Paul McCartney Admits He Occasionally Forgets His Own Beatles Lyrics: 'Sometimes That Breaks Down'

"I'll be doing a song, let's say 'Eleanor Rigby' or something, and I'm on autopilot," the Beatles star tells the Smartless podcast

Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney. Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage

Paul McCartney has revealed that even music icons can experience a bad day at the office!

"I'll be doing a song, let's say 'Eleanor Rigby' or something, and I'm on autopilot," the Beatles legend, 78, said on the latest episode of the Smartless podcast, released Monday.

"I'm starting to think 'Oh, what am I going to have for dinner later? Maybe you won't have the soup but maybe you'll just go for the main course…' And I go 'STOP!' Because I'm singing 'Eleanor Rigby.'"

"A couple of bits of my head are going in different places," he continues. "So sometimes that breaks down and I forget the song but remember the soup!"

Paul McCartney. Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

To rectify the problem, McCartney uses a teleprompter for his live performances. He also hasn't had to worry about zoning out on stage for the majority of 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic which, among other things, has prevented him from headlining the 50th anniversary of the Glastonbury Festival.

Instead, the music icon has used his self-isolation to record a new solo album called McCartney III, which is due for release on Dec. 11.

It represents the third part of a musical trilogy that started with his 1970 solo album McCartney and was later followed by McCartney II in 1980.

"It's like a hobby. I'm very lucky," McCartney tells Smartless hosts Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes about his continued love of music.

"I'll go home and just pick up a guitar while I'm watching TV and tinker around with something, you know," he adds. "It [music] really is something that still entrances me."

Ringo Star, Paul McCartney
Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney in 2016. Fred Duval/FilmMagic

One thing the music legend isn't quite so enamored with is the fame that comes with his day job.

While the musician has been in the public eye since the Beatles released "Love Me Do" in 1962, he still mentally splits himself between the "famous" McCartney the world knows and the ordinary boy who just happened to meet a "cool-looking" John Lennon on a Liverpool bus.

"I think it's a safety measure," adds McCartney, who also recently sat down with Taylor Swift for Rolling Stone's Musicians on Musicians issue.

"I know I'm very famous, but I don't want to walk around like I'm very famous. I like that bit that I had when I grew up of just going on a bus and just being, you know…"

Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney
Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney for Rolling Stone. Mary McCartney 

"But I do separate 'him' from 'me,'" he adds. "So, me, I don't like to take pictures when people say, 'Can I have a picture?’ because everyone has got a camera in the world. And so I say 'I'm sorry, I don't do pictures.'"

McCartney continues, "I sometimes feel like I have to say, 'Look, I’m happy to talk to you. Sit down. We can talk.' Because I like that. Because I'm still me. The minute I put my arm around you, or you put your arm around me, I feel like the monkey in St. Tropez. 'Come and have your picture taken with the monkey.' I don't like that. It puts me off."

You should also take care if you want to ever want to grill McCartney on his time with the Beatles too.

"I'm the world's worst rememberer of Beatles' history," he adds. "I just think, 'Well there's always going to be someone who knows. So, I'll just ask someone!'"

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