In the latest example of podcast-to-broadcast, iHeartMedia classic rock, classic hits and oldies stations will broadcast "McCartney: A Life in Lyrics,'' Sunday mornings from Oct. 8 through Dec. 24. The radio specials are repurposed from a new two-season podcast series from Pushkin Industries and iHeartPodcasts based on interviews with rock legend Paul McCartney conducted by poet Paul Muldoon for the bestselling book, “The Lyrics: 1965 to Present.”
McCartney sat down with Muldoon for the podcast series that launched Wednesday, dissecting the people, experiences, and art that inspired McCartney’s songwriting. McCartney: A Life in Lyrics is the result of more than 50 hours of recorded conversations that McCartney and Muldoon had during the past several years as the two collaborated on “The Lyrics: 1965 to Present,” which looked at 150 songs in McCartney’s songbook.
“It took us a long time to go through the songs that we included in the book, and we recorded many hours of conversations drawing on details from McCartney’s memory and hidden meanings from the music,” says Muldoon, who says they never thought anyone would hear the tapes, which include doorbells, teacups, and other background sounds as they freely chatted. “When we listened back to the tapes, we realized there was something very special happening in these conversations – they were in a sense of oral history of popular music,” Muldoon says. “It was McCartney unfiltered.”
The podcast spans two seasons and 24 episodes, each focusing on one song from McCartney’s iconic catalog – spanning early Beatles through his solo work. The second set of a dozen episodes will be released in February 2024.
“I wanted to become a person who wrote songs and wanted to be someone whose life was in music,” McCartney says in the show’s preview. He says that the tapes offered him a peek back at his own history. “It was like going back to an old snapshot album, looking back on work I haven’t thought much about for quite a few years,” McCartney says. He says things “slip out” into his lyrics like they might during a session with a psychologist.
Muldoon says McCartney has long resisted writing an autobiography, saying the time was never right. But he believes his song lyrics come close, offering insights into how he, like the poet, began their life in black and white and saw the world turn to Technicolor around them.
“Paul McCartney is one of the most groundbreaking, gifted artists of all time, and his songs have elevated and given meaning to so many moments in so many of our lives – so the chance to launch a podcast that tells the stories behind those songs … it’s a once-in-a-lifetime project,” said Conal Byrne, CEO of iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group.