Paul McCartney's chat-up technique got him a writing credit on a Drake song


When Paul McCartney and John Lennon were youngsters – long before The Beatles were a fully-fledged band – they used their talents to get girls. While Lennon was at college he brought his secondary school pal, Macca, to art parties, where he would don a persona to entice women into speaking with him.

Looking back on the scenario, McCartney recalled Lennon’s art tutor Austin Mitchell. “He used to throw some pretty good all-night parties,” he explained.

McCartney cheekily remembered the real reason he was there. He said: “You could maybe pull girls there, which was the main aim of every second; you could get drinks, which was another aim; and you could generally put yourself about a bit.”

And the way he “pulled” girls was by putting on a persona. He said: “I remember sitting around there and my recollection is of a black turtleneck sweater and sitting very enigmatically in the corner, playing this rather French tune [on guitar]. I used to pretend I could speak French because everyone wanted to be like Sacha Distel.”

Years later, in 1965, Lennon remembered this tune and was eager to breathe new life into it.

Lennon asked McCartney: “D’you remember that French thing you used to do at Mitchell’s parties? Well, that’s a good tune. You should do something with that.”

McCartney explained: “We were always looking for tunes because we were making lots of albums by then and every album you did needed fourteen songs, and then there were singles in between, so you needed a lot of material.”

Eventually, the pair worked on his French persona song enough that it became the track, Michelle.

Michelle was released as a single in December 1965, and was included on the band’s sixth album, Rubber Soul. 56 years later, Drake used a large chunk of Michelle in Champagne Poetry, the opening track of his sixth album, Certified Lover Boy.

READ MORE: The Beatles were rejected by film director over song use

McCartney recalled: “I said: ‘I like the name Michelle. Can you think of anything that rhymes with Michelle, in French?’ And she said: ‘Ma belle.’ I said: ‘What’s that mean?’ ‘My beauty.’” “That’s good,” McCartney said. “A love song, great.”

Jan taught McCartney some more French to go with ma belle (“Sont les mots qui vont très bien ensemble”) before writing the rest of the song.

Michelle ended up being quite profitable for Jan, as well, many years later.

McCartney revealed: “Years later I sent her a cheque around. I thought I better had because she’s virtually a co-writer on that. From there I just pieced together the verses.” McCartney and the Lennon estate likely received their own royalties from Drake for starring in the Canadian’s track, which reached number three in charts around the world.



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