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Paulo Amorim  /  AP
Paul McCartney said the Beatles' song "Got to Get You Into My Life" was directly about marijuana.
updated 6/2/2004 3:26:24 PM ET 2004-06-02T19:26:24

Paul McCartney says he got no thrill from heroin, but found cocaine more to his liking for a time.

“I tried heroin just the once,” McCartney said in interview published Wednesday in the Daily Mirror newspaper about his drug use in decades past.

“Even then, I didn’t realize I’d taken it. I was just handed something, smoked it, then found out what it was.

“It didn’t do anything for me, which was lucky because I wouldn’t have fancied heading down that road,” the former Beatle was quoted as saying. The full interview is published this week in Uncut magazine.

McCartney’s drug use has resulted in at least one brush with the law. A planned Japan tour in 1980 was derailed when the singer was arrested at Tokyo’s airport for possession of marijuana and later deported.

Despite enjoying cocaine for a time, he said he eventually turned against the drug.

“I did cocaine for about a year around the time of Sgt. Pepper,” he said, referring to The Beatles’ 1967 album.

“Coke and maybe some grass to balance it out. I was never completely crazy with cocaine.

“I’d been introduced to it and at first it seemed OK, like anything that’s new and stimulating.

“When you start working your way through it, you start thinking: 'Mmm, this is not so cool an idea,’ especially when you start getting those terrible comedowns,” McCartney said. He confirmed that drugs influenced some of the group’s songs.

“A song like 'Got to Get You Into My Life,’ that’s directly about pot, although everyone missed it at the time,” McCartney said.

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“‘Day Tripper,’ that’s one about acid (LSD). 'Lucy in the Sky,’ that’s pretty obvious. There’s others that make subtle hints about drugs, but, you know, it’s easy to overestimate the influence of drugs on the Beatles’ music.”

John Lennon, who wrote “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” had denied the song was about drugs and said it was inspired by a nursery school drawing by his son, Julian.

“Just about everyone was doing drugs in one form or another and we were no different, but the writing was too important for us to mess it up by getting off our heads all the time,” McCartney added.

McCartney also acknowledged that Wings, the band he formed after The Beatles’ breakup, was “pretty rough, not terribly good” when it started out.

“There was a time when The Beatles weren’t very good, but we were able to be not very good in private,” McCartney said.

“Wings had to do it in public and there was always the shadow of The Beatles, which didn’t help.”

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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