John Lennon Said He Wished Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney Would Stop Releasing Music

When The Beatles broke up, John Lennon insulted Paul McCartney’s solo work. He also said that he wished his former bandmate would stop making music altogether. He had the same wish for Bob Dylan and virtually any other musician. For Lennon, a perfect world would be one in which he was the only person releasing records. 

A black and white picture of John Lennon wearing sunglasses and playing guitar.
John Lennon |  Harry Benson/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

John Lennon insulted Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan’s music

After The Beatles broke up, Lennon didn’t do much to promote his former bandmates’ solo work. Instead, he did the opposite, either saying that the albums weren’t his taste or that they were outright bad. He was particularly harsh on McCartney’s work. 

“I thought Paul’s was rubbish,” Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1970. “I think he’ll make a better one, when he’s frightened into it. But I thought that first one was just a lot of … Remember what I told you when it came out? ‘Light and easy,’ You know that crack.”

In the same interview, Lennon insulted Dylan’s work. He had always spoken highly of the American musician but said he was no longer interested in his music.

“I thought it wasn’t much,” he said. “Because I expect more — maybe I expect too much from people — but I expect more. I haven’t been a Dylan follower since he stopped rocking. I liked ‘Rolling Stone’ and a few things he did then; I like a few things he did in the early days. The rest of it is just like Lennon-McCartney or something. It’s no different, it’s a myth.”

John Lennon said he wished Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, and everyone else would quit music

Lennon wasn’t a fan of McCartney’s solo work, but he believed he would eventually put out something good. 

“I think it’ll probably scare him into doing something decent, and then he’ll scare me into doing something decent, like that,” Lennon said. “I think he’s capable of great work and I think he will do it.”

Though he believed in his former bandmate’s ability to release good music, he didn’t necessarily want him to. He felt the same way about Dylan and, it seemed, virtually every other musician alive.

“I wish he wouldn’t, you know, I wish nobody would, Dylan or anybody,” he said. “In me heart of hearts, I wish I was the only one in the world or whatever it is. But I can’t see Paul doing it twice.”

He admired Bob Dylan’s work

Lennon’s dismissal of Dylan’s work was a bit surprising, as he’d always praised the other artist. He downplayed Dylan’s potential for success, but he admitted that he liked his music.

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“The first time you hear Dylan you think you’re the first to discover him,” Lennon said, per the book No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan by Robert Shelton. “But quite a lot of people have discovered him before us … I think Bob Dylan’s music will grow steadily in this country, but I can’t see him becoming the new craze.”