1 Rock Star Found Paul McCartney’s Performance of This Beatles Song ‘Disconcerting’

Elvis Costello was at the Concert for Linda, a show Paul McCartney and others performed in honor of Linda McCartney. Costello said something “very thrilling” and  “disconcerting” happened during Paul’s performance of a classic Beatles song. Here’s what Costello had to say — and what the concert taught him about The Beatles.

The Beatles standing in a row
The Beatles | John Pratt / Stringer

Elvis Costello felt this Beatles song took on new meaning when Paul McCartney’s wife Linda died

Rolling Stone released a list of the 100 greatest songs by The Beatles. Like many Rolling Stones lists, it began with an essay. The essay in question was by Costello, where he analyzed The Beatles’ massive influence on other artists, including himself. At the end of the essay, Costello discussed a time Paul performed The Beatles’ “All My Loving.”

“In 1999, a little time after Linda McCartney’s passing, Paul performed at the Concert for Linda, organized by Chrissie Hynde,” Costello recalled. “During the rehearsal, I was singing harmony on a Ricky Nelson song with him, and Paul called out the next tune: ‘All My Loving.’

The Beatles’ “All My Loving”

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“I said, ‘Do you want me to take the harmony line the second time round?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, give it a try.’ I’d only had 35 years to learn the part. There was inevitably a poignant feeling to this song, written long before he had even met Linda: ‘Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you /Tomorrow I’ll miss you/Remember I’ll always be true.’”

Why Paul McCartney’s performance of The Beatles’ ‘All My Loving’ impacted Elvis Costello so much

When Paul performed the song in concert, Costello was less interested in the track’s lyrics and more in the audience’s reaction. “At the show, it was very different. The second Paul sang the opening lines, the crowd’s reaction was so intense that it all but drowned the song out. It was very thrilling, but also disconcerting.”

Costello couldn’t hear Paul sing over the sounds of fans screaming. Costello felt that this moment proved that The Beatles’ songs didn’t belong to Paul, but to the world.

How did the world react to The Beatles’ ‘All My Loving’?

This raises an interesting question: How did the public respond to “All My Loving” when it was released? The track reached No. 45 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the charts for six weeks. The track was not one of The Beatles’ bigger hits by any stretch of the imagination. 

“All My Loving” from Across the Universe

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However, the song seemed to resonate beyond the 1960s. In the Beatles-themed jukebox musical Across the Universe, characters dance to “All My Loving” in a sequence that represents a time of innocence before characters in the film are exposed to horrible elements of the 1960s like the Vietnam War. “All My Loving” had an impact on Costello and others — even if it wasn’t a major hit.

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