Pitchfork: I wanted to ask about the song "Freedom", which you wrote in the wake of 9/11. Lately dropped it from your setlist. Do you think it might come back?
McCartney: I'd very much like it to come back, because to me it's a "We Shall Overcome". That's sort of how I wrote it. It's like, "Hey, I've got freedom, I'm an immigrant coming to America, give me your huddled masses." And that's what it means to me, is, "Don't mess with my rights, buddy. Because I'm now free. I used to live in an oppressive regime, I'm from Sierra Leone, but now I'm an American, and don't try to take that away from me."
And I thought it was a great sentiment, and immediately post-9/11, I thought it was the right sentiment. But it got hijacked. And it got a bit of a militaristic meaning attached itself to it, and you found Mr. Bush using that kind of idea rather a lot in [a way] I felt altered the meaning of the song.
But it was great on the tour immediately post-9/11. It was great to sing it for the American people. It was great for us, it was very healing, it was very, "Stand up and be counted."
Pitchfork: Even at the time, some people thought it was uncharacteristically militant.
McCartney: That's true. [But] it was not militant. It was written from the point of view of, as I say, someone coming from a repressive, like let's say, European Jew coming to America. He just got away from Hitler. That kind of thing. Or that-- in all its forms. That particularly happens in America. It happens here in the UK, but America I would reckon is global target of people escaping oppression.
Pitchfork: It's almost like we lost the word "freedom" because of Bush.
McCartney: Well, I think that's kind of what happened. I think it did-- yeah. But I may tour America next year, I'd like to, and I am wondering whether I can sing it again. Because it certainly was very popular. But I don't know, I don't know.
It was very flag-waving. And in the wake of 9/11, that was sort of a good thing, because American spirit was in danger of being squashed. And I knew a lot of New Yorkers, for instance. And I knew a lot of people who would write to me and say, "I'm never going to go on an airplane again." And for Americans to say that ... but then I did a concert for New York, the 9/11 concert, that I was part of, and I got a message from some woman in Boston saying, "I'm coming to this concert, and you've really helped me. Because I've got to get on an airplane." And there was this feeling of healing going on, you know. That somehow me and some other Brits were able to stand up and say, "Look, you know, this-- you will overcome this." And it was a feeling that we should try and help."
And I was in New York the morning of it. I was at Kennedy, I was just about to take off, at Kennedy Airport. And then the airport closed, and I could see the Twin Towers out of the window of the airplane. And so I was then sort of stranded in America for a couple of weeks while the whole thing unfolded. So you know, I was very much in the area. And everyone was scared, man. There were rumors it was going to happen again. It was a very scary time. And a lot of people wouldn't move, a lot of people were just too scared to do anything. So "Freedom" arose out of that. It was to try and help that, to try and unscare people, try and remind people, "Hey, this is my right, man. Don't mess with me."
efghijiloveyou wrote:It does look like Blair. I agree the others don't appear to be anybody familiar...so why bring in Blair to mime? I'm completely unfamiliar with this show. Was the idea to come on and mime your latest song?
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