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Paul McCartney Still Gets Songwriting Advice From John Lennon

Paul McCartney
Ian Gavan, Getty Images

Much has been made of Paul McCartney‘s decision to reach out to some unexpected collaborators for his latest album, ‘New.’ But as he revealed during a recent interview, he still seeks advice from his oldest songwriting partner.

Talking to Rolling Stone about his creative process, McCartney said that when he finds himself stuck for inspiration, he tries to imagine what John Lennon would do. “If I’m at a point where I go, ‘I’m not sure about this,’ I’ll throw it across the room to John,” he explained. “He’ll say, ‘You can’t go there, man.’ And I’ll say, ‘You’re quite right. How about this?’ ‘Yeah, that’s better.’ We’ll have a conversation. I don’t want to lose that.”

Given the bond McCartney still feels with his fellow Beatle, it’s no surprise that he named Lennon’s killer as the one person he could never forgive. “I think I could pretty much forgive anyone else,” he said of Mark David Chapman, who’s currently serving 20 years to life for the murder. “But I don’t see why I’d want to forgive him. This is a guy who did something so crazy and terminal. Why should I bless him with forgiveness?”

One hatchet McCartney seems to have buried is his long-running feud with Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono, whom he described as a “badass” artist. “I thought, ‘If John loved her, there’s got to be something. He’s not stupid,’” he explained. “It’s like, what are you going to do? Are you going to hold a grudge you never really had?”

At this point, McCartney sounds like a man in love with just about everything — including the prospect of playing his old hits night after night. “Logically, I ought to get sick of them, and I expect all the time to feel like that,” he admitted. “But it hasn’t worked out like that. What it is, is I’m actually trying to play the song like I know it effortlessly, but there is a pattern that I must not miss, and there are words that I must put with that pattern, so I’m normally still trying to get it right. And what I find myself doing is re-examining the work of this twentysomething. It’s like it’s not mine … Instead of being bored with a song, I’m still trying to look at it — what the hell is this thing? Why did I do this?”

Next: Top 10 Paul McCartney Songs

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