Sir Paul McCartney tells of relief at mending broken friendship with John Lennon before The Beatles legend was tragically murdered in NYC shooting
Sir Paul McCartney has told how he would have been wracked with guilt if he had not repaired his friendship with John Lennon before he was murdered.
The Beatles legend John was shot dead at the age of 40 by unhinged fan Mark Chapman outside his home in New York City in 1980.
John left The Beatles in 1969 and he had become embroiled in legal battles over the band’s back catalogue which caused tension between him and his former song-writing partner Sir Paul, now 81.
They got their friendship back on track in the mid 1970s and Sir Paul spent time at the home John shared in New York with his second wife Yoko Ono.
But Sir Paul admits he would have been devastated if he had not had the chance to repair the cracks in his relationship with John before he was killed.
Difficult emotions: Sir Paul McCartney, 81, has told how he would have been wracked with guilt if he had not repaired his friendship with John Lennon before he was murdered (Sir Paul pictured in December last year)
Tragic: The Beatles legend John was shot dead at the age of 40 by unhinged fan Mark Chapman outside his home in New York City in 1980 (Sir Paul, left, and John, right, pictured on stage during a performance with The Beatles in 1964)
Sir Paul said on the McCartney: A Life in Lyrics podcast: ‘In the end it was something I was very glad of, when he got murdered, that I’d had some really good times with him before that happened.
‘It would have been the worst thing in the world had he just been killed and we still had a bad relationship. That would have been a big guilt trip for me.
‘Luckily, we were friendly, we talked about how to bake bread.
‘You’ve got to remember I sued him in court, I sued his friends from Liverpool, life-long friends, in court. There’s a lot of getting over that has to be done.’
Sir Paul also opened up on what sort of person John was before his tragic murder.
The Get Back singer remembers John as a witty and ‘sarcastic’ man who used his jokes and putdowns to shield himself against the world.
He said: ‘John’s persona was very guarded, hopelessly guarded. That’s where all his wit came from. Like so many comedians, it’s to shield themselves against the world.
‘John having a very difficult upbringing – his father leaves home, his uncle dies and his mother gets killed – he could be very sarcastic. We all could, it was my way of dealing with my mother’s death.
Hitmakers: The Beatles formed in Liverpool in 1960 and went on to have a string of hits together (L-R: Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Sir Paul McCartney, George Harrison in 1964)
‘There would often be a very witty put-down. It wouldn’t always be a put-down but it was always a very quick answer, and he’d trained himself to do that.
‘That was one of the attractive things about him. 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.’
Last year, Sir Paul said he ‘couldn’t talk about’ John’s death after his murder in 1980.
Sir Paul detailed how he returned home from the studio the day of his friends death and turned on the TV to see people reflecting on ‘what John meant’ to them.
He said: ‘When John died it was so difficult. It had hit me so much that I couldn’t really talk about it.
‘I remember getting home from the studio on the day that we’d heard the news he died. Turning the TV on and seeing people say, “Well, John Lennon was this” and “What he was, was this” and “I remember meeting him”.
‘I was like, “I can’t be one of those people. I can’t go on TV and say what John meant to me.” It was just too deep. I couldn’t put it into words.’
Sir Paul added how he managed to express his grief about losing John in his 1982 song Here Today.
The artist revealed her ‘sat on the wooden floor in the corner with my guitar’ and came up with the opening chords to the track.
Sir Paul also added that the line ‘the night we cried’ referred to when he and his late pal, who was killed over 40 years ago, had a drunk heart-to-heart and ‘told each other a few truths’ and how much they loved each other.
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