Sir Paul McCartney's new song 'Early Days' is a riposte to critics of The Beatles.

The 71-year-old rocker released his 16th solo studio album 'New' this month and he admits that track contains some defensive lyrics in response to young people's dismissive attitude to the success of the iconic group.

Paul became one of the most famous and successful musicians on the planet when The Fab Four - which also included John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr - conquered the charts in the 1960s and he insists people shouldn't criticise when they have no knowledge of the impact the band made.

Speaking to Geoff Lloyd on his Hometime Show on UK station Absolute Radio, Paul said: ''Well it is a bit defensive, yeah. It didn't start off particularly defensive; it was just this idea of not just me, anybody who has sort of done something in their past and then the younger generation is saying, 'Well yeah, it wasn't that good.'

''It's just this idea of people robbing your history from you, that it's not just me but in my case it started off with the case of 'they can't take it away from me because I lived through those early days. I was there.' ''

Paul insists he and John - who was shot dead in New York City in 1980 - made an unparalleled songwriting team and he didn't, and still doesn't, appreciate being categorised as the ''cute one'' in The Beatles.

He added: ''The last verse is wildly defensive which is like nowadays people sort of say who did this and who did that, well that is very definitely about people telling me, you know, what I did and what John did.

''And as I think, you know, it was much more equal. He wrote his soppy ballads, I wrote my hard rockers.

''We had a lot in common but I'd become stereotyped, I mean you know it started way back in the 60s and they'd sort of say, 'Paul's the cute one.' I am cute. No, that is true, but I've got more to me than cute.''