Sunday, May 19, 2024

How Paul McCartney Was Lied to by Jann Wenner Over His Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction


There are many great stories in Joe Hagan’s “Sticky Fingers,” the biography of Rolling Stone and Rock Hall founder Jann Wenner. Almost none of them are good, which is no surprise.

One thing Hagan really details is Wenner’s sycophantic sucking up to the memory of John Lennon, and his Velcro-ing to Yoko Ono to win her favor. In the process, however, Wenner made an enemy of Paul McCartney by lying to him about the Rock Hall.

According to Hagan, Wenner slithered around Paul and Linda McCartney in the Hamptons, buddying up to them.Hagan says that to get to Paul he’d go through Linda, but that the couple always kept their distance from him.

“We didn’t really wanna hang with him,” McCartney told Hagan. “We’d make fun of him.”

Eventually, Wenner asked McCartney to induct Lennon– who’d been dead for 14 years– into the Rock Hall at the annual Waldorf Astoria ceremony. Hagan writes:

Wenner told him that if he agreed to induct Lennon, the Hall of Fame would induct McCartney the following year. And so McCartney inducted John Lennon in 1994, reading an open letter to him that recounted the highlights of their lives together.

But Wenner’s promise was a lie.

The next year, McCartney discovered that he was not in fact being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “I rang Jann and said, ‘I’m getting all the papers; I don’t appear to be in it. You fucking bastard,’ ” said McCartney. “We had a deal. A verbal contract that was not worth the paper it was written on. So that didn’t endear me to him.” (Wenner said he didn’t remember making such a deal.)

Wenner, in fact, then made McCartney wait four more years for his solo induction. By then Linda McCartney had died of breast cancer. Paul said at his acceptance: “She really wanted this,” holding up the trophy. Stella McCartney, their daughter, wore a T shirt that read “It’s about fucking time!”



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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