In 1970 Paul McCartney issued a press release that he was on a “break” from The Beatles. Since then, the musician has shouldered a lot of the blame for allegedly breaking the band up.
However, during a recent chat with poet Paul Muldoon, with who he collaborated on The Lyrics, 1956 to the present book, McCartney was asked what the biggest misconception was about him.
“That I had broken The Beatles up … so I lived with that because once a headline is out there it sticks. That was a big one that I’ve only finally just got over,” McCartney shared, suggesting that he wasn’t the reason that the band broke up.
In a different interview, McCartney said that Lennon was “firing missiles” at him with songs, shortly after The Beatles broke up.
“John [Lennon] was firing missiles at me with his songs, and one or two of them were quite cruel,” he said during an appearance on BBC Radio.
“I don’t know what he hoped to gain, other than punch me in the face, the whole thing really annoyed me.”
He continued: “I decided to turn my missiles on him too [with the song ‘Too Many People’], but I’m not really that kind of writer, so it was quite veiled. It was the 1970s equivalent of what might today be called a diss track.”
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“An idea of too many people preaching practices, it was definitely aimed at John telling everyone what they ought to do. I just got fed up being told what to do, so I wrote this song.”
“The first verse and the chorus have pretty much all the anger I could muster, and when I did the vocal on the second line, ‘Too many reaching for a piece of cake,’ I remember singing it as ‘piss of cake.’”
“Again, I was getting back at John but my heart wasn’t really in it. ‘You’ve made this break so good luck with it,’ it was pretty mild, I didn’t really come out with any savagery.”
Despite their differences, during the interview with Muldoon, McCartney said that he never told John Lennon that he loved him, and it’s something that he regrets.
“The four of us miraculously found each other. We grew up together. It’s like walking up a staircase and we’ve always been side by side on that staircase. I’m like a fan. I just remember how great it was to work with him and how great he was. Because you are not just messing around, you are not singing with Joe Bloggs you are singing with John Lennon.
“It’s very true. You say that I loved him and as 17-year-old Liverpool kids you could never say that. It just wasn’t done. So I never really said, ‘John, love you mate’ I never got around to it so now it’s great to know how much I love this man.”
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