Former Beatles singer Paul McCartney still relies on his late bandmate John Lennon for help with lyric writing.
McCartney recently spoke about his songwriting process during his podcast A Life In Lyrics. In his early days, the Oscar-winning musician would lock himself away with Lennon and Ringo Starr. Together, they created some of the most iconic works in history.
While the band split over 50 years ago, and Lennon has since passed, Paul McCartney continues to look to him for lyrical advice. He still feels connected to his friend from beyond the grave.
“Often I’ll sort of refer… ‘What would John think of this? He’d have thought it was too soppy.’ So I’ll change it,” he explained.
John Lennon was a founding member of the rock band. He, McCartney, Starr, and George Harrison created music together for a decade before calling it quits in 1970. The breakup was jarring to them and the public, but despite going their separate ways, they never lost respect for each other.
Lennon was murdered on December 8, 1980. The singer and guitarist was outside his New York City apartment when crazed former fan, Mark Chapman, shot him five times. Four bullets hit him in the back. A police officer rushed Lennon to the hospital in a squad car, but Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival. John Lennon was 40 years old.
Paul McCartney Said John Lennon Wished to ‘Break Loose From Society’
During the podcast, Paul McCartney remembered Lennon as “hopelessly guarded.” Lennon suffered several tragedies as a child. His father abandoned him, and he relied on his uncle as the male figure in his life. His uncle then died, and his mother was killed shortly after.
McCartney said that Lennon used sarcasm to cope with his pain, and it made him very witty.
“That’s where all his wit came from,” he said. “Like so many comedians, it’s to shield themselves against the world.”
“That was one of the attractive things about him,” he continued. “I remember him saying to me, ‘Paul, I worry about how people are going to remember me when I die’. It shocked me and I said, ‘Hold it right there. People are going to think you were great.’ I was like his priest. I’d say, ‘My son, you’re great.’ It’d make him feel better.”
In a separate podcast installment, Paul McCartney also mentioned that Lennon’s tragic life had something to do with the band’s split. He had “always wanted to sort of break loose from society.”
John Lennon did, however, remain in the public eye. After leaving the Beatles, he continued recording as a solo artist and with his wife, Yoko Ono.
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