Paul McCartney on The Ballad of The Skeletons

Paul McCartney, looking back, on The Ballad of The Skeletons

“I got involved with Allen on The Ballad of The Skeletons at the Albert Hall, because, originally, he wrote to me I think, or phoned me (he got in touch, anyway, one way or another), and he said, “Do you know any good people who could accompany me at the Albert Hall?  I’m going to do a reading and I want someone to accompany me.”  So I came up with a couple of names, Dave Gilmour and Dave Stewart, who I knew kind of did that kind of thing, and he was interested.  But I suddenly realized. I thought, “You know, this is probably a roundabout way of asking me to do it”. Instead of asking me to write, he said, “Do you know anybody?”.  So I rang him up and said, “I could do it?”. He said, “Oh, would you? that’d be great!”.  So that turned out to be the best option. So, I got involved doing that just because he asked me. I said, “Yeah”.

He would read me the piece. I started to play guitar with him. I seem to remember it was an E (tuning) – and it was a bit – grrn – grrnda – grrndagrrn – grrnda – grrnda – I think, something like that. And he would just read the lyrics from “..Skeletons” (which he was just writing, just composing).  And I just tried to make it fit with the rhythm.  And we ended up in the Albert Hall.  He introduced me as “Ladies and gentlemen, my accompanist”, and I sort of walked out (I don’t think he ever gave me a name-check, but that was good enough). And it was great. It was great. It was a great honor for me to work live with Allen.”

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