Paul McCartney and Kanye West Had a Secret Recording Session and Here’s How Paul Compares Kanye with John Lennon

When Kanye West and Paul McCartney famously met together to record in 2014, it was a union, at first news of it, that was as jarring as hearing that Macca had performed with the surviving members of Nirvana. It didn’t seem…right. They agreed at the time: no one finds out about this collaboration unless it works out really well.

Paul McCartney and Kanye West
Paul McCartney and Kanye West | Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Since then, of course, we know it went incredibly well, thanks to the success of their songs, FourFiveSeconds, Only One, and All Day, including performing at the 2015 Grammys together.

What we didn’t know is Paul’s big recent reveal about Kanye as a songwriter compared with his legendary other half, John Lennon.

Their other famous collabs

West has worked with so many other musicians, with Rihanna on All of the Lights, which also featured vocals from Elton John, Drake, and Alicia Keys; E.T. with Katy Perry; and One Man Can Change the World with Big Sean and John Legend, to name just a few.

Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson | AFP/Getty Images

And McCartney’s chart-topping collaborations are legendary: The Girl is Mine and Say, Say, Say, both with Michael Jackson, and Ebony and Ivory with Stevie Wonder. Not to mention as well, songs with Elvis Costello, Johnny Cash, and more.

The pain Kanye and Paul both know

Both West and McCartney know the unique grief of losing their mothers. West lost his mother in 2007 when she passed away after suffering complications from plastic surgery. McCartney’s mother, Mary, died when the former Beatle was in his teens, from an embolism after tumor-removal surgery. He credits her memory with his Beatles hit, Let It Be.

McCartney told James Corden last year, “I had a dream in the ’60s where my mom who died came to me and was reassuring me saying, ‘It’s going to be okay. Just let it be.'”

How Kanye compared to John Lennon

The 77-year-old musician opened up in an interview recently on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, about dreams he has had as well about his old mate, John Lennon.

He revealed, “I dream about him. When you’ve had a relationship like that for so long, such a deep relationship… I love when people revisit you in your dreams. I often have band dreams, and I’m often with John [in them]… I have a lot of dreams about John, and they’re always good.”

John Lennon and Paul McCartney|Val Wilmer/Redferns

In another interview with the BBC’s Gary Barlow, the pop legend opened up about working with West four years ago vs. with Lennon.

He said, “What happened was I got word that Kanye wanted to work with me. So I just thought, “Well, you know, I love his stuff so, here goes nothing.’ So we did some secret sessions and we both said ‘if it doesn’t work out we just won’t tell anyone!’

“I worked with (West) and it was a very interesting way of working. It wasn’t two guitars like me and John used to be, this was more cerebral. It was just talking and thinking and me plonking away a little bit. And you record everything and he takes it away and kind of does stuff with it.” 

McCartney explained that Lennon and he were so close and complemented their songwriting styles, a fact that time has firmly validated.

Read more: The ‘Outrageous’ Beatles Song Paul McCartney Wrote in John Lennon’s Style