The Song Paul McCartney Wrote as a Dig at John Lennon

By the end of the Beatles‘ tenure, the band was fractured into many parts. In particular, the once unwavering bond between Paul McCartney and John Lennon was left in pieces, following the former’s official departure from the band–which was effectively the end of the Beatles’ reign.

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In their respective solo careers, both musicians took digs at one another. McCartney and Lennon tore down each other’s banners on several occasions, but only a couple of instances stick out as some of their most seething work. In McCartney’s case, his most disdain-filled song is “Too Many People.”

That was your first mistake
You took your lucky break and broke it in two
Now what can be done for you?
You broke it in two

Lennon isn’t the only one on the chopping block in this song. McCartney aims at other issues–like taking life a little too seriously–while sneaking in jabs about his former bandmate.

[RELATED: The Beatles Fans React to New Era of Lennon-McCartney Collaboration With New Song “Primrose Hill”]

McCartney plays into the familiar adage that Yoko Ono broke up the Beatles–even though there were myriad issues between the foursome before they even broached the Ono subject. You took your lucky break and broke it in two, he sings in the chorus.

Many fans have come to understand that line as a coded reference to Lennon “leaving the Beatles” to focus on writing politically-charged, experimental music with Ono.

Elsewhere he criticizes the pair for “preaching” in their music. Too many people preaching practices, he sings. It was yet another dig at Lennon for becoming a loud voice in the protest music scene.

“I felt John and Yoko were telling everyone what to do,” McCartney once said. “And I felt we didn’t need to be told what to do. The whole tenor of the Beatles thing had been, like, to each his own. Freedom. Suddenly it was ‘You should do this.’ It was just a bit the wagging finger, and I was pissed off with it.”

Though the pair eventually smoothed things over, “Too Many People” is an artifact from the height of McCartney and Lennon’s aggression towards one another. As such, it’s a notable inclusion in the otherwise blithe McCartney catalog.

Revisit the song, below.

(Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

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