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Why Paul McCartney Was ‘Guarded’ About Telling the Truth About The Beatles



Paul McCartney has never hesitated to give fans insights into The Beatles. As one of the last living Beatles, Macca has become a musician/Fab Four historian. Despite freely giving unique insights into the group, Paul remained guarded about telling the truth about The Beatles in his book The Lyrics even decades after the band broke up, and it makes sense.

Paul McCartney said he was ‘guarded’ when talking about The Beatles in his book

Paul has been pretty open and revealing about his time in The Beatles in the decades since the band broke up. He never left the media wanting for a soundbite. That was part of his appetite for approval that one band insider criticized him for. 

The Beatles bassist wrote several books about or related to the band: The Beatles Anthology, Blackbird Singing: Poems and Lyrics, 1964: Eyes of the Storm, and The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, which came out in 2021. The group’s history is well documented, but even Paul felt he had to be guarded with the truth about The Beatles in The Lyrics.

During a live event hosted by the Scottish Sun (highlights via YouTube), host Samira Ahmed asked if it was hard deciding how frank to be about the downsides of The Beatles. That’s when Paul said he protected some of the truth.

“You wanna just tell the truth, but you’ve got to be guarded, to some extent. You know, all the people that come out with the truth normally get knocked down.”

Paul McCartney

One could say that Paul explaining why he guarded the truth was itself an honest statement. He was being honest about not telling the whole truth. We can understand Paul’s reservations.


For one, the true Beatles story (or at least the one from his point of view) is Paul’s to tell. Ringo Starr is the other person who can lay claim to revealing the band’s inner workings. Those two were on the road, in hotel rooms, and in the studio with the band. If they want to hold back the truth, so be it.

Also, he has two deceased bandmates to consider. Telling the truth doesn’t impact only Paul but also John Lennon and George Harrison. They aren’t around to tell their side of the story. 

Perhaps more importantly, Paul letting his guard down and telling the complete truth about The Beatles could alter their legacy. Maybe more than any other classic rock band, the Fab Four almost belong to the fans. They’re the ones creating tribute bands, attending festivals celebrating the group, and keeping the band alive and relevant for new generations of music fans. Shedding light on the facts could lessen the band’s mystique, which Paul worked decades to create. Why threaten that by revealing one kernel of truth?

Paul has always been truthful and frank about his songs

Paul said he was guarded with the truth about The Beatles in The Lyrics, which was his right. He’s been very frank about his own songs, though.

Macca said he hated the Wings song “Bip Bop” because of the awful lyrics. The bassist borrowed lyrical phrases from other artists (even Shakespeare) and found inspiration for tunes from newspapers and magazines. He never hesitated to admit when he wrote a dud. Case in point — he called “Let Me Roll It” a stammering love song but put it on Band on the Run anyway.

He’s been pretty revealing about the band, but Paul McCartney said he’s still guarded about revealing the whole truth about The Beatles. Protecting the full story is his right, and doing so protects the legacy of the Fab Four and his dead bandmates. At the very least, Paul has been pretty open and frank about his songs.


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Source: Cheat Sheet

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