Even after 50 years in the music business, Paul McCartney is here, there, and everywhere.* It is easy to underestimate the man’s influence on pop culture. I’m a big fan and even I have underestimated his influence and just overall ubiquity.
I didn’t take notice of Paul McCartney’s presence everywhere until I had kids. As one might imagine, McCartney’s music occasionally gets heard in the car and in the house. Little kids have no frame of reference for what is going on in pop culture. They hear me talk about a Paul McCartney song, and it’s something new and current to them.
However, my low-grade indoctrination has been significantly enabled by basically finding the guy everywhere. We have been to restaurants on numerous occasions and hear McCartney songs. I usually point it out when it happens. We have watched TV and there he is singing a new song and there he is jamming with Bruce Springsteen or playing “Band On The Run” with Dave Grohl.
“Hey there’s Paul McCartney on TV”.
Both of my kids enjoy the short animated videos Paul made available as The McCartney Animation Collection nearly a decade ago. Of course I have it because I’m a fan. However, the kids don’t like everything. But they do like, dare I say “love”, the animated short Tuesday with all of the frogs flying around. And for all the critical drubbing “We All Stand Together” gets, both the song and the “Rupert And The Frog Song” video are popular with my kids.
We heard “The Girl Is Mind” at a store, and I pointed out that it was Paul again, singing with Michael Jackson. The same thing happened with Stevie Wonder. The impression the kids seem to be getting is that Paul McCartney is everywhere.
And that doesn’t include the Beatles, who we hear all the time as well. “Hey, it’s Paul with the Beatles singing “Hello Goodbye” on the intercom at Burger King.” Or “Paul is singing this one with John Lennon”.
Note: The kids also think Harry Nilsson is a current artist. My daughter likes “Coconut” and “The Puppy Song”. She has no idea those songs were popular even before I was born (or quite nearly). Harry doesn’t show up as much in as many random places, however, so his presence doesn’t appear to be as consuming.
We were watching Chris Farley clips the other day (mostly for his Matt Foley “living in a van down by the river” sketches) and came across his SNL interview of McCartney in which he asks whether “the love you make is equal to the love you take” is “true”. Again, Paul just seems to pop up randomly as if he’s part of everything somehow.
The kids will eventually figure out that McCartney is now an old guy, and that his music isn’t popular really. The ages 3-7 are “magic years” for kids, in which they don’t have any idea how big the world is or how things are connected.
Nonetheless, whereas I used to simply notice things, or notice and then ignore, now I’m somewhat vigilantly paying attention to what is going on, just to fill the kids in on some fun things. Consequently, I noticed that Paul is still a fairly large figure in pop culture, regardless of who else is popular – Kardashians, Bieber, or otherwise.
McCartney’s work and persona is embedded into the larger “culture” just as Elvis (in a different way), or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, or Spiderman, or Star Wars.
* I sincerely apologize for the use of this most obvious pun, cliche, whatever…