November 09, 1992 12:00 PM

>Linda McCartney


JUST A FEW YEARS AFTER Linda McCartney got into rock photography, she was ready to get out. As a close friend of some of the stars she was photographing, she saw the dirty underside of the music business. “Artists were not getting their due,” she says. “Jimi Hendrix was miserable because he wasn’t getting paid. He wasn’t getting any of his royalties.” As for the Doors: “There were a lot of repulsive people hanging around them, trying to win their friendship by saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got this drug or I’ve got that drug.’ ”

The daughter of a New York City attorney, Linda Eastman met Paul McCartney in England in 1967. Before they married in 1969, she witnessed the making of The White Album and got her first close look at John Lennon. Instead of the confident figure she expected, Len-non was “totally nervous. I think the pressure had finally gotten to him.”

Today the McCartneys spend most of their time on a large estate in Sussex. She might like to photograph scruffs like Nirvana, she says, but not Madonna or Michael Jackson. “It’s not that I don’t like them, but I like casual people. I don’t like all the glamor.”

Probably nobody knows better than Linda that Paul isn’t dead, despite the flurry of rumors that blew up for a while in the late ’60s. She can also explain why Paul is barefoot on the cover of Abbey Road (a picture that led to speculation that Paul’s fans were being tipped to his demise through a look-alike who was shoeless to resemble a corpse). In her new book she includes a photograph that shows Paul wearing sandals as the Beatles lined up at the curb before the cover shot was taken. “It was such a hot day he just kicked them off,” she says, “so he could walk across the street and feel the pavement.”

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