Skip to main content

Miley Cyrus performed her hit “We Can’t Stop” at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. Subsequently, Cyrus received lots of attention in the press. The Beatles‘ Paul McCartney revealed what he thought of the performance.

Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus on a stage
Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus | Theo Wargo/WireImage

Why Paul McCartney decided to watch Miley Cyrus’ performance of ‘We Can’t Stop’ at the MTV Video Music Awards

During a 2013 interview with The Wall Street Journal, Paul discussed Cyrus’ performance of “We Can’t Stop.” “I don’t think it was explicit at all,” he opined. “You couldn’t see anything. I mean, I watched it, just as an experiment to check you know. I obviously, you look at it, and you go ‘What’s everyone shouting about?'”

Paul put the performance in the context of Cyrus’ age. “I mean she is a young girl,” he said. “She is like only 20 or something. She’s just having a go.” For context, Cyrus was 20 at the time.

What Paul McCartney had to say about Miley Cyrus’ life

Paul speculated on Cyrus’ life. “Someone said to me the world that a lot of those people like Miley live in is noise,” he opined. “It’s all noise and they’ve got to get above the noise. So they got to do something.”

Paul compared Cyrus to other artists. “So, you will see people doing something that’s uh … I think, it was only mildly shocking,” he said. “I mean you know. She’s dancing with Robin Thicke on the awards. So what? Come on. We’ve seen worse than that.”


The Beatles: John Lennon and Paul McCartney Used These 2 Words in Their Song Titles and Lyrics to Connect to Fans

How ‘We Can’t Stop’ performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

“We Can’t Stop” became a huge hit. The track reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the chart for 26 weeks. Cyrus released the track on her album Bangerz. For one week, Bangerz reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The album stayed on the chart for 55 weeks altogether.

According to The Official Charts Company, “We Can’t Stop” was similarly popular in the United Kingdom. The track topped the U.K. chart for one week. It stayed on the chart for 25 weeks in total. Meanwhile, Bangerz was No. 1 for one of its 30 weeks on the chart.

“We Can’t Stop” had an impact outside of its time on the charts. Bastille released a cover of the song that incorporated elements of Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart,” Eminem‘s “Lose Yourself,” and “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” from The Lion King. Rebecca Black recorded an acoustic version of “We Can’t Stop.” A version of the track appeared in the film Assassination Nation.

“We Can’t Stop” became a huge hit even if Paul didn’t think Cyrus’ VMAs performance was explicit.