Oh dear, I missed two real gems today. For the first time I sat through what I thought was the complete Superbowl telecast — and yet I missed some of the best moments, it seems. Paul McCartney came on at half-time. I saw him sitting at the piano singing Live and Let Die. Why in the world isn’t he singing a Beatles song, I wondered. Live and Let Die is turgid bombast — everything a Beatles song isn’t. But then he obliged with Hey Jude. Now that was good.
Hey Jude, don’t make it bad.
Take a sad song and make it better.
Remember to let her into your heart,
Then you can start to make it better.
It was uncanny how he sounded just like when he recorded that song with John and George and Ringo. The man has aged, but the voice hasn’t. I loved every moment when he sang that song. He waved to the crowd and urged them to sing along, and they happily responded with a surging chorus that warmed my heart.
What a pity then that I did not catch the complete set. For I later found out he had opened the set with two Beatles classics: Drive My Car, and Get Back. Hey Jude is great, but those two songs are real rock’n'roll. And he performed them with a guitar, not a piano. How I wish I had seen the old man rock.
John Lennon will always be my favourite Beatle. And I have a soft spot for George Harrison, the gentle Beatle. He was the one who loved India. But McCartney was the most focused, most professional Beatle. His solo career has not been all that great. Unlike Lennon and Harrison, he turned out to be a middle-of-the-roader. But while his post-Beatles compositions have been mild and harmless pap, he still carries a torch for old rock’n’ roll standards, and he sings them pretty good. The man could always carry a tune.