Paul McCartney and John Lennon had a friendship that spanned over 30 years, and together, they built a bond that withstood many creative and personal difficulties. However, when speaking about Lennon in 2012, McCartney recalled a time when his longtime pal was “sweeter.” This period coincided with The Beatles‘ guitarist’s move to New York City with his wife, Yoko Ono.
John Lennon moved to New York City in 1971
Following The Beatles’ breakup, Lennon and Ono moved to New York City in 1971. There, Lennon tried to England and a life that had brought him fortune, fame, and heartache. He focused on his marriage to Ono and tried to become a private citizen after living life as was one of the most recognizable faces on the planet.
During that time, Lennon created some of the most acclaimed songs and albums of his career; these included Mind Games, Whatever Gets You Thru the Night, I’m Losing You, and Woman. During his time in New York City, he lobbied hard for the anti-war movement and numerous other progressive political causes.
Lennon separated from Ono for 18 months, beginning in the summer of 1973 and lasting through early 1975, a period the couple called his lost weekend, reported Biography. Following their reconciliation, Ono became pregnant with the couple’s only son Sean, born on Lennon’s birthday, Oct. 9, 1975.
Paul McCartney said John Lennon became ‘sweeter’ while living in New York
— John Lennon (@johnlennon) January 4, 2023
In an interview with The Independent, McCartney said there was a time period when Lennon changed post-Beatles. He claimed that the angrier young man he knew from The Beatles was gone and replaced by the person he first met in the late 1950s.
“There is this period of John which is all pre-Beatles, pre-huge fame, pre-drugs – and it is another John completely – that was always there until the end,” McCartney explained. “He got much sweeter once he settled in New York.”
“Once he was reunited with Yoko, and they had Sean, he became this sweet personality again when he was more comfortable with himself. But the acerbic John is the one we know and love, you know, because he was clever, so it was very attractive,” McCartney explained.
He continued, “I have more than a slight affection for the John that I knew when we were first writing songs when we would try and do things the old songwriters had done. I slightly regret the way John’s image has formed, and because he died so tragically, it has become set in concrete. The acerbic side was there, but it was only part of him. He was also such a sweet, lovely man – a really sweet guy.”
Lennon and McCartney reportedly were on good terms before John’s untimely death
Lennon and McCartney were reportedly together at the Dakota on Apr. 24, 1976, when Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels famously offered the band $3000 to reunite on the show. After that titular evening, Lennon and McCartney never saw each other again but kept in touch.
“The last phone conversation I ever had with him was great,” McCartney told Playboy in 1984, republished by The Beatles Interviews website. “We didn’t have any blowup. It could have easily been one of the other phone calls when we blew up at each other and slammed the phone down.”