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Grammys 2012: Paul McCartney rehearses 'My Valentine'

February 11, 2012 |  1:18 pm

Paul McCartney
You could sense there was something special in the air at Saturday morning rehearsals for the 54th annual Grammy Awards, and with good reason --  Beatle Paul McCartney was in the house.

The final day of prep for the Sunday night awards show on CBS began with none other than McCartney, who did three run-throughs of his new song "My Valentine," a dreamy, bittersweet ballad. Diana Krall joined him on piano and Joe Walsh strummed guitar while, behind the three veteran artists, an entire orchestra gave body to the forlorn melody.

Afterward, Walsh sighed when he spoke of the song. "It's a beautiful song," the Eagles guitar hero said. "He wrote that for his wife. He just did an album of standards, something he wanted to do for a long time. It's a side of Paul we never really heard before. It's a side he never really heard before. He didn't know it was in him."

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Walsh (whose brother-in-law happens to be a fellow named Ringo Starr) has become friends with McCartney in recent years, and they have talked about the curious rhythms of genre experimentation.

"He was trying to sing these songs and he found that they are different. It's real easy to get Vegas, you know? But he got in there and found a style. And now we have a new side to Paul McCartney."

McCartney may be seeking his inner Cole Porter these days, but he's still in touch with his teenybopper heritage; at the end of the second take of "My Valentine" he curled his hands in front of him and, pressing his thumbs together, he made a heart symbol -- yes, that's right, the sweet salutation favored by modern-day moptop Justin Bieber.


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-- Geoff Boucher

Photo: Paul McCartney digs into his rock 'n' roll songbook at the Hollywood Bowl in 2010. Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times.