Couldn’t Get Away

The John-Paul bond is such a bizarre story — these nowhere boys, in this nowhere town, a place where nobody expects or wants them to become artists, but they meet up to write songs from the heart together. Kathleen Hanna had a great line in one of the early Bikini Kill fanzines: “Find the biggest bitch in your town and start a band with her.” That’s basically what John and Paul did. They didn’t always write together — but they kept inspiring and challenging each other, like when John brought in “Strawberry Fields Forever” and Paul tried to top him with “Penny Lane.” Even when they weren’t in the same room, they were writing Lennon-McCartney songs.

Even after they broke up, they kept bouncing songwriting ideas off each other, aiming answer records at each other. They gave each other no peace. That friendship followed them around their whole lives. I love the story John’s limo driver tells — it’s 1980, John is in the back of the car, listening to the radio, really enjoying this new hit song called “Coming Up,” wondering who the singer is. Then suddenly he says, “Fuck a pig, it’s Paul.” They couldn’t get away from each other.

Rob Sheffield, author of Dreaming The Beatles


But [Sean Lennon] he didn’t anticipate that Charlotte [Kemp] would also become his McCartney. ‘I never realized how great it was for Dad to have Paul as a writing partner,” Sean says. ‘I used to write very simply and autobiographically; it was like slitting my wrists and letting it all pour out. With Charlotte, it feels more like an intellectual game in which we’re both having fun. It’s like intellectual tennis.’

‘It’s like meta-lovemaking,’ Charlotte adds.

Although December 8 marks the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s death, Sean’s grief remains as potent as his memories, despite the passage of time. ‘There are moments when he’s just drawing a picture of his father and he starts to cry,’ Charlotte says.

Interview with Sean Lennon, Vanity Fair, 2010

The Relationship Lens

The only request came to me from Paul McCartney. In a phone call, he said, “if we’re looking at the touring years, I would just like you to view the relationship that John and I had through that lens. I’ve only begun to do this in the last couple of years. I’ve seen a couple of you tube videos that fans made that reminded me of how good a friends we were.”

Ron Howard, talking about the making of Eight Days A Week, The Touring Years