PAUL McCARTNEY IN WARSAW - 1976, 1978
My interest in Paul McCartney's music has its roots in St Augustine's Secondary School which I was attending from 1976 to 1980. This school, founded in 1949 in Warsaw, was the first Catholic, non-monastic secondary school for boys in post-war Poland. It was called "the best secondary school behind the Iron Curtain". Indeed it represented the Western standards while the First Secretary of the Communist Party was ruling Poland. My secondary school had its own swimming pool, an astronomical observatory and extended course in English - seven hours per week! But first of all St. Augustine's School was a real enclave of intellectual and artistic freedom in the middle of Communist Poland. In April 1978 our school theatre staged fragments of a famous Webber & Rice rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar". Owing to attempts made by our school catechist Rev. Mieczyslaw Suwala the school rock band was created in 1970. I joined it in September 1976 introduced by my classmate Michal (Michael) Wojciechowski. He was taller than me and wearing glasses he resembled John Lennon a bit. Nevertheless from the very start both of us regarded Paul McCartney as the best rock musician in the world. Michael, who had joined the band a few weeks earlier, was impressed by the fact that I knew all words of Paul McCartney's "Yesterday" and I could sing it! That's why I was accepted. In Poland we celebrate the Teacher's Day on 14th of October and on that occasion in 1976 I sang "Yesterday" in front of the school audience, supported by our rock band. Later this title - "Yesterday" became my "artistic" nickname. Older schoolboys used to call: "Hello 'Yesterday' - please come to our class and sing something for us". Since it all happened in the Catholic school. to me it was never rock n roll against religion. We performed mainly religious repertoire at the school Holy Masses including so called steady parts of the mass. I was singing two of them - "Kyrie" and "Agnus Dei" recreating melody lines from the legendary (and pioneer and unique in Communist Poland) beat mass "The Lord Is My Ally" (196 by Katarzyna Gartner and the Red-Blacks ensemble. Our performances and rehearsals were taking place in a big hall on the first floor. The artistic adviser of our rock band was an eccentric jazz musician Ryszard Skrzypczak, later replaced by Adam Lojek. On 13th of October 1978 - again on the occasion of the Teacher's Day - I sang Paul McCartney's "Things We Said Today" and John Lennon's "It's Only Love" in front of the school audience. I remember learning the latter song never hearing the original Beatles version before - only on the grounds of how Michael played it to me. On 25th of November 1978 at the class discoteque (organized in the school reading-room!) I sang two memorable Paul and Linda McCartney tracks from the album "Band On The Run" - "Mrs Vandebilt" and "Let Me Roll It". I was supported by Michael and a young keyboardist Romuald Kunikowski who later became a respected Polish rock musician playing with Edyta Bartosiewicz. T. Love and Closterkeller. Since the world rock music was at its peak in 1978 young people in Poland were concentrated on hard rock/heavy metal Led Zeppelin/ Deep Purple/ Black Sabbath projects (and occasionally on Queen and King Crimson). Listening to Paul McCartney and Wings required particular kind of musicality and imagination which Michael and I had (sharing it with a few other friends). Hence I am almost sure I was the first person in Poland to sing Paul McCartney's solo songs in public.
KingMacca last edited by
And now he's back in Warsaw!!