McCartney Times

45 Years Ago: Paul McCartney Releases the Controversial ‘Give Ireland Back to the Irish’

45 Years Ago: Paul McCartney Releases the Controversial ‘Give Ireland Back to the Irish’

February 19
10:22 2017

In February 1972 Paul McCartney reacted to a horrific event by writing and releasing “Give Ireland Back to the Irish.” It seemed to be an act of honesty, but was there more to it?On Jan. 30, 1972, British soldiers shot 26 unarmed civilians in Derry, Northern Ireland, killing 13 on the scene. The incident, an extension of politico-religious tensions reaching back to the 17th century, became known as “Bloody Sunday” – tragically, the fourth violent event relating to Anglo-Irish relations to be given the name.Images from the scene, including that of Father Edward Daly waving a blood-stained handkerchief for a white flag as friends carried a dying man to safety, provoked horror and anger across the world. And in London’s Abbey Road Studios, it provoked Paul McCartney into an action that could have put his fledgling post-Beatles career on the line.His song “Give Ireland Back to the Irish” was written the next day, with assistance from wife Linda, then recorded by his band Wings the day after, and released four weeks later, on Feb. 25 (28 in the U.S.). Musically, it’s hardly groundbreaking. It might even pass for a pub rock band ditty, if it wasn’t for some of those impossible-to-ignore sparks of brilliance that demonstrate genius at work.But that wasn’t the point. The point was that McCartney was at the right place at the right time to be proactive about the horror, while many others could only feel helpless. His parents were of Irish origin and his home city, Liverpool, was a port center less than 140 miles from Dublin. He reflected in 2016: “Half of Liverpool comes from Ireland. That was the shocking thing – It felt like we were fighting us, an that we’d killed them, and it was all very visibly on the news.”Source: 45 Years Ago: Paul McCartney Releases the Controversial ‘Give Ireland Back to the Irish’

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Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

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