The Beatles

Paul McCartney shares The Beatles’ near-death experience

Unfettered optimism was a key element to The Beatles‘ early struggles as an unknown rock and roll band trying to make it. Through their constant gigging in Germany to their notorious failed audition at Decca Records, the band encountered plenty of bad roads on their way to global success. John Lennon would speak of going all the way to the “toppermost of the poppermost”, rallying the troops for one more trip or one more gig. According to Paul McCartney, that bad road wasn’t always metaphorical.

During one of the band’s road trips in the early 1960s, McCartney explains how a broken windscreen during a snowstorm lead to one of the band’s most harrowing moments. Stuck on the side of the road, facing freezing conditions and an out of commission van, it was a bleak outlook for the pre-Fab Four. Even in the direst of situations, though, McCartney claimed that the band continued to stay positive.

“Out of that, though, I always thought it was one of the greatest mottos, which is like, we’re standing around, the four of us with the van out of commission and our roadie thinking, ‘Oh my god, how am I going to get this?’” McCartney recalled to NPR‘s Terry Gross earlier this year. “Because it was a slope that we’ve gone down. You couldn’t just drive the van back up the slope. We’re sitting around, and somebody said, ‘Well, what are we going to do now?’” he added.

“And then one of us, I can’t remember which, said, ‘Something’ll happen,’ and it was like, ‘Wow, that is the greatest quote ever!’ Because in life, when you’re facing these crazy things, something’ll happen, and it always seemed to console us. And I’ve told quite a few people since then, when you’re in your darkest moments, just remember that incredibly intelligent Beatle quote, ‘Something’ll happen.’”

This wasn’t the first time McCartney discussed this particular incident, although his prior recollection while speaking to Taylor Swift in during a Rolling Stone article was far more terrifying. “At one point, it slid off and it went down an embankment,” he said. “So it was ‘Ahhh,’ a bunch of yelling. We ended up at the bottom. It didn’t flip, luckily, but so there we are, and then it’s like, ‘Oh, how are we going to get back up? We’re in a van.”

McCartney continued: “We sort of went up the bank, we thumbed a lift, we got the lorry driver to take us, and Mal [Evans], our roadie, sorted the van and everything. So that was kind of our career. And I suppose that’s like how I ended up being a musician and a songwriter: ‘Something will happen.’” Luckily for McCartney, something did indeed happen for The Beatles.

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