Paul McCartney recently turned 76, and while the ex-Beatle is showing no signs of slowing down, he’s also keener than ever to dish on the seven-plus decades of stories he’s amassed as a living rock legend.
The singer-songwriter opened up about everything from Quincy Jones deeming him “the worst bass player” he’d ever heard to his unexpected collaboration with Kanye West in a new interview with GQ touting the release of his latest album, “Egypt Station.”
Macca also didn’t shy away from some raunchier memories, including the time he masturbated with songwriting partner John Lennon at Lennon’s home in Liverpool – or the time he and his fellow bandmates applauded the loss of George Harrison’s virginity.
Read on for some of the most fascinating tidbits.
He masturbated with John Lennon
Before The Beatles, there were the Quarrymen – and before that, McCartney and pal John Lennon were simply teenagers in Liverpool, daydreaming about sex symbols like French actress/model Brigitte Bardot.
McCartney told GQ that he, Lennon, and approximately three of Lennon’s friends were hanging out one night and opted for a party game slightly more risque than your typical card game.
“Instead of just getting roaring drunk and partying – I don’t even know if we were staying over or anything – we were all just in these chairs, and the lights were out, and somebody started masturbating, so we all did,” he said, adding that each one would call out names like “Brigitte Bardot” for inspiration – until Lennon decided to get smart.
“I think it was John sort of said, ‘Winston Churchill!’ ” he recalled. “It wasn’t a big thing. But, you know, it was just the kind of thing you didn’t think much of. . . . There’s so many things like that from when you’re a kid that you look back on and you’re, ‘Did we do that?’ But it was good harmless fun. It didn’t hurt anyone. Not even Brigitte Bardot.”
No orgies for Paul – but perhaps for John
Though McCartney denied ever taking part in an orgy – he said he’s “just not into” them – during his Beatle days, he did confess that he came close during a wild night out in Las Vegas.
“The tour guy, a fixer, said, ‘You’re going to Vegas, guys – you want a hooker?’ We were all, ‘Yeah!’ And I requested two,” McCartney said. “And I had them, and it was a wonderful experience. But that’s the closest I ever came to an orgy.”
He did, however, admit that Lennon may have had a bit more experience in that department. McCartney recalled a time his bandmate met someone in a club and headed back to the man’s house to have sex with his wife as the man watched.
“That was called ‘kinky’ in those days,” McCartney said. “Tell you the truth, I just didn’t fancy it, that kind of thing. Someone else’s wife? I definitely wouldn’t want the husband to know.”
Paul, Ringo and John applauded George Harrison losing his virginity
As the youngest Beatle, George Harrison was also the last to lose his virginity – something his bandmates played witness to.
Before they rocketed to international fame, the Beatles were playing shows in Hamburg, Germany, and sharing hotel rooms. It was in one of those rooms that a 17-year-old Harrison got it on for the first time, only to be met with applause from Paul, John and Ringo.
“I know we had one bed and two sets of bunks, and if one of the guys brought a girl back, they could just be in the bed with a blanket over them, and you wouldn’t really notice much except a little bit of movement,” McCartney said.
“I don’t know whether that was George losing his virginity—it might have been. I mean, I think in the end this was one of the strengths of the Beatles, this enforced closeness which I always liken to army buddies. Because you’re all in the same barracks. We were always very close and on top of each other, which meant you could totally read each other.”
Paul is pals with Kanye West
The unexpected pairing of West and McCartney came about in 2014, when they recorded music together in a bungalow behind the Beverly Hills Hotel.
The hit song “FourFiveSeconds” eventually emerged from the California session, though McCartney was taken by surprise, as he hadn’t heard from West in months.
“I did leave the session liking him, and thinking he’s a very interesting guy,” McCartney said. “I speak to him occasionally on the phone. And mainly texting.”
He responds to Quincy Jones’s diss
In a pair of memorable interviews earlier this summer, Quincy Jones spoke about everyone from Michael Jackson to Prince – and one of his most surprising comments was entirely glossed over.
“(The Beatles) were the worst musicians in the world. They were no-playing motherf-----s,” Jones told New York magazine. “Paul was the worst bass player I ever heard.”
McCartney, however, remains entirely unbothered. The Wings front man told GQ that the “crazy motherf----r” Jones called him after the article was published and denied ever having said such a thing.
“I said (to Jones), ‘If you had said that, you know what I would have said? F—k you, Quincy Jones!’ And he laughed,” McCartney recalled. “He was like, ‘Oh, Paul, you know I love you so much.’ ‘Yeah, I know you do, Quince.’ But he’s an old guy. I don’t know what it was. But I don’t think I’m the worst bass player he’s ever heard.”