Paul McCartney opens up with cheeky, heartwarming words about John Lennon 39



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At one point they were the best of friends; even soulmates. A decade later, they were bitter rivals – or so many would have you believe.

But if Paul’s latest words about his dearly departed friend are anything to go by, the decades-spanning competition between them may have actually been a wonderful thing for both former Beatles. In fact, he believes it was “very necessary”.

MOJO magazine recently printed some fascinating excerpt from the new book Conversations with McCartney, in which the 73-year-old rock legend shed a whole new light on their complicated relationship.

Just as their friendship created amazing collaborations, their rivalry may have inspired each man to individual greatness.

McCartney believes that his 1980 single Coming Up inspired Lennon to break his five year “lost weekend” hiatus and record his acclaied Double Fantasy album with Yoko.

“Apparently John heard it when he was in New York… I saw a John documentary and somebody was saying, ‘I brought this record of Paul’s to John and played it for him.’ John went, ‘Oh f***in’ hell, the bastard’s done something good! I’ve gotta work!’”

“I love the idea of forcing him up off his arse.”

“I like that, because we were always doing that with each other. People sometimes see it as an arch rivalry. It wasn’t. It was a friendly competition that was actually very necessary.”

The Beatles as a whole are no strangers to the idea of healthy competition. Their friendly rivalry with The Beach Boys inspired both bands to release some of their greatest albums.

The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds was a direct response to The Beatles’ Rubber Soul. This, in turn, forced the Fab Four to up their game with Sgt. Pepper.

While the Lennon/McCartney feud had some undeniably nasty and personal moments, it’s touching to realise great things could still come of it – and they may well have considered one another friends to the end.

What do you think about McCartney’s words? Did the rivalry really bring out the best in these two former Beatles? And which of the two do you prefer as a songwriter?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I think they all fought sometime in there time they were a band,,, but JOHN & PAUL put out some pretty good music,, either written or instrumental ,, they were good,,

  2. George was super talent as a songwriter and musician. A wonderful guitar player! Much overlooked and sooo good looking. My fav.

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  3. After John died Paul tried to get the song portfolio changed from Lennon and McCartney to the opposite. There was rivalry alright.

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    • ThaThat’s not the way I heard the story. The story I heard is that many years after Lennon died Paul asked Yoko if she would agree to change the credit to Paul McCartney and John Lennon for one song: Yesterday. Paul wrote that one by himself according to statements by both of them and it was a huge success. Paul admits he asked to change the credits on that song and he said Yoko refused. I’ve never heard that he asked to switch the credits on all of their songs.

  4. How would we know what was true we can’t know what went on in their lives except in the most superficial way.

  5. John is no longer here to dispute or agree with Paul’s words. He (John Lennon) was the genius behind the bands success, no doubt. Paul was the cutest. Together they made history!

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