This year marked the 42nd anniversary of John Lennon‘s death. The Beatles star was shot outside his home, The Dakota apartment building, in New York City on December 8, 1980. His death made an impact on people around the world, but his closest friends and bandmates were among the most affected. Now Paul McCartney has spoken out about learning of the star’s assassination.
McCartney was recently interviewed on The Beatles Channel on Sirius XM. During the chat, he opened up about the trauma he endured during that fateful day.
He said: “When John died it was so difficult. It had hit me so much so, that I couldn’t really talk about it. I remember getting home from the studio on the day that we’d heard the news he died.”
When he turned the TV on, he saw people from all walks of life talking about what Lennon and his music meant to them. But in a way, it haunted him. McCartney said: “Seeing people say: ‘Well, John Lennon was this,’ and: ‘What he was, was this,’ and: ‘I remember meeting him’.”
As a result of seeing these people speak about Lennon – even though they didn’t know him as intimately as he did – McCartney was left feeling like he couldn’t really speak out about his friend. “It was like, ‘I don’t know, I can’t be one of those people,'” he said. “I can’t just go on TV and say what John meant to me. It was just too deep. It’s just too much. I couldn’t put it into words.”
McCartney caught a lot of backlash at the time when he first learned of Lennon’s death. He was caught outside his home by some TV reporters who quizzed him on the spot over how he felt.
“Umm, very shocked you know,” he said. “It’s terrible news.”
After being asked about what had happened, he followed up: “[It’s a] drag isn’t it?” Later on, he clarified that he was just simply too hurt by the heinous murder to put his emotions into words.
He later revealed what happened when he went home to his wife, Linda McCartney. He said: “We just went home. We just looked at all the news on the telly, and we sat there with all the kids, just crying all evening. Just couldn’t handle it, really.”
In the Sirius XM interview, McCartney also opened up about writing one final song for Lennon.
He penned the track Here Today about the star’s death. He put it on his 1982 album, Tug of War. He said of the song’s writing process: “I was in a building that would become my recording studio, and there were just a couple of little empty rooms upstairs. So I found a room and just sat on the wooden floor in a corner with my guitar and just started to play the opening chords to Here Today.”
The song includes some touching lyrics referencing a night he spent with Lennon that had never been spoken about before.
The lyrics croon: “What about the night we cried / Because there wasn’t any reason left to keep it all inside? / Never understood a word / But you were always there with a smile.”
McCartney said these words were in reference to a drunken night he spent with Lennon after a cancelled gig in Florida.
He explained: “We told each other a few truths, you know: ‘Well, I love you. I love you, man. I love that you said that. I love you.’ And we opened up. So, that was kind of special to me. I think that was really one of the only times that ever happened.”
He added: “It was difficult for everyone in the world cause he was such a loved character and such a crazy guy, you know, that he was so special.”