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Julian Lennon On New Album 'Jude,' Grappling With His Namesake & Embracing His Bittersweet Past
Julian Lennon

Photo: Robert Ascroft

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Julian Lennon On New Album 'Jude,' Grappling With His Namesake & Embracing His Bittersweet Past

Julian Lennon has gone up and down in the music industry while forging his identity in nonmusical realms, like photography and documentary filmmaking. What spurred him to publicly accept the primary reason the world knows him, by way of 'Jude'?

GRAMMYs/Sep 9, 2022 - 02:34 pm

During an in-depth conversation with Julian Lennon, this journalist submitted that it's not 1968, but 2022. Meaning, it's important we collectively treat him not as some figment of the distant past, but an artist and human being in the now. To this, Lennon wholeheartedly agreed.

But the fact remains that he called his brand-new album Jude — and even put his childhood self on the cover. That was for a very important reason: recently, he turned a corner in his mind and heart.

"I've reached that point now where I can breathe, and I'm OK with it all. It's all good," Lennon tells GRAMMY.com, looking vibrant and relaxed on Zoom despite weathering, in his words, "promo from hell." He adds that he finally broke his moratorium on his father's ubiquitous peace anthem, and sang "Imagine" in public to benefit Ukraine: "That was just the icing on the cake."

"I'm just making sense of it all," the GRAMMY nominee says. "I'm part and parcel of this steam train. I'm not getting off it, so I might as well enjoy the ride."

That ride just got seriously interesting. On Sept. 9, Lennon released Jude, which acts as both a potent self-examination and an embrace of his past — which, as a Beatles scion, had its share of extremes. Just to recap: Paul McCartney wrote his coaxing, strengthening, galvanizing "Hey Jude" — a song of still-startling emotional clarity — to comfort young Jules after his father's divorce from Cynthia Lennon. ("Hey Jules" was the working title.)

As an adult, Lennon has both weathered a multitude of ups and downs in the music industry — all while expressing himself via paths less trodden. In recent years, he's made eco-centric documentaries like 2020's Kiss the Ground and 2021's Women of the White Buffalo, auctioned off NFTs of Beatle memorabilia and pursued his stark, evocative photography.

And despite swearing off participation in traditional release models on major labels, BMG made him an enticing and holistic offer — one he ultimately accepted. This led to his first offering in 11 years, and on songs like "Save Me," "Freedom" and "Love Never Dies," he established aural and conceptual links to the past while charting a path into his future.

Read on for an in-depth interview with Lennon about how Jude came to be, his complicated relationship with his namesake, and what he thought of Get Back.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Tell me about your psychological state while making your first solo album in more than a decade. Was there any trepidation? Any insecurity?

It's a bit of a weird one, because initially, I wasn't going to do another album. I thought: I'm done with years of working hard emotionally on these albums with nobody really getting to hear anything. So, this is why I ventured off into the land of photography, documentary filmmaking, and children's books, and focusing more on the White Feather Foundation.

Because I didn't know where music was at. I've got to say, the landscape had changed so much over the last 10 years, as well. I thought, "Well, if I do anything again, I'll just do a couple of singles or EPs and just put them out there for the pleasure of doing it."

It's in-built. It's innate. It's unlikely I'll ever stop doing music — because mostly, also, I still work and sing on other people's projects all the time anyway. It's just that not many people get to hear or see that side of things that I've done.

The whole thing about this album is that it comes in two stages. One is Hartwig Masuch, the boss of BMG. Over the course of six months to a year, he met friends of mine — one in America, one in Russia. My name came up, and he said to my friends, "If Jules ever wants to do any music again, tell him to get in touch with me."

Just to interject, I was working with Leica cameras, and I had to go to Berlin for an event. I knew that Hartwig and BMG were based in Berlin. I didn't have his details, and I just thought, "I should check this out — what it's all about."

How did you find Hartwig from there?

I found him on social media, and I just said, "Hi, Jules here. I'm coming to Berlin. Got time for lunch?" I didn't expect a response, but he did. So, I went over and had lunch with him and then met everybody at BMG. I liked him a lot. He made me feel comfortable about the idea of working together with a label, which was an absolute no-no in my book after my previous experiences.

But he was a real lover of music, and you could see that. You could feel that. He was a big fan, too. He'd always thought that I never got my fair share, so to speak. I'd never been supported or sponsored enough to be seen and heard properly. He wanted to make that happen.

The other thing that was key in this was, he said: "Listen, if you do come on board, Jules, we will try our utmost to get all of your albums under one roof with a reversion back to you at the end of it." That alone was something that made me very, very interested.

What was the other factor that inspired you to get back on the horse?

The other part of the story is, my business manager in the UK retired. He'd had boxes and boxes and boxes and stuff in his basement. He sent it over to me, and most of it was financial files. But a couple of boxes were old reel-to-reel tapes and DAT tapes! Every format since the '80s that you could imagine — and there were lots.

I went through all of this stuff. Some of it was demos for [1984's] Valotte and "Too Late for Goodbyes." Songs that I'd forgotten all about. Anyway, my dear, dear friend Justin Clayton and I — I've known him since I was 11 years old; he co-wrote material on the first album; we went on world tours together — he had a great memory.

So, I brought him into this, to go through the tapes and see what was there. And he'd also taken an engineering course, so we were going to dive deep into what was in all these boxes. And the first song that came about was "Every Little Moment." I listened to it and went, "Well, f— me. This sounds great!"

I was worried that the old material was going to be lost, because tapes, if you leave them out,  can really degrade and fall apart. But we were lucky; we did this process called "baking," where they take all the old tapes and digitize everything.

Anyway, the song was in good shape. Real good shape. Literally, we felt that we just needed to upgrade some production elements of it. Obviously, the '80s and '90s were big on drum machines, so I wanted to change that immediately. I got some live players on the track. I only changed the vocal on the chorus, and that's the track.

Same with "Not One Night." The vocals were done in my guest bedroom in my little bungalow in L.A. 30 years ago. Apart from that, all the other songs on the album are broken up into different decades. It's just a collection of songs that never sat quite right on other albums or projects that went before, but were still, in my mind, valuable enough. They deserved a home.

From there, how did things progress with Hartwig and BMG?

Again, Hartwig was the one who said, "Let's do a record." I said, "No, I just want to do singles and EPs. It's going to be easier on me. Less pressure," blah-blah-blah. But as we went through all this stuff, I started playing him stuff. We got to five or six songs, and he flipped. He said, "Jules, this is an album." I said, "No it's not! It's not an album! It's singles and EPs!"

Anyway, by the time we got to seven, eight, nine, I'm going, "Alright, if it's sequenced properly, it could be an album." At the end of the day, I said, "Alright, it does work as an album." BMG loved it, and I said, "Let's go for it, then. Why not?"

I was fortunate enough to get [Mark] "Spike" Stent to mix it. I think he's the one who really brought the glue together and also took it up a notch. I say what he did to the album is he did a Nigel: he turned it up to number 11. He just took all the work that we'd done and gave it that breath of fresh air and punch that everything needed to solidify it and put it all together — and for me to feel comfortable putting it out there as an album.

JulianLennonJude

I appreciate that Jude isn't overproduced; it's actually very sparse in some ways. Can you talk about how you wanted the sound to come across to the listener?

Well, I've got to say, Justin and I started this project in my home studio here. Then, the dreaded Covid hit, and he had to go back to England. Now, I hadn't done any type of engineering for a long, long time. But I was twitching to get back to work, to continue the process of this project.

So, my experiment, if you will, that I did on my own, was the song "Freedom." I fell in love with the whole soundscape of "Freedom." And I just said: This [song] feels, to me, where I hear this album sitting, in many respects. It needs to feel like the old-school journeys we used to go on when we bought a great album back in the day, where the soundscape took you somewhere special.

"Freedom" was the beginning of that journey. That's where it all really stemmed from, for me. I felt like the album needed to have that sense of space. It's quite raw, but there's quite a bit of production on it. But I agree with you: it's not overproduced. It breathes.

JohnJulianLennon

John and Julian Lennon in January 1968. Photo: Keystone Features/Getty Images

I'm going to make an educated guess that, at other parts of your career, it wouldn't have felt as natural to call an album Jude, with your childhood self on the cover. It seems as if now, it feels appropriate to wholeheartedly embrace that part of your life that so many people globally know you for. Can you talk about reaching that point?

[Hearty laugh] You are right! I don't really know where it all came from, except that, with the whole COVID thing, I've been going through a whole face-yourself, look-in-the-mirror, "Who are you? What are you doing? Are you happy or sad? Where are you going with all this s—?" [process]. That was the main focus, and believe it or not, a lot of the songs dealt with that.

Also, because I've been doing NFTs with Beatle memorabilia, and the original lyrics for "Hey Jude" had been a focus at one point. Then, I started thinking about the lyrics and what they represented — the "weight upon my shoulder" and blah-blah-blah.

I thought about that, also, with the Get Back film, which I was blown away by. Sean and I saw that and we just fell in love with Dad again, because we saw a side of him with Paul and the rest of the band where he was a cheeky monkey, to say the least. Cynical, smart, goofy, fun, talented — you name it, throw it in there, he had it all. That reminded me of how I remembered him as a kid — being just that.

Read More: There's Not Much Left To Reveal About The Beatles' End. Let's Use The Get Back Doc As A Manual For Moving Forward.

So, it was the culmination of so many things. And the other thing that really, I guess, was the stamp on the seal, was, initially, my birth name on my passport was John Charles Julian Lennon. When I went to the airport, through security, or this, that, or the other, people wouldn't always recognize me and they'd go, "Oh, John Lennon! Haaa! That's funny! Are you related?" A gazillion comments.

That would always make me feel incredibly anxious, because I'd always been called Julian. These moments at security checkpoints, the passport, "John, John, John" — I was sick of it. So, in 2020, I changed my name. But I still liked the J-C-J-L — the rhythm of my initials — and I respected my parents' decision to give me those names. But I wanted to be me, finally, so I just switched "John" and "Julian." And when I did that, it was like a whole weight came off my shoulders. I felt, "I'm finally Julian! I'm finally Jules, or Jude!"

It all made sense to me that this was just a reflection of the past. It was about how far I'd come, or I'd grown, and how I feel, quite possibly, now, more balanced, more focused, more at peace, and with purpose than I'd ever been in my life before. It just seemed like the right thing, and the right time. Getting to a point where I can just say, "Ask me anything! I don't care anymore!"

Whether your answer falls under the umbrella of the Beatles or your old man, which songwriters are your lodestars — the ultimate combiners of words and melodies?

That's a tough one, because it's so varied, and music leans in so many directions, depending on what genre they are, as well. Keith Jarrett, musically, speaks to me massively. Steely Dan

Such a Keith Jarrett fan.

The Köln Concert — I'm done.

Zero 7's Simple Things was a great album — I would take that on a desert island as well. Billy Joel… listen. The reason I kind of worked with Phil Ramone was because of Billy Joel's earlier work. I love bands like America. There's so much great stuff out there. New stuff, not so much. I'm a fan of Foo Fighters. I like what Dave does, lyrically and musically. It's really, really strong — excellent stuff.

The list goes on. It's impossible! There's so much great stuff out there!

What are you working on, musically or extramusically? What are your next steps?

Well, I'm doing promo from hell for the next few months. I have been doing this [gestures to Zoom] for just weeks now! I'm going insane! I'm going to lose my mind! But I'm hanging in there, and I've got a break coming up, which I'm thankful for.

But, September and onward: performing, promo, TV shows and stuff like that. Getting up there and trying to sing a few songs. Aside from that, more photography work. There are more collections and projects coming out that I'm involved with.

Documentary-wise, the last one was Kiss the Ground on Netflix, which was — without being modest — one of the best docs out there, because it actually turned into a platform for people honoring and trying to change the world right now. White Feather Films, I just started, so that's a whole other [deal] — like I don't have enough work.

And then, the White Feather Foundation has a lot of ongoing projects that we keep following through with. And the list goes on! Probably more books of some sort are coming up. We'll see how that goes. When I have time, by the way! When I have time! I'd like a break, that's what I'd like! Maybe I'll get one by Christmas, if I behave.

PaulMcCartneyJulianLennon

Paul McCartney and Julian Lennon in 1967. Photo: Central Press/Getty Images

I think the most natural endpoint for the interview is to the last song on the album, "Gaia." Can you tell me about that tune, and collaborating with Paul Buchanan and Elissa Lauper?

Of course. Listen: how that came around is, I saw this band called Snarky Puppy.

Big fan!

They're amazing! Amazing! Anyway, I befriended a couple of the guys — Michael League and Bill Laurance. And Bill came up to my place and we started working on some tracks that will end up on something down the road; we never ended up quite finishing them.

But while he was there, I was commenting on how much I loved his solo album, which was called Cables. There was one song on there — the title track — that I mentioned to him. I said, "I hear this differently!" And when I explained it to him, he didn't get it, which I thought was weird for a predominantly jazz guy.

I said, "Listen, just play on the little white upright, and I'll play and sing what's on my mind." He played it and went, "Oh, I get it!" I said, "Just, do me a favor before you leave. Put it down on tape and I can fiddle with it later."

I kept hearing a French voice in my head. A French woman's voice from the '30s, '40s or '50s. Very broken up, like on an old radio or TV. I was scrolling through social media, I heard this voice and went, "F— me! That's her! That is her!" I wrote to her and found out she lived 20 minutes away. What! Twenty minutes away!

So, I sent her the song idea. She fell in love with it. I told her what I was looking for, and she wrote some lyrics. The idea was that it's a song between Mother Earth and humanity, disguised as a love song. She literally did the thing where she took her iPhone and did the spoken word in front of a bunch of speakers, listening to the music. I heard it back and said, "That's it!" So, I edited it into the song.

What about Paul Buchanan?

Paul Buchanan, I had wanted him to write the bridge, but he wasn't in that headspace. So I said, "Just sing it for me!" He said, "Jules, there are no studios up here around Glasgow. Everything's closed." I said, "Listen: You got an iPhone?" "Yes." "You got headphones?" "Yes," "Sing it six times for me into your iPhone and send it to me."

I edited his six pieces together and made it sound like it was a real mic. Then, Spike made it even better. Then, Elissa, the girl, said, "Do you mind if I write some other words?" I said, "Go ahead!" So, we worked on it together and she sent me her lyrics. I was blown away, because I never, in a million years, would have come up with her verse. It was typically French — very, very French.

The song has a bit of a unique arrangement. It does its own thing; I guided it a little bit. And I just thought it was the perfect end to the album — especially after "Stay." I didn't want to finish the album with "Stay," and "Gaia" seemed to be the perfect exit for this particular album.

I've been plagued by the number 11 for a couple of years. So, I said, "Right, well, I'm going to have 11 songs on the album. What are you going to do? Whether you believe in that or not, I figured, "Why not?"

John Lennon, Sting, Alicia Keys: 7 Songs For Starting Over In 2018

John Lennon

Photo: Ron Howard/Redferns

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John Lennon, Sting, Alicia Keys: 7 Songs For Starting Over In 2018

With hits from Leonard Cohen, the Byrds, Nina Simone, and more, find the motivation for a brand-new you this New Year

GRAMMYs/Jan 4, 2018 - 11:12 pm

Each New Year offers the opportunity for a fresh new start, whether you're looking to wash away the sins of the previous year or reinvent a better future that follows your ultimate dreams. Starting over isn't an easy task, but we have one recommendation that will help motivate you: music.

Don't be a fuddy duddy. Kick-start 2018 with this playlist of seven songs all about starting over, including hits from John Lennon, the Byrds, Sting, and Alicia Keys, among others.

1. The Byrds, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"

Starting with its lyrics, "To everything (turn, turn, turn)/There is a season," this GRAMMY Hall Of Fame classic is a great reminder that everything is always changing anyway, so now is as good a time as any to give something new a chance. The composition was written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s, but the lyrics come almost verbatim from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. The song didn't hit it big until the Byrds got their turn at it in 1965. Reportedly, it took Roger McGuinn & Co. 78 takes to perfect their folk-rock arrangement.

2. Leonard Cohen, "Anthem"

GRAMMY winner Leonard Cohen had a knack for poetry powerful enough to move mountains, and his "Anthem" is one such gem. This 1992 tune about embracing imperfection and marching forward in the face of adversity contains one of Cohen's most-quoted lines: "Ring the bells that still can ring/Forget your perfect offering/There is a crack, a crack in everything/That's how the light gets in." And we'll leave you with one final line from the master that encapsulates starting over: "The birds they sing, at the break of day/Start again, I heard them say/Don't dwell on what has passed away/Or what is yet to be."

3. Gil Scott-Heron, "I'm New Here"

Taken from his 2010 album of the same name, "I'm New Here" came near the end of Gil Scott-Heron's storied life. The album saw Scott-Heron, according to Drowned In Sound's Robert Ferguson, "pick over the bones of his life, acknowledging the hard times and his own mistakes, but standing proud of all they have led him to become." Embodying this sentiment accompanied only by an acoustic guitar, Scott-Heron's bluesy, semi-spoken "I'm New Here" brings out the poignancy of change. Its key lyric, "No matter how far wrong you've gone/You can always turn around," is something to keep in mind year-round, let alone January.

4. Alicia Keys, "Brand New Me"

Alicia Keys went full bore on the empowering messages of her 2012 album, Girl On Fire —  the Best R&B Album winner at the 56th GRAMMY Awards — including the track, "Brand New Me." Co-written with singer/songwriter Emeli Sandé, the soft pop/R&B ballad describes growing as a person and becoming a brand-new version of yourself. "Brand new me is about the journey it takes to get to a place where you are proud to be a new you," Keys wrote on her website at the time of the song's release.

5. John Lennon, "(Just Like) Starting Over"

A quintessential start-anew song, former Beatle John Lennon included "(Just Like) Starting Over" on his GRAMMY-winning 1980 album, Double Fantasy. "(Just Like) Starting Over" was the album's first single because Lennon felt it best represented his return following a five-year hiatus from music. It's also a love song, but the theme of starting over has a universal resonance "It's time to spread our wings and fly/Don't let another day go by my love/It'll be just like starting over." It became Lennon's second chart-topping single in the U.S., reaching No. 1 after his death on Dec. 8, 1980.

6. Nina Simone, "Feeling Good"

"It's a new dawn/It's a new day/It's a new life for me/I'm feelin' good." Could you ask for better lyrics for embarking on a new journey? Nina Simone recorded her version of "Feeling Good," which was originally written for the musical "The Roar Of The Greasepaint — The Smell Of The Crowd," on her 1965 album I Put A Spell On You. While artists such as Michael Bublé, John Coltrane, George Michael, and Muse subsequently covered it, no alternative is quite as powerful — or soulful — as Simone's.

7. Sting, "Brand New Day"

Sting's "Brand New Day" has a lesson for inspiring motivation to start the New Year with fresh eyes: "Turn the clock to zero, buddy/Don't wanna be no fuddy-duddy/We started up a brand new day." The bright, catchy pop tune and its namesake 1999 album resonated with fans, landing it at No. 9 on the Billboard 200. The track (and album) earned Sting GRAMMYs — Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Best Pop Album — at the 42nd GRAMMY Awards.

What's Your New Year's Music Resolution?

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We Will, We Will Shock You

A collection of shocking album covers that might make you look twice (or look away)

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

As the baby boomer-fueled market moved from singles to albums in the '60s and '70s, artists began using LP covers as a means to create bold visual statements, occasionally using nudity, sexual imagery or striking graphics. Sometimes the purpose was to create art for the ages, while other times it was to push boundaries. Either way, the most controversial covers were often banned or altered by record companies for fear of public or retail outrage. One of the most famous cases of censorship was one of the first — the Beatles' "butcher" cover for 1966's Yesterday And Today, which featured a grinning Fab Four covered in raw meat and plastic baby doll parts. (The cover was reportedly an anti-Vietnam war commentary by the group.) Capitol Records issued a new cover with a less-shocking photo after the original caused an uproar. In the '70s and '80s, German rock band the Scorpions made a series of albums with disturbing sexual imagery, including 1976's notorious (and quickly banned) Virgin Killer featuring a nude young girl. The cover was replaced by a conventional band portrait.

While shocking album covers do still exist, they have occurred with less frequency since the '90s as CDs, which de-emphasized cover art, replaced LPs and pop culture grew more permissive. Now, as album sales shift from physical to digital, the age of shock album covers is starting to seem like a bygone era. Here are a few other album covers that shocked us, and might shock you too.

Moby Grape
Moby Grape, 1967
Shocking fact: Drummer Don Stevenson's (center) middle finger was airbrushed out on later pressings.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Electric Ladyland, 1968
Shocking fact: The British release featured a bevy of naked women on the cover.

John Lennon & Yoko Ono
Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins, 1968
Shocking fact: Distributors covered the explicit content — nude front and back portraits of Lennon and Ono — in brown paper. Even today, full frontal nudity remains objectionable for many.

The Rolling Stones
Beggars Banquet, 1968
Shocking fact: The band's U.S. and UK labels originally rejected the cover featuring a toilet and graffiti-covered bathroom wall. Today, the cover seems remarkably tame.

Blind Faith
Blind Faith, 1969
Shocking fact: The original cover featured a young nude girl holding a small plane. The replacement cover featured a shot of the band.

David Bowie
Diamond Dogs, 1974
Shocking fact: The cover illustration of Bowie as a (noticeably male) dog had the offending organs edited out.

Ohio Players
Honey, 1975
Shocking fact: The sexually suggestive cover features Playboy Playmate Ester Cordet swallowing honey from a spoon.

Jane's Addiction
Nothing's Shocking, 1988
Shocking fact: An ironic twist to the list. This artsy cover depicts a realistic sculpture, created by frontman Perry Farrell, featuring nude conjoined twins with hair afire.

Millie Jackson
Back To The S*!, 1989
Shocking fact: The take-no-prisoners soul singer poses on a toilet seat with one shoe off while grimacing. Often called the worst album cover ever.

The Black Crowes
Amorica, 1994
Shocking fact: Original cover featured an American flag-printed G-string showing pubic hair.
 

 

Paul McCartney At Frank Erwin Center
Paul McCartney performs at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas

Photo: Rick Kern/Getty Images

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Paul McCartney At Frank Erwin Center

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.

By Lynne Margolis
Austin, Texas

Though Paul McCartney may be 70 in chronological years, we need a new unit of measurement to describe the McCartneys, Mick Jaggers, John Fogertys, and Bruce Springsteens of the world. We should call it rock and roll years, because rock is certainly what's keeping these GRAMMY winners (and women such as Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson) vital and exciting to watch well into their so-called "golden years."

On May 22 at Austin's Frank Erwin Center, McCartney reaffirmed this truth: Rock and roll keeps you young. In two hours and 45 minutes, he and his band delivered 36 hits and favorites from his Beatles, Wings and solo eras (38 if we count the Abbey Road medley of "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight" and "The End"; he also slipped in a bit of Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady."

With his usual good humor, McCartney told stories, dropped a few clever punch lines and even gave the occasional hip shake and soft-shoe shuffle — though he wore Cuban-heeled Beatle boots below his black jeans and cropped pink jacket. When he removed the jacket and rolled up his shirt sleeves, he joked, "That's the big wardrobe change of the evening."

But the sold-out audience of more than 12,000 didn't come to see fancy outfits and elaborate sets; they came to hear the biggest living icon in pop music history, and perhaps revisit fond moments of their own histories through the musical touchstones he created. The savvy McCartney, in his first-ever performance in Austin, didn't disappoint.

For the most part, he faithfully reproduced beloved versions of hits such as "Eight Days A Week," "Paperback Writer," "Lady Madonna," "Another Day," "Band On The Run," and "Live And Let Die," which brought one big special effects moment during the show — jets of fire and showers of sparks so intense the heat could be felt 15 rows back on the floor.

Nostalgic Beatles montages, artful geometrics and audience shots popped up on massive screens behind him as he switched between various guitars, his Hofner bass and two pianos. He performed several Beatles songs he'd never done live, including "All Together Now," "Lovely Rita," "Your Mother Should Know," and "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!"

Only "My Valentine" was performed from his 2012 GRAMMY-winning album Kisses On The Bottom. But with a catalog that includes some of the most beautiful songs ever written, he knew what mattered: gems such as "And I Love Her," "Blackbird," "All My Loving," and "Maybe I'm Amazed," the latter written for his late wife, Linda. Flubbing the opening, McCartney joked, "It proves we're live!" 

Perhaps the most touching moments were his homages to fellow Beatles — the ukulele-plucked "Something" (written by George Harrison) and a song he wrote for John Lennon, "Here Today." Noting he wished he had conveyed its sentiment to Lennon before it was too late, he added afterward, "The next time you want to say something to someone, just say it." He was answered by a shout of, "I love you, Paul!"

Even if he'd only performed the songs delivered in his second encore — a still-astonishingly beautiful "Yesterday," a rocking "Helter Skelter" and the timeless Abbey Road medley — he still would have earned that love.

To catch Paul McCartney in a city near you, click here for tour dates.

Set List:

"Eight Days A Week"
"Junior's Farm"
"All My Loving"
"Listen To What The Man Said"
"Let Me Roll It"/"Foxy Lady" (Jimi Hendrix cover)
"Paperback Writer"
"My Valentine"
"Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five"
"The Long And Winding Road"
"Maybe I'm Amazed"
"I've Just Seen A Face"
"We Can Work It Out"
"Another Day"
"And I Love Her"
"Blackbird"
"Here Today"
"Your Mother Should Know"
"Lady Madonna"
"All Together Now"
"Lovely Rita"
"Mrs. Vanderbilt"
"Eleanor Rigby"
"Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!"
"Something"
"Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da"
"Band On The Run"
"Back In The U.S.S.R."
"Let It Be"
"Live And Let Die"
"Hey Jude"
"Day Tripper"
"Hi, Hi, Hi"
"Get Back"
"Yesterday"
"Helter Skelter"
"Golden Slumbers"/"Carry That Weight"/"The End" 

(Austin-based journalist Lynne Margolis currently contributes to American Songwriter, NPR-affiliate KUTX-FM's "Texas Music Matters," regional and local magazines, including Lone Star Music and Austin Monthly, and newspapers nationwide. She has previously contributed to the Christian Science Monitor (for which she was the "go-to" writer for Beatles stories), Rollingstone.com and Paste magazine. A contributing editor to the encyclopedia, The Ties That Bind: Bruce Springsteen From A To E To Z, she also writes bios for new and established artists.) 

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Jackson Tops Dead Earners List

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

Jackson Tops Dead Earners List
GRAMMY winner and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Michael Jackson topped Forbes' annual list of top-earning dead celebrities with $275 million, earning more than the combined total of the other 12 celebrities on the list. Elvis Presley ranked second with $60 million, John Lennon placed fifth with $17 million and Jimi Hendrix tied for 11th place with $6 million. Forbes compiled the list based on gross earnings between October 2009 and October 2010. (10/26)

UK Arts Council Announces Budget Cut Plans
Following a previous report, Arts Council England has revealed plans to implement the 30 percent cut to the UK's arts funding budget. The cuts will include a 7 percent cash cut for UK arts organizations in 2011–2012, a 15 percent cut for the regular funding of arts organizations by 2014–2015 and a 50 percent reduction to the council's operating costs. (10/26)

GRAMMY Winners To Perform At World Series
GRAMMY winners Kelly Clarkson, Lady Antebellum and John Legend are scheduled to perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" during Major League Baseball's 2010 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers. Legend and Lady Antebellum will perform at games one and two in San Francisco on Oct. 27 and Oct. 28, respectively, and Clarkson will perform at game three on Oct. 30 in Arlington, Texas. (10/26)