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McCartney Talks How Lennon’s Death Made Him A “Martyr”

Paul McCartney recently gave an interview to U.K.’s Esquire and while the interview had many takeaways, perhaps the most interesting were his thoughts on how John Lennon’s death affected the perception of The Beatles.

“When John got shot, aside from the pure horror of it, the lingering thing was, OK, well now John’s a martyr. A JFK. So what happened was, I started to get frustrated because people started to say, ‘Well, he was The Beatles.’ And me, George and Ringo would go, ‘Er, hang on. It’s only a year ago we were all equal-ish.’” said McCartney.

He continued, “Yeah, John was the witty one, sure. John did a lot of great work, yeah. And post-Beatles he did more great work, but he also did a lot of not-great work. Now the fact that he’s now martyred has elevated him to a James Dean, and beyond. So whilst I didn’t mind that – I agreed with it – I understood that now there was going to be revisionism. It was going to be: John was the one. That was basically the thing…But then strange things would happen. Like Yoko would appear in the press, and I’d read it, and it said, ‘Paul did nothing! All he did was book the studio...’ Like, ‘F*ck you, darling! Hang on! All I did was book the f*cking studio?’ Well, OK, now people know that’s not true. But that was just part of it.”

The Esquire interview wasn’t all heavy; Sir Paul also commented on how growing up, he and his friends thought Queen Elizabeth II “was a babe,” and specifically pointed out she had quite a “heave on her.”  (Yes, “heave” is exactly what you think it is.”)  And for those who have pondered what McCartney lyric means the most to Macca himself, naturally, he quipped, “Why don’t we do it in the road.”

…We have a funny feeling he isn’t the first to give that answer.



Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock reporter who never leaves home without her iPod, because to her, there’s something very comforting about carrying around every piece of music she’s ever owned in her life.