Why Paul McCartney Felt ‘Guilty’ Making His Album ‘McCartney III’


“Guilt” isn’t an emotion I would associate with Paul McCartney‘s album McCartney III. Despite this, Paul said he felt guilty while he was making the album because of his personal situation. In addition, he revealed why he felt that crafting McCartney III was a lot more fun than crafting other albums.

Paul McCartney released a trilogy of self-titled albums over the course of 50 years

Paul started the 1970s with an album called McCartney, the 1980s with an album called McCartney II, and the 2020s with an album called McCartney III. During a 2020 interview with Uncut, Paul discussed working on McCartney III during the coronavirus (COVD-19) lockdowns. 

“If you think about it, The Beatles toured a lot, then we stopped touring and made Sgt. Pepper,” he said. “So that idea of having all the time in the world to do what you like doing isn’t new to me.

“But while I enjoyed it, at the same time I felt a bit guilty because I know a lot of people are having a very hard time,” he added. “It’s a double-edged sword. You felt sorry for people who don’t have freedom, but at the same time you were glad that you do.” He joked that his lockdown was a “rockdown.”

Paul McCartney discussed making a spontaneous instead of something commercial

The “Silly Love Songs” singer revealed that McCartney III came to him spontaneously. “I didn’t mean to make an album,” he explained. “It was just me messing about. Sometimes if I don’t have anything on, I’ll go into my studio just to do something. I love it. I’ll get on the drums or the synthesizer and play about — sometimes some good stuff comes out of it.”

McCartney said he was just messing around when he made McCartney III. He said there was something liberating about making music without thinking about commercialism. “But when you’re making a commercial album, a proper album — whatever you want to call it — you have bigger concerns,” he said.

How ‘McCartney III’ performed in the United States and the United Kingdom

McCartney III became a modest hit in the United States. The record reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for two weeks. The record produced three singles: “Find My Way” (a collaboration with 1990s alternative rock icon Beck), “Winter Bird/When Winter Comes,” and “Women and Wives.” None of those singles charted on the Billboard Hot 100.

McCartney III performed similarly in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the album Hit No. 1 for a single week and stayed on the chart for three weeks in total. None of the singles from the album had any impact on the U.K. chart. Apparently, Paul’s fans are willing to buy albums in the current era, but they’re not interested in singles. It probably felt great for longtime fans to hear the completion of Paul’s trilogy.

The recording of McCartney III made Paul feel a bit guilty but the record was still a No. 1 hit.


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