Why John Lennon Envied Paul McCartney’s Songwriting
A former John Lennon aide recalled times when the former Beatle envied the sort of songs Paul McCartney was writing.
While Dan Richter was instrumental in helping the former bandmates reconnect after their acrimonious split in 1970 he told The Telegraph that Lennon knew McCartney had talents he didn’t share. (Richter was around during the Beatles’ last few months.)
Richter recalled, at one point, “John got somebody to make a list of all the Beatles’ songs, and then we had to say which were his and which were Paul’s.” On another occasion, Lennon’s entourage visited a “fancy restaurant” where a band was playing as guests ate dinner. “When they saw John come in, they started playing ‘Yesterday,’” Richter recalled. “John was so pissed off!”
He also offered an example that suggested Lennon’s sense of competitiveness went further: After returning to his Tittenhurst Park home from a visit to George Harrison’s place, Lennon exclaimed, “I could see water from George’s window. Do you think we could put in a lake here?” However, Richter maintained that Lennon’s biggest rivalry was with McCartney. “It bugged him that Paul could write those sweet melodies like ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Hey Jude.’ He couldn’t do that. He was just too acerbic or too intelligent.”
The assistant noted that it was no surprise to him that both Lennon and McCartney married into wealthy families. “Both of them ended up with women who knew how to deal with money, property, companies, staff,” he noted. “One of the things that surprised me about John when I first met him was how little he knew of those kinds of things. He called himself working class, but he was really lower-middle class.”
Richter confirmed he hasn’t spoken to surviving Beatles McCartney and Ringo Starr in many years but added that he was happy to help get the band’s two main songwriters talking again in 1973. “John and Yoko were at their Bank Street place [in New York] … Paul was at a hotel in Berlin, and I called his people. I said, ‘If I got John on the phone, would Paul talk to him?’ They said yes, and so they talked. I felt really good about that because they really loved each other.”
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