The Horrible Names Paul McCartney & John Lennon Called Each Other When They Fought

Paul McCartney and John Lennon had one of the best songwriting partnerships in one of the biggest bands in the world, The Beatles. However, they knew how to get under each other’s skin. In their partnership, they’d often write songs separately. Paul would write sweet songs while John would sometimes write sadder angstier tunes. They were sweet and sour, yin and yang, but they always finished every song off together. Despite those beautifully creative moments in their friendship, Paul and John could be brutal to one another.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon at a press conference in Australia, 1964.
Paul McCartney and John Lennon | GAB Archive/Redferns

The horrible names Paul McCartney and John Lennon called each other during fights

During the recent Hulu docuseries McCartney 3,2,1 (per Insider), Paul McCartney touched on his and John’s relationship what it was like dealing with their differences. Paul explained that they used to call each other the worst names during their fights.

“Thinking back on it, it’s crazy,” Paul said. “He wore glasses and I didn’t. So if we got into an argument, I would call him ‘four-eyes.’ Four-eyes! And he would go, ‘Pigeon chest!’ My chest was not as developed as his, or whatever. So you know, we did all that. But these things obviously bring you together.”

Thankfully, John and Paul didn’t take the name-calling and the fighting to heart too much. They were able to continue to work together. It’s still shocking to hear what the bandmates called each other in the heat of the moment, though.

Paul and John had very different personalities

Paul also touched on how truly different he and John were. They came from entirely different households. Even though Paul says John was the posh Beatle, growing up in his aunt and uncle’s nice neighborhood, John still had a pretty terrible childhood compared to Paul.

“I always thought everyone had loving families,” Paul continued to tell producer Rick Rubin in McCartney 3,2,1. “Of course, later I found that’s not true. And some people are very unfortunate. John was very unlucky. His dad left his home when he was 3, and John didn’t see him ’til he was famous. And also John’s mom got killed. So this was an eye-opener to me.”

They had contrasting childhoods, so that meant they had dissimilar temperaments as adults. “John had a very defensive way, which was beautiful. It’s how he got through that childhood. But I was much more open and just more, ‘Everything’s great.’ Optimistic,” Paul explained their different personalities.


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Paul loved his and John’s yin and yang personalities

Talking about his and John’s yin and yang personalities, Paul told Rubin that it helped them write songs together sometimes. “As a team, that worked,” Paul said, giving The Beatles’ “Getting Better” as an example. “I would write, ‘It’s getting better all the time,’ and he would go, ‘It couldn’t get much worse.’ Which was like, the perfect foil for that song. So I loved the way he would always add a little cynicism.”

Ozzy Osbourne, a huge Beatles fan, recognized John and Paul’s different personalities through their music. “Lennon and McCartney were like sweet and sour,” Osbourne told Rolling Stone.

However, throughout Paul and John’s friendship, there were lovely moments. When John became insecure about something, Paul was always there to reassure him. Later, when John and Paul didn’t have each other to consult after The Beatles broke up, they’d still consider what they’d say to each other in the songwriting process. John and Paul might have fought hard during their time in The Beatles, but they loved each other just as hard.