Paul McCartney’s Childhood Home Opens as Creative Space for Unsigned Musicians

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

The childhood home of Paul McCartney, the spot where he wrote some of the most famous Beatles songs like “Love Me Do,” “When I’m 64,” and ”I Saw Her Standing There,” will open its doors to a new generation of musicians.

The National Trust revealed that 20 Forthlin Road in Liverpool, England will transform into a creative learning space for unsigned artists to play and perform music. Dubbed The Forthlin Sessions, a special group of performances made within the home by unsigned artists will be recorded and shared with the public “offering vital opportunities for new musical talent to reach audiences,” according to The National Trust, the British heritage conservation organization and partner for the program.

Paul McCartney, 79, and his brother and photographer Mike, 78, first moved to the home in 1955, and it later became the place where Paul would often write and rehearse with his childhood friend and future Beatles bandmate John Lennon.

“It was just a normal family home,” said Mike McCartney in a statement. “We were school kids. There was no music except that my dad would tickle, as he called it, the ivories after a hard day of work. At the beginning, there was no music other than dad and no photography. There wasn’t any thought of show business, I can assure you.”

When the McCartney brother’s mother died in 1956, the home started to transform into a creative space since their father Jim saw how creativity was helping the boys through their grief. Mike quickly gravitated towards photography while Paul centered around music with his friend John. 

“The idea of getting into photography or music was unthinkable for working-class lads back then, but Dad saw how creativity could help us through our grief,” added Mike McCartney. “Everything that was created here—the music, the photography—was created from love. I’m delighted our house and our family can inspire new generations to follow a path that might surprise people, and that it’s been part of so many lives, not just ours.”

Inside the house, McCartney wrote nearly 30 songs and returned back in 2018 during a  “Carpool Karaoke” segment on The Late Late Show with James Corden. It was the first time McCartney had been inside the home since he moved out when he was 19. Once inside, McCartney gave a tour of the living room, kitchen, and the bathroom acoustics, and showed Corden where he and Lennon would rehearse while his father watched television. 

The Forthlin Sessions is a joint effort by The National Trust, along with Mike McCartney, the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, which was co-founded by Paul McCartney in 1996, and British journalist and broadcaster Pete Paphides, who will work to find unsigned, U.K.-based artists to participate in the program.

Applications for The Forthlin Sessions close on April 30, 2022. On 17 May 2022, successful applicants for The Forthlin Session will be given access to a wide range of “memories, thoughts, and stories” about the Beatles supplied by the public via the social media campaign #TheForthlinSessions. The artists will have the opportunity to create a new song to perform at 20 Forthlin Road on 17 June 2022. This performance will be broadcast on YouTube and on The National Trust social channels on June 17. Following their performances, each artist will also receive mentoring from experts at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts for six months.

“What the Beatles did was inspire a generation to feel free to be creative, regardless of who or where they were,” said Hilary McGrady, National Trust director general, in a statement. “Much of that started at 20 Forthlin Road with the songs that were written under this roof. It’s a pleasure to care for the Beatles’ childhood homes and to use the story of what happened there to continue this legacy.”

She added, “Our places don’t have to be stuck in time; they’re here to keep sparking creativity, dreams, and new ideas. We can’t wait to hear how what happened at 20 Forthlin Road inspired and keeps on inspiring the nation.”

The Forthlin Sessions begin in a year that marks two significant celebrations for The Beatles. On June 18, 2022, Paul McCartney will celebrate his 80th birthday, and this year also marks the 60th anniversary of The Beatles’ debut single “Love Me Do.”

To apply to The Forthlin Sessions click HERE.

Photos: Michael McCartney / The National Trust

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