It is the thirtieth anniversary of a memorable televised event in rock history when Paul McCartney and band, fresh off their 1989-90 comeback stadium tour, stunned everybody by agreeing to perform acoustically on the relatively new MTV “Unplugged” series. It cemented Sir Paul’s stature as an unparalleled entertainer then into his fourth decade.
Very few things other than the news are actually shown “live” on television. Even the late-night shows which appear to be live have been pre-recorded earlier in the day to allow mistakes & lapses in continuity to be edited out, which is precisely why I have always been fascinated by Paul McCartney‘s decision, when performing on the taped MTV series Unplugged , to leave in this aborted first attempt at “We Can Work It Out “ when he had admittedly clearly forgotten the words. Trust me, this happens to actors, singers, newscasters, & deejays all the time, but with opportunity available to edit it out, I can’t recall anyone with enough of McCartney’s poise, confidence, & the knowledge that the studio audience is totally with him, to leave it in.