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Paul McCartney: I Saw Him Standing There

Paul McCartney: I Saw Him Standing There

by Jorie B. Gracen

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Published to coincide with a long-awaited concert tour -McCartney's first since 1993-this insider's glimpse into the private persona of one of the world's greatest musician-singer-songwriters has sure-fire, multigenerational appeal for the legions of fans who have followed the star's career for decades.

All of the pictures in the book are the work of one


Published to coincide with a long-awaited concert tour -McCartney's first since 1993-this insider's glimpse into the private persona of one of the world's greatest musician-singer-songwriters has sure-fire, multigenerational appeal for the legions of fans who have followed the star's career for decades.

All of the pictures in the book are the work of one professional photographer who has had unique access to McCartney from 1976 to the present. Her exclusive photos, taken during tours, record signings, private parties, press conferences, award ceremonies, backstage moments, and numerous personal encounters, show the many faces of McCartney--the musician, devoted husband, proud father, environmentalist, and animal rights activist. Revealing statements by the artist himself, lively accounts by many of his fans, and commentary by the author complete this remarkable chronicle of an internationally beloved entertainer.

About the Author
Jorie B. Gracen specializes in entertainment, editorial, and public relations photography. Her celebrity photos have appeared in People, Rolling Stone, Newsweek, Cosmopolitan, The New York Times, and a dozen other major publications. One of her best-known photos appears on Paul McCartney's Tripping the Live Fantastic album. She lives in Chicago

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Bookseller Reviews

For almost a quarter of a century, Jorie B. Graven has been photographing Paul McCartney; onstage, backstage; at private parties; alone with his precious Linda at moments when no other photographer was in sight. Now, on the eve of the ex-Beatles's first concert in seven years, Graven gathers hundreds of her most telling and striking photographs, intersperses them with transcriptions of conversations too relaxed to be called interviews, and gives us a fine holiday offering.
Published to coincide with Paul McCartney's forthcoming tour (his first since 1993), this attractive volume consists of about 200 exclusive color and b&w photographs of the artist onstage and off, from 1976 to the present. Together with stories told by photographer Jorie B. Gracen, fans, and McCartney himself, the artist's musical maturation and private persona are revealed. The images represent concerts, record signings, private parties, press conferences, backstage candids, sound checks, award ceremonies, and personal encounters, thus providing an insider's glimpse into the famed performer and songwriter as husband, father, environmentalist, animal rights activist, and idol. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
This celebration of Paul McCartney provides over two hundred photos of the artist on and off stage from 1976 to the present, representing the works of the author who has had a unique opportunity to photograph him over the years. The on-stage concert appearances take a 'you are there' feeling as Gracen outlines notes of each concert she observes along with the bright color photos. Paul McCartney: I Saw Him Standing There is a 'must' for McCartney fans.

Product Details

Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
8.32(w) x 10.74(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

1975-1976 Wings
over the World Tour

On SEPTEMBER 13, 1971, Paul and Linda officially named their newly formed band "Wings." It was just more than a year since the official breakup of the Beatles and Paul was well on his way as a solo artist. He released two albums, McCartney (1970) and Ram (1971), with the help of his wife, Linda, and session drummer Denny Seiwell (Ram). Ex-Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine and guitarist Henry McCullough (formerly of the Grease Band) joined the group, and on December 7 Wings's first album, Wildlife, was released. Small tours of the United Kingdom and Europe followed in early 1972, as McCartney introduced his new band to the world.

    Critics were less than kind. One even referred to the newly formed Wings as McCartney's "hangover" from the Beatles. Undaunted, McCartney and his band produced five Wings albums—all certified gold—in the years leading up to the 1975-76 world tour, despite the fact that the band went through many personnel changes.

    Band on the Run, McCartney's most critically acclaimed post-Beatles effort with Wings, was released on December 5, 1973. At that time Wings consisted of three members: Paul, Linda, and Denny Laine. Henry McCullough and Denny Seiwell quit just before the recording sessions in Lagos, Nigeria, leaving Paul no choice but to record with the two remaining members. Band on the Run was an unexpected success, sparking McCartney's vision that Wings could work together as a creative unit with each member contributingto the musical identity of the group. It was an ambitious undertaking—but necessary for McCartney, who was determined to establish Wings as a first-rate rock-and-roll band. Two years later he transformed the disjointed group into a precision touring band capable of unleashing its own musical force.

    As the fall of 1975 approached, Wings had a fresh lineup and a major world tour scheduled to start in Britain and Australia, followed by Europe and the United States. Wings personnel included: Paul McCartney (bass, guitar, piano, keyboards, vocals); Denny Laine (guitar, vocals, percussion, piano), a Wings member since 1971; Jimmy McCulloch (lead guitar, vocals), formerly of Thunderclap Newman and Stone the Crows, who joined Wings in 1974 and debuted on "Junior's Farm"; Joe English (drummer), formerly of the Jam Factory, who was asked to work on the Venus and Mars album in 1975; Linda McCartney (keyboards, vocals, and tambourine); Howie Casey (tenor sax), a Liverpudlian (Liverpool native) like McCartney, who had formed his own group in 1958 called Howie Casey and the Seniors; Steve Howard Jr. (trumpet, flügelhorn), who played trumpet during the Venus and Mars sessions in New Orleans; Thaddeus Richard (sax, flute), formerly of the Hip-Huggers and Reality, who recorded with Wings during the Nashville sessions; Tony Dorsey (trombone), a Nashville session musician and musical arranger who worked on Venus and Mars.

    In the traditional style of live rock 'n' roll, this band added a harder edge, improving upon the recorded versions of the songs. Not since the Beatles had Paul played with a band that was so disciplined and adept at performing his most successful songs.

    On March 23, 1976, Wings released a new album called Wings at the Speed of Sound that became a best-seller during the Wings over America Tour. It received gold record certification by R.I.A.A. (Recording Industry Association of America) for selling 500,000 units upon release, and quickly went platinum, with sales of more than one million. The hit single "Silly Love Songs" went to number one on the U.S. charts (according to Billboard magazine) on May 22. The tour, which had been scheduled to start on April 8 in the United States, was rescheduled for May and June when lead guitarist Jimmy McCulloch slipped in a Paris bathroom on March 26 and fractured his left finger. Tickets purchased months earlier reflected the original date of the show (i.e., the May 5, 1976, Chicago Stadium show was rescheduled for June 2, 1976).

    By the time McCartney came to America with Wings in May of 1976 it had been almost a decade since the Beatles's last concert (August 29, 1966, at San Francisco's Candlestick Park). The twenty-plus member entourage traveled on a private jet (BAC 1011, leased from Braniff) and had "home bases" in Dallas, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The McCartneys—a tight-knit family—traveled with their three young children: Stella, 4, Mary, 6, and Heather, 13. Also traveling with them were their nanny, Rose, and a tutor for Heather. McCartney was accompanied by band members, security guards, recording engineers, publicists, and other essential personnel that included Robert Ellis, a tour photographer, cartoonist Humphrey Ocean, who would "draw" the tour highlights for a book, and Paul's manager, Brian Brolly.

    The 1975-76 Wings over the World Tour played in ten countries during the course of fourteen months—for a total of sixty-five concerts before two million people. The Wings over America Tour (the U.S. leg of the tour) played thirty-one shows in twenty-one cities, with an estimated audience of 600,000. A record-breaking attendance of 67,100 (1,100 more than the fixed seating) for an indoor performance was set at Seattle's Kingdome. Ticket sales for the world tour grossed between five and eight million dollars, with each ticket costing between $7.50 and $9.50 and with scalpers snaring $125 for the first five rows. The Philadelphia show grossed $336,000, making it one of the largest box office receipts in rock history for that time.

    Months later, on December 10, Wings over America, a live triple album recorded during the U.S. tour, went to number one on the American charts. It was the first triple album by a band ever to reach number one in the United States.

    McCartney chose only five Beatles songs in his set list of thirty numbers: "Lady Madonna," "Long and Winding Road," "I've Just Seen a Face," "Blackbird," and "Yesterday." The two-hour, fifteen-minute show also featured: "Venus and Mars," "Rock Show," "Jet," "Let Me Roll It," "Spirits of Ancient Egypt," "Medicine Jar," "Maybe I'm Amazed," "Call Me Back Again," "Live and Let Die," an acoustic set of "Picasso's Last Words," "Richard Cory," and "Bluebird." The show continued with: "You Gave Me the Answer," "Magneto and Titanium Man," "Go Now" (Los Angeles only), "My Love," "Listen to What the Man Said," "Let 'Em In," "Time to Hide," "Silly Love Songs," "Beware My Love," "Letting Go," "Band on the Run," and encores of "Hi Hi Hi," and "Soily." Most of the songs were from the post-Beatles albums Red Rose Speedway (1973), Band on the Run, Venus and Mars, Wings at the Speed of Sound, and McCartney.

    The concert began with the "Venus and Mars/Rock Show" medley as tiny bubbles slowly descended from the ceiling. Billowing clouds of heavy fog enveloped the performers, while colored spotlights defined their positions onstage. "Red lights, green lights ..." shone right on cue as Paul, who was covered in darkness, sang the words and then emerged dramatically in a spotlight—to screams of rapture from female fans. This was first time the ex-Beatle appeared live onstage since his departure from the group and the members of the audience were on their feet, behaving as if they were at a Beatles concert.

    People were in awe of McCartney. A fusillade of camera flashes lit up the stadium walls in a continuous sea of flickering lights. People rushed the stage, but Paul maintained control with his gregarious charm, baiting the audience with his occasional stage banter: "ALRIGHT? Aaall, right! Do you fancy a bit of rock 'n' roll?" McCartney playfully introduced "Yesterday," saying "I think you'll remember this one ..." and playing the familiar opening chords as he sang "Chicago, Chicago ..." (in Chicago). Other cities had similar "appropriate" fake beginnings to McCartney's most famous song.

    At many of the concerts McCartney wore black satin trousers with a slight bell at the bottom and a black or white T-shirt covered by a long-sleeved black knitted hip-length jacket. Colored rhinestones adorned the shoulders of the jacket, complementing the pink satin lapels. Linda wore a formfitting black dress with white feather trim on the shoulders. Tour outfits varied from show to show, with Paul and Linda sometimes wearing matching waist-length satin black-and-white jackets with "X" and "O" decorations, symbols from the Venus and Mars album. Paul wore a short blue-and-white robe during his Australian concerts, which preceded the American tour.

    The performance was divided into three parts: an opening set that rocked with "Rock Show," "Jet," "Lady Madonna," and "Live and Let Die"; a sit-down acoustic set featuring the emotional highlight of the show, "Yesterday"; and a closing set containing some of Wings's biggest hits, "My Love," "Silly Love Songs," "Hi Hi Hi," and "Band on the Run."

    Dazzling stage effects included green lasers, pyrotechnics, and flickering strobe lights. "Live and Let Die," an audience favorite, used multiple flash pots that exploded during the song, giving unsuspecting fans a heart-stopping jolt. Flashing strobe lights and lasers bombarded the stage, creating a slow-motion effect intensified by the band's wild onstage antics of running and jumping. "Live and Let Die," a surefire crowd pleaser, was also performed on later tours.

    "Magneto and Titanium Man" had a colorful backdrop, created by pop artist David Hockney, that depicted the Marvel comic-strip characters. Colored spotlights of red and yellow painted the performers, adding a playful atmosphere to the song.

    "You Gave Me the Answer" was brought alive by hundreds of flashing white bulbs lining the multilevel stage. While Paul crooned in his best Rudy Vallee voice the syncopated lights moved in different directions, imitating a grandiose stage from a Fred Astaire movie.

    A film backdrop shown during "Band on the Run" featured photographer Clive Arrowsmith's album-cover photo session, filmed by director Barry Chattington. Appearing in the film with Paul, Linda, and Denny were an assortment of characters, including actors James Coburn and Christopher Lee, who posed in prison outfits as they simulated a jailbreak.

    "Soily," the final encore, deployed lasers projected in a fanlike pattern swirling beneath clouds of smoke. The pulsating green beams moved rhythmically above the audience, creating an eerie circling effect—which was dramatically enhanced by the haunting echoes of squealing keyboards.

    One of the most memorable moments of the tour was a surprise appearance by Ringo Starr, who joined his former band mate onstage June 21 at the Forum in Inglewood, California. McCartney had just finished "Soily" and was taking his bows when a sunglassed Ringo Starr bounded onto the stage with a bouquet of flowers, grabbed Paul's bass, and struck a pose. The crowd went crazy when Paul and Ringo hugged, then turned to the audience, hands outstretched, acknowledging the thunderous applause. It was the first time in ten years the two ex-Beatles had stood together on the same stage. Although this wasn't the Beatles reunion fans had hoped for, it later became the catalyst that fueled future reunion rumors.

    When the world tour culminated in London on October 21, 1976, it had achieved what McCartney had envisioned—Wings was a full-fledged rock-and-roll band worthy of the musical respect attributed to his former band, the Beatles. McCartney emerged triumphantly in the midst of criticism that claimed his "new" band would never be as good as his "old" one. From that point on he never looked back.

Back in 1975 I decided go to England. During my stay I took in the sights and smells of the Beatles's London, accompanied by a cheery Australian roommate, who taunted me with a "special surprise" during my entire stay. But it wasn't until the last day in town that my roomie finally produced that surprise: He had prepared a most special moment and even a speech for the occasion.

    "Giry," he said, clearing his throat in a way only Australians can. "I know 'ow much you love the Beytels, and even though I'm more of a Dive Clark Five man moyself, it really 'as been fun followin' you 'round ray-cordin' studio parkin' lots and gettin' yelled at by that beeg guy owtside of George 'arrison's caysel. En sow ...," he continued, reaching with a flourish inside his jacket pocket, "I got us theese. Jest a leetel somethin' to selly-brite your last noit in England." He thrust an envelope into my hand.

    I wondered what it could be. An extension to my visitor's visa? A hand-written apology from Allan Williams (the Beatles's first manager)? My cohort in madness began grinning nervously. Did this mean we were now engaged or something? I'd heard stories about randy Australians on the pounce in Britain, but my sense of propriety relaxed as I peeked inside and removed two shiny new concert tickets. "Hmm ..." I didn't have time to view them properly—because his speech was now moving at an accelerated pace and with a considerable rise in volume.

    "Yes, Giry," he continued. "We're goin' to see POOL MAC 'ARTNEY EN WANGS at the Himmersmeeth Owdeeann 'morrow noit! Surprise!" He was now doing a bizarre roadside jig around me and my backpack, totally taken up in the spirit of giving—giving Wings tickets, that is. "I got theese off a tout! That show's been sold owt for wakes, but ... You'll niver bay-leeve ate! WE'RE GOIN'!"

    There they were—two matching little pieces of brightly colored cardboard with the magic words "Paul McCartney" and even that silly Wings logo inscribed on both. The solemn words beneath—"Odeon Hammersmith"—looked regal enough to impress even my faraway, doubting parents. The price? Expensive even by British standards. And who knows what service fee those dastardly scalpers slapped on top. Once it sank in, I struggled to find sufficient words of thanks.

    "Gee," I said, spoken like a true Canadian. "I don't know what to say! These certainly are a surprise and are about the last thing I expected on my final day in England! These are ...," I looked again at the tickets, reading very carefully the fine print below the words "McCartney" and "Odeon." My spirit sank. "These are for ...," I said, looking again to make sure my eyes were seeing straight. "TOMORROW NIGHT!"

    "Right! 'Morrow noit!" my young Aussie repeated, but he could sense something was amiss. "Sow?"

    I tried not to sound too crestfallen as I said, "But I'm leaving tomorrow morning."

    This seemed the kind of pickle even Allan Williams couldn't babble his way out of. By the time the by-far-most-popular ex-Mop Top would be striking the first note of "Rock Show," I'd be on an Air Canada 747 turning left over Greenland. Oh, irony of ironies! My visitor's visa was about to expire and I had no money left to secure a later flight. I handed back the envelope to my friend, who now seemed far from jig-full. You go, and have a real good time.... You stupid Dave Clark Five fan, I thought. "Drop me a line and tell me how great the show was," I said, turning away.

    I must have looked even more disheartened than I was trying to sound, because the Australian was having none of it. "Look 'ere mite ...," he said. (Those natives from down under really do say "mate" a lot.) "Yer flight's not 'til the wee hours of the mornin', right? En we're owl-redy close to Himmersmeeth, so let's jest gow bey the show toe-noit, 'ang 'round owtside en at leest try to 'ave some fun bey-fore you gow, right?" Yes, of course, he was right. London was a big town and I had almost the whole night ahead of me. There must be some trouble we could get into!

    The fabled English sun had just set as we plowed headlong into the electric throng already buzzing around the Odeon. In what must have been London's first major display of ex-Beatlemania, the adjoining streets and sidewalks were packed with excited, agitated fans. Many were dressed in oddly styled tartan scarves that can only be described as "glitter kilts"—impressively, a full eighteen months before Bay City Rollermaniacs took up similar garb. Our only hope was that this state of circus frenzy extended clear through the imposing doors of the concert hall itself, allowing us to enter the building without anyone of authority noticing tomorrow night's tickets in our hands.

    Swept up in the crazed atmosphere of it all and knowing that the worst fate that could befall us was arrest and deportation, we strode defiantly up to the ticket taker who we thought had the worst set of eyes.

    "Tickets please?" this weasely little man mumbled as we approached the doors.

    "Uh, sure," we said, our brows dampening as our thumbs strategically covered the premature date on each stub. As a little luck would have it, he waved us on through without another word or a glance underthumb.


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