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  • John Lennon said he, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison were unlike earlier rock ‘n’ roll stars.
  • He said The Beatles were closer to Buddy Holly than Elvis Presley.
  • John discussed why Paul could have become a doctor instead of a rock star.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney in black-and-white
John Lennon and Paul McCartney | Fox Photos/Getty Images

John Lennon said Paul McCartney could have been a doctor. Subsequently, John was asked if he could have had the same job. Ultimately, John’s view of Paul was vindicated.

John Lennon said he, Paul McCartney and George Harrison were a trio of ‘grammar school boys’ unlike earlier rock ‘n’ roll stars

John famously discussed class in his song “Working Class Hero.” The tune says religion, school, and television all hurt the working class. While John wrote and performed this track, he didn’t claim to be working class.

During a 1980 interview in the book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, John discussed his upbringing. “My childhood was not all suffering,” he said. “It was not all slum. I was always well dressed, well fed, well schooled, and brought up to be a nice lower-middle-class English boy. You know? 

“And that’s what made The Beatles different, the fact that George, Paul, and John were grammar-school boys,” he said. John felt Elvis Presley and all the previous rock ‘n’ rollers had been poor, citing Buddy Holly as an exception. John compared Holly to The Beatles because he was suburban and literate.

John Lennon said Paul McCartney could have become a doctor because he was studious and well-behaved

John felt The Beatles’ educations were important. “But the so-called thing of The Beatles was the fact that we were pretty well-educated and not truckers,” he said. “Paul could have gone to university. He was always a good boy. He passed his exams. He could have become, what the hell — I don’t know — Dr. McCartney, I suppose. I could have done it myself if I had worked. I never worked.”

John discussed whether he could have been a doctor as well. “Well, I could have taken up fine arts or languages — that kind of stuff,” he replied. “The arts I know I could have handled easily. It just was never encouraged. They only wanted scientists in the ’50s. And artsy-fartsy people were just spies.” John felt society had not changed its opinion of artists all those years later.

The cute Beatle eventually received an honorary doctorate from Yale University in 2008

A famous university vindicated John’s comments about Paul. According to The Guardian, Yale University awarded Paul an honorary doctorate in 2008. Specifically, he became a doctor of music.

University President Richard Levin gave a speech in honor of Paul, saying he pushed boundaries “here, there, and everywhere,” an obvious pun on The Beatles’ song of the same name. The speech included several other Beatles puns. Notably, Levine’s Beatlemania went back to the 1960s. After winning tickets to the gig, he attended the Fab Four’s last live show in the United States.

John said Paul could have been a doctor — and eventually, Paul became an honorary one.