Paul McCartney Used to Wonder If He Ever Really Knew John Lennon
He said it led to a period of wondering if he’d ever really known close colleague John Lennon at all, though he later resolved his concerns.
“That’s a very special picture for me,” McCartney said as he looked at a photo of the pair on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. "Because when the Beatles broke up, a lot of the talk was like I was the villain and that John and I didn’t really get on well. And there was a lot of down talk about it, because everyone was sad the Beatles had broken up. And I kinda bought into it.”
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He noted that "when you’re called it enough, you start thinking, ‘Well, maybe I was [the villain].’ So I had to do a lot of wrangling with, ‘Was I? Wasn’t I? Did I know John? Were we friends or anything?’ … There was so many rumors about it. And that photo, when I saw it, it’s like, ‘Yes, we were friends.’ And it’s a beautiful photo for me because it just reminds me of us working together and how cool it was.”
McCartney last year said his 1970 lawsuit against the Beatles was a contributing factor to his being viewed in a negative way. “One of the sadnesses for me when the Beatles broke up, the only way to save the business side of it was me suing the Beatles, so that was like a total heartache,” he told GQ. “And the residue was that I was to blame. I was 'the one who broke the Beatles up.' And so I spent quite a bit of time … to sort of say, 'No, I didn't. John wanted Yoko [Ono], so he said, ‘We’re leaving the Beatles.'
“But because of that suing incident, the word got out that I was the baddie. And the worst thing was, I kind of bought into it. My psyche sort of said, 'No, no, no, no, no, no … Yes! ... No, you weren't ... You were!' I really wasn't, but if everyone thinks you were, then maybe you were."