“To understand the second half of the 20th century, you have to understand The Beatles”: Paul McCartney podcast editor on the legacy of the Fab Four

McCartney: A Life In Lyrics is a product of hundreds of hours of audio unpacking the songs that defined Macca’s career, from The Beatles, to Wings and beyond.

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Paul McCartney’s new podcast A Life in Lyrics is on the way, and executive producer Justin Richmond has revealed what went into condensing the hundreds of hours of recordings between McCartney and biographer Paul Muldoon into 12 hours of audio content.

For context, the podcast is a product of the hundreds of hours of audio captured in the writing of the book The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, which was published in 2021, unpacking the songs that defined McCartney’s career, from The Beatles to Wings and beyond.

Understandably, turning all that audio into a 12-hour podcast was not an easy feat.

In an interview with The Verge, executive producer of the podcast Justin Richmond explains how they approached the massive amounts of audio.

“One of the hardest parts about editing, almost carving tape, is that you’re very aware when you’re listening to tapes from, say, a president or a head of state,” he says.

“This is Paul McCartney – and to understand, culturally, the second half of the 20th century, and I would argue the first 23–24 years of the 21st century, you have to understand The Beatles.

“The hard part of editing him was that you almost wanted to treat it like an archive. As a storyteller, because it’s a historical person, you want to save everything. But obviously, we have a mission to tell the most interesting story possible.

“So having gone through hours and hours of tapes, we realized we couldn’t follow every tangent, and we couldn’t, like the book did, really drill down what the lyrics meant for a particular song.”

McCartney: A Life in Lyrics is scheduled to launch 20 September on all streaming platforms.


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