In late 1969, Paul McCartney was reeling from the impending breakup of the Beatles. John Lennon had left the group, and while they’d kept it quiet, Paul packed up his family and retreated to a remote Scottish farmhouse. “He is not wanting to get out of bed and drinking way too much once he did get out of bed,” biographer Allan Kozinn tells Closer.
“He’s completely depressed. He had been in the Beatles his whole adult life. It was the only job he knew.” Suddenly, Kozinn says, “Paul had a lot of self-doubt.” It was the darkest time in Paul’s life to that point. “I didn’t know what to do at all,” the iconic singer recalled. “How could anything I do be as good as the Beatles?”
As he sunk into sadness, “that left [his wife] Linda with the job of trying to bring him back to life,” says Kozinn, coauthor of the new book The McCartney Legacy: Volume 1: 1969-73. “Linda’s got these two kids, and they’re in the middle of Scotland in a ramshackle farmhouse, and she’s trying to hold it all together.”
Fortunately, she succeeded. The pair had married in 1969, and their first of three girls, Mary, was born later that year. While Linda, a photographer and mother to 6-year-old Heather from a previous relationship, understood Paul’s distress, she brought a no-nonsense attitude to their new situation.
According to Kozinn, Linda told Paul, “Wait a minute. You’re one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century and you’re a great bass player, you have a voice that people will kill for, why is this a problem? Why can’t you just go out on your own?” Paul was worried, however, that he’d be blamed for the Fab Four’s breakup.
“I kind of bought into that a little bit,” he admitted later, “and although I knew it wasn’t true, it affected me enough to be unsure of myself.” Linda urged him forward. “Paul has an artistic side that isn’t levelheaded, and I like that,” Linda said. “His mind is amazing.”
Her dedication and his talent slowly revived his confidence. “He came back from that trip to Scotland with 1.5 songs to start his first solo album,” Kozinn says, although “it wasn’t until he was well into the middle of the album that he came up with ‘Maybe I’m Amazed.’ ”
Named one of the 500 greatest songs of all time by Rolling Stone, he wrote it, and many others, about Linda. “That was my feeling,” he said of “Amazed.” “Maybe I’m a man, and maybe you’re the only woman who could ever help me.”
As the album, McCartney, dropped in 1970 and he formed Wings, Paul still needed Linda’s support: “He wanted her to be in his band, and she wasn’t really a musician,” says Kozinn. “He wanted her with him all the time. They did everything together.”
Their partnership and marriage flourished for close to 30 years; Linda died of cancer in 1998. They had two more kids and were devoted parents.
Today, Paul, 80, is happily remarried to Nancy Shevell, 67, and is still going strong. He has released three albums since 2020 and continues to tour. “I’ve had a great time,” Paul said. “Even the bad times have turned out for the best in the end. I’ve got my family, my farm and my music. What else can a man ask for?”