As part of the upcoming ‘John Lennon at 80’ radio show, celebrating the life and times of The Beatles legend John Lennon, his wife Yoko Ono and son Sean, have been speaking with some of the pivotal figures of the songwriter’s life including none other than his Fab Four bandmate, Paul McCartney. It’s a rare insight into their iconic relationship.
The show is set to go out over the weekend and will also feature conversations with Sean Ono Lennon’s brother Julian Lennon as well as Elton John, completing an in-depth look at John Lennon’s influence on music and his personal life. But perhaps the most interesting insight is from his partner Paul McCartney.
Speaking to Ono Lennon as part of the BBC show, the two songwriters (Sean a professional himself) discuss liberally the effects that Lennon had on McCartney, some of the songs that didn’t work, the not-so-gloomy times that surrounded The Beatles breaking up and their reunion before his death. It’s one of McCartney’s most honest interviews about his friend and fellow Beatle.
During the conversation, Sean asks where Lennon and McCartney got their musically “unique drive to just keep expanding?” For McCartney, there were a number of reasons: “Okay, number one, we were good. Right there. Number two, we’d grown up together,” he replied. “From little kids, we’d taken the first steps together, we kind of learned to walk together, then we learned to run. And the fact that each of us was influencing the other was very important, you know.”
It didn’t mean that everything the dup ever did was a winner though and McCartney admitted there were a few not-so-great attempts at songwriting, “There were there were a few that were clearly, young songwriters who don’t quite know how to do it. There was one called ‘Just Fun’.” The chat also turned to the situation surrounding the band’s almost inevitable break-up.
Speaking about the upcoming film from Peter Jackson McCartney said: “For years when people say, ‘Oh,’ about Let It Be I go, ‘Yeah, you know, I didn’t really like it because it was such a gloomy period.’ But then talking to Peter Jackson, when he was looking at the 58 hours of outtakes, I said, ‘Well, what’s it like?’ kind of thing, expecting him to say, ‘Well, it’s very gloomy. You’re all arguing all the time.’ He says, ‘No’, he said exactly what you just said. He said, ‘It’s amazing. You’re like jolly and stuff.’”
Macca also shared his relief that the pair had patched up their differences before Lennon’s untimely death. The bassist said: “I always say to people, one of the great things for me was that after all The Beatles rubbish and all the arguing and the business, you know, business differences really… that even after all of that, I’m so happy that I got it back together with your dad. It really, really would have been a heartache to me if we hadn’t have reunited.”
Later in the conversation, Macca revealed the huge influence Bob Dylan had on the Fab Four, saying, “We certainly got a lot from Dylan. And I know I had one of his first LPs at home before The Beatles. I used to play that quite a lot so I was steeped in him. And I think your dad was too… but that was just one of the influences, there’s an awful lot more.”
We can’t wait to dive into this feature across what will be a touching weekend. ‘John Lennon at 80’ airs from 9-10pm on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th October on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds.