Since it launched last month, the podcast Paul McCartney: A Life in Lyrics has captured the artist reflecting on the stories behind songs he recorded with the Beatles and Wings and as a solo artist. In addition to picking apart the lyrics, he has also discussed some of the interesting arcana that has surrounded his life. On upcoming episodes — which premiere on Wednesdays via iHeartPodcasts and Pushkin Industries and can be accessed here — McCartney delves deep into Beatles lore to find some interesting trivia.
In the episode dedicated to his solo track “Here Today,” which airs Wednesday, McCartney recalls his first meeting with John Lennon. The song, which featured on his 1982 album Tug of War — his first release since Lennon’s death — imagines a dialogue between the two of them. While discussing it with the podcast’s host, Paul Muldoon — who collaborated with McCartney on the book The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present — McCartney recalled how Lennon immediately seemed like his counterpart when they first met.
“The first time I ever saw John Lennon, he got on the bus … he was like this slightly older guy with this sort of rocker hairdo — lots of grease — black jacket, sideburns, sideboards as we call them,” McCartney said. “And I just remember thinking, ‘Well, he’s a cool guy. No idea who he is.’”
“And what would happen is when I would talk to people, they’d sort of say, ‘What are your hobbies? What do you like to do?’” he continued. “And then inevitably, I’d say, ‘Well, I’ve written a couple of songs.’ And they’d go, ‘Oh.’ And we’d pass that pie, and we’d carry on a conversation. But I met John, [and] we were just chatting, and ‘Well, I’ve written a couple of songs.’ And he said, ‘Well, so have I.’ So that was like a full stop. So then it was like, ‘Let me hear what you’ve done and I’ll show you what I’ve done.’ So that started us getting together. I think I was possibly the first person he’d met who’d said that to him. So that was the start of our relationship. We decided to get together, normally at my house, and my dad always left his pipe in the drawer, so we would take tea, fill the pipe with it, and smoke it.”
And in another episode about “Helter Skelter,” which comes out Dec. 13, McCartney talked about some of the Easter eggs the Beatles scattered throughout their discography, including bits that would reveal themselves when listeners spun their records in reverse. Many of them, as he revealed, were quite dirty.
“We put little things in,” McCartney says. “Those things, they were for our own amusement. It was an effort to not be bored. So when we heard the Beach Boys singing, ‘La la la la,’ we thought, ‘Well, that’d be great to … ‘ ‘dit dit dit dit,’ which on the [‘Girl’] session became, ‘tit tit tit tit.’ But we snickered like schoolboys and really were happy.
“And in ‘Penny Lane,’ ‘A four of fish and finger pies,’ a ‘finger pie’ was a rude sexual reference. But we knew that people in Liverpool would get it but no one else would. They would just think that it was like a shepherd’s pie. So I think once people thought, ‘There’s hidden references,’ they went looking for them and saw them in everything — even stuff that really wasn’t there.”
If you’re not the podcast type and would rather listen to McCartney describe naughty things in a more public setting, you’re in luck. McCartney: A Life in Lyrics will be featured as part of iHeartMedia’s “Podcast, Meet Broadcast” initiative, which will air the podcast as a broadcast special to millions of listeners on Sunday mornings through Dec. 24 on select stations around the country.