Paul McCartney Exploded at a Journalist for Publishing John Lennon’s Negative Remarks

Paul McCartney was used to John Lennon’s negative comments in the press by the 1970s. In the 1960s, though, he saw them as a threat to The Beatles.

After The Beatles broke up, Paul McCartney got used to reading John Lennon’s negative comments about the band in the press. He attacked their music, his former bandmates’ solo projects, and, often, McCartney’s personality. While the group was still together, though, any negative comments made by Lennon had the potential to hurt them. When McCartney read some of Lennon’s remarks about Apple Records, he lashed out at the journalist who recorded them.

Paul McCartney wasn’t happy about comments John Lennon made

In 1969, Lennon had already grown tired of The Beatles’ Apple Records, which they founded in 1968. He believed the company was rapidly losing the band money and needed to undergo serious changes. He told all this to journalist Ray Coleman.

“You can’t offer facilities to poets and charities and filmmakers unless you have money definitely coming in,” he said, per Coleman’s book Lennon: The Definitive Biography. “It’s been pie-in-the-sky from the start… We did it all wrong — you know, Paul and me running to New York saying we’ll do this and encourage this and that. It’s got to be a business first; we realize that now. It needs a new broom and a lot of people there will have to go … It doesn’t need to make vast profits but if it carries on like this all of us will be broke in the next six months.”

The story caused a media field day — people could scarcely believe Lennon had admitted that The Beatles could go broke. It also infuriated McCartney.

“A week after my interview with John, I visited Apple to see him again. Coming out of John’s office, I met the heavily bearded McCartney,” Coleman wrote. “He was furious with my decision to publish John’s comments.”

McCartney believed Lennon’s comments should have been off the record. He thought Coleman’s decision to publish them could hurt Apple Records.

“You know this is a small and young company, just trying to get along,” McCartney said. “And you know John always shoots his mouth off. It’s not that bad. We’ve got a few problems but they’ll be sorted out. I’m surprised it was you — we thought we had a few friends in the press we could trust.”

Paul McCartney responded to far more negative comments from John Lennon

While these comments frustrated McCartney, they were nothing compared to what Lennon would say about him in the media in later years. In a 1970 interview with Rolling Stone, he described McCartney’s solo album as “rubbish” and laid out his problems with McCartney’s personality.

At the time, McCartney publicly brushed off the comments, saying they were typical of Lennon’s abrasive nature. In private, though, his former bandmate’s words stung.

“I sat down and pored over every little paragraph, every little sentence,” he said per the book Paul McCartney: A Life by Peter Ames Carlin, adding, “I thought, ‘It’s me. I am. That’s just what I’m like. He’s captured me so well. I’m a turd, you know.’”

The Beatles bassist had several outbursts at journalists

McCartney snapped at Coleman for publishing Lennon’s comments. On other occasions, he got more aggressive with journalists and photographers who invaded his space.

He punched one photographer in 1982 outside BBC Studios. McCartney quickly apologized, though, explaining that he thought it was the only way to get him to stop taking photos.

Amid the rumors he died and The Beatles had replaced him with a body double, McCartney threw a bucket at a photographer and journalist who knocked on his front door. The journalist could tell McCartney was furious. Still, he followed them and apologized for his behavior.

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