Worst Band Feuds #6: John Lennon vs. Paul McCartney

Polls, polls, polls.  Gotta love ’em.  We do love them actually.  It seems that John and Paul’s feuds after The Beatles have landed them in the top-10 rock feuds of all time.  While not the most violent of the feuds (Biggie/Tupac gets the honors there) in all of music, it is the most literate and acidic in my opinion.  

I find it funny that the brief article makes no mention of the wonderful partnership that happened prior to the feud, but drama sells stories.  I suppose they just overlooked it. 

If you haven’t listened to the music of the Lennon/McCartney feud years.  Here are the two most commonly referred to tracks.  We hadn’t listened to them for a while, so we thought it would be appropriate to post them here.  I also find it interesting that George was able to remain impartial during the feuding by playing guitar on both of these tracks below.

Too Many People” – Paul McCartney – Ram
(One of three songs, alongside “Dear Boy” and “The Back Seat of My Car“, that John Lennon felt were directed at him)

How Do You Sleep” – John Lennon – Imagine

  • Where should the Lennon/McCartney feud have ranked on the list? And, do you have any other favorite rock feuds?
    (Let us know in the comments below.)

Here’s what we’ve read.

Fightin’ Words: “The only thing you done was yesterday/ And since you’re gone you’re just another day” (‘How Do You Sleep?,’ Lennon)

Lennon managed to puncture two of his former collaborators’ songs with one shot on this bitter dis from ‘Imagine.’ Lennon’s was responding to McCartney’s own bitter pills on his solo releases, which featured a photo of a beetle getting screwed and the line “You took your lucky break and broke it in two.”

Lennon expressed regret for the feud before his death, and McCartney has grown wistful for his old mate in recent years. Still, Macca couldn’t resist lobbying to have his name reversed with Lennon’s on some credits. Yoko was not amused.

Judges’ Decision: McCartney, by default

Source: Spinner


19 Responses

  1. George played guitar on Too Many People??? I don’t think so but I may be wrong. I thought he threw his 2 cents worth into John’s corner by playing on “How Do You Sleep”.

  2. George is not credited as playing on the Ram album.

  3. At the end of Too Many People song exactly on the 3.75 minutes have a some chords that remember to of the end of Strawberryfield Forever, maybe is subliminal message or may is only an imagination of me

  4. No George DID NOT play on Ram, nor on any McCartney solo albums. Harrison did play on “How Do You Sleep” and actually about 50% or so of the “Imagine” album. Also…he wrote “Wah-Wah” (started during the ’69 Beatles sessions) supposedly about McCartney (or at least the Fabs troubles at the time) and “Isn’t It A Pity(also started during the ’69 Beatles sessions) which was about Fab troubles. Lest we forget “Savoy Truffle” (” We all know Obla-Di-Bla-Da
    But can you show me, where you are?), and Ringo’s “Back Off Boogaloo (“Wake up, meat head, Don’t pretend that you are dead, Get yourself up off the cart /Get yourself together now, And give me something tasty.,Ev’rything you try to do,
    You know it sure sounds wasted”)…though Ringo also wrote the great and healing “Early 1970”. Some people claim “Dear Friend” from “Wings Wild Life” is also about Lennon. Supposedly “Let Me Roll It” was Macca’s healing offering, with a psuedo Plastic Ono Band sound.
    Just for the record… DURING Lennon’s lifetime: Ringo played on albums by Lennon &Harrison. Harrison played on Lennon & Starr albums, and Lennon on Starr’s albums. While Harrison played on Lennon’s, Lennon never played on a Harrison solo album. So they worked together but only in one direction. McCartney only worked with Starr during Lennon’s lifetime. That was also one directional, in that McCartney played on Starr’s albums, but Ringo didn’t play on McCartney’s- not DURING Lennon’s lifetime.
    After Lennon’s death Ringo did play on McCartney albums, and McCartney did work with George on “All Those Years Ago”, but George still never appeared on a MCartney solo album. Of course the Anthology Lennon tracks reunited all three of “The Threetles” & Lennon. Interestingly I think only Paul McCartney worked, post-break up, with the true fifth Beatle: Mr. George Martin. Blessings of Love & Light to all who read this.

    • I believe that George Martin produced Ringo’s Sentimental Journey album. I could be wrong. I think it was either that or Beaucoups of Blues.

    • Actually Starr played drums on Coming Up for MacArtney. Also, Lennon was on the “All Things Must Pass” album.

  5. That was very interesting reading Rev. John, thanks!

  6. Yes Rev. I was mistaken. Thank you for providing that in-depth correction. I learned a lot today from that post.

  7. George did not play on RAM at all. I think there was no cooperation with Paul until “All those years ago” – after Lennon was shot.
    Greetings from Germany and thanks a lot for this blog!

  8. Dave Spinozza played guitar on “Too Many People”

  9. George couldn’t stand McCartney during that period- he barely spoke to him, much less played on RAM. Plus, George also thought some of the songs were directed at him, too- “3 Legs” and he was also angry about it. I think around that period, Ringo even had a quote about it, saying “How could we get possibly try to get back together when George won’t speak to Paul?”

    • I don’t think that there is ANY doubt that the only thing keeping the Beatles from re-uniting was John and Paul’s relationship. George and Ringo would have jumped at the chance to get back together.

      I think that the closest they came to re-uniting was in ’74 after Yoko left John. John was lonely and reaching out to friends, even McCartney. In an interview, John even pondered the possibility of a Beatles reunion around this time.

  10. really we will never know what happened how how they felt…they are all different people now than they were so memories of things become clouded….just sayin…

  11. Good post.

    I was just talking about that song the other day.

    – MPM

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  13. Ringo never played drums on ”Coming up ”
    Paul played every instrument on the McCartney 2 album

  14. hi ….. was jus surious to know ….. george had problems with both paul and john but why did he only stop talkin to paul?? john was more the bully when the beatles were together

  15. sorry thats curious (butter fingers:))

  16. also i beleive it was wrong on the part of john to sing “how do u sleep” on one side he is singing imagine and on the other taking cheap shots at paul ….. it was plain double standards

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