Paul McCartney Says John Lennon Was the ‘Posh’ Beatle

When Paul McCartney and John Lennon met, it was one of the most important moments in music history. They met in 1957 at a village fete (garden party) at St. Peter’s, Woolton’s Parish Church in Liverpool. Paul witnessed John performing with his band The Quarrymen and knew there was something special about him. But he also realized that he’d actually seen John before, on the bus. When Paul first saw John on the bus, he thought John looked cool. He soon found out that John was quite posh too.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon presenting Fritz Spiegel and his band in Manchester, 1964.
Paul McCartney and John Lennon | Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Paul McCartney first saw John Lennon on the bus

Speaking to John’s son Sean for the BBC Radio 2 special (per Express), “John Lennon at 80,” Paul explained that he first saw John on the bus. “The funny thing about your dad was that I’d seen him around a couple of times, because I realised later what it was, my bus route, he would take that bus, but he would be going to see his mum who lived kind of in my area,” Paul explained.

“And then he’d take the bus back up to his Auntie Mimi’s,” Paul continued. “So I’d seen him a couple of times and thought, ‘Wow, you know, he’s an interesting looking guy.’ And then I once also saw him in a queue for fish and chips and I said, ‘Oh, that’s that guy off the bus.’ I’m talking to myself, in my mind I thought, ‘I saw that guy off the bus, oh he’s pretty cool-looking. Yeah, you know, he’s a cool guy.'”

Paul had no idea at the time that John was a musician like himself. “I knew nothing about him except that he looked pretty cool. He had long sideboards and greased back hair and everything… it was the Teddy Boy look, yeah.” Basically, John had the whole bad-boy vibe going for him.

Fast forward to St. Peter’s village fete. Paul’s friend Ivan Vaughan invited him to see John perform with his band. Upon seeing John performing with The Quarrymen, Paul thought, “Oh, that’s that guy who I’ve been seeing.”

RELATED: Paul McCartney Says John Lennon Doubted Whether People Would Remember Him

Paul soon found out that John was ‘posh’ compared to him

When Paul and John got to talking, Paul found out where John lived. As a young boy, John lived with his mother, Julia, while his father, Alfred, worked as a merchant seaman. When his Aunt Mimi complained about how her sister raised John to Social Services twice, they granted her sole custody of John.

So John lived with his aunt and her husband George Smith at Mendips, 251 Menlove Avenue, Woolton, a relatively wealthy neighborhood. Paul recognized this. He grew up on Madison Avenue, which wasn’t as nice as Menlove Avenue.

“He was in Menlove Avenue and I was off an avenue called Madison Avenue,” Paul recalled to Sean. “Compared to the rest of us in The Beatles, he was the posh one.” Despite living in a less-wealthier neighborhood, Paul had a better childhood than John. There was always music in his house, and he was adored by his parents James and Mary. Before living with his Aunt Mimi, John had a rough life. Neither of his parents could provide for him.

RELATED: Paul McCartney Says John Lennon’s Spirit Was With The Beatles When They Recorded ‘Free as a Bird’

Paul and John became great friends

Despite their different backgrounds, Paul and John quickly became good friends. In the beginning, they collaborated by strumming their guitars at one another until one of them came up with a melody they both liked. Paul would come around John’s house, and they’d write songs for hours.

When they formed The Beatles, they started one of the most successful songwriting partnerships in music history. Ozzy Osbourne, of all people, describes them perfectly; John and Paul were “sweet and sour.” Even after The Beatles broke up, and then later, after John died in 1980, Paul would always think about what he’d say about his songs.

“I look back on it now like a fan,” Paul continued to Sean about meeting John. “I think, ‘Wow. How lucky was I to meet this strange Teddy Boy off the bus who turned out to play music like I did, and we get together and, boy, we complemented each other.’ You know, it was a bit yin-yang.”