Paul McCartney was Nervous Meeting This Rock Star

Paul McCartney is one of the most famous rock stars on the planet. He’s seen and done everything throughout his 60-year career. But he admits he does get nervous about certain things. Our idols might seem like impervious gods sometimes, but they are human, just like the rest of us. They have fears and get nervous about silly things just as we do.

Paul McCartney in his London flat, 1963.
Paul McCartney | Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

This rock star intimidated Paul McCartney

On The Penguin Podcast, Paul revealed that there are a couple of people who make him nervous. One of those people is Bob Dylan, strangely enough. “Bob Dylan would actually make me a little bit like, ‘Oh my god, what am I going to say…is it going to be OK? Is it going to be good?” Paul said.

“But I did see him. We did a Coachella, but it was like Old-chella, because it’s like Stones, us, Neil Young… it was older acts,” Paul explained. “But I got to talk to Bob there, and he was really very nice, so I don’t know why I would have been nervous, but you get that with some people. Being nervous about meeting Dylan stems from bigger insecurity, though. “It is a funny thing actually when you think about it. What do you have to do, to get secure in yourself?”

“I mean, I would have thought I’d done enough now to just think, ‘No, I’m cool,’ you know I don’t need to be nervous of anyone. But it’s a human condition, I think. There’s just something–you know, where you sometimes think, ‘Is it good enough? Am I good enough?'”

The composer Richard Rodney Bennett once told Paul that his biggest fear was “being found out.” Meaning being found out that he has his fears that he isn’t good enough. Paul thought that was sad because he was such a great composer, but he got what Bennet meant. Paul has needed reassurance throughout his long career as well. He says it’s not that easy looking at all of his successes and saying to himself that he’s done OK.


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Paul puts people at ease when they meet him but he’d be nervous interviewing someone as famous as him too

Paul doesn’t insist people call him “Sir” (the queen knighted him in 1997) because he likes to make people feel at ease when they meet or interview him. He’d rather make it as “informal” as possible. However, with him, wanting to put people at ease doesn’t stem from being famous. It comes from being a native of Liverpool.

“It’s a very Liverpool thing. My family growing up–it’s just an instinct from that part of the world, I think,” Paul explained on The Penguin Podcast. “So for me, I’ve kind of used that anyway, and then now it’s more necessary because if I’m famous and there’s people quaking in their boots.”

Paul understands what people tend to feel when meeting him. He’d probably be just as nervous interviewing someone as famous as he is. “I can imagine it,” he said. “If I had to interview someone famous tomorrow, I’d be thinking about it all night and all morning, ‘Oh my god, what am I going to do?’ I imagine that’s what they’re going through, and normally you can see there’s a little bit of fear in the eyes or there’s like shaking or something.”

So he likes putting people at ease because he’s “just some guy.” Just like Bob Dylan is “just some guy.” We can’t believe Paul gets nervous about whether he’s good enough, but that’s the human condition like he says.