By Emma McKee
John Lennon gave countless interviews in his lifetime and admitted that he sometimes lied to journalists. Some of his lies served to amuse himself, and others distracted from persistent lines of questioning. Journalists constantly asked him about the process of writing songs with Paul McCartney . Lennon grew sick of this, so he began to spread the mistruth that he had never really written with McCartney.
John Lennon revealed that he lied about his writing process
During The Beatles’ early years, Lennon and McCartney sat in a room together in close collaboration on songs. As their years in the band wore on, their partnership grew more fraught. Because of this, Lennon began lying and telling people they had never actually written together.
“I said that, but I was lying. [Laughs],” Lennon said in the book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview With John Lennon and Yoko Ono by David Sheff. “By the time I said that, we were so sick of this idea of writing and singing together, especially me, that I started this thing about, ‘We never wrote together, we were never in the same room.’ Which wasn’t true. We wrote a lot of stuff together, one-on-one, eyeball to eyeball.”
He gave an example of just how closely they worked together on “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
“We were in Jane Asher’s house, downstairs in the cellar, playing on the piano at the same time,” he said. “And we had, ‘Oh you-u-u … got that something…’ And Paul hits this chord and I turn to him and say, ‘That’s it!’ I said, ‘Do that again!’ In those days, we really used to absolutely write like that — both playing into each other’s nose. We spent hours and hours and hours …”
He said he didn’t necessarily miss writing with Paul McCartney
While he eventually admitted to lying about his writing partnership with McCartney, Lennon did not go so far as to say that he enjoyed writing with him. He said that he didn’t miss McCartney artistically. Part of why they had to work so closely together was because of the demand for new Beatles music.
“I mean, we worked together partly because the demand on us was tremendous,” he said. “They’d want a record, a single, every three months, and we’d do it in twelve hours in a hotel or a van. So the cooperation was functional as well as musical.”
He claimed that he had taught McCartney more than McCartney taught him. As a result, he didn’t feel a loss when they stopped working together.
“I never actually felt a loss,” he told Sheff. “I don’t want it to sound negative, like I didn’t need Paul, because when he was there, obviously, it worked. But I can’t — it’s easier to say what my contribution was to him than what he gave to me. And he’d say the same.”
John Lennon lied about another piece of Beatles’ history
This was not the only time Lennon spread untruths about The Beatles. When the band was first starting out, he and McCartney told people that they had over one hundred songs waiting to be released after “Love Me Do.”
“We used to try and persuade people that we had about a hundred songs before ‘Love Me Do,’” McCartney said in the book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now by Barry Miles. “That was a slight exaggeration. It was probably more like four — less than twenty anyway, but if you were writing off to journalists, ‘Dear Sir, We have a beat combo you might be interested in writing up …’ it sounded better to say, ‘We have written over one hundred songs.’”