The lost boys who found each other: What linked Paul McCartney and John Lennon

EXCLUSIVE: Haunted by the loss of their mothers, John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s shared teenage grief blossomed into an incredible creativity in The Beatles, according to a brilliant new account.

The first song Paul McCartney ever wrote, in 1957 at the age of 15, was an upbeat lament about his late mother Mary: I Lost My Little Girl. Eleven years later he had a dream in which his mum appeared, reassuring him everything would be all right if he would just “let it be”. The 1970 album of that name was the last The Beatles released.

John Lennon also wrote songs about his mother. He confronted his own feelings of grief and loss in the haunting Julia, recorded for the White Album, 10 years after she was knocked down and killed outside his home. He was just 17.

After screwing himself up in so-called “primal therapy”, he later penned the disturbing song Mother, released on the 1970 John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album. That clutch of tracks concluded with My Mummy’s Dead, an emotionless number that heaves with paralysis.

Neither John nor Paul ever got over the death of their mothers. It became the glue that held them together. In the absence, the teenagers cleaved to one another. Loss became the root of their creativity.

The deep, unspoken grief of both Beatles was not assuaged by the women – Cynthia Powell for John, actress Jane Asher for Paul – to whom they committed in their twenties.

What they craved, subconsciously or otherwise, was a particular kind of woman to fill the gap. A strong, fertile female capable of giving them a family and secure home life, always putting her man first.

In other words, a good, old-fashioned, Liverpool-style wife and mother.

Overwhelmed by fame and in desperate need of support, the lost boys fell into the wrong relationships.

Paul’s beautiful, accomplished fiancée Jane was wrong for him. He must have known, as he carried on womanising.

John had “done the right thing” by Cyn when they discovered she was pregnant, but soon disconnected from her and their child. He too continued to sleep around.

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