Paul McCartney Recalls Struggling To Grieve John Lennon’s Death Before Writing “Here Today”

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Following John Lennon’s death in December 1980, countless tributes began to form across the world for the former Beatle. One person who did struggle to join in on the forward-facing grief though was Paul McCartney.

During a recent interview with SiriusXM’s The Beatles Channel, McCartney revealed that he found it hard to process the emotions he felt during this time. “It was difficult for everyone in the world ’cause he was such a loved character and such a crazy guy, you know, that he was so special. And so it had hit me so much so that I couldn’t really talk about it.”

He continued, “I remember getting home from the studio on the day that we’d heard the news he died and turning the TV on and seeing people say, ‘Well, John Lennon was this,’ and ‘What he was, was this,’ and ‘I remember meeting him.’ And it was like, I don’t know, I can’t be one of those people. I can’t just go on TV and say what John meant to me. It was just too deep. It’s just too much. I couldn’t put it into words.”

Instead of addressing the public in a statement, McCartney divulged his grief in song.

“I was in a building that would become my recording studio, and there were just a couple of little empty rooms upstairs,” he said. “So I found a room and just sat on the wooden floor in a corner with my guitar and just started to play the opening chords to ‘Here Today.'”

The track eventually found its way onto McCartney’s third solo album, Tug of War, in 1982. He speaks to his late songwriting partner in the lyrics and imagines what Lennon would say back. The lyrics read, But as for me / I still remember how it was before / And I am holding back the tears no more.

Elsewhere in the song Macca sings What about the night we cried / Because there wasn’t any reason left to keep it all inside? McCartney explains the origins of that lyric in the interview.

“The night we cried, that was to do with a time when we were in Key West down in Florida,” said McCartney. “And for some reason, I think it was like a hurricane, something had been delayed, and we couldn’t play for a couple of days. So we held up in a little motel. So what would we do? Well, we’d have a drink, and we would get drunk. We didn’t have to play. So we did that night.”

He added, “We got drunk and started to get kind of emotional, you know, ‘Oh, you were great when you, I love that.’ You know, we started, it all came out, but on the way to that, there was a lot of soul searching. You know, we told each other a few truths, you know, ‘Well, I love you. I love you, man. I love that you said that. I love you. And we opened up. So, that was kind of special to me. I think that was really one of the only times that ever happened.”

Photo by William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images

Leave a Reply

Bob Seger Still the Same

The 30 Best Bob Seger Quotes

From James Taylor to Janis Joplin: 5 of The Best Songs Recorded at Sunset Sound