The Most Influential Music Figure In Paul McCartney’s Career Revealed
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Together with John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, the most enduring songwriter of The Beatles, played a central role in reshaping the landscape of popular music almost single-handedly during the latter half of the 20th century.
Although their initial endeavors may have been overshadowed by subsequent, more avant-garde and groundbreaking releases, The Beatles’ initial five albums functioned as a crucial link between their musical inspirations from the 1950s and the thrilling journey that lay ahead.
In a Classic Rock interview from 2007, McCartney highlighted the extensive range of his early musical influences. He explained, “I listened a lot to Lead Belly, to all of those guys.”
“But I never got stuck in one groove. One day, it would be, ‘Oh wow, Chuck Berry!’ and the next, ‘Oh wow, Scotty Moore!’” the former Beatle shared.
McCartney’s love for Little Richard
The former member of The Beatles confessed to adopting elements he admired from the works of his early musical influences.
Paul went on, “I was a bit of a magpie, really, picking up various styles and gradually assimilating them. It’s probably a bit of the same in my vocal thing, you know. I loved Elvis and sang some songs trying to be like him. But then I also had my Little Richard stuff.”
Among all the rock pioneers from the 1950s and blues musicians at the roots of McCartney’s adolescent record collection, none stood out more prominently than Little Richard.
This iconic performer injected energy into the stage, standing behind the piano and delivering high-octane hits, including “Tutti Frutti”, “Long Tall Sally”, “Good Golly, Miss Molly”, and “Lucille”.
“I taught Paul everything he knows”
After Richard’s passing in 2020, McCartney took to social media to express his homage.
In a tweet, McCartney wrote, “Little Richard came screaming into my life when I was a teenager. I owe a lot of what I do to Little Richard and his style, and he knew it. He would say, ‘I taught Paul everything he knows’. I had to admit he was right.”
McCartney then reminisced about the first occasion The Beatles shared the stage with their idol in 1962. The bassist recalled that the Beatles performed with Little Richard in Hamburg during the band’s early days.
“He would let us hang out in his dressing room, and we were witness to his pre-show rituals, with his head under a towel over a bowl of steaming hot water, he would suddenly lift his head up to the mirror and say, ‘I can’t help it cos I’m so beautiful.’ And he was,” McCartney added.
“A great man with a lovely sense of humour”
“A great man with a lovely sense of humour and someone who will be missed by the rock and roll community and many more,” McCartney went on.
The former Beatle also expressed gratitude, acknowledging, “I thank him for all he taught me and the kindness he showed by letting me be his friend.”
For a glimpse into the musical camaraderie that Little Richard fostered, witness a memorable moment when McCartney and Pete Townshend of The Who collaborated on a rendition of ‘Lucille’ in 1981.
Watch the performance below to see the enduring impact of Little Richard’s influence on these iconic musicians: