© 2023 WYPR
20th Anniversary Background
WYPR 88.1 FM Baltimore WYPF 88.1 FM Frederick WYPO 106.9 FM Ocean City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Paul McCartney's "The Lyrics": A talk with editor/poet Paul Muldoon

Paul Muldoon by Beowulf Sheehan
Beowulf Sheehan/Liveright Books-W.W.Norton Publishers
Paul Muldoon is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish-American poet, playwright and educator. He edited and wrote the introduction to Sir Paul McCartney's new 2-volume book, "The Lyrics." (Paul Muldoon March 2020 Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan)

(The original broadcast of this program featured musical examples of Paul McCartney’s work. Due to copyright laws, we could not include them on this Webpost or on Midday's podcast. The audio we've posted contains the complete conversation between Tom Hall and Paul Muldoon.)

Rolling Stone Magazine called Paul McCartney's"Yesterday" “the best song of the 20th century.” It’s been covered and recorded by thousands of artists, and it is universally loved.

Paul McCartney wrote it in 1965, when he was 23 and in the middle of his stint with The Beatles. Sir Paul turns 80 in June, and he’s still writing, recording and performing. In a writing career that began in 1956, McCartney has written or co-written more than 400 songs. The lyrics to 154 of them are included in The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present,
a new, two-volume set of books that place the words to the songs next to McCartney's back stories for each of them.

Today on Midday, Tom's guest is the wonderful poet Paul Muldoon. Muldoon was tapped by Paul McCartney to help him with the book. Muldoon wrote an introduction, and edited conversations with McCartney into the essays that accompany each song.

Paul Muldoon is perfectly positioned to curate such a collection. He is a song lyricist himself, and a member of a band called Rogue Oliphant. He even teaches a course in songwriting at Princeton University, where he’s been on the faculty for 35 years.

He is also the author of 14 poetry collections and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize. His latest collection is called Howdie-Skelp. We’ll talk about that book as well later in the program.

Paul Muldoon joins us on Zoom from New York…

Stay Connected
Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Malarie is Midday's Supervisory Producer.
Rob is Midday's senior producer.