Paul McCartney Was “Shocked” John Lennon Worried About His Legacy Before Death
John Lennon and Paul McCartney are considered one of the greatest songwriting duos in history, penning nearly 200 songs together during their time in the Beatles. When Lennon was assassinated at 40 outside his New York City apartment in 1980, the world lost a popular artist and thinker whose legacy has endured. McCartney revealed that even in life, Lennon worried about how he’d be remembered. On a recent episode of his podcast, McCartney: A Life in Lyrics, McCartney ruminated on his late friend’s influence and discussed the song “Here Today,” which he referred to as a “love song” for Lennon that he wrote after his death.
“If anyone asks me, ‘What was it like to work with John?’ The fact was it was easier, much easier, because there were two minds at work. And that interplay was nothing short of miraculous,” McCartney, 81, said. “Now I’m conscious that I don’t have him, very much. And you know, often we’ll sort of refer to, ‘What would John say to this? Is this too soppy? He would’ve said da da da, so I’ll change it.’ But my songs have to reflect me, and you don’t have this opposing element so much. I have to do that myself these days.”
He called writing “Here Today,” which he released in 1982, a “very emotional” process.
“I was remembering things about our relationship and things about the million things we’d done together. From just being in each other’s front parlors or bedrooms, or walking on the street together, or hitchhiking,” McCartney said of the memories that inspired the song. “I was just sitting there in this bare room thinking of John and realizing I’d lost him.”
“It was a powerful loss, so to have a conversation with him in a song was some form of solace. Somehow I was with him again.”
And even in life, McCartney and Lennon had conversations about death and legacy, the musician revealed.
“I remember him saying to me, ‘Paul, I worry about how people are going to remember me when I die,’ and it kind of shocked me,” he said. “I said ‘OK, hold on, just hold it right there. People are going to think you were great, you’ve already done enough work to demonstrate that.’”
“I was like his priest. Often I’d have to say, ‘My son, you’re great, don’t worry about it,’ and he would take it. It would make him feel better.”
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