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Paul McCartney says he never got to tell John Lennon that he “loved him”

"As 16-year-old and 17-year-old Liverpool kids, you couldn’t say that – it just wasn’t done"

By Hollie Geraghty

Paul McCartney performs with a guitar in The Beatles
Paul McCartney performing with The Beatles (Photo: Alamy).

Paul McCartney has spoken about his regret that he never told John Lennon he loved him.

Speaking during an event at the Royal Festival Hall on Friday (November 5) to celebrate the launch of his new book ‘The Lyrics’ and reported by NME, the Beatles legend spoke about the “love” for his late bandmate which was noted by poet and host Paul Muldoon.

“It’s true. You say that I loved him, but as 16-year-old and 17-year-old Liverpool kids, you couldn’t say that – it just wasn’t done,” McCartney said. “So I never did. I never really said, ‘You know, I love you man’. I never really got round to it. So now, it is great to just realise how much I love this man.”

McCartney also reflected on his close working relationship with Lennon, who was shot and killed in New York in December 1980.

“It was always great to work with John, from the very first thing where he said, ‘Yeah, I write songs too’. We just developed a way of working with each other and trusting each other that grew and grew,” he said.

“We both grew up together. [Life] was like walking up a staircase, and we both went side by side up that staircase. It was very exciting. Now that The Beatles’ recording career has finished, I’m like a fan. 

“I just remember how great it was to work with him and how great he was. You’re not messing around here, you’re not just singing with Joe Bloggs – you’re singing with John Lennon.”

He added that songwriting with the artist was like “looking in a mirror”, with Lennon being right-handed, while McCartney wrote and played with his left.

Macca also took a moment to comment on plans for a £2million Beatles attraction in Liverpool announced by Rishi Sunak in the 2021 Budget last month.

The singer said he was “happy that they’re recognising that it’s a tourist attraction” but added that he “thinks they could also spend the money on something else.”

The decision was met with some controversy, as music bosses branded the plans as “pointless nonsense”.

Journalist Samira Ahmed asked McCartney about his thoughts on the idea that “some might say that there are people who might try and co-opt The Beatles into some kind of nationalistic, patriotic ideal of what it is to be British”.

The former Beatle replied: “I don’t mind because I know that people from Japan, America, South America, all know The Beatles. If they come to Liverpool, that’s a lot of what they come to see. I think it’s fine. In fact, in the early days of our fame the Liverpool Council filled in The Cavern – really like the Joni Mitchell song, to make a parking lot.”