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Paul McCartney Battled Booze Post-Beatles

The former Beatle says he abused alcohol after the band broke up, which hurt his songwriting.

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Yesterday: Sir Paul on stage at the Queen's
Jubilee Photo via

By May Wilkerson

06/05/12

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Sir Paul McCartney says he turned to alcohol in the '70s to cope with the demise of The Beatles—and as a result, he went through a creative dry spell. The singer/songwriter began to abuse booze during the band's last years. "The Beatles, towards the end, was very constricting," he says. "You were in a corporate world suddenly. It's not what you get into music for…and it got very heavy… So I think I was just trying to escape in my own mind." Even though The Beatles are thought to have touted drugs in many of their song lyrics, such as "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (LSD), McCartney claims he and John Lennon were "very straight when we wrote, and it was normally in the middle of the day when you had your wits about you." But after the band broke up, he began drinking in the studio. "I'd be getting like 'Heeyyyy, nice and fuzzy' and it's not a good thing to write," he says. Evidently he was able to regain his creativity; he went on to sell over 100 million albums and 100 million singles, and to be named "The Most Successful Composer and Recording Artist of All Time" by the Guinness Book of World Records. McCartney, who turns 70 in a few weeks, says he's long since given up his booze habit—although he continued to get high with a little help from his friend, marijuana, well in to the 21st century. "I smoked my fair share," he recently told Rolling Stone. But he vowed to give up pot for the sake of his 8-year-old daughter, Beatrice. McCartney was in top form last night at Buckingham Palace, performing for British royalty alongside the likes of Elton John and Tom Jones in celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

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