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Straight Dope From the Big Beatle

Books: Paul McCartney talks about marijuana, London escapades and John Lennon--who, he says, played a secondary role in the songwriting partnership.

September 15, 1997|From Reuters

LONDON — Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney says that singer Bob Dylan introduced him to marijuana in the 1960s and that he then did the same for Rolling Stone Mick Jagger.

McCartney also claims to have played the dominant role in his songwriting partnership with the late John Lennon, according to a new authorized biography.

The book by Barry Miles, serialized in the Sunday edition of the newspaper the Observer, is based on hours of interviews with McCartney.

McCartney, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II this year, tells how he was "turned on to pot" by Dylan in a New York hotel room in 1964.

Two years later, McCartney says, he gave Jagger his first joint in London.

"Funny," said the 55-year-old McCartney, "because everyone would have thought it would have been the other way round."

In one passage, McCartney describes his escapades in London nightclubs after moving to the capital in 1964.

"The clubs were all more or less the same: birds [women] and occasionally live music. The Bag o' Nails was my favorite.

"It was supposed to have been a hookers hangout before. It probably was then too. But young, trendy hookers in miniskirts.

"Now I recall, I might have got asked for money one night after pulling some bird. I wouldn't pay, though, you know."

McCartney said the best-loved songs recorded by the Beatles were written in just a single afternoon.

The book suggests that most of the inspiration came from McCartney, who said he wrote "Yesterday" after hearing it in a dream.

Of Lennon, McCartney said: "I'd like to register the fact that John was great--and I did love him--lest it be seen that I'm trying now to do my own revisionism.

"Really, all I'm saying is that I have my side of the affair as well, which sometimes gets ignored, hence my agreeing to be a part of this book."

Since their disbandment in 1970, the Beatles have continued to sell records in the millions.

In 1996, on the strength of three new "Anthology" albums of rare songs and alternative versions of Beatles favorites, the group outsold every other pop act in the world. In fact, with sales of more than 20 million albums worldwide, they were the most successful band since their own 1960s heyday.

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