As well as being two of pop music’s greatest songwriters with The Beatles, John Lennon and Paul McCartney were also two lads from the rougher side of Liverpool. What that means is sharing feelings, thoughts and praise is not something that is done outwardly, if at all, and certainly never face to face.
Having spent much of their formative years with one another, the duo had developed a relationship similar to that of brothers and were often either joking or jibing with one another, Lennon naturally leading the way with his cutting edge and caustic wit. There was one song, however, that Lennon did actually compliment McCartney on.
McCartney was reminiscing about The Beatles while on the promotion tour of his 2018 record Egypt Station on CBS, when he opened up not only about the song Lennon loved but also that he thought it was “pathetic” that he still held the compliment so dear to his heart. The track was, of course, ‘Here, There and Everywhere’.
Sharyn Alfonsi asked Macca whether the Beatles legends had ever complimented each others’ songwriting face to face, McCartney said, “Once. Once John gave me a compliment. It was only once the whole time. It was ‘Here, There and Everywhere,’ one of my songs on [Revolver]. John says just as it finishes, ‘That’s a really good song, lad. I love that song.’ And I’m like, ‘Yes! He likes it!’”
It would be harsh to think that Lennon never shared his appreciation for McCartney outwardly. Through countless interviews, the bespectacled Beatle was well aware of the talent Macca offered. About ‘Here, There and Everywhere’, Lennon said: “Paul’s song completely, I believe. And one of my favourite songs of The Beatles.”
Endorsements are always easier to give when you’re not faced with the person in question and there was clearly something about the shared moment between McCartney and his friend that he still treasures to this day. “I’ve remembered it to this day,” he said. “It’s pathetic, really.”
There was an undeniable competition between the two by the end of their career with The Beatles, but Macca insists he was far more forthcoming than Lennon. “I would tell him his stuff was great,” he recalled. “You’d normally have to be a little bit drunk. It helped.” He concluded, “We’re obviously just two mates.”
It’s clear that Lennon’s opinion of the song has been integral to McCartney’s own perception of the track. Often leaving out ‘Yesterday’ as his favourite song of The Beatles to put ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ at the top of the pile.
Speaking to Scott Muni in 1984, McCartney said: “Well, it’s difficult to choose the favourite. It (‘Here, There and Everywhere’) is one of my favourites. You look at your songs and kinda look to see which of the ones you think are maybe the best constructed and stuff,” says McCartney. “I think ‘Yesterday’—if it wasn’t so successful—might be my favourite.”
“But, you know, you get that thing when something is just so successful… people often don’t want to do ‘the big one’ that everyone wants them to do. They kind of shy away from it,” continued McCartney. “‘Here, There and Everywhere’ with ‘Yesterday’ as a close second.”
We’re betting that Lennon, who was never really a big fan of ‘Yesterday’, had a little bit of sway here. We think it’s sweet that his opinion could still guide Paul McCartney all these years later.