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McCartney: A Life in Lyrics
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McCartney: A Life in Lyrics

Author: iHeartPodcasts and Pushkin Industries

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McCartney: A Life in Lyrics offers listeners the opportunity to sit in on conversations between Paul McCartney and poet Paul Muldoon dissecting the people, experiences, and art that inspired McCartney’s songwriting. These conversations were held during the past several years as the two collaborated on the award winning book, “The Lyrics: 1965 to Present.” Over two seasons and 24 episodes of “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics”,you’ll hear a combination master class, memoir, and improvised journey with one of the most beloved figures in popular music. Each episode focuses on one song from McCartney’s iconic catalog – spanning early Beatles through his solo work. Season 2 premieres on February 7th.

“McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries.

Cover Portrait © 1967 Paul McCartney / Photographer: Linda McCartney
26 Episodes
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Welcome to "McCartney: A Life in Lyrics". This podcast will take you into the mind of one of the greatest songwriters of all time: Paul McCartney. The result is a combination master class, memoir, and improvised journey with one of the most beloved figures in popular music. Each episode focuses on one song from McCartney’s iconic catalog – spanning early Beatles through his more recent solo work. McCartney, together with his friend, the poet Paul Muldoon, dissects the people, experiences, and art that inspired his songwriting. Season One drops weekly starting October 4th, and features the stories behind songs like Eleanor Rigby, Let It Be, Band on the Run and many more. Subscribe now.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Eleanor Rigby

Eleanor Rigby

2023-10-0422:322

Face cream, a Bristol liquor business, and a lifelong reverence for the elderly are just a few of the rather ordinary and disparate inspirations Paul McCartney brought together in the creation of a masterpiece: “Eleanor Rigby.” In this episode, McCartney and Paul Muldoon tease out the song's lyrical inspirations and discuss the influence a Bernard Herrmann score for a Hitchcock film had on the lead single from 1966’s “Revolver." “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries. The series was produced by Pejk Malinovski and Sara McCrea; written by Sara McCrea; edited by Dan O’Donnell and Sophie Crane; mastered by Jason Gambrell with sound design by Pejk Malinovski. The series is executive produced by Leital Molad, Justin Richmond, Lee Eastman and Scott Rodger. Thanks to Lee Eastman, Richard Ewbank, Scott Rodger, Aoife Corbett and Steve Ithell.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Back In the U.S.S.R.

Back In the U.S.S.R.

2023-10-0423:17

What’s Paul McCartney, a Liverpudlian, doing writing about the Soviet Union in 1968? Turns out McCartney was doing a little Chuck Berry, a bit of The Beach Boys, some pastiche and a lot of subversion. Opening “The White Album”, “Back in the U.S.S.R.” raised some eyebrows. And because of The Beatles’ evolving position within the former Eastern Bloc the song has over the years taken on a life of its own, following the trajectory of the West’s often fraught relationship with the region.   “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries. The series was produced by Pejk Malinovski and Sara McCrea; written by Sara McCrea; edited by Dan O’Donnell and Sophie Crane; mastered by Jason Gambrell with sound design by Pejk Malinovski. The series is executive produced by Leital Molad, Justin Richmond, Lee Eastman and Scott Rodger. Thanks to Lee Eastman, Richard Ewbank, Scott Rodger, Aoife Corbett and Steve Ithell.   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Let It Be

Let It Be

2023-10-1123:33

Paul McCartney’s mother Mary passed away in 1956, when Paul was only 14 years old. Over a decade later, she appeared to him in a dream, lending a few immortal words of wisdom: “Let it be.” These words arrived in time to help see Paul through the difficult days after The Beatles’ gave up touring to enter the studio full time. And, of course, they went on to become the basis of the song that’s now a popular standard and the title of The Beatles’ final studio release, “Let It Be.” “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries. The series was produced by Pejk Malinovski and Sara McCrea; written by Sara McCrea; edited by Dan O’Donnell and Sophie Crane; mastered by Jason Gambrell with sound design by Pejk Malinovski. The series is executive produced by Leital Molad, Justin Richmond, Lee Eastman and Scott Rodger. Thanks to Lee Eastman, Richard Ewbank, Scott Rodger, Aoife Corbett and Steve Ithell.  And thank you to the Melbourne Soul & Gospel Choir for their rendition of “Let It Be,” arranged and conducted by Darren Wicks for the album “Stand Strong.”See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
At the dawn of the Beatles’ dissolution, Paul McCartney and his wife, Linda, started to spend an increasing amount of time in the Scottish countryside. Sequestered at their farm near the Mull of Kintyre, McCartney found refuge in his family, his animals, and in fixing up their homestead. The ease and charm of country living was documented in “When Winter Comes” from 2020’s McCartney III. And in 1977 his ode to life on the family farm, “Mull of Kintyre,” became a massive hit for Wings despite the hold disco and soft rock had on the charts and the ascendance of punk and new wave. “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries. The series was produced by Pejk Malinovski and Sara McCrea; written by Sara McCrea; edited by Dan O’Donnell and Sophie Crane; mastered by Jason Gambrell with sound design by Pejk Malinovski. The series is executive produced by Leital Molad, Justin Richmond, Lee Eastman and Scott Rodger. Thanks to Lee Eastman, Richard Ewbank, Scott Rodger, Aoife Corbett and Steve Ithell. And thank you to Ally the Piper for her rendition of “Mull of Kintyre,” “inchadney” for their composition, “Bagpipes in Pitlochery” and Ross Fleming for voicing the 1966 news item.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Penny Lane

Penny Lane

2023-10-2526:52

As a young boy, Paul McCartney soaked up the radio plays his mother listened to while cleaning around their house. They gave McCartney an expansive understanding of characterization, something he’s been able to do astonishingly well in his own work throughout his writing career. The song “Penny Lane” may sound like much of the psychedelic musings that was common by the late 60s, but the song is actually a beautifully abstract description of a Liverpool suburb well-known to both McCartney and John Lennon. “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries. The series was produced by Pejk Malinovski and Sara McCrea; written by Sara McCrea; edited by Dan O’Donnell and Sophie Crane; mastered by Jason Gambrell with sound design by Pejk Malinovski. The series is executive produced by Leital Molad, Justin Richmond, Lee Eastman and Scott Rodger. Thanks to Lee Eastman, Richard Ewbank, Scott Rodger, Aoife Corbett and Steve Ithell.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
As Paul McCartney’s life moved further away from the centering force of Liverpool, the distance, both physical and cultural, started becoming increasingly apparent. It's a distance described by Paul as inevitable, if regrettable. “Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey” is Paul’s expression of the dual longing for home one can experience while also longing to create a new life full of adventure. Released on Paul and Linda’s “RAM” album in 1971, the song is layered with meaning and references to his contradictory feelings. “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries. The series was produced by Pejk Malinovski and Sara McCrea; written by Sara McCrea; edited by Dan O’Donnell and Sophie Crane; mastered by Jason Gambrell with sound design by Pejk Malinovski. The series is executive produced by Leital Molad, Justin Richmond, Lee Eastman and Scott Rodger. Thanks to Lee Eastman, Richard Ewbank, Scott Rodger, Aoife Corbett and Steve Ithell.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Here Today

Here Today

2023-11-0825:28

Warning: This episode begins with a description of the assassination of John Lennon. John Lennon’s assassination has reverberated across decades, country and culture. On the 8th of December, 1980 the world lost one of its greatest creative forces and advocates for peace. And Paul McCartney lost even more: a collaborator, a bandmate, and a dear friend. As McCartney sat in the upstairs room of his Sussex home, mourning his loss, he picked up a guitar, found a comforting set of chords and began memorializing his friendship with Lennon in song. “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries. The series was produced by Pejk Malinovski and Sara McCrea; written by Sara McCrea; edited by Dan O’Donnell and Sophie Crane; mastered by Jason Gambrell with sound design by Pejk Malinovski. The series is executive produced by Leital Molad, Justin Richmond, Lee Eastman and Scott Rodger. Thanks to Lee Eastman, Richard Ewbank, Scott Rodger, Aoife Corbett and Steve Ithell.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Live and Let Die

Live and Let Die

2023-11-1520:56

James Bond themes were handled by soulful or sultry vocalists in the decade since 1963’s “From Russia With Love.” Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones and even Louis Armstrong had taken turns singing themes and secondary themes for the films. The Broccoli family who produces the James Bond franchise expected nothing less when they asked Paul McCartney to write the theme for “Live and Let Die.” What they didn’t expect was for him to perform it too. And for the song—1973’s “Live and Let Die”—to become the most popular theme of the series thus far. “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries. The series was produced by Pejk Malinovski and Sara McCrea; written by Sara McCrea; edited by Dan O’Donnell and Sophie Crane; mastered by Jason Gambrell with sound design by Pejk Malinovski. The series is executive produced by Leital Molad, Justin Richmond, Lee Eastman and Scott Rodger. Thanks to Lee Eastman, Richard Ewbank, Scott Rodger, Aoife Corbett and Steve Ithell.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Magical Mystery Tour

Magical Mystery Tour

2023-11-2226:22

“Magical Mystery Tour” was inspired by a holiday bus from Liverpool to a mystery destination—often ending up in the carnivalesque seaside town of Blackpool. It’s one of the best examples of The Beatles further dipping into the era’s psychedelic subculture. The production of the song delivers a dense and lively atmosphere, from the opening brass fanfare to the flanging piano in the coda. “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries. The series was produced by Pejk Malinovski and Sara McCrea; written by Sara McCrea; edited by Dan O’Donnell and Sophie Crane; mastered by Jason Gambrell with sound design by Pejk Malinovski. The series is executive produced by Leital Molad, Justin Richmond, Lee Eastman and Scott Rodger. Thanks to Lee Eastman, Richard Ewbank, Scott Rodger, Aoife Corbett and Steve Ithell.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jenny Wren / Blackbird

Jenny Wren / Blackbird

2023-11-2927:51

“Long Tailed Winter Bird,” “Bluebird,” and “Single Pigeon” are just a few of the many bird-oriented songs Paul McCartney has written over the years. His love of ornithology extends back before his songwriting days to his early childhood. “Blackbird”, one of the most universally cherished songs in his canon, was born of that love and worked well with the civil rights allusions that were the song’s subtext. The latter day companion of “Blackbird”, “Jenny Wren,” was also born of that love. Released 40 years apart, those two songs explore McCartney as an ornithologist as well as the ways in which he’s in dialogue with his songs as a writer. “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries. The series was produced by Pejk Malinovski and Sara McCrea; written by Sara McCrea; edited by Dan O’Donnell and Sophie Crane; mastered by Jason Gambrell with sound design by Pejk Malinovski. The series is executive produced by Leital Molad, Justin Richmond, Lee Eastman and Scott Rodger. Thanks to Lee Eastman, Richard Ewbank, Scott Rodger, Aoife Corbett and Steve Ithell.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Too Many People

Too Many People

2023-12-0629:49

Many observers have tried to pinpoint the specific events that lead to Lennon-McCartney, the formidable songwriting partnership, transitioning to Lennon v. McCartney. But the fact is there is no single truth regarding why the beloved duo split. So instead of investigating the why, we look at the aftermath: legal battles, hurtful accusations in song and, ultimately, a sense of resolution. “Too Many People” opens Paul and Linda McCartney’s 1971 album, “RAM” and serves as an opening to explore Lennon-McCartney’s dissolution ahead of ultimately resolving their differences and rekindling a friendship. “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries. The series was produced by Pejk Malinovski and Sara McCrea; written by Sara McCrea; edited by Dan O’Donnell and Sophie Crane; mastered by Jason Gambrell with sound design by Pejk Malinovski. The series is executive produced by Leital Molad, Justin Richmond, Lee Eastman and Scott Rodger. Thanks to Lee Eastman, Richard Ewbank, Scott Rodger, Aoife Corbett and Steve Ithell.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Helter Skelter

Helter Skelter

2023-12-1326:331

Season 1 of “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” concludes with a band in flux. The Beatles had evolved significantly by 1968 from when they first released “Love Me Do.” Back then, they were only competing with the likes of Andy Williams, Little Stevie Wonder, and Peter Paul and Mary. But by the recording of the “White Album" The Beatles were up against acts on the charts with a more hard driving sound like Cream, The Who, and Sly and the Family Stone. Paul McCartney sensed an opportunity to jump into the fray himself and wrote a song that many consider to be the genesis of the hard rock and metal genres. “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries. The series was produced by Pejk Malinovski and Sara McCrea; written by Sara McCrea; edited by Dan O’Donnell and Sophie Crane; mastered by Jason Gambrell with sound design by Pejk Malinovski. The series is executive produced by Leital Molad, Justin Richmond, Lee Eastman and Scott Rodger. Thanks to Lee Eastman, Richard Ewbank, Scott Rodger, Aoife Corbett and Steve Ithell. Special thanks to Leah Rose, Alexandra Garreton, Martin Birket-Smith, Brittani Brown, Owen Miller, Daniella Lakhan, Jordyn McMillin, Kyra Posey, Eric Sandler, Heather Fain, Gretta Cohn, Christina Sullivan, Jon Schnaars and Jacob Weisberg of Pushkin Industries. And also Winslow Bright and Nora Nalepka from Premier Music.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Season Two of McCartney: A Life in Lyrics comes out weekly starting February 7th, and features the stories behind songs like Yesterday, Band on the Run, Here, There and Everywhere, Picasso’s Last Words (Drink to Me) and many more. Binge the entire season early and ad-free starting February 7th by subscribing to Pushkin+ on our Apple show page or at pushkin.fm/plus.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Love Me Do

Love Me Do

2024-02-0730:42

Countless decisions, large and small, aided The Beatles’ ascent to the top of popular culture. The release of their debut single, “Love Me Do,” in the UK in the fall of 1962 was one of those decisions. Their debut on American television was another. In this first episode of season two, Paul McCartney and Paul Muldoon discuss the early evolution of The Beatles. “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries. The series was produced by Pejk Malinovski and Sara McCrea; written by Sara McCrea; edited by Dan O’Donnell and Sophie Crane; mastered by Jason Gambrell with assistance from Jake Gorski and sound design by Pejk Malinovski. The series is executive produced by Leital Molad, Justin Richmond, Lee Eastman and Scott Rodger. Thanks to Lee Eastman, Richard Ewbank, Scott Rodger, Aoife Corbett and Steve Ithell.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Band on the Run

Band on the Run

2024-02-0734:34

Paul McCartney found himself in a tricky place after The Beatles’ break up. What did his musical future look like without the three musicians he’d spent half of his life building a musical rapport with? McCartney’s other band, Wings, and an impromptu tour of UK colleges helped him find his footing. “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries. The series was produced by Pejk Malinovski and Sara McCrea; written by Sara McCrea; edited by Dan O’Donnell and Sophie Crane; mastered by Jason Gambrell with assistance from Jake Gorski and sound design by Pejk Malinovski. The series is executive produced by Leital Molad, Justin Richmond, Lee Eastman and Scott Rodger. Thanks to Lee Eastman, Richard Ewbank, Scott Rodger, Aoife Corbett and Steve Ithell.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
One day in the car, Paul McCartney heard a BBC production of the absurdist play “Ubu Cocu” by french writer Alfred Jarry.  Taken by the rebelliousness of the radio play, McCartney wrote a sweet-sounding tune about a murderous medical student that seemingly lives in the same universe as Ubu: “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries. The series was produced by Pejk Malinovski and Sara McCrea; written by Sara McCrea; edited by Dan O’Donnell and Sophie Crane; mastered by Jason Gambrell with assistance from Jake Gorski and sound design by Pejk Malinovski. The series is executive produced by Leital Molad, Justin Richmond, Lee Eastman and Scott Rodger. Thanks to Lee Eastman, Richard Ewbank, Scott Rodger, Aoife Corbett and Steve Ithell.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Yesterday

Yesterday

2024-02-2144:081

The Beatles’ songbook became standard repertoire for artists to perform almost as quickly as they kicked off “the British invasion.” But one was covered more than all the rest: Yesterday. “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries. The series was produced by Pejk Malinovski and Sara McCrea; written by Sara McCrea; edited by Dan O’Donnell and Sophie Crane; mastered by Jason Gambrell with assistance from Jake Gorski and sound design by Pejk Malinovski. The series is executive produced by Leital Molad, Justin Richmond, Lee Eastman and Scott Rodger. Thanks to Lee Eastman, Richard Ewbank, Scott Rodger, Aoife Corbett and Steve Ithell.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
“Drink to me, drink to my health” were among the last words spoken by the great Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. On somewhat of a lark, Dustin Hoffman challenged Paul McCartney to use those words to write a song – on the spot. McCartney indulged Hoffman and, without hesitation, an early version of “Picasso’s Last Words (Drink to Me)” poured out of him. “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries. The series was produced by Pejk Malinovski and Sara McCrea; written by Sara McCrea; edited by Dan O’Donnell and Sophie Crane; mastered by Jason Gambrell with assistance from Jake Gorski and sound design by Pejk Malinovski. The series is executive produced by Leital Molad, Justin Richmond, Lee Eastman and Scott Rodger. Thanks to Lee Eastman, Richard Ewbank, Scott Rodger, Aoife Corbett and Steve Ithell.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Silly Love Songs

Silly Love Songs

2024-03-0636:111

From his earliest days as a songwriter, Paul McCartney was interested in love songs. But by the time of Wing’s 1976 album “At the Speed of Sound” McCartney had become tired of critics suggesting that was all he wrote. And so he wrote the album’s lead single, a defiant anthem about the importance of love in our lives, and named it “Silly Love Songs.” Through discussing this song with Paul Muldoon, McCartney also touches on some of the other love songs in his catalogue: “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “All My Loving,” “I Will” and one he wrote for his wife, Nancy —”My Valentine.” “McCartney: A Life in Lyrics” is a co-production between iHeart Media, MPL and Pushkin Industries. The series was produced by Pejk Malinovski and Sara McCrea; written by Sara McCrea; edited by Dan O’Donnell and Sophie Crane; mastered by Jason Gambrell with assistance from Jake Gorski and sound design by Pejk Malinovski. The series is executive produced by Leital Molad, Justin Richmond, Lee Eastman and Scott Rodger. Thanks to Lee Eastman, Richard Ewbank, Scott Rodger, Aoife Corbett and Steve Ithell.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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Comments (3)

Ian McLaughlin

superb stuff ,the books even better .

Mar 18th
Reply

firecat

If all I ever did was write something as good as “Yesterday” I’d feel pretty fucking great about myself

Dec 6th
Reply

JohnJohn Hoelen

Love this guys. What a treat. John from Belgium.

Oct 19th
Reply
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