Lennon passed away in December 1980 after being shot outside his New York apartment. The Beatles had been split since 1970.
Speaking in a new interview with Esquire, McCartney said of his former band: “We knew we were different. We knew we were something other groups weren’t: Lennon’s skill, intelligence, acerbic wit, McCartney’s melody, whatever he’s got, Harrison’s spirituality, Ringo’s spirit of fun, great drumming. We all played, which is pretty hard.”
He continued: “Post-Beatles George did his record, John did his, I did mine, Ringo did his. We were equal. When John got shot, aside from the pure horror of it, the lingering thing was, OK, well now John’s a martyr. A JFK.”
“So what happened was, I started to get frustrated because people started to say, ‘Well, he was The Beatles’. And me, George and Ringo would go, ‘Er, hang on. It’s only a year ago we were all equal-ish'”.
“Yeah, John was the witty one, sure. John did a lot of great work, yeah. And post-Beatles he did more great work, but he also did a lot of not-great work. Now the fact that he’s now martyred has elevated him to a James Dean, and beyond.”
“So whilst I didn’t mind that – I agreed with it – I understood that now there was going to be revisionism. It was going to be: John was the one.”
Elsewhere in the interview, McCartney reveals that he had a crush on the Queen as a child. The singer recalled the light-hearted memory, saying: “When we grew up she was a babe.”
He added: “Oh, yeah. We were like 11, she was 21 and good looking. And she had a figure on her,” McCartney said. “I shouldn’t say this about Her Majesty but we, as schoolboys, we said, ‘Look at the fuckin’ heave on her’!”
McCartney also goes on to rejects the idea of retiring and says he’s seen too many people stop working and “expire” straight away. “Sit at home and watch telly? Gardening, golf… no thanks. Occasionally, I do think, ‘You should have got fed up by now, you should be jaded’.
“But then I still enjoy writing, I still enjoy singing. What am I gonna do? You see so many people who retire and then immediately expire.”
Paul McCartney recently teamed up live with Dave Grohl for a rendition of ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ at his London show earlier this year (May 23). He also performed his 1980 track ‘Temporary Secretary’ live for the first time ever.