Why Paul McCartney ‘Hated’ Being Called ‘The Cute Beatle’

Each of The Beatles had admirers, however, only Paul McCartney was known as “The Cute Beatle.” Paul had strong feelings about being called “cute.” Here’s what he had to say about the word in regards to some of The Beatles’ most famous songs.

Paul McCartney, a.k.a. The Cute Beatle, holding a guitar
Paul McCartney | PA Images via Getty Images

Did Paul McCartney think he was ‘The Cute Beatle?’

According to Ultimate Classic Rock, Paul discussed the moniker “The cute Beatle” during an interview with Howard Stern. Paul felt the idea he was the cute Beatle took away from his musicianship. “I hated that,” Paul said. “That’s what happens — just, ‘He’s the cute one.’ I’d go, ‘No, I’m not! Don’t call me that. I hate that! But once it’s said, it kind of sticks.” What did Paul think of his looks? “I’ve never really thought I was ‘cute,’ though I guess some people think so.” 

Paul contrasted the perception of him with the perception of the other members of The Beatles. “They had to just say, ‘He’s the cute one; he’s the quiet one [George Harrison]; he’s the witty one [John Lennon]; and he’s the drummer [Ringo Starr],” Paul opined. He added “I just can’t help being cute, Howard.”

“Yesterday”

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Did Paul McCartney think the songs he wrote for The Beatles were ‘cute?’

Paul’s interview with Stern was not the only time he expressed dissatisfaction with being deemed cute. During a 1989 interview with New York Daily News, Paul said “Maybe there were a few moments of cute, mostly in the early days. As you get older, the harder edges come out. I don’t think ‘Fool on the Hill’ is a cute song. ‘The Long and Winding Road’ isn’t cute. ‘Yesterday’ isn’t cute. ‘I’m not half the man I used to be’ — that’s pretty strong, and remember, I wrote it when I was 24.” Paul’s moniker referenced his looks but Paul seemed to interpret it here as a reference to his music.In addition, Paul said his wife did not consider him to be cute.

What did George Harrison think of all this?

George Harrison weighed in on this matter. He went on The Dick Cavett Show in 1971 and talked about The Beatles at length. During the episode, Cavett asked George if he did the best with women of all The Beatles. Harrison said Paul did the best with women and implied it was because of his looks.

An interview with George Harrison

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Was he just a pretty face?

Was Paul simply cute? No — he was also adept at making hits. As a solo artist and with his band Wings, Paul had 23 top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Of those 23 top 10 hits, nine reached the top of the chart. The songs in question were “Say Say Say,” “Coming Up,” “Ebony and Ivory,” “Silly Love Songs,” “With a Little Luck,” “Band on the Run,” “My Love,” “Listen to What the Man Said,” and “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey.” Clearly, the public was interested in his music even after he left The Beatles. Paul’s musical accomplishments show he was more than a pretty face.