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Paul McCartney says he “chokes” listening to Wings song about Lennon “dispute”

The former Beatle was reflecting on the debut Wings album, 50 years on

By Joe Goggins

Paul McCartney pictured at home with his original 'Magic Piano'
Wings' 'Wild Life' will be reissued this Friday (February 4). (Photo: Mary McCartney)

Paul McCartney has revealed which song about John Lennon he still struggles to listen to.

‘Dear Friend’, which McCartney penned for Wings in 1971, is the final track on the band’s debut album, ‘Wild Life’. In a new question-and-answer on his official website,, McCartney has revealed that he used the track to address his former bandmate in the wake of The Beatles’ acrimonious split. 

“And then with ‘Dear Friend’, that’s sort of me talking to John after we’d had all the sort of disputes about The Beatles break up,” said McCartney. “I find it very emotional when I listen to it now. I have to sort of choke it back.” The legendary songwriter was reflecting on ‘Wild Life’ ahead of a 50th anniversary vinyl reissue due out on Friday (February 4).

Having listened back to the song as he readied the re-release, McCartney continued of ‘Dear Friend’: “I remember when I heard the song recently, listening to the roughs in the car. And I thought, ‘Oh God’. That lyric: ‘Really truly, young and newly wed’.”

Lennon died in December 1980, at the age of 40, after being shot outside his apartment building in New York City. In the new Q&A, McCartney expressed gratitude for being able to reconcile with Lennon before his passing. “Listening to [‘Dear Friend] was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s true!’ I’m trying to say to John, ‘Look, you know, it’s all cool. Have a glass of wine. Let’s be cool.’”

“And luckily we did get it back together,” McCartney continued, “which was like a great source of joy because it would have been terrible if he’d been killed as things were at that point and I’d never got to straighten it out with him. This was me reaching out. So, I think it’s very powerful in some very simple way. But it was certainly heartfelt.”

The relationship between Lennon and McCartney, which fostered the most successful songwriting collaboration in history based on records sold, has come under renewed scrutiny in the wake of Peter Jackson’s Disney+ documentary ‘Get Back’, which chronicles the often fraught recording sessions for The Beatles’ final album, ‘Let It Be’. Talking to the BBC in October, McCartney claimed that it was Lennon who was responsible for the group’s breakup. “I didn’t instigate the split. That was our Johnny,” he told John Wilson.