Paul McCartney looks back on ‘hurtful’ John Lennon diss track alleging he did ‘nothing’ for The Beatles

5 August 2020, 13:35 | Updated: 15 January 2024, 11:04

Paul McCartney looks back on ‘hurtful’ John Lennon diss track alleging he did ‘nothing’ for The Beatles
Paul McCartney looks back on ‘hurtful’ John Lennon diss track alleging he did ‘nothing’ for The Beatles. Picture: Getty

By Rory O'Connor

Sir Paul McCartney has opened up in a new interview about the hurt he felt after John Lennon released a song which appeared to be aimed at him.

Paul explained how his Beatles bandmate John's song 'How Do You Sleep?' was “hurtful”.

The 1971 track from John’s solo album, Imagine, was written after Paul successfully dissolved The Beatles partnership in a High Court lawsuit.

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John also wrote the song after Paul slammed his bandmates in a Rolling Stones interview in 1970, the year they split.

Paul and his then-wife Linda reacted by having ads published mocking John and Yoko Ono, which saw them dressed up as clowns.

Paul’s solo LP, Ram, featured the track 'Too Many People', which he later admitted was intended to be a dig at John.

Too Many People (Remastered 2012)

'How Do You Sleep?' was penned in response to this and featured the conspiracy theory that the real Paul had died and was replaced, with the line: “Those freaks was right when they said you was dead.”

John also claimed Paul only contributed ‘Yesterday’ during his time with The Beatles, with the lyric: “The only thing you done was yesterday / And since you've gone you're just another day.”

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The late singer also sang: “You probably pinched that b***h anyway”, in response to Paul allegedly telling his bandmates he wasn't sure if he'd taken the melody to 'Yesterday' from another song.

Paul, 78, told GQ how there were many people influencing the lyrics at the time, including Yoko and the band's manager, Allan Klein, who Paul had distanced himself from.

How Do You Sleep? (Takes 5 & 6, Raw Studio Mix Out-take) - John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band

The Beatles in 1965
The Beatles in 1965. Picture: PA

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He said: “I remember reading an article, an interview with Yoko, who, okay, she was a big John supporter, I get that, but in this article she goes, ‘Paul did nothing. All he ever did was book the studio.’

“And I'm going, 'Err? No...' And then John does this famous song, ‘How Do You Sleep?’ and he's going, ‘All you ever did was 'Yesterday’…’

“And I'm going, ‘No, man.’”

He continued: “But then you hear the stories from various angles and apparently people who were in the room when John was writing that, he was getting suggestions for the lyrics off Allan Klein.

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“So, you see the atmosphere of ‘Let's get Paul. Let's nail him in a song…’ And those things were pretty hurtful.”