PAUL MCCARTNEY & JOHN LENNON
New details emerge of their complex lifelong friendship.
Two years before John Lennon was shot to death in New York City, he and his onetime best friend and music partner, Paul McCartney, shared a touching phone call to mend their relationship after the bitter breakup of The Beatles. “I love the fact that in the end we made up,” says Paul. “[John] was talking about the cats, and changing the baby. We could actually talk about stuff that didn’t matter, but it did matter.”
For the pair who met in 1957, it had been a long and winding road to get there. And in a new book, Paul Du Noyer’s Conversations With McCartney, Paul speaks openly about their 27-year friendship, and how their shared passion for music, complementary songwriting skills and genuine fondness for each other forged a bond that had been nearly irreparably broken.
Both born in Liverpool, England, the two musicians viewed life very differently. “John always wanted to jump over the cliff,” recalls Paul, 74. “I said, ‘You jump, and tell me how it is.’ That’s basically the difference in our personalities.” Still, their songwriting partnership always worked, despite their disagreements and rumors about who really wrote what. “He was a major influence on my life, as I suppose I was on his,” Paul admits. Sadly, when The Beatles started to fall apart during the filming of Let It Be, Paul’s friendship with John felt the strain, and they had “tense moments,” he says. Paul was about to release his first solo album, McCartney, and John got angry when Paul “finally blew the whistle,” by releasing a statement revealing The Beatles were over. “John was annoyed,” Paul recalls. “He told me later that he wanted to be the one who announced it.” Their friendship went from bad to worse when Paul sued The Beatles to retain ownership of his songs. He calls that period “the worst time of my life.”
In the years that followed, John and Paul wrote songs both bitter and sweet about each other, and things were never the same — until that 1978 phone call. “I loved that,” Paul says. “It was like we’d got back to where we’d been when we were kids.” — Lisa Chambers
“I got into the Quarrymen,” Paul says of John’s early band. “And we got into the [music] scene.” “The truth is that we were missing each other.” — Paul