Paul McCartney Looks Back at Friendship with John Lennon in New ‘McCartney: A Life in Lyrics’ Podcast Episode

Paul McCartney poignantly reflects on his relationship with John Lennon on a new episode of the McCartney: A Life in Lyrics podcast that focuses on his 1982 solo song “Here Today,” a heartfelt tribute he wrote for his late Beatles bandmate.

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“Here Today” was written in 1981, less than a year after Lennon was murdered, and it features McCartney having an imaginary conversation with his departed friend, and wondering what he would say if he were “here today.”

[RELATED: Paul McCartney Says Working on New Beatles Song “Now and Then” Was “Magical” and “Joyful”]

“This is basically a memory song, that is a love song to John,” McCartney notes in a recorded interview clip. “I was remembering things about our relationship and things about the million things we’d done together. From just being in each other’s front parlors or bedrooms, or walking on the street together, or hitchhiking.”

The song features McCartney recalling various incidents and interactions with Lennon, including when they first met. McCartney explained that when he first saw Lennon on a bus, he thought he was so cool, because he wore a leather jacket and had sideburns, and he said he immediately bonded with him when he discovered that just like himself, Lennon was interested in writing songs.

McCartney also discussed how Lennon usually put up a hard front, but he understood that this was because of the difficult upbringing he had experienced, losing his mother as a teenager and not having his father in his life, among other traumas. In “Here Today,” however, McCartney recalls a night when Lennon let his guard down and they both cried together.

“[The lyric] ‘What about the night we cried,’ that was a specific incident in Key West,” McCartney explains. “There was a hurricane coming in [during a Beatles tour] and we had to lay low for a couple of days, and for some reason they chose Key West. And so, we were in our little motel room, so we got very drunk and cried about how we loved each other or something.”

McCartney also recalled another time Lennon showed his vulnerability when he expressed insecurity about how his legacy was going to be perceived.

“I remember him saying to me, ‘Paul, I worry about how people are going to remember me when I die,’ and it kind of shocked me,” McCartney said. “I said, ‘OK, hold on … People are going to think you were great. You’ve already done enough work to demonstrate that.’ I was like his priest. Often I’d have to say, ‘My son, you’re great, don’t worry about it,’ and … [it] would make him feel better.”

McCartney sings in “Here Today” that he is “holding back the tears no more” as he remembers the great times he had with Lennon, and in the last verse that he “really loved [John] and was glad [he] came along.”

“It was very moving, very emotional writing this song, because I was just sitting there in this bare room thinking of John and realizing I’d lost him,” McCartney admits. “And it was a powerful loss, so to have a conversation with him in a song was some form of solace. Somehow I was with him again.”

“Here Today,” which appeared on McCartney’s chart-topping 1982 album Tug of War, has become a fixture in his live shows. McCartney plays the song alone with an acoustic guitar, and he says it’s generally a very emotional moment for him and the audience.

“People tell they look around [and] there’s a lot of people crying,” McCartney noted, “I think ’cause it is a very sentimental, nostalgic, emotional song.”

As previously reported, the McCartney: A Life in Lyrics podcast was inspired by McCartney’s 2021 book The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, which features profiles of 154 of his songs. The podcast is hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon and incorporates audio interviews that he did with McCartney that served as the basis for the book.

Two 12-episode seasons of the podcast series are planned, with new episodes of the first season premiering in weekly installments. Paul McCartney: A Life in Lyrics is co-produced by iHeartPodcasts and the Pushkin audio-production company.

The first seven episodes of the podcast can be heard now at,, and on various popular streaming services. In addition, the entire first season of the series is available now to subscribers to the Pushkin+ service.

Meanwhile, a paperback edition of The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present was released Tuesday, November 7.

Photo by William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images

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