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Sir Paul McCartney reveals he ‘mentally consults’ with John Lennon

The Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney has admitted he still turns to former bandmate John Lennon for advice when writing new songs, 40 years after he was shot and killed outside his New York apartment. 

The 78-year-old described his late friend and Beatles co-founder as ‘the best collaborator in the world’ and said the anniversary of what would have been his 80th birthday was ‘happy sad’.

In an interview with Uncut magazine, he said: ‘I’m working on one at the moment that was going one way but I didn’t like the lyric. “No, this is not happening, mate.”

Eternal connection: The Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney has admitted he still turns to former bandmate John Lennon for advice when writing new songs

‘This would have been the point where John and I would have said “You know what, let’s have a cup of tea and try rethink this.”‘ 

Sir Paul also revealed he mentally ‘consulted’ with Lennon while working on new material.

He said: ‘Yeah, often. We collaborated for so long, I think, “OK, what would he think of this? What would he say now? We’d both agree that this new song I’m talking about is going nowhere.

Old times: He described his late friend as 'the best collaborator in the world' (pictured L-R: The Beatles bandmates George Harrison, Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and John Lennon in 1967)

Old times: He described his late friend as ‘the best collaborator in the world’ (pictured L-R: The Beatles bandmates George Harrison, Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and John Lennon in 1967)

‘So instead of sitting around we should destroy it and remake it. I started that process yesterday in the studio. I took the vocal off it and decided to write a new vocal.’ 

McCartney has just finished working on his third eponymously named album, but said when he first went solo he missed working with his former bandmate.

His songwriting partnership with Lennon is still seen as one of the most successful in history and together they turned The Beatles into the best selling band of all time, releasing 11 albums between 1963 and 1970. 

He added: ‘Yeah it was [strange]. Because right up until that point I’d been working with John, the best collaborator in the world. Suddenly that was taken away. It was very difficult.’

He also admitted that what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday on October 9 was sad as it reminded him of his friend’s early death at the hands of Mark Chapman, who remains behind bars for the musician’s murder on December 8th 1980.

He added: ‘[His birthday] was happy sad. It reminds me he was murdered – but it also reminds me of the fantastic times we had. I tend to think back to early times.’

Devastating: Lennon was shot and killed by Mark Chapman outside the Dakota apartment complex in New York City (pictured) on December 8th, 1980

Devastating: Lennon was shot and killed by Mark Chapman outside the Dakota apartment complex in New York City (pictured) on December 8th, 1980 

Like the rest of the world Sir Paul was forced to quarantine as COVID-19 effectively ground life as we know it to a halt.

‘It was a very scary time,’ he said. ‘Other scares we’ve had – SARS, avian flu – they seemed to happen to other people. But this was happening to everyone, people you knew, everyone in the world. 

‘Some of my friends, some people I knew were close to going under with it.’

Despite the restrictions enforced as a result of the pandemic he enjoyed an incredible burst of creativity during lockdown that will culminate with the release of his 18th studio album, McCartney III, in December. 

Back in the day: Sir Paul  has just finished working on his third eponymously named album, but said when he first went solo he missed working with his former bandmate (pictured in 1970, shortly after leaving The Beatles)

Back in the day: Sir Paul  has just finished working on his third eponymously named album, but said when he first went solo he missed working with his former bandmate (pictured in 1970, shortly after leaving The Beatles)

Still going: The musician has enjoyed an incredible burst of creativity during lockdown that will culminate with the release of his 18th studio album, McCartney III, in December

Still going: The musician has enjoyed an incredible burst of creativity during lockdown that will culminate with the release of his 18th studio album, McCartney III, in December

Reflecting on his responsibilities as a songwriter during uncertain times, he said: ‘I’ve always tried to put some kind of positive spin on most things. Then I’ll think, “You know what, that’s enough optimism. Let’s get weary for a change.” 

‘But I know the effect music has on me and the effect it can have on other people. People come up to me in the street saying, “I had cancer. I’m cured now, but your music really helped me get through it.” 

‘I’m so proud that the music that we made has had this effect on people – and appears to be still having! C’mon, man! This was supposed to be a little rock’n’roll band that lasted 10 years if that. It’s mind blowing.’   


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