Paul McCartney called John Lennon a “lazy bastard” for always sleeping late. The “Yesterday” singer was always an early riser, ready to start the day and be as productive as possible. Meanwhile, John slept in and hardly wanted to get out of bed. Somehow, they found common ground and had time to write hits.
Paul McCartney called John Lennon a ‘lazy bastard’ for always getting up late
In his book The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, Paul explained that he was driving out to John’s home in Weybridge in his beautiful Aston Martin on one summer day. He loves to drive; it gives him time to think of song ideas.
Paul would arrive at John’s house with a fully formed idea and ready to start their songwriting sessions. However, sometimes he would have to wait for John, who was always still in bed when he arrived. Paul called him a “lazy bastard,” whereas he was a “very enthusiastic young man.”
Paul always went out to John’s pool to wait for him. One particular day, Paul was in the yard and wrote “Good Day Sunshine.”
Paul and John were opposites, but they worked well together
The songwriting partners were very different. As Paul said, he was an enthusiastic young man. He had a relatively good childhood. Paul was an eager learner. He loved English class and bird watching. His parents taught him to be an upstanding citizen. He was Scout and did chores for some of his elderly neighbors, one of which later inspired “Eleanor Rigby.” Paul also took his studies seriously.
Into adulthood, Paul put all of his energy into music. When The Beatles became famous, fans considered him the cute Beatle. Later, everyone called him the PR Beatle because he had a certain charisma regarding public image.
John’s personality was the complete opposite. His parents abandoned him when he was little, and his Aunt Mimi raised him. She was strict and hoped he’d get a good job when he was older. However, John loved art. He went to art college and rebelled against his Aunt at every turn.
In The Beatles, fans called him the witty Beatle. He had a sharp sense of humor. John was rougher, while Paul was gentler. However, they connected on many things, including their love of music. Both of their mothers died in their teenage years, so they bonded over that loss too. When they became songwriting partners, they learned that they both knew how to make the other’s songs better.
They were opposites in their songs
Paul and John showed how different they could be in their songs. The best example is “I’ve Got a Feeling,” which both sing.
In The Lyrics, Paul explained, “This song is a shotgun wedding between my own ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ and a piece John had written, called ‘Everyone Had A Bad [sic] Year.’ One of the most exciting things about writing with John was that he would very often come in from another angle. If I were saying, ‘It’s getting better all the time,’ John might easily say, ‘It can’t get no worse,’ which immediately opens the song right up.”
While Paul wrote “Good Day Sunshine,” John wrote “I’m Only Sleeping.” Paul often wrote some of the happier Beatles songs, while John wrote their sadder ones. Paul wrote love songs; John wrote breakup songs.
However different they were in their personalities and songwriting, Paul and John each brought something interesting to The Beatles. Without their differences, the band wouldn’t have been as good.