Paul McCartney Shares the Story Behind Beatles Classic: John Lennon’s ‘Whole Life Was a Cry for Help’
McCartney's recollections are featured in the new issue of Billboard, and form the focus of a profile that finds him looking back on the writing and recording of Beatles classics like "Eight Days a Week," "Hey Jude," and "Love Me Do." As revealed in a recently posted excerpt, McCartney also offers his perspective on the personal turmoil that went into John Lennon's work on "Help!"
Mulling over Lennon's admission that he wrote the song while feeling "the whole Beatles thing was just beyond comprehension" and subconsciously crying out for help," McCartney gave his take on to Lennon's musing in a 1980 Playboy interview that "I was fat and depressed, and I was crying out for help."
""He didn't say, 'I'm now fat and I'm feeling miserable.' He said, 'When I was younger, so much younger than today.' In other words, he blustered his way through. We all felt the same way," said McCartney. "Looking back on it, John was always looking for help. He had [a paranoia] that people died when he was around. His father left home when John was three, the uncle he lived with died later, then his mother died. I think John's whole life was a cry for help."
For all that, McCartney remembers "Help!" coming together fairly painlessly. "We finished it quite quickly; we went downstairs and sang it to John's wife at the time, Cynthia, and a journalist he was friendly with called Maureen Cleave," he recalled. "We were very pleased with ourselves."
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