Saturday, April 18th saw The Beatles bassist and acclaimed solo artist Paul McCartney take part in the World Health Organization and Global Citizens‘ One World: Together At Home virtual benefit concert. Proceeds, which were raised before the event, benefitted the W.H.O.’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund as well as local and regional health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
Organized in part by Lady Gaga, the eight-hour broadcast saw performances by countless musicians including The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Alanis Morissette, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Lizzo, John Legend, Sam Smith, and many others.
After an introduction by co-host Jimmy Fallon, McCartney gave a short speech of his own:
Good evening. I’m very honored to be part of this program tonight that celebrates our true heroes, our health care workers all around the world. As this COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis, we have to all come together to fight it on a global scale. Let’s tell our leaders that they need to strengthen the health care systems all around the world so that a crisis like this never happens again. My mother Mary was a nurse and a midwife just after, and during, the second World War. So, for all the doctors, the nurses, and all the medical staff that keep us healthy: We love you. Thank you.
The camera then cut to McCartney sitting behind an organ as he jumped into the opening lines of “Lady Madonna”, originally released by The Beatles as a single on Parlophone Records in 1968. Like many of the songs performed during One World, “Lady Madonna” seemed to take on new meaning amid the pandemic we find ourselves navigating at the present moment. Lines like “Lady Madonna, children at your feet/ Wonder how you manage to make ends meet/ Who finds the money when you pay the rent?/ Did you think that money was heaven sent?” hit home and acted as a reflection on today’s crisis even though they were written over 50 years ago. As McCartney moves through the song, images of health care workers flash across the screen, reminding viewers of the true heroes he spoke of during the pre-song speech. Watch the moving performance below.
Paul McCartney – “Lady Madonna” – One World: Together At Home
[Video: Global Citizen]
Paul McCartney, like all other musicians, has recently had to cancel or postpone a slew of shows due to the ongoing pandemic, including his appearance at Glastonbury Festival. Because of the unknown duration of the pandemic, it is unclear when Paul’s shows will be rescheduled. Be sure to keep tabs on his website for the latest information and check out Live For Live Music‘s concert cancellation tracker for daily updates on shows around the globe.