Timothy White interviewed Paul McCartney, formerly of the Beatles, for a book and developed it into a radio program called “McCartney: The First 20 Years.” He asked the songwriter to explain his song “Band on the Run,” on the album of the same name.
“Well, at the time, bands like us and the Eagles were feeling like and being treated like outlaws and desperadoes, you know,” replied McCartney.
“I mean, people were getting busted for pot, that is. And that’s about all they were getting popped for: Never anything serious.
“And our argument was that we didn’t want to be outlaws. We just wanted to be part of the regular scene, you know, and make our music and live in peace. We didn’t see why we should be treated like criminals when all we wanted to do was smoke pot instead of hitting the booze.
“And that’s what the song was about; it was my reaction to that whole scene.”
“And the country judge who held a grudge will search forevermore for the band on the run.”
(From “The First 20 Years,” broadcast on KLSX 97.1 FM (Los Angeles) and other stations of the Westwood One radio network January 19, 1990.)
McCartney also wrote the famous line that got the song “A Day in the Life” banned from British radio: “Had a smoke. Somebody spoke and I went into a dream.” A vocal supporter of marijuana legalization, McCartney has repeatedly been arrested and was imprisoned for 10 days during a concert tour of Japan. The government canceled his tour and banned him from playing in that country, costing him millions of dollars. To his credit, he has continued to speak out for pot smokers.
Taken from “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” by Jack Herer.