Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift chat about songwriting, the Beatles, privacy, and more in the first in a series of new conversations between artists for Rolling Stone.
Swift, who is a huge McCartney fan, mentions being in a relationship with Joe Alwyn, something she’s tried to keep incredibly private for the three years they’ve been dating.
The “Love Story” hitmaker says of having privacy in her relationship: “In knowing him and being in the relationship I am in now, I have definitely made decisions that have made my life feel more like a real life and less like just a storyline to be commented on in tabloids.
“Whether that’s deciding where to live, who to hang out with, when to not take a picture — the idea of privacy feels so strange to try to explain, but it’s really just trying to find bits of normalcy. That’s what that song ‘Peace’ is talking about. Like, would it be enough if I could never fully achieve the normalcy that we both crave? Stella [McCartney] always tells me that she had as normal a childhood as she could ever hope for under the circumstances.”
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Father-of-five McCartney adds of raising his kids “normally” and the pressure that’s been put on him spilling over onto his children when they didn’t sign up for it: “Yeah, [it was] a little bit [hard], but it wasn’t like it is now. You know, we were just living a kind of semi-hippie life, where we withdrew from a lot of stuff. The kids would be doing all the ordinary things, and their school friends would be coming up to the house and having parties, and it was just great.
“I remember one lovely evening when it was Stella’s birthday, and she brought a bunch of school kids up. And, you know, they’d all ignore me. It happens very quickly. At first they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, he’s like a famous guy,’ and then it’s like [yawns]. I like that. I go in the other room and suddenly I hear this music going on. And one of the kids, his name was Luke, and he’s doing break dancing.”
McCartney shares one of his favourite Beatles stories, telling Swift: “We were in a terrible, big blizzard, going from London to Liverpool, which we always did. We’d be working in London and then drive back in the van, just the four of us with our roadie, who would be driving. And this was a blizzard. You couldn’t see the road. At one point, it slid off and it went down an embankment. So it was ‘Ahhh,’ a bunch of yelling. We ended up at the bottom. It didn’t flip, luckily, but so there we are, and then it’s like, ‘Oh, how are we going to get back up? We’re in a van. It’s snowing, and there’s no way.'”
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“We’re all standing around in a little circle, and thinking, What are we going to do? And one of us said, ‘Well, something will happen.’ And I thought that was just the greatest. I love that, that’s a philosophy. And it did. We sort of went up the bank, we thumbed a lift, we got the lorry driver to take us, and Mal, our roadie, sorted the van and everything. So that was kind of our career. And I suppose that’s like how I ended up being a musician and a songwriter: ‘Something will happen.’ It’s so stupid it’s brilliant. It’s great if you’re ever in that sort of panic attack: ‘Oh, my God,’ or, ‘Ahhh, what am I going to do?'”
Swift shares, “One thing I just find so cool about you is that you really do seem to have the joy of it, still, just no matter what. You seem to have the purest sense of joy of playing an instrument and making music, and that’s just the best, I think,” as McCartney replies: “Well, we’re just so lucky, aren’t we?”