McCartney Times

Paul McCartney and the Beach Boys: From Celery to LSD

Paul McCartney and the Beach Boys: From Celery to LSD

December 14
11:47 2016

Paul McCartney and the Beach Boys: From Celery to LSD
By: Brian McGuire

Paul McCartney made comments recently regarding his playing of celery on a 1967 Beach Boys song titled “Vegetables”. Such an unusual song comes with many questions from listeners. Here is what McCartney had to say in response to some of those questions.

PaulMcCartney.com: “Hi Paul, we’ve heard a story about you appearing on a Beach Boys song ‘playing’ a stick of celery. Is that true?”

Without hesitation, Paul went on to deliver the following reply.

Paul: “Yeah, that is true, yeah! I mean it was wild and wacky days, you know, and I just went round to the studio because they invited me. I just thought it would be fun to sit there and watch them record, ‘cause I’m a big fan. And so I was there, and then it was, I think, Brian who came over and said, ‘Oh Paul, got a favor to ask: would you mind recording something?’ I thought, ‘Oh, no! But great, I could do that!’ Oh God, I’m gonna be singing on a Beach Boys record or something, you know! I got a bit kind of intimidated and thought, ‘Okay, here goes nothing’. And they said, ‘Well, what we want you to do is go in there and just munch!’ …Well, I can do that! So, if you hear somebody munching celery, that’s me!”

Classic Paul, always willing to share a few words to make some people laugh. McCartney seemed very happy with the song, in fact, he seemed to truly love it. After playing the song once more, Paul continued to speak about the great beat, and what he thought truly made the piece special.

This story is much more interesting considering Paul has been a vegan since 1975, eight years after the release of this song. In a world where veganism can carry a negative and “uncool” stigma, Paul has not only made it cool but turned it into art. Paul advocates that you should eat plenty of vegetables, and skip eating meat at least one day out of the week to live a healthy lifestyle. When asked what his favorite vegetables are, McCartney said, “Do I have a favorite vegetable? I don’t know, broccoli came into my mind. And then sweet potato came into my mind too.”

Of course, McCartney does occasionally have the unhealthy snack, as he claims potato chips “come roaring in at number one!”

McCartney has a unique relationship with the Beach Boys. Before anything else, he is a gigantic fan of their music, going all the way back to their surf days. After a tumultuous recording process for the groundbreaking album Pet Sounds, Beach Boys bass player Bruce Johnston played the album for Paul and John Lennon. Not only did they make Bruce play the album twice, but the album inspired Paul to write the song “Here, There and Everywhere”. That track eventually made it onto Revolver, but the Beach Boys influence did not stop there. Beatles producer George Martin has stated that “Without Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper never would have happened. Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds.”

To take it even further, Brian Wilson recently stated that it was Rubber Soul that got the creative ball rolling. He said “Rubber Soul inspired Pet Sounds, which inspired Sgt. Pepper’s and that inspired me to make Smile.” This level of creative one-upmanship has never been matched. Paul has also stated in multiple interviews that “God Only Knows” is one of the greatest and most emotional songs ever written, and constantly praises Brian Wilson’s songwriting.

Mike Love, co-founder of “the Beach Boys,” was on the famed Beatles trip to India. While there, Love and musician Donovan would play Beatles songs, and the Beatles would play Donovan and Beach Boys songs. That, along with the various hallucinogenic drugs that were going around, makes it difficult to trace exactly what songs were influenced by the trip. It is said that, while in India, the Fab Four wrote eighteen songs for the White Album and two songs that would later appear on Abbey Road.

It is safe to say that if you’re listening to any Beatles or Beach Boys song after 1965, there are traces of the other band in the song. In a world of social media and 24-hours news, a creative competition like these two bands in the late 60s will likely never happen again. Instead of one-upping each other with diss tracks and Tweets, they did it with groundbreaking music.

 

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Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

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