Paul McCartney Says John Lennon Still Influences His Songwriting -
Paul McCartney at AAMI Park Melbourne on Tuesday 5 December 2017. Photo by Ros O'Gorman

Paul McCartney at AAMI Park Melbourne on Tuesday 5 December 2017. Photo by Ros O'Gorman

Paul McCartney Says John Lennon Still Influences His Songwriting

by on October 13, 2023

in News

Sir Paul McCartney says John Lennon still influences his songwriting and he drops lyrics that his late friend would consider “too soppy”.

Paul and John would refer to each other for advice when creating songs, especially in the early days of The Beatles – which also included Ringo Starr and George Harrison – when they would write together.

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.”

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

Paul 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.”

Paul McCartney Australian dates

Wednesday 18 October
Adelaide Entertainment Centre | Adelaide, SA

Saturday 21 October
Marvel Stadium, Melbourne, VIC

Tuesday 24 October
McDonald Jones Stadium | Newcastle, NSW

Friday 27 October
Allianz Stadium | Sydney, NSW

Saturday 28 October
Allianz Stadium | Sydney, NSW

Wednesday 1 November
Suncorp Stadium | Brisbane, QLD

Saturday 4 November
Heritage Bank Stadium | Gold Coast, QLD

Given the Got Back tour carries the same name as the 2022 North American tour you can expect the 2022 setlist to be somewhat of a spoiler alert for the Australian tour of 2023 (minus Bruce Springsteen of course).

Sir Paul also played a Glastonbury header on Got Back with Springsteen guesting for a couple of songs.

Paul McCartney Got Back setlist, Glastonbury 2022

Can’t Buy Me Love (from The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night, 1964)
Junior’s Farm (single 1974)
Letting Go (from Venus and Mars, 1975)
Got to Get You Into My Life (from The Beatles, Revolver, 1966)
Come On to Me (from Egypt Station, 2018)
Let Me Roll It (from Band On The Run, 1973)
Getting Better (from The Beatles, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967)
Let ‘Em In (from Wings at the Speed of Sound, 1976)
My Valentine (from Kisses On The Bottom, 2012)
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five (from Band On The Run, 1973)
Maybe I’m Amazed (from McCartney, 1970)
I’ve Just Seen A Face (from Help, 1965)
In Spite of All the Danger (1958 The Quarrymen song released on The Beatles Anthology, 1995)
Love Me Do (from Please Please Me, 1963)
Dance Tonight (from Memory Almost Full, 2007)
Blackbird (from The Beatles, The Beatles, 1968)
Here Today (from New, 2013)
New (from New, 2013)
Lady Madonna (The Beatles single 1968)
Fuh You (from Egypt Station, 2018)
Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite (from The Beatles, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967)
Something (from The Beatles, Abbey Road, 1969)
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (from The Beatles, The Beatles, 1968)
You Never Give Me Your Money (from The Beatles, Abbey Road, 1969)
She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (from The Beatles, Abbey Road, 1969)
Get Back (from Let It Be, 1970)
I Saw Her Standing There (from Please Please Me, 1963)
Band On The Run (from Band On The Run, 1973)
Glory Days (with Bruce Springsteen)
I Wanna Be Your Man (from With The Beatles, 1963)
Let It Be (from Let It Be, 1970)
Live and Let Die (from single 1972, from the Live and Let Die soundtrack)
Hey Jude (The Beatles single 1968)

I’ve Got A Feeling (from Let It Be, 1970) (duet with John Lennon on screen)
Helter Skelter (from The Beatles, The Beatles, 1968)
Golden Slumbers (from The Beatles, Abbey Road, 1969)
Carry That Weight (from The Beatles, Abbey Road, 1969)
The End (from The Beatles, Abbey Road, 1969)

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