As Paul McCartney has just released his latest album New, this old article from 2008 in The Independent is in reference to an interview in Prospect magazine by an old schoolfriend of McCartney’s called Jonathan Power. Perhaps he was able to relax more with someone he knew but this confirms his annoyance at others telling it how it is instead of him – because in the end it was him, not them that was there doing it. See interview with NPR re the track Early days:
Sir Paul McCartney has shaken one of the cornerstones of Beatles mythology by claiming it was he, not John Lennon, who politicised the band after meeting the philosopher and pacifist Bertrand Russell in the mid-1960s.In an interview with the journal “Prospect”, Sir Paul says Russell informed him of America’s escalating role in the Vietnam war, prompting the Beatle to return to Abbey Road studios and tell “the guys, particularly John, about this meeting and saying what a bad war this was”.
It had previously been accepted that Lennon was the group’s political conscience.
Sir Paul’s account differs from those of contemporaries and Beatles historians. Tariq Ali, a leader of the anti-war movement in Britain, told the “Sunday Times”: “This is news to me. We never heard of Paul’s views at the time. It was John Lennon who was concerned about the war. He never mentioned McCartney and I never thought of asking him to join us.” Alan Clayton, the biographer of all four Beatles, said: “I think Sir Paul is rewriting history now that Lennon is gone.”
But Hunter Davies, who wrote the band’s authorised biography, said: “It wasn’t just John. Paul was as interested in meeting these people and hearing their stuff.”
Sadie Gray (For The Independent)