Macca was among this year's Kennedy Center Honorees, all of whom have (ostensibly) distinguished themselves by "their lifetime of contributions to American culture." Included in this revered subset was Oprah (?), who idolized The Beatles as a youngster.
Two days before the ceremony, Oprah had confessed that, as a welfare kid living in a two-room flat in Milwaukee, the only decorations in her room were Beatles posters – and she loved Paul. Asked about the story during cocktail hour at the State Department, McCartney joked that she used that poster to control his mind.
"She told me that she would send me telepathic messages," he said. He paused, cocking his head. "I think she's sending one right now."
More details on the event are here:
The former Beatle was making his second visit to Washington this year for a culture award. In June, he won the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress.
"You know, great things just come in bundles," he said.
Gwen Stefani, dressed in a gray "Fab Four-style" pant suit, and her band, No Doubt, opened the musical set with "Hello, Goodbye." Dave Grohl and Norah Jones sang "Maybe I'm Amazed."
In what's perhaps a first, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler performed an "Abbey Road" medley live. Show producer George Stevens Jr. said The Beatles never performed it live after the recording was made.
"I've done a lot of things and been a lot of places," Tyler said. "But I've never been prouder than I am standing right here at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Abbey Road."
James Taylor and Mavis Staples closed out the show with "Let It Be" and "Hey Jude." They had McCartney — and the president — on their feet the entire time.
Afterward, Paul was interviewed and had this to say:
I must admit, someone had to tell me what an honor the Kennedy Center Honors were. Obviously, I would know it’s connected with President Kennedy. That’s an era and a president that we were fans of. You knew something was attached to it. But I had to be educated that this is the one, the big American honor.
It's a huge honor, it’s nice to get. I don’t think just 'cause I've had a few now -- I don’t think you get too blase. You still end up showing off to people. 'Oh yeah, I’m getting a Kennedy award. I just got a Gershwin.' I do show off about it. Obviously it means something.