Paul McCartney Letter to the 'Daily Mirror'
The Beatles don't need our new single, 'Real Love' to be a hit it's not as if our careers depend on it. We've done all right over the years, and if Radio 4 feels that we should be banned now it's not exactly going to ruin us overnight. But as see it, Radio 1 is part of the BBC, and the BBC is paid for by you and me.
OK, I can afford the license fee - can afford a good few dozen license fees - but from my time growing up in Liverpool I know that a lot of people have to work damn hard to find the cash. And if you're paying through hard graft for something, it's not such a crime to expect that, when you've handed over your pennies, you get what you want. If you shell out a couple quid for a beer, you expect a decent pint. But that doesn't seem to be the case with Radio 1. In a Mirror poll, 91% of readers said they wanted to hear 'Real Love' played on Radio 1. Is Radio 1 saying its judgment is better than almost all the British public? Is saying that all the people who bought the record and yesterday put it at No. 4 in its first week don't know what they like?
I can understand that Radio 1 just wants to be a young person's station. Fine. I have no problem with that. But it's not just young people who pay the license fee to pay Radio l's wages. People of all ages pay that fee, so how come they don't get a look in?
This whole issue about something being good because it's young - and not so good if it's not so young - is a weird one. You can't put an age limit on good music. Just because I don't suffer from teenage spots doesn't mean I can't play the guitar any longer. Are the records of Muddy Waters or B. B. King or Ray Charles no good because they're not wearing shorts to school? It's also very heartening to know that, while the kindergarten kings of Radio 1 may think the Beatles are too old to come out to play, a lot of younger British bands don't seem to share that view.
I'm forever reading how hands like Oasis are openly crediting the Beatles as an inspiration, and I'm pleased that I can hear the Beatles in a lot of the music around today. That's what matters most not the views of Radio 1.
It matters that you've passed your music on and that maybe it's helped to inspire or influence in some little way. Having taken a look at the picture of Trevor Dann, the guy who's stopped `Real Love' getting on the air, I must say I'm not surprised - I doubt if anything much would get past him. He looks like a teacher I once knew and I'd be very suspicious if he did play `Real Love'. He's no spring chicken either. The small group of people at Radio 1 who make these decisions say each record is judged on `artistic' merit? Who is the judge of that merit? Just them? As a business man, if Radio 1 bosses were working for me I'd also be a bit suspicious of how well this new Radio 1 and its artistic judgment - is doing.
To me, it doesn't look too clever to have lost five million listeners by not playing stuff they want to hear. If common sense and the view of the guy in the street had anything to do with it, you'd think they'd be playing for an audience, not against one. But is Radio 1 as important as it was? With all the commercial stations around now, perhaps it's Radio 1 that is past its time. As Ringo said to me about all this, who needs Radio 1 when you've got all the independent stations? But maybe they're right?
Perhaps the public doesn't know what it likes and needs to be told. Maybe the Beatles never knew anything much about music either. When you hear that all of a sudden you're not good enough for Radio 1 it's very heartening to learn that, in fact, you're more than good enough for 91% of the readers of the Daily Mirror. I was very pleased and encouraged to learn Mirror readers are behind the Beatles on this row with the BBC, because that's what matters. It means we're getting the people's vote and that was all that the Beatles ever were - the people's band.
We were only a bunch of scruffs from Liverpool.