By Linda

PAUL McCARTNEY Chats with U.S. Poet Laureate BILLY COLLINS at Rollins College

At the behest of two-term U.S. poet laureate and senior distinguished fellow at the Winter Park Institute Billy Collins,Paul McCartney spoke Thursday night to a few hundred students at Knowles Memorial Chapel on the campus of Rollins College in Winter Park, FL.
Kept secret until the morning of the event, McCartney's visit prompted so much interest that students had to win tickets in a lottery system.
'I'd say, 'It's getting better all the time,' and he'd say, 'It can't get much worse,' McCartney told the students of his creative chemistry with John Lennon. 'I would have never thought of that.'
When asked whether lyrics or music come first, he replied, 'I tell students all the time, 'Look, I don't know how to do this.' Every time I approach a song, there's no rules. Sometimes the music comes first, sometimes the words - and if you're lucky, it all comes together.'
McCartney described how his inspiration for 'Yesterday' came in a dream. Certain an old melody was stuck in his head, he went around humming the tune, asking if anyone knew it. 'After two weeks,' he said, 'I claimed it.'
Collins brought up how McCartney's songs have been covered by countless bands, prompting Paul's gratitude. 'If someone on the street corner is reading one of your poems,' he asked Collins, 'is it going to bother you?'
Asked about the Beatles' musical evolution in the late 1960s, McCartney drew applause and laughter recalling 'a natural growing up we developed - and drugs.'
'At the beginning of the Beatles,' he said, 'you've got to remember, we were a boy band... It was all really fan-oriented. It's not a bad thing, but after a while you felt like you wanted to move on.'
McCartney and Collins found common ground at the intersection of lyrics and poetry. Sharing how he once read his own poems to a group of scholars in New York City, McCartney admitted 'it was pretty nerve-wracking' and quite different than playing to record-breaking concert crowds. 'I had to respect the silence as a great thing,' he said.
McCartney closed the night with a performance of 'Blackbird.'
'This was a wonderful event provided through the generosity of Sir Paul McCartney,' said Rollins Acting President Craig M. McAllaster. 'He wanted it to be intimate and mostly for students. That's why they filled most of the seats. It's a wonderful thing to have someone of his stature and significance give us his time and talent to Rollins College.'



Paul McCartney inspires Rollins College students with talk

In a small chapel on the Rollins College campus Thursday, students were inspired by a music legend.
Sir Paul McCartney spoke to students at the Winter Park college.
Rollins College Public Relations said McCartney requested Knowles Chapel because it was an intimate setting.

"He walked down and I'm like 'oh my goodness. It's Paul McCartney'," said Lillian Carter.

The school held a lottery for students to get tickets to the event. Of the 3,200 students at Rollins, only 600 won tickets.

Students who got to see The Beatles alumnus said he talked about his early days in the music business, working with the other Beatles.
"Talking about how he got started in it and singing and his relationship with Ringo Starr," said Adam Bermudez.

"He talked about writing with John [Lennon] and how sometimes you just need another opinion," Carter said.

We're told McCartney also sang "Blackbird."

McCartney was asked to come by Billy Collins, the famous poet. Collins isn't a professor but he gives lectures at the college.
School leaders described the event as a conversation with students about lyrics, poetry, music and the creative process.

"A lot of life advice," Amy Zdon said McCartney imparted. "Like if you are in the creative process, keep trying."

Several students said their parents were jealous.
"I know my parents were so pumped that I got to go because they are huge Beatles fans and Paul fans and I just thought it was the coolest thing ever," said Katie Wookey.
Most students we talked to said they left inspired and touched by his words.
"He said keep trying and trying and trying and never give up," Bermudez said.

This isn't his first visit to Rollins College. He also visited the campus in September 2011. His stepson attends the school.

McCartney also was in Orlando in May 2013 when he kicked off the North American leg of his "Out There" tour in Orlando with two shows at the Amway Center.

After the talk at Rollins College McCartney and family had dinner at Luma on Park.

McCartney is performing in Jacksonville Saturday night. Fellow Beatle Ringo Starr was in Melbourne Wednesday.