Paul McCartney on how ‘Yesterday’ came to him in a dream
The group’s final album, Let It Be, was surrounded by a lot of controversy. It was released with a documentary of the same name on the same day, and fans were given some harrowing insights into just how unhappy the members of the band were.
Arguments between McCartney and George Harrison hounded the album’s production, on top of the presence of John Lennon‘s wife, Yoko Ono. And once the Fab Four had come to an end, Lennon began getting spiteful.
McCartney recently noted that Lennon was “firing missiles” at him through his music. “One or two of them were quite cruel,” McCartney added. “I don’t know what he hoped to gain, other than punching me in the face. The whole thing really annoyed me.”
McCartney recalled Lennon going on the record to say things like: “It was rubbish. The Beatles were crap,” and: “I don’t believe in the Beatles, I don’t believe in Jesus, I don’t believe in God.”
He noted: “Those were quite hurtful barbs to be flinging around and I was the person they were being flung at, and it hurt.”
Eventually, McCartney had enough and wanted to retaliate.
Paul McCartney and John Lennon were not in a good spot
McCartney wrote in his book, The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present: “So, I’m having to read all this stuff, and on the one hand, I’m thinking: ‘Oh f**k off, you f***ing idiot.’ But on the other hand, I’m thinking: ‘Why would you say that? Are you annoyed at me or are you jealous or what?'”
In response to Lennon’s hurtful words, McCartney wrote his own pointed song pointed directly at his former friend.
He remembered writing the “diss track” Too Many People: “[That] was me saying basically: ‘You’ve made this break, so good luck with it.'” “But it was pretty mild,” he confessed. “It was all a bit weird and a bit nasty, and I was basically saying: ‘Let’s be sensible. We had a lot going for us in the Beatles, and what actually split us up is the business stuff, and that’s pretty pathetic really, so let’s try and be peaceful. Let’s maybe give peace a chance.'”
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Looking back, 50-years later, McCartney confirmed he was still wondering what was going on with Lennon during his angry period.
He mused that Lennon was extremely bitter about his young life, in which he endured a lot of loss and trauma. The star’s father left home when he was young, and his mother was killed in a hit-and-run when he was a young teenager.
This, McCartney supposed, left the star angry.
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McCartney added that, after they would have fights, Lennon would try and justify his actions.
He said: “John always had a lot of that bluster, though. It was his shield against life. We’d have an argument about something and he’d say something particularly caustic; then I’d be a bit wounded, and he’d pull down his glasses and peer at me and say: ‘It’s only me, Paul.'”
He added: “Oh, alright, you’ve just gone and blustered and that was somebody else, was it? It was his shield talking.”
McCartney admitted that he was crushed by the state of the relationship. But thankfully things changed – before they were too late.
Ten years after The Beatles split, on December 8, 1980, Lennon was murdered outside his home The Dakota, in New York City.
Looking back, McCartney emotionally confessed he was “very glad” of how they got on during those “last few years”.
“I had some really good times with him before he was murdered,” McCartney looked back. “Without question, it would have been the worst thing in the world for me, had he been killed, when we still had a bad relationship. I would’ve thought: ‘Oh, I should’ve, I should’ve, I should’ve…’ It would have been a big guilt trip for me. But luckily, our last meeting was very friendly. We talked about how to bake bread.”