There is no songwriting partnership in rock history as iconic as the Lennon-McCartney partnership. And a big reason for that was the incredible friendship that Paul McCartney had with John Lennon. Both of them shared a unique bond that was unlike any they had their entire lives. But, as part of the Beatles, their relationship got very strained, especially by the end. However, Sir Paul is content that by the end, he patched things up with his best friend. Here’s what he has to say in a recent interview.
Paul McCartney on his relationship with John Lennon after the Beatles split
While talking to The Sunday Times, Paul McCartney opened up about his friendship with John Lennon, especially the phase that came after the breakup of the Beatles. When the interviewer asked him if he would have ever worked with Lennon again, Sir Paul said:
We made a decision when the Beatles folded that we weren’t going to pick it up again. So we switched off from the Beatles. You talk about something coming full circle that is very satisfying; let’s not spoil it by doing something that might not be as good. It was a conscious decision to leave well enough alone, so I don’t really think we would have. But who knows? We could have.
Furthermore, Sir Paul also talked about how John Lennon still influences his music to this day, imagining what he would say about any song that he writes:
We had certainly got our friendship back, which was a great blessing for me, and I now will often think, if I’m writing a song, ‘OK, John — I’ll toss it over to you. What line comes next?’ So I’ve got a virtual John that I can use.
Peter Jackson’s upcoming documentary made Paul McCartney realize that The Beatles enjoyed a lot of happy times too
Paul McCartney further talked about the upcoming Peter Jackson’s documentary on the Fab Four, named The Beatles: Get Back. He said the never-seen-before footage reminded him of the great friendship they all had with each other back as part of the band. With so much bad blood, Paul McCartney in his head wanted some kind of proof that there were good days as part of the fab four. And the documentary gave him exactly that. Sir Paul said:
It was so reaffirming for me…Because it proves that my main memory of the Beatles was the joy and the skill…The proof is the footage. I bought into the dark side of the Beatles breaking up and thought, ‘Oh God, I’m to blame.’ I knew I wasn’t, but it’s easy when the climate is that way to start thinking so. But at the back of my mind there was always this idea that it wasn’t like that, but I needed to see proof. There’s a great photo Linda took, which is my favourite, of me and John working on a song, glowing with joy. This footage is the same. All four of us having a ball.
Mental health and the Beatles
Finally, Paul McCartney also revealed whether any of the Beatles had any mental health issues, to which he said:
Yes, I think so… But you talked about it through your songs. You know, John would. ‘Help! I need somebody,’ he wrote. And I thought, ‘Well, it’s just a song,’ but it turned out to be a cry for help. Same kind of thing happened with me, mainly after the break-up of the band. All of us went through periods when we weren’t as happy as we ought to be. Ringo had a major drinking problem. Now he’s Mr Sober of the Year! But you know there were a lot of things we had to work through, but you’re right — you didn’t talk about mental health.
In the end, Sir Paul said that by not talking about it and making songs, they were just trying to hide from their mental health issues, saying:
It was something really that, as four guys, you were more likely to make fun of than be serious about. And the making fun of it was to hide from it. But having said all that, we were reasonably well adjusted, I think.
The relationship that John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr shared has stood the test of time. And it plays a key role in making the Beatles the enigma that they were and still are. The band might have split half a century ago, but their legacy and impact on music still lives on. Paul McCartney’s upcoming album McCartney III is set for release on December 18th, after a delay from its initial release date of December 11th. It is the third and long-awaited final part of his solo album trilogy, McCartney.