The Paul McCartney Beatles song that first earned John Lennon’s respect

Paul McCartney

The partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney is legendary and needs little introduction. As the primary creative force behind The Beatles, their collaboration produced the majority of the band’s timeless classics, establishing their undeniable contribution to music as a whole. While their solo careers also produced remarkable songs, it was their work together that propelled The Beatles to meteoric success.

Lennon and McCartney would write their songs “eyeball to eyeball” together. Especially in the group’s early days, resulting in some of their most cohesive work. However, this did not prevent the duo from enjoying – or perhaps enduring – a fierce competitive streak while writing their songs. Back in the Fab Four’s early days, Paul McCartney wrote one song that would earn Lennon’s respect once and for all.

John Lennon was a cantankerous man throughout his career; like any true artist, he was never satisfied with his previous work. The mercurial figure of Lennon was never afraid to express his opinions, whether they were scathing or mystical. McCartney has frequently stated that Lennon only liked a few of the songs he wrote.

Despite the competition in the latter stages of the band’s career, Lennon and McCartney had previously worked very closely together: “We wrote a lot of stuff together, one on one, eyeball to eyeball,” Lennon once famously stated. But there was one song that let the bespectacled Beatle know that Paul McCartney’s songwriting skill was growing and, as a musician, Macca was on the charge.

McCartney wrote ‘All My Loving‘ in 1963, proving to John Lennon that he could write pop songs just as well as anyone else. “I never wrote words first, it was always some kind of accompaniment”. McCartney said in his official biography, Many Years From Now. “I’ve hardly done it since then. We were on a tour bus heading to a gig, so I began with the words.”

When McCartney arrived at the venue without a guitar, he went to the nearest piano to record the song. “I didn’t have a guitar; it was probably with our road manager,” he recalled. But soon, Macca sat backstage and began writing one of his most treasured songs. It clearly impressed John Lennon.

When Lennon spoke with David Sheff for his infamous 1980 Playboy interview, he was open about his love for the song. During the interview, Lennon went through classic Beatles songs and gave his opinion. “‘All My Loving’ is Paul, I regret to say,” he told David Sheff. But why did he regret saying it? “Because it’s a damn good piece of work.” It was not a typical remark Lennon made about McCartney’s work at the time. He usually dismissed those songs as “throwaway” or “rubbish.”

That’s about the biggest compliment you’ll ever get from Lennon. The singer had a habit of emphasising his negative points and minimising his positive ones. However, it appears that ‘All My Loving’ earned Lennon’s respect—John described it as “one of Paul’s first biggies.”

The only other song on which Lennon openly commented to Paul McCartney was the ethereal ‘Here, There and Everywhere,’ telling Macca, “Really good song, lad,” while it was being created. It demonstrates the type of relationship the duo had and how they frequently behaved like brothers.

McCartney recalled that, while the song was his, it was a DJ who helped make it truly famous. “You know, that was on the album, and the first person I heard single it out was the disc jockey David Jacobs, who was pretty hip.” He still knows pop music. He was always quite knowledgeable for someone of his age. I remember him mentioning it on his radio show, and I believe it became a popular song after that. And I heard things differently. Until then, I had only heard it as an album track. But when he played it on his radio show, and it went out to how many million people on network BBC, it was  like ‘Woah! That is a good one’. I always liked it.”

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