Paul McCartney: 'Surprisingly OK' After Separation

In an exclusive interview, Sir Paul talks about his divorce and new album.

ByABC News via via logo
February 09, 2009, 10:16 PM

June 7, 2007 — -- Despite a public divorce from former model Heather Mills, ex-Beatle and music legend Paul McCartney is doing "surprisingly OK," he told "Good Morning America" in an exclusive interview.

"It's very tough, you know, going through a separation," McCartney told ABC News' Nick Watt, "but I'm just trying to keep my dignity, trying to just move forward and not talk about it in interviews really."

This week, McCartney released his latest album, "Memory Almost Full," which is being hailed by critics as a masterpiece. One standout track on the album, "The End of the End," describes what McCartney says he'd like his funeral to be like.

"It deals with death, which is quite a serious subject," McCartney said, "but it deals with it in a sort of light way."

The release marks his 21st solo album, but surely this isn't his last? "I hope not," he said.

McCartney penned the album's opening track, "Dance Tonight," while learning how to play mandolin during one Christmas.

"It became very catchy and a foot stomper in the kitchen," he said. "A load of people came round and my little 3-year-old daughter particularly came running in and danced."

The video for the song features Natalie Portman, an acquaintance of his fashion designer daughter, Stella McCartney.

"So I rang up Natalie and said, 'Hey, it's Stell's dad.' And I said, 'There's a video. Would you mind being in it?'" McCartney said. "She had the time and the inclination so we did it."

The song "Gratitude" sounds like it's written for one particular woman.

"It's written for women, you know, but I have a lot of women," he said. "Well, I mean, it doesn't sound as, you know, as exciting as it is. … But I think everyone expects you to have written it for one specific person."

McCartney can't remember how many songs he's written, and now that he is 64, he regrets writing the Beatles classic "When I'm 64."

"It just draws great attention to that age and reaching it. In actual fact, it's actually not been bad really," he said. "People still feed me and one or two people still need me."

Mercifully, McCartney will turn 65 later this month. Last week marked another milestone: the 40th anniversary of the iconic Beatles album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

"'Sgt. Pepper' is obviously a kind of landmark album, which everyone talks about and when everyone talks about something, you know, I suppose you get prouder," McCartney said. "You know, it was a very specific period too, which was before you were born."

John Lennon and McCartney, who invented arena rock when they played to 55,000 at Shea Stadium in 1965, were self-taught.

"I've no idea about singing. I just love to sing," McCartney said. "Again, a rather boring answer. I wish I had some more medical details for you."

McCartney also doesn't read music.

"As long as the two of us know what we're doing -- i.e., John and I -- what chords we're playing and we remember the melody, then there's no need to write it down or to read it," he said.

The Beatles made it look effortless when they first hit American TV screens on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1964. McCartney still makes it look easy today.

Tonight in London, he will play a concert at a secret location to launch the new album.

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