Paul McCartney reminisced about the Beatles during an interview with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show on Monday. The legendary musician, who recently released his new children’s book, Hey Grandude!, spoke of his bond with John Lennon, experiencing the fallout from the Beatles’ break up and how his dreams have inspired him.
Colbert asked McCartney about losing his mother at the age of 14, and McCartney noted that Lennon’s mother also died when he was a teenager. “So we had a kind of bond that we both knew about that, we knew that feeling,” he said. “And I never thought that it affected my music until years later.” McCartney explained that people connected the lyrics from “Yesterday” to his mother’s death. “I certainly didn’t mean it to be. But it could be, you know those things can happen.”
McCartney said he often dreams about Lennon. “The thing is when you’ve had a relationship like that for so long, it was such a deep relationship. You know, I love it when people revisit you in your dreams. So, I often have band dreams and they’re crazy,” he said, before discussing one, which involved him peeling sticky tape off his bass while trying to speak with Lennon. “I have a lot of dreams about John. And they’re always good.” Later, he added the song “Yesterday” originated during a dream.
Colbert shared a black-and-white photo of Lennon and McCartney, which brought back more memories. “That’s a very special picture for me, actually, because when the Beatles broke up a lot of the talk was like I was the villain and that John and I didn’t really get on well,” McCartney recalled. “And there was a lot of down talk about it ’cause everyone was sad the Beatles had broken up. And I kinda bought into it.”
He continued: “You know ’cause when you’re called it enough, you start thinking, ‘Well, maybe I was.’ So I had to do a lot of wrangling with, ‘Was I, wasn’t I? Did I know John? Were we friends or anything?’ Knowing really we were, but there were so many rumors about it. And that photo, when I saw that, it’s like, ‘Yes, we were friends.’ And it’s a beautiful photo for me ’cause it just reminds me of us working together and how cool it was.”
Earlier in their interview, McCartney also reflected on his and the Beatles’ vast catalog, their first tour, their first time at the Ed Sullivan Theater where The Late Show tapes, and how their songs continue to resonate.