Paul McCartney broke down in tears over John Lennon’s song on Desert Island Discs
The Beatles broke up in 1970, but the members eventually rebuilt their bridges and became friends once more. Paul McCartney and John Lennon were the oldest friends of the band, having grown up together in Liverpool in the 1950s. So when Lennon was assassinated in 1980, McCartney was completely devastated. The former Fab Four star fondly remembered her best friend two years after Lennon’s death in 1982 when she appeared on Desert Island Discs.
The BBC program invited artists to choose their favorite songs and records to take to a deserted island with them. When McCartney attended, he included massive hits like Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Sixteen, Gene Vincent’s Be-Bop-A-Lula and Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel.
However, the Hey Jude singer finished off his collection with a song by his friend Lennon. Struggling back tears, she told presenter Roy Plomley: “Okay, well, um… I haven’t picked any Beatles records. But if we’d had more than eight, I probably would have. I haven’t picked any of my records”.
With a deep breath, he went on to introduce his final song choice for the show.
In the images, which can be seen below, McCartney can be seen visibly moved by the lyrics of the moving song.
As Lennon sings the opening lyrics: “Close your eyes / Don’t be afraid / The monster is gone / It’s on the run and your daddy’s here,” McCartney is absolutely wracked by memories of losing his best friend.
McCartney also always had a strong connection to Lennon’s children. Hey wrote Hey Jude for Lennon’s first son, Julian Lennon, in 1968.
At the time, Lennon and his first wife, Cynthia Lennon, were divorcing. In an attempt to make Julian feel better about his parents separating from him, he wrote a song for the boy.
McCartney looked back: “I started with the idea for ‘Hey Jules’, which was Julian, don’t do it wrong, take a sad song and make it better. Hey, try to deal with this terrible thing. I knew better.” it will be easy for him. I always feel sorry for children in divorces.”
Lennon later reflected that McCartney was actually using the song to speak directly to him.
“If you think about it,” Lennon said. “Yoko has just entered the scene. [McCartney] is saying, ‘Hi, Jude – Hi, John.’ I know I’m sounding like one of those fans reading stuff, but you can hear it as a song to me. The words ‘go out and get her’ – subconsciously she was saying, Go ahead, leave me. On a conscious level, he didn’t want me to go through with it.”
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