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Meeting McCartney: A Centralizer Exclusive

Paul McCartney plays on his bass while performing in front of an audience. Photo Credit: Barbara Yakov

Rock and roll legend Paul McCartney had advice for the young, aspiring artists of Central High School. His pearly words of wisdom were as unexpected as his surprise performance in Philadelphia on Monday, October 19th, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The former bassist and songwriter for The Beatles expressed his thoughts and feelings about what it means to be a musician, and about the significance of the City of Philadelphia from a global perspective. He shared his ideas with none other than Central’s own English teacher, Mrs. Yakov, who – through sheer luck and circumstance – received a once-in-a-lifetime encounter and conducted an interview, on behalf of The Centralizer, that she won’t soon forget.  


Q: What advice do you have for rising musicians and performers in high school?

Music is the greatest medium through which the course of the world can move forward, on the path of change, to better the path of the next generation, where change is as necessary as life itself.

To the young musicians setting out; just be yourself, and the world will follow. The beat of your heart will set the rhythm of the future, and life, in all its glory, will keep the righteous song in tune, vibrating the chords of equality, and sowing the seeds that light the path of brighter days, so that we may dance in step, as brothers and sisters, hand in hand, face to face, heart to heart.

Q: What do you think of Philadelphia?

When you ask any Brit about Philadelphia, Elton John…‘Sir Elton John’ automatically comes to mind –‘Philadelphia Freedom.’ Philadelphia is a symbol on the world map. The song says it all.


So how was it possible that Mrs. Yakov was able to get an exclusive interview with Paul McCartney for The Centralizer?

On the night of October 19th, Paul McCartney, flew into Philadelphia to perform at a surprise event for a private trucking company at Broad and Cherry Streets. Only a very few people knew about his arrival because the event’s venue was kept in secrecy, with the highest security measures in place. No media companies or networks had any knowledge that the famous British celebrity was even flying into the United States.

Ms. Yakov’s older sister, Renee Fox, owns an upscale hair salon in Feasterville, the Renee Foxx Salon. As the workday neared to a close, Renee received a call from one of her contacts. The message: Mr. McCartney’s stylist was unable to attend the event, and an emergency replacement was needed. Without a second thought, Renee accepted the offer, organized her supplies, and was soon on her way to Center City..

Before arriving at the Convention Center, Renee stopped by Mrs Yakov’s house and insisted that she attend the event as well. Mrs. Yakov accepted the invitation — also without a second thought. Two hours later, the sisters were inside the Convention Center, talking to security, and setting up a work station. Guests began to stroll through the doors and into the dining hall, unaware that they were about to receive a surprise performance of the highest caliber.

When Paul McCartney finally walked onto the stage, the guests cheered with sudden excitement, and music filled the air. In between sets, McCartney went backstage, and Renee styled his hair. She also worked on McCartney’s sculptured thumbnail on his left hand, for he uses it as a guitar pick when he plays the bass. During the breaks, Mrs. Yakov had the chance to ask him questions at the request of The Centralizer’s editor-in-chief, Natan Yakov (275).

After the event was over, McCartney boarded a helicopter and flew to New York City. While the event may have been just another performance for McCartney to sing and play his bass and piano, it was a momentous occasion for Renee Fox and Mrs. Yakov.

“This experience made me feel like I had arrived to a place where my confidence, as a hair stylist, rocketed,” recalled Renee. “As a professional, I really haven’t changed from the experience. But, I have noticed that as my clients learn of my encounter with Paul McCartney, I get a sense that they start feeling like celebrities themselves when they sit in my chair. It’s all very thrilling for me to witness. This was definitely the highpoint of my career. I learned that life’s surprises are random and great and that people will always need other people.”

“It was the most unexpected and exciting encounter in my life regarding pop culture,” stated Mrs. Yakov. “Paul McCartney is a true human being, a true crowd pleaser, a man of deep values and of human kindness. He was more than ready to offer his wisdom when I told him I was a high school English teacher, and asked him if he had any advice for young musicians.”

Given the limited time Mrs. Yakov had to speak with McCartney, she was able to ask him two fleeting questions. Paul McCartney’s responses, however, speak volumes.

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Natan Yakov (275)
Editor-in-Chief

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