Everyone is buzzing about Paul McCartney turning 80 this weekend – and how he’s still crushing it onstage. Sir Paul deserves his victory lap, even if tickets are outrageously expensive.
So, let’s celebrate Sir Paul with a story about the side of him that people don’t see…his humanity.
While living in Seattle, I ran an insanely fun radio station while serving on the board for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Those worlds collided when I was introduced to Kelley, a 19 year-old woman who’d been diagnosed with brain cancer. I learned that her dying wish was to meet Paul McCartney. As a dad of healthy kids, I was determined to help Kelley, if I could.
Turns out that Paul’s upcoming tour would be stopping and Seattle. So, I called MPL Management and requested a meet & greet for Kelley. After several tries, I was politely told “Sorry, no. Paul hasn’t played in the U.S. since John Lennon’s murder. So, he’s keeping it low key and not meeting anyone.”
Perfectly understandable. But I could hear the dejection in Kelley’s voice.
So, I gave it one more shot and appealed to Paul McCartney, the father of a 19 year-old daughter named Stella. Imagine if she had months to live and just wanted to meet her hero.
The next day, Paul agreed. But, he insisted that nobody can know. This would be a private moment, not a media circus.
On the day of the concert, Kelley, her mom & I were escorted backstage into Paul’s green room. Within moments, Paul pulled back the curtain, walked right up to Kelley and opened his arms for a big hug. They talked and laughed for a half-hour. I glanced over at Kelley’s mom who had tears streaming down her face.
Then, Paul stood up, posed for pictures and said, ‘Oh, we’re not done yet.’ He grabbed Kelley’s hand and marched us to the front row of the empty Kingdome. Paul jumped onstage and played a few songs for Kelly and winking at her as he sang. Then, he hopped down and led us to the merchandise table whee Paul loaded her up with armloads of swag and VIP concert tickets for that night.
More hugs, more smiles – and in a flash, Paul was gone. I kept this secret for 20 years until I wrote about it in my book. Here’s more of the story. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RG87mxbL3x0&list=PL13q1m8qiH9LsoBoiNxY8VXrP_7MpDK22&index=3