Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale

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The right Linda

Joan May on Linda McCartney


I wrote a slightly different version of the following in 12/97 for Al Kooper's Folder on AOL. Al had a blond girlfriend named Linda in the 70s and someone confused her with Linda McCartney, leading to some joking around about Linda M, which I admit I had also done in the past. But I had recently seen a PBS interview with Paul, which reminded me of other anecdotes I had read about Linda, and I had begun to realize how much of an asset she was to Paul how she helped prevent some of the tragic events that happened to other rock musicians, including Kooper, PH and MF and so I posted accordingly, entitling my post 'The Right Linda.' I later posted another variant to the PH Email List.

As I was writing I feared in the back of my mind that my article might turn out to be a eulogy, and when it sadly did, I re-wrote it for that purpose, posting it in various places, and also sending it to an email address I got from a website supposedly to Paul McCartney but of course who knows if he'll read it? I hope he does. jm


Subject: Procol Harum Fan mourns Linda McCartney: Date: 22 Apr 1998 04:04:07 GMT

Condolences from the AOL Procol Harum Board to Paul McCartney, his family and all the fans, on the loss of the wonderful Linda. I read in a PM biography that he and Linda first met at a club while listening to and marveling at A Whiter Shade of Pale, so I feel a special connection with the two of them. I also see some amazing parallels between Paul's experiences in the Rock world and those of some members of Procol Harum, and it may be apparent whose Linda I wish had been more like Paul's in the late 60s.

I've only recently come to realize what a very exceptional person Linda was, and how aside from being the loving wife, mother, activist, etc. she fulfilled a very important role which enabled Paul to create his music without being exploited and victimized the way so many other musicians have been some members of Procol Harum in particular. What first made me aware of this is a bio of the Rolling Stones that I read years ago. My memory is hazy on the details, but I remember an incident where Paul had just written a song and lent a tape of it to someone in the Stones (Mick I think); he had been asking for it to be returned and kept getting put off until Linda intervened going over to (probably) Mick's house, Demanding that tape and not leaving until she got it!

Later Paul was asked why he put up with a 'bitch' like Linda, and he said something to the effect that she may be a bitch, but that she was the only woman he'd ever met who Really cared about his interests and was willing to go to bat for him. I'm paraphrasing he said it so much better. He's also told the story in a recent TV interview of how he was Despondent about the Beatles breaking up and was on his way to becoming a classical Depressive not getting out of bed, etc, until Linda came up with the idea of his starting his own band.

And she came out on the road with him (bringing the kids I believe), instead of sitting home watching soap operas with her friends and fuming about all the women Paul must be schmoozing with on the Road.. I think she joined Wings, not because she thought she was a great musician but rather to lend moral support onstage to Paul who has said that he was very uneasy about fronting his own band. Also again, I'm inferring from what I've read she and her father had good business savvy and helped extricate Paul from the horrendous business deals his scumbag former managers had gotten him into.

I've been so saddened reading on these Message Boards about the shabby way musicians have been treated by The Music Business and sometimes also by their fellow bandmates. Musicians are often naive about business, and too busy making their music to take an interest in it.. So they hire managers to handle it for them, and more often than not, those managers turn out to be scumbags who rob the musicians Blind. If a musician is fortunate to have a spouse who's intelligent and ethical enough to fulfil that management role correctly so much the better. And if more touring musicians were able to have their families accompany them on the Road, as Paul enjoyed, thanks to Linda, we'd probably see a lot less physical and mental carnage in the Rock community. So for the past few months, since I realized all of the above, Linda McCartney has been on my short list of Rock heroes.

RIP, Lovely Linda.


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