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CIRCA 1965: Rock and roll band "The Beatles" pose for a portrait in circa 1965. (L-R) Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Paul McCartney Says The Beatles Were Motivated by Fear of Boredom

The Beatles made some of the most memorable music of all time. It’s music people still listen to today, and surviving performers like Paul McCartney still play Beatles songs in concert. But the creation of that music might not have been as deep as fans imagine. McCartney said in a recent interview that they were just trying not to get bored.

.McCartney appeared in the Inside Out with Paul Mercurio podcast on Oct. 14. Discussing his career from The Beatles and on, McCartney explained his theory of avoiding boredom.

Potential boredom put more pressure on The Beatles and Paul McCartney than the fans or music industry

When The Beatles first began in the early 1960s, they wrote a lot of songs just so they would have a lot to choose from. In the process, they created a slew of classics.

“It wasn’t so much a pressure,” McCartney said on Inside Out. “It was kind of hard work. We played a lot. Being young guys, we didn’t want to get into something we were so bored with. So we actually would learn loads of songs just to stop from being bored. That all [kept] us in good stead when we came back to record. The man said, ‘Well, what do you want to do?’ We said, ‘I don’t know, take your choice from all of these.’”

Fear of boredom allowed Paul McCartney and The Beatles to take risks

The Beatles wouldn’t rest on their laurels once they became rock stars. They were always trying experiments like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. McCartney said avoiding boredom helped them grow confidence.

The thing is with everything we did, still with the stuff I do now, it was never really a conscious decision to do this or that. The whole thing is I’m just going to do it and see how it comes out. I think as you develop, at first you think okay, I’m just going to do it now. People are going to hear these songs so it better be something that relates to the audience. You worry more about that at the beginning. Once you go on a bit, you think well, I’ve kind of been there, done that and now I’ve sort of got that out of my sister. Maybe these people I’m writing for will accept something that’s a little out of left field. Let’s see. So you try it. You try a song and you then don’t worry about it being quite within the same parameters as it used to be. SO you try it and you play it for someone. If they go whoa, you really move it forward. And then you make the record. It kind of happens naturally. It was a natural development.

Avoiding boredom pushed the band forward

McCartney returned to the fear of boredom to explain The Beatles’ work ethic and experimental styles. He said they were just afraid they’d get stuck playing songs they didn’t like, so they tried things they would like more.

“We never wanted to be bored,” McCartney said. “The Beatles were just young guys. The worst thing would be we’d sit around and were really bored because we then would’ve had to consider whether we wanted to do this or not. The whole trick was always trying to not bore yourself or your audience or each other. I think that’s what brought about the natural development. You always wanted to show people the new trick.”

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