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‘You can’t do this’ Paul McCartney’s banned song he was told to ‘reconsider’ | Music | Entertainment

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This week’s podcast episode of McCartney: A Life in Lyrics looks back at The Beatles legend’s struggle with his own protest songs.

Paul McCartney said in a new interview: “I realised this actually that sometimes I really want to sit down and write a song that sums up my dismay and anger at the political situation that I read about every bloody morning you know.

“I read about politicians saying this and this and this and this and it’s like what a twerp. This guy is a complete idiot. So I’ll sit down, okay ‘You are an idiot’, but I can’t do it. It doesn’t really work.

“I wrote a song called Angry. That was an attempt at that but it’s not angry. You know, it seems to be something I can feel in myself. I can’t easily translate that into a song. Yeah, so that’s not one of my genres.”

But there was another track the music star wrote that ended up being banned from broadcast in the UK by the BBC, other British radio stations and the majority of those in the US.

In response to the events of Bloody Sunday in 1972, when British troops in Northern Ireland shot 26 unarmed protestors, McCartney wrote his debut single for Wings with his wife Linda called Give Ireland Back to the Irish.

The 81-year-old Beatle recalled: “I sent it over EMI and I immediately got a phone call from Sir Joseph Lockwood who was the head of EMI. But Sir Joseph, he said, ‘Paul, you can’t do this…the Irish situation.’

“I said, ‘The thing is I’m not really a protest songwriter, but this is affecting me deeply and I feel like I’ve got to say something.’

“He goes, ‘Please… reconsider…’ [But I replied], ‘I’ve got to make a statement, this thing was a big enough event in my history, and my country’s history to take some kind of a stand.”

Having not released an explicitly political song before, McCartney was slammed by the British press for a seemingly pro-IRA stance on Northern Ireland.

Despite largely not being broadcast in the UK and US, the single peaked at No 16 in the UK Singles Charts and No 21 in the US Billboard Hot 100. It also topped the Irish Singles Chart for a week in March 1972.

McCartney: A Life in Lyrics is an iHeartPodcast and can be listened to here.



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