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Sunday, July 6, 1997

40 years ago, Paul McCartney met John Lennon

Last updated on September 20, 2020

Forty years ago, Paul McCartney met John Lennon at St. Peter’s Church, Woolton, Liverpool. The event was celebrated with a re-creation of the fête where the meeting took place. Messages of support for the celebration had been sent by Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, the UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and even Queen Elizabeth II.

Paul sent a message with a Flaming Pie header paper:

Ah yes, I remember it well.

l do actually. My memory of meeting John for the first time is very clear. My mate lvan Vaughan took me along to Woolton here and there were the Quarry Men, playing on a little platform. I can still see John now checked shirt, slightly curly hair, singing ‘Come Go With Me’ by the Del Vikings. He didn’t know all the words, so he was putting in stuff about penitentiaries – and making a good job of it.

I remember thinking, ‘He looks good – I wouldn’t mind being in a group with him’. A bit later we met up. I played him ‘Twenty Flight Rock’ and he seemed pretty impressed – maybe because I did know the words. Then, as you all know, he asked me to join the group, and so we began our trip together. We wrote our first songs together, we grew up together and we lived our lives together.

And when we’d do it together, something special would happen. There’d be that little magic spark.

I still remember his beery old breath when I met him here that day. But I soon came to love that old beery breath. And I loved John. I always was and still am a great fan of John’s. We had a lot of fun together and I still treasure those beautiful memories.

So I send you all in Woolton and Liddipool my best wishes today.

And thanks for remembering – there’s no way that when we met here we had any idea of what we’d be starting. But l’m very proud of what we did. And l’m very glad that I did it with John.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and Cod bless all who sail in you.

Paul McCartney

Here’s Yoko Ono’s message:

What a sweet celebration!

Yes, the meeting of John and Paul was an important event not only for those of us who loved their songs but for the whole world which went though a social change for the better as a result of their words and music.

John’s first thought as Paul showed what he could do was: ‘Okay – this guy is good and already girls are flocking around him, not around me! So if I let him in, he’s going to be a tough one to handle – but I’ll have a strong band.’

So John took Paul in. I think this story is important in that it shows as a creator and a leader of a band, John went for getting a strong band rather than having an easy time. And John was only a teenager. What a brain! What a guy!

By the way, it’s interesting that the meeting took place at a church. Also, the main bulk of their songs were recorded at Abbey Road Studios, in London. Am I the only one who thinks of these coincidences as interesting?!

John and Paul were traveling minstrels, who spread the word of love throughout the world. Through their songs, they brought the energy of love to the then grey world, which was still coping with the aftermath of the Second World War.

With their words and music, John and Paul showed the world that law and order was not necessarily the most important force in the world. Love was the power and energy that could change the world. And it did.

But it all started at the Woolton church forty years ago. As you celebrate this day, the world joins you in your celebration. Those who cannot come physically to Liverpool join you in spirit. lt’s a nice day to celebrate and l thank you for doing it. Peace.

Yoko Ono

Going further

The Beatles Diary Volume 2: After The Break-Up 1970-2001

"An updated edition of the best-seller. The story of what happened to the band members, their families and friends after the 1970 break-up is brought right up to date. A fascinating and meticulous piece of Beatles scholarship."

We owe a lot to Keith Badman for the creation of those pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - a day to day chronology of what happened to the four Beatles after the break-up and how their stories intertwined together!

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The Beatles - The Dream is Over: Off The Record 2

This edition of the book compiles more outrageous opinions and unrehearsed interviews from the former Beatles and the people who surrounded them. Keith Badman unearths a treasury of Beatles sound bites and points-of-view, taken from the post break up years. Includes insights from Yoko Ono, Linda McCartney, Barbara Bach and many more.

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