Following the death of John Lennon, Paul McCartney reacted with both shock and resentment.

death john lennon

In the 1960s The Beatles were ginormous, McCartney and Lennon both friends and kings of the rock world. Beatlemania had spread across the world, John Lennon and Paul McCartney were a songwriting duo manufacturing gold records. Until, the success of the band became so enormous egos grew beyond control. Bitterness spreading like the flu within the band slowly tearing them apart from within. Lennon and McCartney once believing only in love, now beginning to hate the other.

On the morning of December 8th, 1980 Paul McCartney received the call that his old friend, John Lennon, was dead. The cold-blooded assassination of Lennon caused the whole world to react in different ways. Recently, Paul McCartney discussed opened up on his feelings to the murder of Lennon; the initial reaction and how the death of his long-time friend has affected him over the years.

After many years of tension and bad blood between the two former writing gods, the hope would be that there was some peace before the death of John Lennon, according to an interview in 2014 it would appear that was the case. Published in Rolling Stone McCartney retold what occurred the morning he received the news, “It was just so horrific that you couldn’t take it in – I couldn’t take it in. Just for days, you just couldn’t think that he was gone.” 

Though the two may not have seen each other in years, the finality of death impacts in a way that is inexplicable, only experienced first-hand.

Paul goes on to voice his frustration with the motive Mark David Chapman had for killing John Lennon. McCartney explains further, “this is not even a guy politically motivated. It’s just some total random thing.”

These remarks by the former Beatle show signs of the loss and grieving one would expect following the death of a friend. Unfortunately, McCartney did not hold overwhelming feelings of loss in the death of John Lennon. The anger and jealousy that tore the songwriting partnership apart, was now facing a new form of resentment. 

According to The Business Insider, McCartney says “okay well, now John’s a martyr, a JFK. I started to get frustrated because people started to say, he was the Beatles.” The justifiable fear on behalf of McCartney was the death of Lennon overshadowing the entirety of The Beatles legacy as a group.  Paul explains further by saying, “now the fact that he’s martyred has elevated him to a James Dean, and beyond.It was going to be: John was the one.” 

The catalog of songs written for The Beatles by the duo John Lennon and Paul McCartney could overshadow the work of nearly any three artists in the history of music. The two wrote the songs that became the script for future songwriters seeking the blueprints for greatness in lyrical mastery. The Beatles became one of the most popular things to ever exist on the planet earth. These two old friends were essential components in skyrocketing what became Beatlemania. 

The death of John Lennon impacted Paul McCartney in that he was both saddened by the loss of his friend, but also angry that the death of Lennon somehow meant the rest of The Beatles did not exist. The two Beatles were always wrestling over the deserved credit for songs, McCartney often feeling Lennon received undeserved credit. Perhaps McCartney felt this was Lennon’s final slap in the face, his everlasting ability to take the credit for everything.