Paul McCartney has revealed he started drinking heavily and came close to quitting music after The Beatles broke up.

The music superstar said he ended up forming Wings when he stopped enjoying the party lifestyle.

Reflecting on his life and career at a recording of Mastertapes for Radio 4, he said: “I was breaking from my lifelong friends, not knowing whether I was going to continue in music. I took to the bevvies. I took to a wee dram. 

"It was great at first, then suddenly I wasn’t having a good time. It wasn’t working. I wanted to get back to square one, so I ended up forming Wings.”

McCartney also acknowledged that some of the criticism levelled at Wings was fair but he doesn’t regret collaborating with his wife Linda, who died in 1998.

He said: “To be fair we weren’t that good. We were terrible. We knew Linda couldn’t play but she learned and, looking back on it, I’m really glad we did it.

“I could have just formed a supergroup and rung up Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page and John Bonham, but we graduated from playing universities to town halls, which was quite funny as I’d been at Shea Stadium quite recently. 

"But you still remember the names of the people who gave you really bad, vicious reviews: Charles Shaar Murray shall ever be hated”

The former Beatle told the crowd in the BBC’s Maida Vale studio, which included Brad Pitt, James Bay and Paul Weller, how glad he was to repair his relationship with John Lennon before he was killed in 1980.

Their relationship became strained because of business matters but McCartney said: “I was really grateful that we got it back together before he died. 

"Because it would have been very difficult to deal with if ... well, it was very difficult anyway.”

After playing a few bars of ‘Here Today’, the song he wrote about Lennon in 1982, he said: “When I was thinking of all the things I never said to him. I’m quite private and don’t like to give too much away. 

"Why should people know my innermost thoughts? But a song is the place to put them. In ‘Here Today’ I say to John, ‘I love you’.

“I couldn’t have said that to him unless we were extremely drunk — I love you, man. 

"But you can put these emotions, these deeper and sometimes awkward truths, in a song.”

He admitted the competition he felt with Lennon helped him to create some of his best work. 

After being asked if it is harder to write songs as he gets older, McCartney replied: “In concerts I’m singing these songs by this 20-something-year-old kid and I’m thinking: ‘Why are these songs so good?’

“And I think it’s because when you’re young you listen to everything that’s going on around you and you take it all in. 

"You’re very excited with the world, you’re not all jaded and all the information — Elvis, Sinatra, the BBC news — all that stuff that’s been through your mind gets printed out in a song.

“When you’re younger, more magical things come to you — being in a band, the competition with John, being kids, suddenly getting famous ... all that lent itself to good work. 

"If John came up with a brilliant song, I’d go, ‘Okay, let’s try and be brillianter’.


Lifestyle

FOR many of us, health insurance is high on the list of financial products which that we tend to avoid changing out of fear and confusion.Money and Cents: cover all the bases for best health insurance

Anya Taylor-Joy plays the titular Emma in the latest adaptation of Jane Austen’s romantic comedy about the spoilt, meddling matchmaker who means well, says Laura HardingAnya Taylor-Joy: ‘Emma is my little monster’

Setting sail to travel the world as part of your job has a romance all of its own but for marketing manager Máire Cronin and engineer Mark Crowe it led to love.Wedding of the Week: Cruise ship co-workers Máire and Mark sail off into sunset

One of the genres that has seen exponential growth in the podcast world is the sleepcast. Open Spotify on your phone in the evening and a number of offerings are available, writes Eoghan O'SullivanThe Podcast Corner: podcasts that will put you to sleep

More From The Irish Examiner