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Paul McCartney Gets Back to the Beatles

Paul McCartney performs in Las Vegas as part of his 'Driving USA' tour.
Frank Micelotta/Getty Images
Paul McCartney performs in Las Vegas as part of his 'Driving USA' tour.

After three decades of performing his post-Beatles pop, Paul McCartney today releases a new live recording filled with Beatles tunes. The double-CD Back in the U.S. was recorded during his recent American tour. An accompanying DVD concert film is also being released.

In a Morning Edition interview with NPR's Renee Montagne, McCartney discusses the emotion of losing former band-mate George Harrison. Among the most poignant moments in the tour occured when McCartney stepped onstage strumming a ukulele and singing "Something," in honor of Harrison, who penned the tune.

"The minute I thought of George I thought of the ukulele because he was such a fan of the instrument," McCartney says. He fondly remembers that the two of them played ukuleles together at Harrison's home shortly before his death a year ago.

In another tribute, McCartney performs "Here Today," a song he wrote for John Lennon after his murder in 1980. "Because we're two guys, you don't always say intimate things. In fact, you hardly ever do. You work together... I had this idea it would be nice to say stuff that I really wanted to say to him but somehow put it in a song, so I did this thing called 'Here Today' and it was 'if you were here today, how would it be?...'"

Asked if it's difficult to sing these songs on tour, McCartney replies: "It's sometimes a little bit hard emotionally. You catch yourself and you hear what the lyric means and you suddenly identify with it and choke a bit. I know it's very emotional for the audience, but I like that.

"I'm no longer ashamed of being emotional. When I was 18, that was like the biggest crime a guy could commit. 'You cried?' Well, now it's like, 'Yeah and why not?' It's pretty sad stuff... losing a friend like John or losing (McCartney's first wife) Linda after all those years or George. So I'm comfortable (showing my emotions)."

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