http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/ ... 689787.ece
From The Sunday TimesApril 6, 2008
Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney brought together by A Whiter Shade of PaleRichard Brooks, Arts Editor
SIR PAUL McCARTNEY has told how a record that was fought over in the High Court last week helped to bring him and his first wife Linda together.
A Whiter Shade of Pale, a 1960s No 1 hit by the group Procol Harum, became “their song”.
McCartney has broken his silence after a decade to write exclusively about his first wife for The Sunday Times Magazine.
In the article, written to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Linda’s death, McCartney says there was an “instant attraction” when he first met her at the Bag O’Nails nightclub in London’s Soho in May 1967.
Paul McCartney remembers Linda
Sir Paul McCartney remembers Linda
“As she was leaving . . . I saw an obvious opportunity,” writes McCartney, who was one of Britain’s most famous stars. “I said: ‘My name’s Paul. What’s yours?’ I think she probably recognised me. It was so corny, but I told the kids later that, had it not been for that moment, none of them would be here.”
Later that night he took Linda to another West End club, the Speakeasy. “It was our first date and I remember I heard Procol Harum’s A Whiter Shade of Pale for the first time. It became our song.”
The record fused Bach with pop to create one of the most enduring songs of the flower power era. It sold 10m copies.
The song was credited to Gary Brooker, the group’s singer, and Keith Reid, its lyricist. Two years ago Matthew Fisher, the band’s former keyboard player, was awarded 40% of the royalties after arguing that he wrote the organ music. Last week Brooker won an appeal in the High Court. A judge ruled that Fisher should be credited with co-authorship, but should not benefit financially because he had taken so long to bring his case to court.
Finding a song they both liked was the beginning of a 30-year relationship for the McCartneys which ended with Linda’s death, aged 56, from cancer.
The article’s publication coincides with the opening of an exhibition of Linda McCartney’s photographs at the James Hyman gallery in central London.
McCartney’s account will invite unfavourable comparisons with his recent marriage to Heather Mills, which resulted in a bitter divorce battle that ended last month.
“Linda was very down to earth,” he writes. “She taught me to relax. Her priorities were private rather than public. She didn’t go on television to ingratiate herself. She was just very funny, very smart and very talented.”
Linda Eastman - she kept her maiden name professionally - was a photographer. When she met McCartney she was over from her native New York on an assignment to photograph the Swinging Sixties scene in London. She was at the Bag O’Nails with The Animals, another group.
“Until then, I’d felt I’d been dating girls - well, except maybe one or two,” writes McCartney. “Linda was genuinely a woman. She had a five-year-old child and I was genuinely impressed by the way she handled herself in life. She just knew how to do it.” She encouraged McCartney in his desire to have a more normal life; they would often travel together on the Tube rather than taking taxis or chauffeur-driven cars.
She took countless photographs of McCartney, their three children and her daughter from her first marriage. “When she was taking pictures, she managed to get us all to ignore her, totally,” writes McCartney. “She could take pictures pretty much of anything and we knew we could trust her.”
She took few pictures of the Beatles, partly because she knew them only during their last two years as a band. Among her rare Beatles photographs are several taken at the EMI studios in Abbey Road, north London.
McCartney is particularly fond of one image that shows him with John Lennon. “What I love about the shot of John and me is that it shows the great working relationship we had,” he writes.
“It was a joy to work with John, particularly when we were writing and organising, as we were in this picture.”
He also recalls Linda’s final days. “At the time she knew she was ill but she’d had chemo and her hair was growing back,” he writes. “She didn’t know she was dying. I’m not actually sure she ever knew she was dying. You have a decision to make asa family as to whether you tell someone and the doctors leave it to you, the immediate family.
“I talked it over with the doctor and he said, ‘I don’t think she would want to know. She is such a strong, forward-thinking lady and such a positive girl that I don’t think it would do any good’.” In fact, Linda McCartney was riding her horse on their ranch in Arizona on the day before she died.
McCartney has recently been seen on holiday in the United States with Nancy Shevell, the American heiress.