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Paul McCartney asked Vladimir Putin to release Greenpeace prisoners by quoting him Beatles lyrics

Paul McCartney once attempted to convince Vladimir Putin to release a group of Greenpeace campaigners by quoting him some Beatles lyrics.

As revealed in an upcoming BBC documentary series, On Thin Ice: Putin V Greenpeace, McCartney was moved by the plight of a group of climate activists after they were seized in Russia during a protest and thrown in jail in 2013.

The group were aiming to film an oil rush in Arctic Russian waters, but 28 of them were arrested on their ship the Arctic Sunrise and charged under piracy and hooliganism charges.

McCartney, who famously played in Moscow’s Red Square in 2003, wrote a personal letter to the Russian president, imploring him to release the campaigners.

“Forty-five years ago I wrote a song about Russia for The White Album [‘Back In The U.S.S.R.’], back when it wasn’t fashionable for English people to say nice things about your country,” he wrote.

“That song had one of my favourite Beatles lines in it: ‘Been away so long I hardly knew the place, gee it’s good to be back home.’”

“Could you make that come true for the Greenpeace prisoners?”

The prisoners served a three month sentence before being released.

A slightly less sweetly-worded missive from the former Beatle has recently been revealed to the world by Mark Ronson.

The acclaimed producer has been on a public campaign to get the band Foreigner inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2024, putting together a compilation of video appeals from other major industry figures such as Dave Grohl and Slash.

McCartney was another that Ronson managed to get on board, although the video message he received featured Macca sitting in his car, saying ‘Foreigner not in the Hall of Fame? What the fuck?”, before promptly ending the recording.

Last month, a series of four major feature films was announced by Sony Pictures Entertainment, with each to tell the perspective of one member of The Beatles’ journey.

Sam Mendes (1917Skyfall) is to direct all four films, which will be the first time that the official estates of the Fab Four will grant full life story and music rights for a scripted film.

The films are all scheduled for a 2027 release, with Sony describing “the dating cadence of the films” as “innovative and groundbreaking”.

The news follows on from last year’s ‘Now And Then’, a new Beatles track assembled from a John Lennon demo and completed by new performances from McCartney, Ringo Starr and archive guitar parts from George Harrison.

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