Still Buzzing on LA

Posted on in Mercury Records Paul Mccartney

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"We're all still buzzing on the few days we spent in Los Angeles. We packed so much in and all of it was good quality stuff.

The day after I arrived in LA, I began rehearsals, with my band, for our appearances later in the week. Then, after a short drive across town, I went into rehearsals at the famous Capitol Recording Studios, with Diana Krall and her band, for the shows that were coming up later that week. It was great to get back with my guys and, as usual, we kicked around a lot of songs for the fun of it and eventually concentrated on the songs we knew that we were due to be performing. At that time, we had Magical Mystery Tour and Junior's Farm selected for the MusiCares show, which is an event that happens each year where somebody (it was me this year!) is designated MusiCares Person of the Year. We also concentrated on 1985 and Golden Slumbers which we would close the show with.

Later in the afternoon, over at Capitol A Studio, Tommy Lipuma and I selected a programme of songs that would be our set list for the iTunes streaming event, where we would play live in the studio before an invited audience and cameras would relay the show around the world via the internet.

At the same time as all this, I was able to enjoy some good leisure time with the Mrs. On Thursday afternoon I was also being honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which was particularly nice because the other three Beatles already had theirs there. Mine was next to them and would complete the foursome. Interestingly enough, the four of us are right next to Buddy Holly, who was a great influence on us when we started the band.

On hand to introduce me was the ever-great Neil Young, who followed the introductions made by Hollywood council members with his own inimitable intro. Neil was due to play at the MusiCares event. The format of the show has special guest artists performing the songs of the Person of the Year in their own style and I had heard that Neil was due to do All My Loving.

I was intrigued to hear his arrangement of that song but, at the Walk of Fame do, he told me that they had tried it but thought it was too hard and, as it didn't sound good, they decided to do I Saw Her Standing There instead. During conversation, I happened to mention to him a fond memory of mine, which was that the original lyrics had been "She was just 17, Never been a beauty queen", which John and I winced at and changed to "You know what I mean", and we laughed about this. Neil's intro was great and the crowd gave great feedback during the whole ceremony.

After that, we went into Capitol Studios and got ready for the iTunes stream. During the recording of Kisses On The Bottom, it had been such fun working with great musicians like Diana and her band and now, for this event, we were being joined by my friend, Joe Walsh, who had agreed to play Eric Clapton's part on My Valentine and Get Yourself Another Fool because Eric was on holiday with his family at the time, and couldn't do it.

The event was really exciting, if a little nerve-wracking, but the atmosphere in the studio was super cool and all of us really enjoyed ourselves, as those of you who saw the streaming may have picked up! The show was also being made into a longer programme using interviews and B-roll footage and different camera angles so I'm looking forward to seeing that.

The next night was Friday and the night of the MusiCares Person of the Year event. We were all excited about being at rehearsals and seeing the other acts rehearse their own contributions. Cirque de Soleil did an amazing opening segment and, after rehearsing our own songs, we decided it would be a good idea to extend the end of Golden Slumbers to include Joe Walsh. This led to the thought that Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, who was also on the show, may like to join in. So now there was me, Rusty, Brian, Joe and Dave lined up for the end guitar jam. The show was fantastic, with a number of great acts appearing, and I was quite overwhelmed hearing my songs done by these great artists and, at the same time, being honoured by this great charity, MusiCares. The artists include Foo Fighters, Tony Bennett, Coldplay, Norah Jones, James Taylor, Diana Krall, Duane Eddie, Alison Krauss (whose version of No More Lonely Nights blew our minds) and Neil Young (as mentioned before, Neil played I Saw Her Standing There but, after our brief conversation about the song, he decided, cheekily, to go back to the old original lyrics that John and I altered so, for probably the only time ever, the song began, "She was just 17, Never been a beauty queen!")

Next day we had a day off so, even though we were packing the work in, there was a chance to catch our breath before The Grammy's. All we had to do on the Saturday was a quick rehearsal for the following day at the Staples Center, where the show would take place. Again, it was a great show to be on. This year had a particularly good line up of performers, some of whom we would get a chance to watch rehearsing. They included Adele, Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, Foo Fighters, Glen Campbell, Coldplay, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and The Beach Boys!

I was due to do My Valentine with Diana, and her band, and Joe on lead guitar and then we were scheduled to close the show and I had suggested 1985 as a closer but, at rehearsals that evening, Abe and my Manager, Scott, had been talking about things and, when Abe realised that we were closing the whole show, he put forward the suggestion that it would be better to have a number like Golden Slumbers to close with. Nancy mentioned this later in the car and I immediately rang everyone and said this was a much better idea than mine and we should go ahead with it. The producer, Ken Erhlich, had been too polite to tell me he didn't think 1985 would be the ideal closing song so, when he heard we were changing it to Golden Slumbers and the guitar jam, he was overjoyed.

As Bruce Springsteen was opening the Grammy's this year, with his band, it seemed like a good idea to ask him if he would like to be part of the guitar jam which we would close the whole show with. Even though it came at such short notice, Bruce agreed to do it so we now had me, Rusty, Brian, Joe, Dave and Bruce in our heroic line-up.

The show went great and had higher ratings than ever before which everyone was pleased about and we had a great night out doing first My Valentine and then Golden Slumbers to close the show and, in between, getting a chance to watch many of the performances by the many great artists on the bill. So now you see why we're still buzzing with memories of our trip to LA (and I didn't even get to mention the aftershow party!)"