Paul McCartney’s Most Embarrassing Early Moment With the Beatles

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Paul McCartney handled the guitar solos on some of the Beatles‘ most memorable tracks, including “Drive My Car,” “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” “Helter Skelter” and “Taxman.” But he wasn’t always so confident about his playing – in particular during their initial performances.

“We had this gig and it was like, the first thing I ever played, and I was lead guitar player,” McCartney says on the Paul McCartney: A Life in Lyrics podcast. Beatles bandmate “John [Lennon] was rhythm, and I had a solo and I totally froze. [I] could not move my fingers. … It was like, just so embarrassing. My lead guitar playing career melted at that moment and I said, ‘Well, I’m not doing this again. I’m not cut out for this. I’m no good.”

Ironically, McCartney had only been invited to join Lennon’s band because he’d so impressed Lennon with his guitar skills. McCartney even showed Lennon how to tune his instrument. “Mind you, when I first met John, he didn’t play guitar,” McCartney added. “I had to show him guitar chords because he’d been taught by his mum [Julia], and she only knew banjo chords.”

These days, he has such a close relationship with his guitars that he actually talks to them. McCartney admitted that he’s even started to worry that they might miss him while he was away. His interactions with the piano, however, are quite different.

“We always used to say that when you sit down with your guitar to write a song, you’re telling it your secrets – which then become a song for the world,” McCartney added. “But at that moment, when you’re alone, the guitar is your confidante. You cradle it. When you go up to a piano, though, it’s almost as if you’re pushing the piano away. They’re different actions completely.”

Why These Classic Rock Acts Hate Their Own Records

Over a lengthy career, certain pitfalls also present themselves: Band members leave, songs become one-hit wonders, sounds go out of style. Then you start to hate your own records.

Gallery Credit: Nick DeRiso

You Think You Know the Beatles?



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