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Last Updated: Monday, 18 February 2008, 07:14 GMT
Sir Paul McCartney on Brits honour
Natalie Jamieson
Radio 1 Entertainment reporter

Paul McCartney and Natalie Jamieson
Natalie with Sir Paul McCartney

As a BBC journalist, everything I do should be fair and unbiased. I wholeheartedly subscribe to that - except I love The Beatles. And Johnny Depp. He's OK too.

The Beatles, rightly so I feel, earned their number one place in a 2004 Rolling Stone poll as The Greatest Artists of All Time.

Bearing that in mind, I was feeling a little intimidated about interviewing Sir Paul McCartney the week before his divorce hearing began.

The "H" word was not to be mentioned at all (while we ordinarily refuse any such interview conditions - there were legal implications regarding their 4-year-old daughter so it was deemed acceptable).

it's good to get any award, any time, any place, any where.

This was to discuss Macca getting the Outstanding Contribution honour at the Brit Awards 2008.

When I asked if the award means a lot to him, bearing in mind the Spice Girls beat him to it, he looks quizzical: "Have they? Wow."

Is he surprised by that? "No, I think it's deeply honourable."

'Euphemism'

Thankfully he's grinning: "No listen it's great, it's good to get any award, any time, any place, any where. Cinzano."

"It's not Lifetime Achievement, I try and avoid those because it feels like you're going to die the next second, so it's called Outstanding Contribution. It's a euphemism."

We meet at his personal office in central London - a suitably large room that has a huge desk/dining/meeting table, a couple of cream sofas, a kitchenette, some priceless art and an enormous picture of Rupert the Bear and friends.

He clearly harbours no bad feelings towards working with the cartoon bear on the Frog Chorus' We All Stand Together. It's reassuring.

So, can he pick out his highlights from the various stages of his career; Beatles, Wings and solo ventures.

Ringo Starr, John Lennon and Paul
Ringo Starr, John Lennon and Paul McCartney

"That's such a big question," he says. (I am aware of this but don't want to interrupt)

Collaborations

"I think The Beatles did so much good stuff and it's great because I don't have to be modest because it's done.

"And a lot of it wasn't my work, it was all collaborations. A Day in the Life was fantastic.

"I think Hey Jude was a cool record, there's so many, Come Together, Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, Here Comes the Sun, Lady Madonna."

"Wings I think did some really cool records. I think Band on the Run was really nice, I like My Love, Jet and some of the lesser known stuff from Wings is cool.

"And then from my solo stuff I've been very lucky and made one or two good records.

"I liked Chaos and Creation, I liked Pipes of Peace, I like Tug of War, I like my new album, Memory Almost Full. I'm very lucky."

Hand-picked

Sir Paul's pleased that Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne are hosting the Brits as it will be like "old mates" on stage.

If you do one of those duets, I'm not sure the audience likes them as much.

He won't reveal who's presenting his Outstanding Contribution prize but will say he hand-picked that person and they were his first choice.

As for what he'll be performing on the night; "When you do these shows people do say 'Oh, he'll pull something special out.'

"But it's like ten minutes so we'll just be doing a couple of hits." No duets then.

"I think if you do one of those duets, I'm not sure the audience likes them as much as you just doing one of your hits.

No duet rule

I think if I was watching the Rolling Stones, seeing Mick (Jagger) duet with Amy (Winehouse), it would be kind of interesting but I'd probably rather he did Satisfaction."

The photo's the last order of business and I even get a hug. As I leave I can't help unprofessionally blurting out how I'm pleased he didn't turn out to be a w***er.

Luckily Sir Paul laughs.

The Brit Awards take place on Wednesday 20 February at Earl's Court in London

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