Paul McCartney said he thought of Marilyn Monroe when contemplating being famous

Paul McCartney and The Beatles
Paul McCartney and The Beatles / Hulton Archive/GettyImages

Paul McCartney has lived in the spotlight for more than six decades. He was a Beatle for only one. Yet, Paul was hesitant when The Beatles were on the brink of becoming famous. He thought about what happened to actor Marilyn Monroe.

Paul McCartney said not being famous was 'nerve-wracking'

During an interview with Esquire, Paul admitted that he remembered what it was like before he was famous. He said it was "nerve-wracking."

"You can't get in any clubs, you can't pull any birds," Paul said. "It's all very nerve-wracking. You don't have any money. No! I can remember it. School, growing up in Liverpool. I remember a lot of being a kid. And then starting off with The Beatles, trying to get famous, writing letters, 'Dear Sir, we are a semi-professional rock combo. We think we're very good. We've got a future…'"

Soon all of The Beatles' work started paying off. Paul and the band had to make sure being famous was what they truly wanted.

Paul said he thought of Marilyn Monroe when The Beatles started getting famous

The "My Love" singer said fame was all it was cracked up to be. He said part of what fame is cracked up to be is "difficult as well as great." Paul and the band were "warned" of that, so they knew what to expect.

Knowing what to expect from fame, Paul had to decide quickly. The Beatles were gaining traction by the day. Did he want to be famous? Or should he turn back before things got too serious? For some reason, Marilyn Monroe came to mind.

"I remember making a very conscious choice: 'OK, we're getting really famous now, you've got to decide, whether or not to go for it.' For some reason Marilyn Monroe came into my mind. Like: this could be horrible," Paul said.

"It was actually after a trip to Greece. We weren't famous in Greece, and I'd hung out with the hotel band and was chatting to them: 'I'm in a band, too, you know? We're called The Beatles.' And I got a glazed look from them.

"I thought, 'This is OK, if the fame gets too much we can always come to Greece.' Then, of course, the next year it was like, 'Oh, no, you're famous in Greece, too. Oh, God.' And I remember thinking, 'Do you want to do this or don't you?' And it was, 'I like it too much to stop.'"

Paul has felt the ups and downs of fame

Once Paul and the rest of The Beatles chose to proceed, there was no turning back. They chose it. That's why Paul can't get mad at it. That doesn't mean he doesn't hate when fame goes wrong.

For instance, when The Beatles broke up in 1970, his fame became a nightmare. He wanted to escape, but he created it. "That's when the difficulty kicks in," he said.

Ultimately, Paul doesn't mind the attention. He said, "I have a joke with my daughter Mary: sometimes I won't be in a great mood and we'll go somewhere and the people will be all over me and she'll turn to Nancy and say, 'He likes a bit of adulation. It cheers him up,' and the thing is, yep, that is true."

Paul admitted that he has always been trying to win people's approval. "When you get it, it seems a shame to me to go, oh, s***," Paul said. "To me it's like, this is what I wanted. I do like it, I must say.

"The attention's never really bothered me. I've always thought, 'OK, you're famous, you've chosen that path. You can't blame anyone else.' As long as you're enjoying it that's good. And when it goes wrong you're just going to have to deal with it."

We're glad Paul has remained comfortable living in the spotlight. He understands what it's about and deals with it in his own way. He could've saw fame as bothersome and retreated from it entirely, almost like his fellow Beatle, George Harrison.

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