Sir Paul McCartney almost quit The Beatles due to crippling stage fright

·2 min read
Inglewood, CA - May 13:  Paul McCartney performs during his Got Back tour at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Friday, May 13, 2022. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)
Paul McCartney performs during his Got Back tour, 2022. (Getty Images)

Sir Paul McCartney — who is celebrating his 80th birthday this weekend — very nearly gave up on his Beatles career.

We mean, imagine a world without The Beatles as we know them?

The rocker achieved international superstardom when the Liverpudlian four-piece shot to fame in the 1960s, but Paul admitted that he was so overcome with stage fright he considered quitting.

Asked by a fan on his website www.paulmccartney.com in 2017 what his biggest fear was, the star replied: “Performing, it was always the idea that the audience didn’t like you and you had to prove yourself.

Read more: Why Paul McCartney stopped signing autographs

“I think that’s why a lot of people get stage fright and get nervous. You think, ‘Oh my god, I’m gonna be terrible, they hate me, and it’s all terrible.’

The Beatles performing on stage, circa 1963. Left to right: Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison (1943 - 2001) and John Lennon (1940 - 1980). (Photo by King Collection/Photoshot/Getty Images)
The Beatles performing on stage, circa 1963. L-R: Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and John Lennon. (King Collection/Photoshot/Getty Images)

“And so I think that was one of the earliest fears. I remember nearly giving it all up when we were doing a concert in Wembley – which was a Poll-Winners concert – in the really early days of The Beatles.

“And I remember feeling physically sick with a knot in my stomach thinking, ‘I should give this up, this is just too painful, what am I doing?’ I got over it.

Read more: Why Paul McCartney had to deny that he'd died

“And as you can see I didn’t give it up! So that’s two different kinds of fears.”

We’re willing to bet that Paul is pretty glad that he didn’t give up now.

The Beatles, (L-R) George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon - performs on stage at NME Poll Winners Concert, Wembley Empire Pool, 21 April 1963. (Photo by Harry Hammond/V&A Images/Getty Images)
The Beatles, (L-R) George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon - performs on stage at NME Poll Winners Concert, 1963. (Harry Hammond/V&A Images/Getty Images)

The singer went on to admit that although he still has a bit of stage fright his nerves are a lot better, adding: “[I’m] not too bad. What I do is I always say to my promoter when a tour is coming up: ‘Put one show on sale and see how it goes’.

“And he’ll ring me back and say, ‘It’s sold out! Twenty minutes!’ So I’ve got to assume that they like me.

“So it gives you a confidence and I think I can probably relax, they probably like me. And it means you can enjoy the show more.”

Watch: Sir Paul McCartney's legacy at 80

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