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Paul McCartney and John Lennon were close collaborators for years, but their relationship turned acrimonious when The Beatles broke up. They fought privately and on a far more public scale with their songs and interviews. Despite this, they still thought of each other as family. McCartney said he consistently thinks about something Lennon told him in the middle of an argument.

A black and white photo of Paul McCartney and John Lennon sitting at a table together.
Paul McCartney and John Lennon | William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images

John Lennon sent a scathing letter to Paul McCartney after The Beatles broke up

After The Beatles broke up, McCartney and Lennon’s relationship was at a low point. They wrote songs about each other and publicly discussed their feud in the press. Lennon was once so furious about comments McCartney made in an interview that he wrote him a scathing letter.

“It’s all very well playing ‘simple, honest ole’ human Paul’ in Melody Maker,” Lennon wrote, per the New York Post, “[but] if you’re not the aggressor (as you claim), who the hell took us to court and s*** all over us in public?”

He defended his relationship with Yoko Ono and insulted McCartney.

“Wanna put your photo on the label like uncool John and Yoko, do ya?” he wrote. “(Ain’t ya got no shame). If we’re not cool, WHAT DOES THAT MAKE YOU….”

He ended the angry letter by telling McCartney that there were no hard feelings between them.

“No hard feelings to you either,” he wrote. “I know we basically want the same, and as I said on the phone and in this letter, whenever you want to meet, all you have to do is call.”

Paul McCartney still remembers something John Lennon said to him during a fight

Their relationship was fraught, but McCartney said he never hated Lennon.

“People said to me when he said those things on his record about me, you must hate him, but I didn’t,” McCartney told The New Yorker in 2021. “I don’t.”

He recalled one argument with Lennon in which Lennon reminded him that, despite their fame and success, they were still friends.

“We were once having a right slagging session and I remember how he took off his granny glasses. I can still see him,” McCartney said. “He put them down and said, ‘It’s only me, Paul.’ Then he put them back on again and we continued slagging … That phrase keeps coming back to me all the time. ‘It’s only me.’”

John Lennon’s son said he’s close with McCartney these days

After spending the early 1970s arguing, Lennon and McCartney repaired their relationship. Lennon’s son Sean said that he admires his father’s former bandmate.


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“Time has sort of made us all grow to soften our edges and appreciate each other much more,” Sean said. “Paul is a hero to me, on the same shelf as my dad. My mom loves Paul, too, she really appreciates him. They’ve had tensions in the past, and no one is trying to deny it. But all the tension we ever had, hyperbolized or not, makes it a real story about real human beings.”