Why Paul McCartney Couldn’t Recognize the Rihanna Song He Co-Wrote

by Jeremy Spirogis
Rihanna and Kanye West with Paul McCartney

If you go by industrial attraction, Paul McCartney is well essentially the most profitable songwriter in historical past. Between his time in The Beatles and his post-1970 work, McCartney has racked 32 No. 1 hits on the Billboard pop charts. John Lennon (26 No. 1 hits) falls in closest behind him.

The Lennon-McCartney alliance may not maintain these marks perpetually. Max Martin, the 49-year-old writer-producer who’s labored with the likes of Katy Perry, Britney Spears, and Taylor Swift, has posted 23 No. 1 hits. (His scored his newest with The Weeknd in 2020.)

But of all of the 21st-century pop stars Martin has labored with, he nonetheless has one performer on his wishlist: Rihanna. After successful his ninth songwriter-of-the-year award in 2016, Martin mentioned he’d prefer to work with Rihanna greater than anybody else on the scene.

McCartney, who’s all the time been as much as collaborate with scorching pop stars of the day, already did that. In 2015, a music he co-wrote with Kanye West shot up the Billboard charts on the energy of Rihanna’s vocal. That got here as a shock to McCartney, who didn’t acknowledge his contribution to the monitor.

Paul McCartney and Kanye West had a productive songwriting session in 2014

Rihanna and Kanye West with Paul McCartney
Rihanna, Paul McCartney, and Kanye West attend the GRAMMY Awards on February 8, 2015. | Mark Davis/WireImage

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You might name the highway to McCartney’s collaboration with Rihanna lengthy and winding, should you favored. It started with a songwriting session McCartney had with Kanye in 2014. The two truly met in secret, pondering they’d simply neglect about it if it didn’t produce something.

But it produced loads. McCartney bought a co-writing credit score (together with Kanye and three others) and “featuring” billing on the 2014 Kanye monitor “Only One.” That music started with with McCartney telling Kanye how he wrote “Let It Be” after his late mom got here to him in a dream.

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However, on the session with Kanye, McCartney wasn’t certain in the event that they’d gotten anyplace with the “Only One” monitor. “I sat down at this little Wurlitzer keyboard and started playing some chords, and he started singing,” McCartney instructed Billboard in 2019.

McCartney puzzled the place the 2 would possibly take it from there. “I thought, ‘Oh, are we going to finish this?’ but that was that,” McCartney recalled. “And it became ‘Only One.’” Something comparable occurred with “FourFiveSeconds,” a No. three hit the pair had with Rihanna in 2015.

McCartney didn’t acknowledge himself due to a key change on the Rihanna collaboration ‘FourFiveSeconds’

Rihanna and musician Paul McCartney carry out onstage throughout The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards. | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Though “Only One” is “featuring Paul McCartney,” many listeners may not realize it in the event that they solely heard it. McCartney is aware of that feeling properly. In reality, he mentioned he didn’t acknowledge himself on the music that finally turned “FourFiveSeconds.”

“I was sitting around, just strumming a little groove,” he instructed Billboard. “Nobody said, ‘Let’s make a song of that.’ But months later I got a song with Rihanna on it and I said, ‘Where am I?’” After producers modified the important thing of his guitar half, he couldn’t acknowledge his personal contribution.

McCartney didn’t thoughts a bit. “It’s this modern process that I was happy to open myself up to,” he instructed Billboard. “You’ve got loads of stuff, and the skill is to distill it.” As for “FourFiveSeconds,” he agreed with the listeners who made the monitor successful. “I thought that record was great,” McCartney mentioned.

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