Thursday, November 29, 2007 11/29/07-Lennon and McCartney

In today's encore excerpt--Paul McCartney talks about the personal tragedies he and John Lennon faced growing up:

"My mum dying when I was fourteen was the big shock in my teenage years. She died of cancer, I learnt later. I didn't know then why she had died. ... My mother's death broke my dad up. That was the worst thing for me, hearing my dad cry. I'd never heard him cry before.

"That became a very big bond between John and me, because he lost his mum early on, too. We both had this emotional turmoil which we had to deal with and, being teenagers, we had to deal with it very quickly. We both understood that something had happened that you couldn't talk about--but we could laugh about it, because each of us had gone through it. It was OK for him to laugh at it and OK for me to laugh at it. It wasn't OK for anyone else. ... John went through hell, but young people don't show grief--they'd rather not.

"John was the local Ted [tough guy]. You saw him rather than met him. ... [A]s I got older, I realised it was his childhood that made John what he was. His father left home when he was four. I don't think John ever got over that. ... He would wonder, 'Could he have left because of me?' ... Instead of living with his mother, he went to live with his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George. Then Uncle George died and John began to think that there was a jinx on the male side: father left home, uncle dead. He loved his Uncle George; he was always quite open about loving people. All those losses would really have got to him. His mother lived in what was called 'sin'--just living with a guy by whom she had a couple of daughters. ... John really loved his mother, idol-worshipped her. I loved her, too. She was great: gorgeous and funny, with beautiful long red hair. She was killed, so John's life was tragedy after tragedy."

The Beatles, The Beatles Anthology, Chronicle Books, 2000, pp. 19-20.


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