‘Like a Poacher Caught With a String of Salmon’

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A black and white picture of Linda and Paul McCartney. He has her arm around his shoulders and they both smile.

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Paul McCartney fell in love with Linda McCartney in LA, said a Beatles associate. Before this, he felt guilty about how she found him.

Shortly into his relationship with Linda McCartney, Paul McCartney asked her to visit him in Los Angeles. She agreed, though she didn’t tell McCartney. Therefore, when he walked through the door of his rented bungalow, he was surprised to see her there. She found him with an array of guests, which, according to Beatles associate Tony Bramwell, seemed to embarrass him.  

Paul McCartney hadn’t anticipated a visit by Linda McCartney

Before heading to LA for a sales convention, McCartney called Linda and asked if she wanted to fly out to visit him. She wasn’t home, though, so he left her a message and got on the plane without knowing if she was going to join him. 

McCartney stayed at a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel with Bramwell and his old friend, Ivan Vaughn. The three men were also, according to Philip Norman in the book Paul McCartney: The Life, “literally inundated with gorgeous young women competing for Paul’s attention.”

A black and white picture of Paul and Linda McCartney sitting together. He leans his head onto his fist and they both smile.
Paul and Linda McCartney | Bettmann/Contributor via Getty

After a day at the convention, McCartney returned to find Linda amongst the women at the bungalow.

“She was waiting for [Paul] radiantly, totally spaced out,” Bramwell said. “She had a joint in her hand and a beatific smile on her face.”

Bramwell said McCartney seemed abashed by the whole situation.

“Like a poacher caught with a string of salmon, Paul pretended they were not his catch,” Bramwell said of the other women in the house. “‘They’re all with Tony and Ivan,’ he said.”

Their time together still went over well

Though McCartney was embarrassed, Linda didn’t seem fazed by the situation. She happily walked off to speak with McCartney more privately. Still, Bramwell was close enough to watch sparks fly between the two of them.

“Then Paul detached himself from the circus surrounding him and took Linda aside,” Bramwell said. “As I looked across the room, I suddenly saw something happen. Right before my eyes, they fell in love. It was like the thunderbolt the Sicilians speak of, the coup de foudre the French speak of in hushed tones, that once-in-a-lifetime feeling.”

In 1969, McCartney and Linda married. They remained together until Linda’s death in 1998.

Paul McCartney was living with several women before meeting Linda McCartney

The LA bungalow was not the only space where McCartney spent time with large groups of women. According to McCartney’s friend and biographer Barry Miles, the Beatle lived with a rotating group of women in his London home.

“There were several semi-clad girls walking about the house,” Miles wrote in Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. “‘It’s terrible,’ he said, gesturing. ‘The birds are always quarrelling about something. There’s three living here at the moment.’ The jostling for position must have been something to see. ‘And there’s another one, an American groupie, flying in this evening. I’ve thrown her out once, had to throw her suitcase over the wall, but it’s no good, she keeps coming back.’ He gave a resigned look and laughed.”

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