Paul McCartney reflects on meeting John Lennon and their songwriting partnership

The Beatle spoke to Lennon's son Sean for 'John Lennon At 80'

Paul McCartney has reflected on meeting John Lennon and their songwriting partnership in The Beatles.

Lennon, who died in 1980, would turn 80 on October 9 and, ahead of the milestone birthday, his son Sean hosted a two-part programme looking back at his life.

In the second part, which aired on BBC Radio 2 earlier tonight (October 2), Sean spoke to his brother Julian and McCartney.


In McCartney’s segment, he recalled when he first realised Lennon was special. He said he had first noticed him on the bus and thought he was “an interesting looking guy”, but had no idea he played music until their friend Ivan introduced them at the village fete where The Quarrymen were playing.

“I knew nothing about him except that he looked pretty cool,” he explained. “He had long sideboards and greased back hair and everything.”

John Lennon
John Lennon, 1971 (Credit: Getty)

McCartney continued to talk about the band’s musicianship, saying that their attitude was more important than sophistication. “My attitude would be, ‘This is what I want to do’ and then John would bring another edge to it,” he said. “What was the great thing was the combination of those two attitudes and I look back on it now like a fan.

“I think, ‘Wow, how lucky was I to meet this strange Teddy Boy off the bus who turned out to play music like I did, and we get together and, boy, we complemented each other’. They say with marriages opposites attract and we weren’t madly opposites, but I had some stuff that he didn’t have and he had some stuff I didn’t have so when you put them together it made something extra.”


You can listen to McCartney’s interview in full on John Lennon At 80 on BBC Sounds now.

In the first part of the programme, McCartney spoke of his relief of managing to reconcile with Lennon before his death. “It really, really would have been a heartache to me if we hadn’t have reunited,” he said. “It was so lovely too that we did, and it really gives me a sort of strength to know that.”

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