TIME Music

Paul McCartney: John Lennon Was ‘Martyred,’ His Reputation is ‘Revisionism’

Paul McCartney performs live at the Budokan on April 28, 2015 in Tokyo.
Ken Ishii—Getty Images Paul McCartney performs live at the Budokan on April 28, 2015 in Tokyo.

The former Beatle opens up about his late bandmate

In a new interview with the U.K. edition of Esquire magazine, Paul McCartney has opened up on the subject of John Lennon, the Beatles bandmate whose posthumous reputation McCartney seems to find frustrating.

Describing his reaction to Lennon’s assassination in 1980, McCartney said, in part:

Yeah, John was the witty one, sure. John did a lot of great work, yeah. And post-Beatles he did more great work, but he also did a lot of not-great work. Now the fact that he’s now martyred has elevated him to a James Dean, and beyond. So whilst I didn’t mind that–I agreed with it–I understood that now there was going to be revisionism. It was going to be: John was the one.”

McCartney also expressed regret that a plan to alternate the Beatles’ songwriting credits between “Lennon/McCartney” and “McCartney/Lennon” did not come to pass, specifically citing the song “Yesterday,” written by McCartney solely.

“I said, ‘Could we have “By Paul McCartney and John Lennon,” wouldn’t that be a good idea?’ […] Particularly on that particular song, because the original artwork had ‘Yesterday’ by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and a photo of John above it. And I went, ‘Argh! Come on, lads!’ Anyway they wouldn’t do it.”

Read the full interview at Esquire‘s site.

TIME Icons

See Photos of the Beatles on the Brink of Beatlemania

On the anniversary of the release of “A Hard Days Night,” a look back at the early days of the Beatles’ American invasion

When the Beatles landed in the U.S. for the first time, on February 7, 1964, American teens went wild. The editors of LIFE Magazine, taking notice of the phenomenon, quickly assigned photographers to cover the band’s first American tour and television appearances.

A week into the tour, Bob Gomel was dispatched to photograph the “Fab Four” in Miami Beach, where they were scheduled to perform for a second night on The Ed Sullivan Show at the Deauville Hotel. But when the time came to photograph the band, the hotel was swarming with so many fans that a shoot would have been nearly impossible.

The shoot was moved to the private residence of Paul Pollak, a hotel owner, and his wife Jerri Pollak, a former big band recording artist. Away from the spotlight and overwhelming hoards of fans, Gomel was able to capture candid moments of the young lads relaxing and goofing around in the family pool and on the beach.

In the book Memories of John Lennon, edited by Yoko Ono, Gomel recalls the shoot:

After changing into matching bathing suits, four pale, skinny guys entered the pool. I asked them to just have fun. Ringo started a splash fight. John did a few cannonballs off the diving board. That captured moment became my favorite photograph. It hangs in my gallery today.

The Pollaks’ daughter Linda, who was 15 years old at the time, later wrote about what it was like to witness four of the most famous musicians in the world splashing around in her parents’ pool. “The photographers asked my three brothers and me to get into the pool first, so they could focus,” she wrote in the Chicago Tribune in 1989. “Then the Beatles tiptoed in to take our positions … They started splashing and goofing around, except John. He got out of the pool and sat in the back with his wife, Cynthia, just watching. Even then he wasn’t much for publicity.”

The photos, which never made it to the pages of LIFE — the editors instead ran a different swimming pool photo by LIFE staffer John Loengard — capture the youthful exuberance of four young men as their careers were taking off and Beatlemania was taking hold. Long before the rifts that would lead to their breakup in 1970 and before fame took its toll, Gomel documented the rare moments of playful bliss of a band soaring rapidly to the top.

See more photos by Bob Gomel at the Monroe Gallery.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.

TIME Books

The Business Whiz Behind the Beatles and the Rolling Stones

Northern Songs Deal
C. Maher/Daily Express—Hulton Archive/Getty Images Allen Klein, left, with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, April 29, 1969. Klein was representing Lennon in negotiations over control of shares in the Beatles' Northern Songs company.

Sarah Begley is a culture and breaking news reporter for TIME.

A new biography examines Allen Klein's life and career, including how he wooed John Lennon and spurned Paul McCartney, and made a hit out of 'Bittersweet Symphony'

The Beatles may have had reputations as laid-back peaceniks, but their former manager Allen Klein was known as a pitbull.

Klein made a name for himself in showbiz by auditing music labels’ financial records to make sure his clients weren’t getting shortchanged, and he usually retrieved funds for them in the process. It made him more than a few allies on the talent side, if not on the business side. His career took off in 1963 when Sam Cooke asked Klein to be his manager, and after acquiring the Rolling Stones as clients, he set his sights on the Beatles.

“No one wanted or needed to manage the Beatles as much as Allen did,” Fred Goodman writes in his biography Allen Klein: The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made the Stones, and Transformed Rock & Roll, out now. Though the manager was always looking for a creative new way to make a buck, Goodman writes, “he would have managed the Beatles for nothing. Klein saw handling them as final and irrefutable proof that he was the best.”

To do it, Klein took a divide-and-conquer approach. The Beatles’ finances were in terrible shape after the death of their longtime manager Brian Epstein in 1967 and the poor management of a company they started. Klein saw his opening. He invited John Lennon and Yoko Ono to dinner in his penthouse suite at a London hotel, serving “a carefully researched and prepared vegetarian meal—exactly the macrobiotic dishes John and Yoko preferred.” If Lennon had reservations, he was quickly won over by Klein’s pitch. He got the feeling that the manager “was cut from a different cloth than the others he’d met—the same plain, coarse, ordinary cloth that Lennon flew for a flag.” An understanding was reached, and Klein’s firm, ABKCO, was in business with the Beatles.

George Harrison and Ringo Starr warmed to Klein as well, impressed by his successes, but Paul McCartney was not on board—and Klein did little to win him over. One time, McCartney called for Klein while the manager was in a meeting with the Beatles’ company, Apple, and Klein told the receptionist to say he’d call back later. The receptionist came back to say McCartney was insistent: “Klein would talk to him now—or never. The Beatle clearly knew he was being snubbed in front of a roomful of his employees. Klein shrugged. ‘I can’t talk to him now.’

“Paul McCartney kept his word. He never spoke to Allen Klein again.”

Not long after that, the Beatles were no more, and the Rolling Stones, feeling snubbed by Klein giving so much of his attention to their rivals, took their business elsewhere. But Klein kept making money off the Stones in particular—though a series of negotiations, he ended up owning the rights to some of their music, and profited not only from compilation albums, but also from a later song that sampled from Stones music: The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony.” Klein drove a hard bargain with the song’s label, saying it could release the song as long as his company could purchase the rights to be its sole publisher. They agreed, and he paid them $1,000.

The song of course became a huge hit, and “ABKCO actively exploited the composition,” Goodman writes, “licensing it to be used in commercials around the world for various products, including Nike shoes and Opel automobiles. When the band decided the song was being overexposed and overused, they declined to license the original recording for any more commercials. As the publisher, ABKCO instead commissioned its own recording for commercial use.”

The move was typical Klein: a cunning gesture whose outcome he could see far clearer than his opposing party. That was how Klein ran his business, more or less, until his death at 77 in 2009.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Music

Watch Paul McCartney Perform ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ With Dave Grohl in London

McCartney also performed cult track "Temporary Secretary" live for the first time ever

Beatles legend Paul McCartney had two big surprises in store for fans at his London gig Saturday night.

During the concert at London’s O2 Arena, Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl made an appearance onstage and the pair performed the Beatles classic “I Saw Her Standing There,” reports Rolling Stone.

The duo first performed the song at the 2009 Grammy Awards with Grohl on drums. They’ve also collaborated on a Grammy Award–winning track for Grohl’s documentary Sound City, called “Cut Me Some Slack.”

But the biggest surprise of the night was when McCartney performed “Temporary Secretary” from his album McCartney II for the first time ever.

The track, which Rolling Stone dubbed “one of 12 weirdest Paul McCartney songs,” had never been played live since its release 35 years ago.

[Rolling Stone]

TIME Music

Hip-Hop Was the Biggest Revolution in American Music and That’s Backed By a Study of 17,000 Songs

Photo of Public Enemy Jan. 1, 1991
Ebet Roberts—Redferns/Getty Images Photo of Public Enemy , on Jan. 1, 1991

Forget the British invasion of the 1960s or the synth-pop of the 1980s

The explosion of hip-hop onto the music scene in the 1990s was the biggest musical revolution in American pop history.

That’s according to a team of scientists who, for the first time, have analyzed the evolution of Western pop music, spanning from 1960 to 2010, and published their findings in the Royal Society Open Journal.

The team, from Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College London, looked at 30-second snippets from about 17,000 songs from the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 over a 50-year period. The researchers studied trends in style and diversity as well as how harmony, chord changes and tonal quality changed over time.

“We can actually go beyond what music experts tell us, or what we know ourselves about them, by looking directly into the songs, measuring their makeup, and understanding how they have changed,” said lead author of the study Matthias Mauch.

Mauch’s team found that there were three distinct music revolutions: 1964, 1983 and 1991.

1964 was the start of “British invasion” when bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones flooded the American charts. But contrary to popular belief, these bands didn’t initiate the rock revolution, they were merely following existing trends.

The rise of new technologies — such as synthesizers, samplers and drum machines — in the 1980s ushered in a new style of music, personified in bands like Duran Duran or the Eurythmics.

But then hip-hop exploded into the mainstream in the 1990s, sparking the biggest music revolution in 50 years.

“The rise of rap and related genres appears, then, to be the single most important event that has shaped the musical structure of the American charts in the period that we studied,” Mauch said.

TIME Music

Cynthia Lennon, Former Wife of John Lennon, Dies at 75

Beatle John Lennon and his wife, Cynthia, sit in London Airport, England, before flying to the U.S. on Feb. 7, 1964.
AP Beatle John Lennon and his wife, Cynthia, sit in London Airport, England, before flying to the U.S. on Feb. 7, 1964.

She died of cancer in her home

Cynthia Lennon, the former wife of John Lennon and eyewitness to the early days of the Beatles, died in her home Wednesday at the age of 75.

Her death was confirmed by a publicist and on her son Julian Lennon’s Twitter page. She died in her home in Spain after a “short but brave battle with cancer,” according to a memorial page.

The Lennons met in art school before the Beatles got their start in Hamburg, and married in 1962 after Cynthia Lennon realized she was pregnant. Their marriage and subsequent birth of their son Julian was initially kept a secret, to avoid upsetting the growing Beatlemania, but Cynthia and Julian eventually got a front-row seat to the Beatles’ growing popularity in England and the U.S. The Lennons divorced in 1968, when John Lennon became involved with Yoko Ono.

Cynthia chronicled their marriage and her experience with the Beatles in two books, A Twist of Lennon (1978) and John (2010).

TIME Music

Lou Reed, Green Day, Joan Jett and More Join the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015

Reading Festival 2013 - Day 1
Joseph Okpako—Redferns/Getty Images Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day performs on stage at the Reading Festival 2013 at Richfield Avenue on Aug. 23, 2013 in Reading, England.

Sorry, N.W.A., Chic, The Smiths and Sting. Maybe next year!

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced that its Class of 2015 will include Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and the late Lou Reed, whose band The Velvet Underground was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 by Patti Smith.

Other inductees for 2015 include first-time nominee Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble; “Lean on Me” singer Bill Withers, who hasn’t released new music in nearly three decades; The Paul Butterfield Blues Band; and Green Day, whose debut EP, 1,000 Hours, came out in 1989. They are entering the Rock Hall in their first year of eligibility.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is also honoring Ringo Starr this year; he will be given the Award For Musical Excellence. Starr — the former drummer for The Beatles who were inducted in 1988 — is the last of his bandmates to receive the honor. Also being inducted is 1950s R&B group the “5” Royales, who will receive the Early Influence Award.

Joan Jett has been eligible for the Rock Hall for years — and should have been inducted ages ago. Her nomination gained traction after she joined Nirvana on stage last year for a ferocious performance of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. It has become tradition for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies to end with a massive cross-genre jam session between the inductees — one can only hope that this year they wrap the ceremony with all the artists playing their hearts out to Jett’s “I Love Rock n’ Roll.”

Congratulations to this year’s inductees, and better luck next year to nominees The Smiths, N.W.A., Nine Inch Nails, The Spinners, The Marvellettes, Kraftwerk, Sting, War, and American disco outfit Chic, who have been nominated for the Rock Hall nine times since 2003. While many speculated that 2014 would be their year, thanks to the work of member Nile Rodgers with Daft Punk, the band has been overlooked yet again.

TIME Music

Why John Lennon’s Death Was the End of an Era

John Lennon cover
TIME The Dec. 22, 1980, cover of TIME

The killing, on Dec. 8, 1980, marked a major social shift

John Lennon’s death 34 years ago today triggered the same shock and outpouring of grief as the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy. So wrote critic Jay Cocks for his 1980 TIME cover story about the legacy of the late Beatle and his death by the hands of Mark David Chapman. The touching tribute — comments from Bruce Springsteen that are included in the piece may bring tears to your eyes — featured one memorable quote from Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono: “This is not the end of an era,” she said in the days after he was killed. “The ’80s are still going to be a beautiful time, and John believed it.”

But in his piece, Cocks makes the case for why Ono’s words were more wishful thinking than a truthful declaration.

The band had broken up a decade before, but Lennon’s death signaled a shift more serious than the Beatles’ dissolution ever did. After all, the music of the Beatles would be around indefinitely, whether or not the band continued to record together.

When Lennon died at age 40, however, everyone who had grown up with the Beatles was approaching middle age too. In addition to their sadness about Lennon’s death, they could not ignore their own mortality. “For everyone who cherished the sustaining myth of the Beatles,” Cocks wrote, “the murder was something else. It was an assassination, a ritual slaying of something that could hardly be named. Hope, perhaps; or idealism. Or time. Not only lost, but suddenly dislocated, fractured.”

There was an innocence and idealism to Beatles songs, Cocks explained, that stood in stark contrast to how Lennon died. Even kids could sense the loss: “I recognize the end of an era — my mom’s,” 16-year-old Gretchen Steininger told TIME. In the days after Lennon died, a Florida teenager and a 30-something man in Utah committed suicide and left notes behind that referenced depression over Lennon’s death.

Mark David Chapman is still alive. He’s now 59, and he’s been denied parole eight times — the most recent was August of this year — since he was imprisoned in 1981. (Ono has publicly campaigned against his release.) “At that time, I wasn’t thinking about anybody else, just me,” said Chapman, who can try again in 2016, at this year’s hearing. “But now, you know, obviously through people’s letters and through things I hear a lot of people were affected here. I am sorry for causing that type of pain. I am sorry for being such an idiot and choosing the wrong way for glory.”

Read the full 1980 cover story about John Lennon, here in the TIME Vault: When the Music Died

Read next: Paul McCartney Thankful for Repaired Friendship Before John Lennon’s Death

TIME movies

‘Walter Mitty’ and the LIFE Magazine Covers That Never Were

Many of the classic LIFE magazine covers on display in 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' were, in fact, never LIFE covers at all.

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” James Thurber’s classic 1939 short story, is a tribute to the sometimes unsettling power of the human imagination. It’s also very, very funny and, alongside a number of other Thurber gems — “The Catbird Seat,” “The Night the Bed Fell,” “If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox” — remains an indispensable example of the uniquely American, mid-20th-century humor that found its highest expression in the pages of the New Yorker.

The most recent movie adaptation of the Mitty story stars Ben Stiller in the titular role as the archetypal nebbish who retreats into an intensely vivid fantasy world in times of stress. (The first film version of Mitty, starring Danny Kaye, was released in 1947.) In this rendition of the tale, Stiller plays a photo editor at LIFE magazine — still publishing, thanks to the magic of the movies, four decades after it shuttered in 1972 — and much of the film is set in the meticulously recreated offices of the storied weekly. In those offices, meanwhile, hang poster-sized versions of LIFE magazine covers through the years.

The covers are stirring, iconic — and, for the most part, they’re fake.

Or rather, the majority of the LIFE covers one sees in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty were never covers at all. The pictures on the covers in this gallery, for example — the launch of Apollo 11; Jayne Mansfield luxuriating in a swimming pool; a theater audience watching the first-ever 3-D feature-length film — are, indisputably, classic LIFE images. But none of them ever graced the cover of LIFE magazine.

“When we were selecting photos for the LIFE covers in Walter Mitty,” says Jeff Mann, the production designer on the film, “we focused on pictures that would serve the story we were telling, but that would also capture the diversity of what LIFE covered in its prime. We worked really, really hard to select photos that were novel, naïve — in the best possible way — and that featured significant twentieth-century people, places and events.”

In the end, Mann says, he and his team — and Stiller, who is a photography aficionado — felt that the photos they chose to use as covers, from the literally millions of pictures in LIFE’s archive, had to somehow “convey the influence of LIFE magazine, while at the same time helping to move our story along. It was a fabulous problem, and one we had a lot of fun working to solve.”

Here, then, are a number of LIFE covers that never were — including several that, in light of how wonderful they look, perhaps should have been covers, after all.

[See all of LIFE’s galleries]

[Buy the book, 75 Years: The Very Best of LIFE]

TIME Music

‘The Art of McCartney': The Making of a Massive Tribute Album

Sir Paul McCartney attends 2014 Women's Leadership Award Honoring Stella McCartney at Lincoln Center on Nov. 13, 2014 in New York City.
Dimitrios Kambouris—Getty Images Sir Paul McCartney attends 2014 Women's Leadership Award Honoring Stella McCartney at Lincoln Center on Nov. 13, 2014 in New York City.

McCartney covers LP may have the most impressive lineup ever

This post originally appeared on Rolling Stone.

Over the past two decades, producer Ralph Sall has assembled all-star albums honoring everything from Saturday-morning cartoon themes to the Grateful Dead. In 2003, he decided to embark on his biggest project yet: a massive Paul McCartney tribute record. “I never realized this would take me 10 years,” Sall says.

MORE: In Pics: The 12 Strangest Paul McCartney Songs

The Art of McCartney, a 42-track set out November 18th, took so long for a very good reason – nearly everyone Sall approached said yes. The album has one of the most impressive lineups of any tribute record ever: from Brian Wilson, who covered the 1982 deep cut “Wanderlust,” to Billy Joel (“Maybe I’m Amazed”), to Chrissie Hynde (“Let It Be”). The biggest coup of all: Bob Dylan, who rarely participates in these sorts of projects. Dylan chose to tackle “Things We Said Today.” “I was surprised he decided to take part,” says Sall. “That’s not the song I would have picked, but it sure fits him.”

MORE: Paul McCartney: The Long and Winding Q&A

Willie Nelson contributed a stark acoustic “Yesterday,” though it’s not his first time covering the song. “I recorded it when it first hit the market,” Nelson says. “I had a band in Fort Worth, and I told the audience, ‘Here’s a pretty good song I heard by a little country group called the Beatles.’ I just think McCartney is one of the best songwriters around.”

MORE: In Pics: Paul McCartney – A Life in Pictures

In most cases, Sall personally matched the song with the artist he wanted to cover it, and McCartney’s backing band – whom McCartney loaned Sall for the project – provided the backing. Sammy Hagar, who did “Birthday,” was stunned he was asked to participate. “I might have gone with ‘Let Me Roll It’ or ‘Maybe I’m Amazed,’ ” he says. “But ‘Birthday’ does fit my voice. Great guitar riff, too.”

MORE: In Pics: Behind Beatlemania: Intimate Photos of Paul McCartney

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