By LINDA KELSEY FOR THE DAILY MAIL
You wouldn’t know it, but Paul McCartney went grey 30 years ago. But now as he finally gives up the bottle and embraces his silver locks we celebrate Macca’s eight DYES a week
In the eighties, his hair had glints of silver, but by 90s he started experimenting
But now, at age 76, he’s finally giving up dyeing his hair and embracing silver
The year was 1963 and the Beatles’ hit single She Loves You was top of the charts. I may have been only 11 years old, but I felt it was written for me.
I was too young to have a boyfriend, but that didn’t stop me from being in love with Paul McCartney.
He was so cute and unthreatening — the cheeky grin, the slightly chubby face and most of all the gorgeous, shiny mop top that marked him out as my favourite of the Fab Four.
In my bedroom, with its frilly blue nylon bedspread, my walls were plastered with posters of Paul, he of the shiny, oh-so strokeable hair.
And when I wasn’t staring at his posters, I queued for hours for his autograph at the Abbey Road studios where the Beatles recorded their albums.
Call me fickle, but I fell out of love with Paul around the same time as he started dyeing his hair.
It was 1989 and the mop top had long given way to a mullet. That, I could forgive. What I could not was the mysterious disappearance of the discreet but distinguished greys that had lately begun to show around his temples.
Let It Be, Let It Be, I wanted to plead with him as he hit the (hair dye) bottle with abandon.
It was a phase that, unfortunately, has lasted 30 years, right up until now when he has finally decided to embrace the grey. At 76, Macca has unleashed his inner silver fox. And, boy, how much better he looks for it.
Over the years it’s been hard not to cringe at Paul’s ever-changing colour palette, which ranged from Fergie red to bafflingly blonde via awful auburn and practically purple.
The thing is, for the past three decades I’ve been living in an area near McCartney’s London home and I’ve seen him so often, in cafes, on the street, at various neighbourhood haunts, that I’ve been able to chronicle his horrendous hair days up close.
It’s a curious conundrum that while women (mostly) abhor going grey themselves and will reach for the tint the second a first grey hair appears, they loathe it just as much when a man tries to cover up his silvery strands.
For when a man dyes his hair it always looks fake. And it becomes the first thing you notice about him.
With women we are so used to the artifice of coloured hair that we are rarely even aware of it. But a man with dyed hair stands out a mile, and not in a good way.
It may not be fair of us women to mock men for wanting to hold back the years. But neither should men complain when we offer to relieve them of the awful, interminable faff of colouring their hair to conceal their age. If only we could do the same without being written off as past our prime.
They should be grateful that we don’t see signs of grey hair in a man as off-putting. It suggests maturity, and if the man in question is lucky enough to have a considerable head of hair, which Macca does, it’s even more attractive.
If my own silver-haired partner started dyeing his, I might have to swap him for a greyer model, and I don’t know any woman who would encourage her partner to go along to her colourist for a consultation.
Those celebrities who have gone gracefully grey, and are even more attractive as a result, include Richard Gere, George Clooney, Pierce Brosnan and Matt LeBlanc. Barack Obama gets better looking the greyer he gets.
And while it could be argued that the music industry mostly relies on a youthful audience, there can be no one labouring under the illusion that Macca is a new kid on the block. His dodgy hair colour has neither helped him retain fans nor gain new ones. So why on earth a rock legend with his talent still felt he couldn’t cut it as a silver fox is something of a mystery.
Since meeting Nancy Shevell, herself coming up for 60 and incredibly attractive, McCartney seems happier than ever.
I suspect she has been gently encouraging him to return to his roots. After all, his career is still going strong — in 2018 he launched his 17th solo album, Egypt Station, which went to No 1 in the charts, and he embarked on an international tour.
Perhaps the real key to Macca’s willingness to finally embrace his age, and his natural hair colour, is that this year the grandfather of eight will publish his first book for children. Called Hey Grandude, his grandchildren’s nickname for him, it suggests he’s entered a new age of contentment . . . and acceptance.
So a big welcome to silvery grey Grandude, who’s actually gone back to looking great for the first time in decades.
Do we still love you Paul McCartney, now you’re 76? Will we still be sending you a Valentine? Now you’ve revealed your silver lining, we certainly will.