Paul McCartney Has Never Found a Musical Partner to Replace John Lennon: ‘It’s Irreplaceable’

Paul McCartney and John Lennon worked together for years, but McCartney has since collaborated with many other musicians. He has formed other bands and had one-off collaborations with artists. Still, he said that in the decades since The Beatles broke up, he has never been able to find someone he works with as well as Lennon. He shared why their musical partnership was so unique.

Paul McCartney said he has never found a better musical partner than John Lennon
McCartney and Lennon began writing songs together as teenagers. They had different styles as writers but learned to bounce off one another. This method helped them pen some of the decade’s biggest hits under the Lennon-McCartney name.

By the time The Beatles broke up, Lennon and McCartney’s songwriting had grown far more individualized. They no longer worked as closely together as they had in the early 1960s. Still, they used the competition between them to write stronger songs. When the band broke up, though, any collaboration between them ended.

In the decades after that, McCartney has worked with many other musicians. Still, he said he’s never felt the collaborative energy he experienced with Lennon.

“At some point, you have to realize, some things just can’t be,” he told Rolling Stone in 2016. “John and me, we were kids growing up together, in the same environment with the same influences: He knows the records I know, I know the records he knows. You’re writing your first little innocent songs together. Then you’re writing something that gets recorded. Each year goes by, and you get the cooler clothes. Then you write the cooler song to go with the cooler clothes.”

He said their connection was impossible to replace, even decades later. “We were on the same escalator – on the same step of the escalator, all the way,” he explained. “It’s irreplaceable – that time, friendship and bonding.”

Paul McCartney said it was thrilling to write with John Lennon
McCartney said the best part about writing with Lennon was that they could approach something from two different sides and still end up with satisfactory lyrics.

“Mine would be doing this, his would be doing that, and the interplay was just miraculous,” McCartney wrote in the book The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present. “And that’s why people are still listening to the songs we wrote. They didn’t just go away like your average pop song. The climate that the two of us created in writing wasn’t a soppy pop song climate. We created an environment in which we might grow, try new things, maybe even learn a thing or two.”

The Beatle said he has found friends who fill his life
Though McCartney never found someone to match Lennon as a musical partner, he said he has found many friends who mean as much to him as his former bandmate.

“I have some very good friends,” he said. “Lorne Michaels and I are pretty close. I can always go for a drink with him – we can talk pretty genuinely. I have relatives, my brother and my wife. Nancy [Shevell] is very strong that way. But music, no. It’s very difficult. You can’t top John. And John couldn’t top Paul.”

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