Paul McCartney recently discussed a death bed remark from his mother inspiring one of The Beatles’ greatest songs in a new Instagram Live Q&A with Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien. Paul McCartney ‘Slept In Bed’ With The Beatles Icon.
“I had a dream about my mother, who had died when I was probably about 10,” says McCartney. “I was a bit shocked… because here I was in the same room with this woman I love, and she said to me ‘don’t worry, it’s gonna be okay.’ She said, ‘Just let it be,’ and I woke up. It’s really magical.”
McCartney recently discussed a fan favorite song in an official website Q&A.
PaulMcCartney.com: In the song ‘Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey’ you sing ‘I had a cup of tea and a butter pie’. Firstly, what is a butter pie? And is there a meaning behind ‘the butter wouldn’t melt so I put it in the pie’?
Paul: No, there’s no meaning behind it. Because I like surrealist art, I also like surrealist words. A great example of this is Lewis Carroll writing Alice in Wonderland – it’s a crazy thing, you’ve got a cat sitting in a tree that grins and talks, and you’ve got Alice falling down a hole and meeting the red queen, and so on. That whole tradition was something that I loved, and when I met John I learned that he loved it to. So, it was something that became a bond between us.
I’d always liked writing love songs, ballads, and rock ‘n’ roll songs, but then one of my other little side interests was to invent surrealist stuff. Admiral Halsey was someone I’d read about – he’s a character from American history – and I just liked the name. I was playing around with that and making up a fictional story, and I just ran into the words ‘and butter pie’. Well, there’s no such thing as a butter pie, that I’ve ever heard of anyway. So, it was a surrealist image, like in surreal art where you have a thing called a ‘hair cup’, which is just a cup that’s made out of fur. You wouldn’t think to drink from it, it’d be disgusting, but as an image it’s interesting and shocking. ‘Butter pie’ is that kind of equivalent, but in a song.
I kept with that image and thought, by way of a surreal explanation, ‘the butter wouldn’t melt so I put in a pie’. I was very into surrealism at that particular time, so I wrote songs like ‘Monkberry Moon Delight’ which is again totally surreal. The word ‘monkberry’ actually came from our kids! That was how they said milk when they were little – ‘can I have some monk?’ – you know, in the way that kids get funny names for things. So, ‘Monkberry Moon Delight’ to me was like a milkshake!
I haven’t done that recently – maybe it’s time to go back to it? It was just a thing that I liked doing, because it was fun and not too serious. If you’re not in the mood for writing a love song then it’s not wise to try and write one, but you might be in the mood to write something a little crazy.