Today, opening a new mini-series on People of Inspiration, I offer my first choice: Paul McCartney.
He was my childhood hero. I first fell for him when a schoolfriend put a souvenir programme into my hands and I saw a picture of him singing “Yesterday” at the Royal Variety Command Performance, a few years after that performance.
Keeper of Dreams. This is a phrase which sprung into my mind in 2010 while I sat in the audience at the Cardiff Millennium Stadium watching Paul in his Up and Coming Tour.
I watched and listened to him with my husband and teenage daughter and son, and all of us were captivated by his music and charisma.
Paul has reinvented himself a number of times – a gift possessed by all those who persist in a career in the public eye for forty or more years. But to me he is poet, minstrel, storyteller, observer and interpreter of life, all in one.
His fellow Beatles mocked him for the sentimentality of “Yesterday” – yet for millions this song came to define the point where the establishment’s narrow presumptions about the Beatles radically shifted.
The appeal of Paul McCartney isn’t solely in his skill as a showman, and his personal qualities, but in the effect his words and music have on those who hear them. Profound, moving, haunting, cryptic, puzzling, bizarre, touching, quirky, intriguing, beguiling, poignant, playful – every mood and emotion can be found among his songs.
Although he is an international rock star and pop icon he makes his audience feel as if they’re in the pub with him having a singalong. Synthesis of special and ordinary – no-one can doubt that who has visited his mid-terrace childhood home at Forthlin Road in Liverpool – yet international superstar, you’re sharing a seat with him on the bus at Penny Lane, you’re standing with him looking down at Eleanor Rigby’s grave, you’re beside him on the Mull of Kintyre gazing over to Ireland.
How do you feel about Sir Paul? Have you been to his concerts? Have you admired him for years, or are you a new fan? I’d love to have your comments!