Paul McCartney shares how terrified John Lennon was of how people would remember him after death

John Lennon Paris 1964
Credit: Paul McCartney Instagram

John Lennon worried about how his fans would remember him after his death way before he was shot at the age of 40 in 1980, his Beatles bandmate Paul McCartney shares.

On a Wednesday iHeart Radio podcast episode, Beatles bandmate McCartney reflected on the life of his dear friend and late Beatles bandmate John Lennon on The McCartney: A Life in Lyrics, where he said that Lennon was afraid of what his people would remember him by after his death.

The 81-year-old singer recalled on the podcast, the contents of which have been obtained by People, “I remember him saying to me, ‘Paul, I worry about how people are going to remember me when I die,’ and it kind of shocked me,” adding, “I said ‘OK, hold on, just hold it right there. People are going to think you were great, you’ve already done enough work to demonstrate that.'” He continued, “I was like his priest. Often I’d have to say, ‘My son, you’re great, don’t worry about it,’ and he would take it. It would make him feel better.”

Amongst other memories, the bass guitarist also recalled how well he and Lennon worked together on the episode, which was titled “Here Today” in reference to the 1982 solo track he released in light of his friend’s death the year before, stating, “If anyone asks me, ‘What was it like to work with John?’ The fact was it was easier, much easier, because there were two minds at work. And that interplay was nothing short of miraculous,” adding, “Now I’m conscious that I don’t have him, very much. And you know, often we’ll sort of refer to, ‘What would John say to this? Is this too soppy? He would’ve said da da da, so I’ll change it.’ But my songs have to reflect me, and you don’t have this opposing element so much. I have to do that myself these days.”


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The 1982 was an ode to Lennon, which he wrote in remembrance of him after his death in 1980. He recalled, “I was remembering things about our relationship and things about the million things we’d done together. From just being in each others front parlors or bedrooms, or walking on the street together, or hitchhiking,” adding that writing the song was an emotional whirlwind, stating that it was “very moving, very emotional,” adding to this, “because I was just sitting there in this bare room thinking of John and realizing I’d lost him.” He added to this by saying, “And it was a powerful loss, so to have a conversation with him in a song was some form of solace. Somehow I was with him again.”

People reports that in 2022, in an interview with SiriusXM’s The Beatles Channel, he discussed the track “Here Today,” where he said that losing Lennon was very difficult, recalling, “I remember getting home from the studio on the day that we’d heard the news he died and turning the TV on and seeing people say, ‘Well, John Lennon was this and what he was was this,’ ” adding, “It was like, I don’t know, I can’t be one of those people.” He continued, “I can’t just go on TV and say what John meant to me,” adding, “It was just too deep. It’s just too much.”

McCartney finally spoke about the emotions surrounding Lennon’s death, “I couldn’t put it into words,” adding, “It was difficult for everyone in the world because he was such a loved character and such a crazy guy. He was so special.”