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Paul McCartney likens compiling new book ‘The Lyrics’ to “a therapy session”

"It was a nice process, actually. Better than being with a psychiatrist!"

By Will Richards

Paul McCartney standing in a garden
Paul McCartney. Credit: Mary McCartney.

Paul McCartney has discussed how compiling his new book, ‘The Lyrics‘, helped him to find new meanings in some of his oldest songs, saying it was like “a therapy session”.

Released today (November 2), the new book covers the Beatles legend’s life “through the prism of 154 songs from all stages of his career”.

As part of the celebrations for the release of the book, McCartney answered questions from fans on his official website.

One fan asked the legend about any “lyrics or memories that came back to you and reminded you of a time you’d forgotten”.

“It wasn’t really a forgotten memory, but revisiting the first song I ever wrote, ‘I Lost My Little Girl’, was interesting,” he responded.

“It kind of turned into a therapy session,” he explained of the process of bringing the book together, “because I thought I was happily writing a little pop song when I was 14, but if you look at the timing of it I had just lost my mother.”

Paul McCartney poses live
Paul McCartney (Picture: AP)

Other songs that ‘The Lyrics’ forced him to confront the meanings behind included the hit ‘Yesterday’, of which McCartney told the fan: “I’ve always said ‘Let It Be’ was written after dreaming of my mum, but some of the lyrics from ‘Yesterday’ might have been to do with my mum as well.”

“Then there were surprising memories that would come out,” he expanded, “like when I got into talking about John and was reminded of the hitchhiking trips we’d taken as kids, and with George.

“I think the whole process of analysing the songs took me to stuff that I hadn’t thought of recently, not because I didn’t want to, but because there was never a clue, never a prompt, never a trigger to think about those things.”

Reflecting on the whole process of bringing the book together, McCartney said it became about “more than just the songs: it became the memories that the songs evoked”.

Calling it “a nice process, actually,” he added: “Better than being with a psychiatrist!”

‘The’ Lyrics has been shortlisted for the Waterstones Book Of The Year award. It’s among 13 titles nominated for the annual award, with the winner due to be announced on December 21.

At the weekend (October 31), McCartney joined Foo Fighters on stage to perform ‘Get Back’ after inducting Dave Grohl and co. into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame for this year’s ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio.