I can’t help myself.
Every time I encounter yet another gushing media tribute to the latest commentary from Paul McCartney, I’m visualizing former SNL cast member Dana Carvey doing his spot-on impression of the iconic musician-composer turned vegetarian huckster.
(Check out the video here and tell me I’m not wrong).
Now, Sir Paul has outdone even his own overblown pronouncements about how the rest of us are supposed to arrange our lifestyles. He announced in a lengthy interview in the UK newspaper The Telegraph that “Meat-free is the new rock ’n roll.”
The comment appeared in conjunction with National Vegetarian Week, as McCartney waxed ridiculous on the 25th anniversary of the launch of the veggie entrée line marketed by his late wife Linda McCartney.
We seriously need to qualify that statement.
Paul McCartney, for all his formidable talents as a composer, arranger, musician and entertainer — he was one-half of the all-time most creative songwriting team in pop music history — cannot claim any connection to the legacy of rock ’n roll, nor can the rest of the Beatles, nor can any of the other bands that were part of the so-called “British Invasion” of the mid-1960s.
While the Beatles certainly recorded their share of early rockabilly and Motown classics (“Rock and Roll Music,” “Please Mr. Postman” and “Twist and Shout,” the latter a No. 1 single penned by Phil Medley in 1961 and subsequently covered by everyone from The Who to the Isley Brothers to Ferris Bueller), McCartney, et al., were neither contributors to nor pioneers in the rock genre.
But speaking of pioneers, here’s who McCartney is now claiming to be the originator of the vegetarian movement into which he continually inserts himself as guru and champion: Linda McCartney.
“[Linda] very much started the vegetarian movement,” he explained in a video accompanying the interview, noting that it wasn’t easy going veggie back in the 1970s.
“You wouldn’t have believed it,” he said. “We’ve forgotten how alien a meat-free diet seemed to most people in the last millennium. These days, vegetarians have never had it so good.”
Truckers Were the Target?
That wasn’t always the case, as he recalled about his early days as head of a family of confirmed veggies.
“Driving up the motorway, we wanted a snack, and we’d pull in the Fortes filling station,” he said, “and it was ham sandwiches all round.”
Doesn’t sound so bad, but apparently it was hell on earth for the McCartneys as they traveled England’s backcountry.
Thus, it makes sense, as Paul and Linda’s daughter Stella explained in the video, that the first vegetarian products introduced under the Linda McCartney Foods brand connected with that formative experience.
“She launched her foods with the truckers on the M-40 motorway (see the publicity photo below from that PR event),” Stella said, “and they loved them!”
Really? Take a look at the guy on the far right. His reaction doesn’t convince me he’s ready to embrace the vegetarian lifestyle; he looks like a lot of people do when they first bite into a veggie patty masquerading as a hamburger.
But connecting “meat-free” with rock ’n roll isn’t the most outrageous statement the newspaper quoted McCartney pronouncing.
Along with his fond hope that Linda McCartney Foods will “spread everywhere in the world” (cha-ching!), he offered a bold prediction that rivaled his former bandmate John Lennon’s hubris in claiming that “[The Beatles] are more popular than Jesus Christ.”
Sir Paul ended the interview by proclaiming that, “In 25 years, vegetarian food will be the norm.”
I only hope I’m still alive in 2043 to take issue with him on that flight of fantasy.
Editor’s Note: The opinions in this commentary are those of Dan Murphy, a veteran journalist and commentator.