Sir Paul McCartney is one of the biggest names in music. Perhaps the biggest. And that’s been the case for, well, the past 50-plus years. It’s an incredible feat.
McCartney, who, of course, co-fronted the Beatles with John Lennon is still putting out art and is still captivating audiences with his writing, celebrity, and opinions.
And while we know so much of his work, from “Yesterday” to the new Beatles documentary, Get Back, we may not know what the songwriter thinks about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness outside his well-known lyrics.
Here, we will dive into the 24 best Paul McCartney quotes. So, without further ado, let’s do just that.
1. “I used to think that anyone doing anything weird was weird. I suddenly realized that anyone doing anything weird wasn’t weird at all and it was the people saying they were weird that were weird.”
2. “Think globally, act locally.”
3. “None of us wanted to be the bass player. In our minds, he was the fat guy who always played at the back.”
4. “Somebody said to me, ‘But the Beatles were anti-materialistic.’ That’s a huge myth. John and I literally used to sit down and say, ‘Now, let’s write a swimming pool.'”
5. “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”
6. “One of my biggest thrills for me still is sitting down with a guitar or a piano and just out of nowhere trying to make a song happen.”
7. “I look a lot busier than I am, as I’m actually a rather sporadic, random person and I’ll play a few gigs and then disappear for a while.”
8. “I hate the idea of success robbing you of your private life.”
9. “I definitely did look up to John. We all looked up to John. He was older and he was very much the leader; he was the quickest wit and the smartest.”
10. “I saw that Meryl Streep said, I just want to do my job well. And really, that’s all I’m ever trying to do.”
11. “I’m not religious, but I’m very spiritual.”
12. “If children are studying the 20th century, I’m in their textbooks.”
13. “It was Elvis who really got me hooked on beat music. When I heard ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ I thought, this is it.”
14. “I never look forward, because I have no idea about how any of it happened to getting here. I’ve no idea how the next five years are going to be.”
15. “Why would I retire? Sit at home and watch TV? No thanks. I’d rather be out playing.”
16. “I think people who create and write, it actually does flow—just flows from into their head, into their hand, and they write it down. It’s simple.”
17. “Microphones are just like people, if you shout at them, they get scared.”
18. “Where I come from, you don’t really talk about how much you’re earning. Those things are private. My dad never told my mum how much he was earning. I’m certainly not going to tell the world. I’m doing well.”
19. “I had this song called ‘Helter Skelter,’ which is just a ridiculous song. So we did it like that, ‘cuz I like noise.”
20. “Somewhere down the line everyone must pay for their misdeeds.”
21. “When you first get money, you buy all these things so no one thinks you’re mean, and you spread it around. You get a chauffeur and you find yourself thrown around the back of this car and you think, I was happier when I had my own little car! I could drive myself!”
22. “When I sit down to write a song, it’s a kind of improvisation, but I formalize it a bit to get it into the studio, and when I step up to a microphone, I have a vague idea of what I’m about to do.”
23. “I can’t deal with the press; I hate all those Beatles questions.”
24. “Look, people are allowed their own opinions and they don’t always coincide with yours. As an artist, you just have to keep plugging on.”
Paul McCartney Photo by MJ Kim / Nasty Little Man