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Has Paul ever told the real story of hearing about John's death...?
16 December 2018
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50yearslate
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The way I see it, Paul had just had this horrifying, earth-shattering news that he had not in any way, shape or form been expecting or anticipating. Right after this enormous news is thrust upon him, before he can even begin to make sense of his grief, the press is in his face asking nosy questions about how he feels about John's death. To Paul, they have no consideration whatsoever for the tragedy itself: all they care about is pestering him for a good story. So Paul understandably gets upset and lashes out at the press, making a comment he knows will spark controversy, but he doesn't care about controversy because his best friend is dead. We can't blame Paul. I would have done the same thing. 

Poor Paul. a-hard-days-night-paul-10

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16 December 2018
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I also don't think it's fair to criticise Paul over this. Paul is a very emotional person....You can tell that from his songwriting.......In private he may sob......but out there in the world it's 'stiff-upper-lip' and a thumbs up. And what's wrong with that? I'd like to know?

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16 December 2018
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Ron Nasty
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Nor do I think he should criticised for the "It's a drag!" comment on the day. This thread was never intended to be about that comment but, rather, how Paul has described hearing of John's murder in the decades since and how his account is contradicted by others including Yoko - who says he was one of the first calls she made.

I was never interested in the "It's a drag!" comment. It's a shame it highjacked the thread.

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17 December 2018
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I get upset when hardcore Lennon fans get angry over Paul’s reaction and handling of the news, as if he was the one who pulled the trigger. The fact that Paul got backlash and critisism is absurd and shows the downsides of trying to see the two as rivals rather than partners. 

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17 December 2018
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Ron Nasty
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But you're still bringing it up, @sir walter raleigh, directly after I've posted people commenting on the "It's a drag" comment is irrelevant to the question I asked in the first post.

I do wish more than a couple of people had responded to the question I asked in the first post rather than continuing to bang on about the on-the-day comment which I've always regarded as a clumsy expression of how hurt and devastated by John's loss he was.

The "It's a drag!" comment was not what this thread was meant to be about but you all keep bringing it back to that, even though there is no reference to it in the question I asked in the first post.

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17 December 2018
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Little Piggy Dragonguy
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It could be that the story he gives truly is how he found out. It could also be that he is telling the story as he remembers it. Memory under stress is very often unreliable. I'm not sure what motive he could possibly have to lie and say he found out from his manager when he woke up vs he got a call in the middle of the night from Yoko or whoever. Seems like a pretty random story to be questioning, especially since whatever the "real story" is would basically be the same story just with a different person on the phone. 

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17 December 2018
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Good to see you, @Little Piggy Dragonguy.

Why it interests me is because John is often criticised for presenting a distorted version of the reality but Paul does just the same with little, if any, criticism. This is just one of the more questionable, along with if Here, There And Everywhere  was praised by John during the filming of Help !, for which there's lots of proof it wasn't written until around May-July of the following year, and his story about The Beatles refusing to go to America until they had a #1 there, despite the fact that their February 1964 visit was arranged before Capitol had agreed to release I Want To Hold Your Hand  - their booked Sullivan shows being one of the arguments used to persuade Capitol to get behind them.

I also think it's interesting from the point of view that Yoko said he was one of her first two calls after John's death was confirmed.

By denying that call happened, and that he heard from his manager while Linda was on the school run, throws Yoko's account of what she did into question, which I think matters.

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17 December 2018
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Did Linda back up Paul's story?

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17 December 2018
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Yes, @50yearslate, just as Yoko backed John's version of events (though many would say John parroted Yoko's version of their ballad).

Paul's first detailed public response to John's death:

PLAYBOY: "How did you hear of John's death? What was your first reaction?"

PAUL: "My manager rang me early in the morning. Linda was taking the kids to school."

LINDA: "I had driven the kids to school and I'd just come back in. Paul's face, ugh, it was horrible. Even now, when I think of it..."

PAUL: "A bit grotty."

LINDA: "I knew something had happened..."

PAUL: "It was just too crazy. We just said what everyone said; it was all blurred. It was the same as the Kennedy thing. The same horrific moment, you know. You couldn't take it in. I can't."

LINDA: "It put everybody in a daze for the rest of their life. It'll never make sense."

PAUL: "I still haven't taken it in. I don't want to."

PLAYBOY: "Yet the only thing you were quoted as saying after John's assassination was, 'Well, it's a drag.'"

PAUL: "What happened was we heard the news that morning and, strangely enough, all of us... the three Beatles, friends of John's... all of us reacted in the same way. Separately. Everyone just went to work that day. All of us. Nobody could stay home with that news. We all had to go to work and be with people we knew. Couldn't bear it. We just had to keep going. So I went in and did a day's work in a kind of shock. And as I was coming out of the studio later, there was a reporter, and as we were driving away, he just stuck the microphone in the window and shouted, 'What do you think about John's death?' I had just finished a whole day in shock and I said, 'It's a drag.' I meant drag in the heaviest sense of the word, you know: 'It's a--DRAG.' But, you know, when you look at that in print, it says, 'Yes, it's a drag.' Matter of fact."

PLAYBOY: "You tend to give a lot of flip answers to questions, don't you?"

PAUL: "I know what you mean. When my mum died, I said, 'What are we going to do for money?'"

LINDA: "She brought in extra money for the family."

PAUL: "And I've never forgiven myself for that. Really, deep down, you know, I never have quite forgiven myself for that. But that's all I could say then. It's like a lot of kids; when you tell them someone's died, they laugh."

PLAYBOY: Because they can't cope with the emotion?"

PAUL: "Yes. Exactly."

LINDA: "With John's thing, what could you say?"

PAUL: "What could you say?"

LINDA: "The pain is beyond words. You can never describe it, I don't care how articulate you are."

PAUL: "We just went home. We just looked at all the news on the telly, and we sat there with all the kids, just crying all evening. Just couldn't handle it, really."

LINDA: "To this day, we just cry on hearing John's songs; you can't help it. You just cry. There aren't words... I'm going to cry now."

Should also be noted he says he, George and Ringo went to work on that day. He and George did, but Ringo and Barbara, on holiday at the time, flew to New York to be with Yoko.

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17 December 2018
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Little Piggy Dragonguy
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I honestly don't think any of those inconsistencies are lies. People have memories of things that never happened, or sometimes one memory can get mixed together with another. Paul has said himself that there are other people who know more about his life than him, and it's true. Memory is fallible, especially when we're talking about things that happened five, ten, or forty years ago. Add to this that John's death must have been extremely upsetting for both Paul and Yoko and that the human brain's ability to form memories isn't as reliable under stressful situations. It's understandable that their memories surrounding his death aren't one hundred percent accurate. 

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17 December 2018
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Little Piggy Dragonguy said
I honestly don't think any of those inconsistencies are lies. People have memories of things that never happened, or sometimes one memory can get mixed together with another. Paul has said himself that there are other people who know more about his life than him, and it's true. Memory is fallible, especially when we're talking about things that happened five, ten, or forty years ago. Add to this that John's death must have been extremely upsetting for both Paul and Yoko and that the human brain's ability to form memories isn't as reliable under stressful situations. It's understandable that their memories surrounding his death aren't one hundred percent accurate.   

True. The inconsistencies in his story are most likely the result of memories fading over time, and the holes being filled in by Paul's imagination. 

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17 December 2018
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@Ron Nasty but I didn’t bring it up. My post says “its a drag” 0 times. You said it twice in your response. 

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17 December 2018
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50yearslate said

True. The inconsistencies in his story are most likely the result of memories fading over time, and the holes being filled in by Paul's imagination.   

That Playboy interview was in 1980 and his story has not changed since. I don't think it's his memory fading and him making things up to have a story to tell. I think how he tells it is just how it has been solidified in his memory.

I'm still not convinced how he remembers finding out about John's death is false, however, seeing as Linda's memory doesn't seem to be any different. But, memories can be influenced by how other people remember it, so it could be that. But it's probably most likely that Yoko didn't call Paul right away, and that she talked to him later on. 

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17 December 2018
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Little Piggy Dragonguy said

That Playboy interview was in 1980 and his story has not changed since. I don't think it's his memory fading and him making things up to have a story to tell. I think how he tells it is just how it has been solidified in his memory.

I'm still not convinced how he remembers finding out about John's death is false, however, seeing as Linda's memory doesn't seem to be any different. But, memories can be influenced by how other people remember it, so it could be that. But it's probably most likely that Yoko didn't call Paul right away, and that she talked to him later on.   

It appears that you misunderstood my comment. I didn't mean to imply that he was making it up; I just meant that, as you said, the version of events that he remembers may not be the same as what actually happened. I don't know which story is true and which story is false; I'm just speculating. No disrespect intended heart

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17 December 2018
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Where did you get the 1980 date from, @Little Piggy Dragonguy? The interview, promoting Give My Regards To Broad Street , appeared in the December 1984 issue of Playboy - an interview which also included his first telling of his anecdote about John praising Here, There And Everywhere , which was full of inconsistencies and doubt that were removed over the years following, something I explored in detail in the HT&E song thread.

Apologies if I misunderstood what you were referring to in your post, @sir walter raleigh, but you did refer to "Paul’s reaction and handling of the news" which I considered to be referring to the "It's a drag" comment as, so far as I know, Paul has not been criticised over his recollection of how he heard the news. The only "backlash and critisism" [sic] I recall Paul getting was about the "It's a drag!" comment and a conversation he had with Hunter Davies that was used in a new postscript in an '80s reprint of the Authorised biography.

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17 December 2018
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Ron Nasty said
Where did you get the 1980 date from, @Little Piggy Dragonguy? The interview, promoting Give My Regards To Broad Street , appeared in the December 1984 issue of Playboy - an interview which also included his first telling of his anecdote about John praising Here, There And Everywhere , which was full of inconsistencies and doubt that were removed over the years following, something I explored in detail in the HT&E song thread.

I don't know why, but I thought that interview was in 1980. Doesn't really change what I was saying, though. 

If you were to tell your life story as you remember it and have a group of people well informed on your life story analyze your account of what you have been through, I'm sure you would find out that your life is not exactly as you remember it, either. Memory is fallible.

Paul has a memory of him and John listening to Here, There And Everywhere before the song was in existence. One possibility is that they were listening to another song, but Paul remembers the song playing as Here, There And Everywhere . Another possibility could be that there was a time they were listening to Here, There And Everywhere together and John said that to him, but that memory got erroneously linked with a memory of them together during the filming of Help !

Paul has said before that there are other people that know more about his life than he does, and he's probably half right about that. He's not a Beatles biographer who does intensive research about the timeline of his life, although there are a lot of other people who are. He tells his story as he remembers it, just as everybody else in the world does about their own lives. 

 

And about John being criticized for having "distorted versions of reality", I'm not sure I know what you're talking about. I can't think of times I've seen him attacked for this. Can you give me some examples?

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18 December 2018
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I wonder if it has less to do with memory and more to do with anxiety. Recalling a traumatic event can produce physiological as well as psychological reactions and it could be that Paul never wants to revisit that moment. Having said that, I found the interview trite but wonder whether being flip was his way of keeping people at arms length. Have to say it @Ron Nasty, but Paul's 'it's a drag' comment provided much fodder for British tabloid headlines and he was widely derided for it.

18 December 2018
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@Saltie said
Have to say it RN, but Paul's 'it's a drag' comment provided much fodder for British tabloid headlines and he was widely derided for it.

Don't know why you sound apologetic about that, and as if you're correcting me, as I say in post 35:

The only "backlash and critisism" [sic] I recall Paul getting was about the "It's a drag!" comment...

While Paul sometimes humbly admits others probably know more than him about his life in interviews, @Little Piggy Dragonguy, he also criticises those who think they know more about his life than he does, the most obvious 'recent' example being Early Days  from NEW:

Now everybody seems to have their own opinion
Who did this and who did that
But as for me I don't see how they can remember
When they weren't where it was at

With him commenting in interview about it:

...the last verse is wildly defensive, which is like these people say who did this and who did that. Well, that is very definitely about people telling me what I did and what John did.

So, as you can see, he'll admit getting things wrong, saying others know more about his life than him, but is also very willing to question the veracity of those who question his memory of events.

As to John version of things being questioned, that started with the infamous 1970 Rolling Stone interview and continued through to EVERY 1980 interview where John got onto his life as a "house-husband" -- with many claiming that rather than bringing up Sean and baking bread, he was a drug addict struggling with depression who rarely left his bed and was about to divorce Yoko.

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18 December 2018
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Ron Nasty said

Why it interests me is because John is often criticised for presenting a distorted version of the reality but Paul does just the same with little, if any, criticism. This is just one of the more questionable, along with if Here, There And Everywhere  was praised by John during the filming of Help !, for which there's lots of proof it wasn't written until around May-July of the following year, and his story about The Beatles refusing to go to America until they had a #1 there, despite the fact that their February 1964 visit was arranged before Capitol had agreed to release I Want To Hold Your Hand  - their booked Sullivan shows being one of the arguments used to persuade Capitol to get behind them.

I also think it's interesting from the point of view that Yoko said he was one of her first two calls after John's death was confirmed.

By denying that call happened, and that he heard from his manager while Linda was on the school run, throws Yoko's account of what she did into question, which I think matters.  

Sorry if you thought I was correcting you, I didn't intend that. But I don't understand, from the examples you've given, why you think Paul is never criticised for producing distorted versions of reality when to my mind he so obviously is. He is always being accused of rewriting history with his most notorious accuser being Philip Norman. Whatever his story on hearing about John's death - should he really be criticised for this? If it is different from Yoko's account then she has had four decades in which to put the record straight, surely? 

18 December 2018
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Ron Nasty said
While Paul sometimes humbly admits others probably know more than him about his life in interviews, @Little Piggy Dragonguy, he also criticises those who think they know more about his life than he does, the most obvious 'recent' example being Early Days  from NEW:

So, as you can see, he'll admit getting things wrong, saying others know more about his life than him, but is also very willing to question the veracity of those who question his memory of events.

My perception of that was that he was addressing those who make up their own interpretations of what happened or exaggerate the reality of events. There are people who do know a lot about The Beatles history, and there are other people who also know a lot, but like to add their own twists or use unfounded claims as fact. Him saying some people know more about him than he does and him saying that some people who don't think they do are not necessarily conflicting statements. 

As to John version of things being questioned, that started with the infamous 1970 Rolling Stone interview and continued through to EVERY 1980 interview where John got onto his life as a "house-husband" -- with many claiming that rather than bringing up Sean and baking bread, he was a drug addict struggling with depression who rarely left his bed and was about to divorce Yoko.  

I have heard of those claims, but I didn't know they were generally supported. I thought most books that have that kind of information weren't regarded well. I've heard him be called a hypocrite for supposedly not living how he preached, but I've never heard somebody specifically bag him for rewriting history. I'm not sure if you consider him being called a hypocrite as also implying that his version of events was distorted, though. 

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