songs handpicked by Beatles fans at 4 p.m. E.T. Friday and 3 p.m. E.T. Sept. 10; and a program with McCartney talking about the making of his album “Band on the Run” at 3 p.m. E.T. Thursday and 9 p.m. midnight E.T. Sept. 9.
McCartney will also be the musical guest on NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” Thursday.
Finally, McCartney said he and his band would be rehearsing today for “a little secret gig Friday night” that he’s been hinting about recently on social media.