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Former Beatles Paul McCartney and John Lennon had a bitter falling out when the band broke up, and Lennon “turned nasty,” according to McCartney. What did Lennon say that McCartney took particular offense to? And were the former bandmates able to reconcile before Lennon’s 1980 murder?

Paul McCartney, pictured (R) with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, said Lennon 'turned nasty' after The Beatles' split
(L-R) Yoko Ono, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney | Cummings Archives/Redferns

Paul McCartney and John Lennon formed The Beatles as teenagers in the late ’50s

Lennon and McCartney met as teenagers and formed The Beatles in 1957. After reaching unprecedented heights of fame and success worldwide, Lennon left the band in 1969.

The iconic quartet went their separate ways after Lennon entered a meeting and announced he was quitting, McCartney later revealed. He’d divorced his first wife and married Yoko Ono, and he was taking his life in a different direction.

McCartney said Lennon’s departure surprised him and the other Beatles. But what happened next was something he still can’t understand.

Paul McCartney said John Lennon ‘turned nasty’ after he left The Beatles

McCartney wrote about his “nasty” feud with Lennon in his book Lyrics: 1956 to the Present. “When we broke up and everyone was now flailing around, John turned nasty,” he shared (per ET.)

He added, “I don’t really understand why. Maybe because we grew up in Liverpool, where it was always good to get in the first punch of a fight.”

“John was firing missiles at me with his songs, and one or two of them were quite cruel. I don’t know what he hoped to gain, other than punching me in the face. The whole thing really annoyed me,” McCartney recalled.

As for the hurtful things Lennon said, McCartney offered, “John would say things like, ‘It was rubbish. The Beatles were crap.’”

Paul McCartney reconciled his friendship with John Lennon after his ‘nasty’ antics, but they weren’t The Beatles anymore


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McCartney revealed that he and Lennon reconciled before Lennon’s untimely death. “We had certainly got our friendship back, which was a great blessing for me,” he told The Sunday Times (per NME.) But though they were friends, they weren’t The Beatles anymore.

“We made a decision when The Beatles folded that we weren’t going to pick it up again. So we switched off from The Beatles,” he shared. “You talk about something coming full circle that is very satisfying; let’s not spoil it by doing something that might not be as good.”

“It was a conscious decision to leave well enough alone, so I don’t really think we would have. But who knows? We could have,” he concluded.

McCartney revealed in his book that they gradually grew back together after falling out. “At first, after the breakup of the Beatles, we had no contact, but there were various things we needed to talk about,” he shared. “Our relationship was a bit fraught sometimes because we were discussing business, and we would sometimes insult each other on the phone.”

However, things changed and McCartney said, “… Gradually we got past that, and if I was in New York I would ring up and say, ‘Do you fancy a cup of tea?’”