Pearl jab: When Paul McCartney punched Eddie Vedder in the face

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Paul McCartney is a master at crafting a hook, but you’d imagine that he’d not be quite as effective at landing one on somebody’s jaw. The Liverpudlian may have grown up near the infamous docks of the city, but his ability to throw a punch is not something one thinks of when addressing his life and career. But, one rock and roller was on the receiving end of a clout from the Beatle.

As it happens, gravel-voiced Pearl Jam rocker, Eddie Vedder, can compare his hitmaking ability in both its guises after Macca ditched his ‘All You Need Is Love’ vibe and went all ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ and jabbed him in the mouth. While the idea of a blood match between the two is enticing, things transpired a little differently.

The pair were chatting at a hotel bar in Vedder’s native Seattle. McCartney was regaling the grunge veteran with a tale of macho conquest about how he once served someone a Mackem handshake. However, his forceful jab turned out to be less of a demonstration and more so the real McCoy.

In a fit of enthusiasm, he landed on straight into Vedder’s visage. McCartney simply failed to pull back and actually ended up enacting the punch, full force, on Vedder. Whether or not this had been his intention all along and the anecdote was all just a covert rouse is a detail seemingly lost on the ‘Alive’ singer. 

“He hit me. He didn’t quite pull back the punch you see,” Vedder recalled in an interview with SiriusXM. “As I was listening, I was thinking, Paul McCartney just hit me in the face, and it hurt. I think I remember tasting a bit of blood. He got me right on the side […] he apologised quickly, so it wouldn’t get in the way of the story.”

The last point is undoubtedly the greatest takeaway from this violent anecdote – McCartney didn’t even stop his jabbering after hitting a man in the face because why let a burst lip get in the way of a good story? However, seeing as though Vedder lived to tell a tale of his own, surely, he took being punched by one of the Fab Four as a rare badge of honour.

Well, as Vedder continues: “It was a great, incredible personal story. I caught the end of it, and as I was listening, I thought Paul McCartney just hit me in the face, and it hurt,” he said, before comically concluding: “It was a great time in my life actually, to be hit by Paul McCartney. And I remember it hurt for a few days, and I remember when it went away when the pain subsided, and the swelling went down, I kind of missed it.”

Sadly, however, Vedder never did reveal who McCartney was belting in the original anecdote, so the true victim remains a mystery.

As it happens, Vedder is a huge fan of The Beatles, and he has performed live covers on at least nine occasions as per the live YouTube compilation featured below. With this in mind, there’s a very good chance that this story, and the swelling that came with it, are likely one of his prized possessions. 

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