Paul McCartney still changes lyrics he thinks John Lennon would consider "too soppy"

12 October 2023, 16:02 | Updated: 12 October 2023, 16:09

Paul McCartney and John Lennon pictured at  Abbey Road Studios in London, 24th June 1967
Paul McCartney and John Lennon pictured at Abbey Road Studios in London, 24th June 1967. Picture: Ivan Keeman/Redferns/Getty

The legend reveals that he still uses his former Beatle colleague as an influence on his songwriting.

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Sir Paul McCartney says John Lennon still influences his songwriting - and that he will drop lyrics that his late friend would consider "too soppy".

Paul admits there are times when he hears his old collaborator's voice in his head when he is writing sentimental lyrics that John wouldn't approve of, so he re-writes the words.

Speaking on the A Life In Lyrics podcast, he said: "Often I’ll sort of refer… ‘What would John think of this? He’d have thought it was too soppy.' So I’ll change it.

"That interplay was miraculous. You don’t have this opposing element so much now. I have to do that myself.”

Listen to the A Life In Lyrics podcast on Global Player

John Lennon and Paul McCartney at the time of the White Album, July 1968
John Lennon and Paul McCartney at the time of the White Album, July 1968. Picture: Alamy

Paul also opened up on what sort of person John was before his tragic murder in December 1980 at the age of 40.

McCartney remembers Lennon 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. 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."

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