- Timeline This song has been written (or started being written) in 1958 (Paul McCartney was 16 years old)
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“Just Fun” is one of the very first songs co-written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, in late 1957 or 1958.
This song probably also dates to late-1957, since it has been cited by McCartney as one of the very first Lennon-McCartney co-writes, and as such it sits alongside “Too Bad About Sorrows”. There is no evidence of it before it cropped up in extremely fragmentary form during the Get Back sessions, where there are two references.
The first, recorded on January 6, has McCartney speaking in front of the camera, and he recalls writing it with Lennon while playing truant (sic), and sings an impromptu rendition of the first verse. (This is captured on-screen in the Let It Be movie.)
The other starts with an extremely brief quotation by Lennon on January 8; after running aimlessly through the start of “Too Bad About Sorrows”, he sings a rough line from this track, “There’s no blue moon in history”, provoking a ripple of laughter from the others. This is then allowed to develop into a ragged group performance (if it can be called that!) which is the best example of the song we have thus far.
(Between these two sections we hear Lennon read a headline from a newspaper, “Queen says ‘no’ to pot-smoking FBI members” – which Phil Spector would later edit onto the start of Harrison’s “For You Blue” on the Let It Be album.)
One or two other snippets are known on bootlegs, including one from 16 November 1999: McCartney was being interviewed on the television show The Big Breakfast, when he sang through a few lines – but most frustratingly, the fullest version happens to be the least audible, and comes from an audience-level taping made in 2004.
McCartney was due to perform at Letzigrund Stadion in Zurich on the night of June 2, and during the afternoon played the longest-known version of “Just Fun” as part of his soundcheck. McCartney can be heard strumming through the song on acoustic guitar. What is most intriguing is the appearance of a second verse, with different lyrics. Sadly the quality of the tape is so poor that the words cannot be deciphered. It is possible these were ad-libbed, although McCartney sings them with assurance, as he had the first verse, indicating that they were not improvised. He also adds a repeating two-chord coda, possibly from the original.
The song has never been released on anything official. If the Let It Be movie ever appears on DVD, then there will be a part of the song legally available. Until then, as with “Too Bad About Sorrows”, another historic number is entirely in the hands of the bootleggers.
It is interesting that the original lyric, written in 1957, when McCartney and Lennon had just started playing and writing together, begins, “They say that our love is just fun / the day that our friendship begun”. These lines sound like they could be self-referential, and if so they precede later McCartney numbers concerning his relationship with Lennon (“You Never Give Me Your Money”, “Two Of Us” etc).
From Paul McCartney Looks Back: The Rolling Stone Interview, August 10, 2016:
Paul McCartney strums an acoustic guitar on a sofa in his London office, humming to himself as he tries to recall a melody from his adolescence – one of the first, never-recorded songs he wrote with his teenage friend John Lennon, on their way to starting the Beatles in Liverpool. “It was like …” McCartney says, then hits a rockabilly rhythm on his guitar and sings in a familiar, robust voice: “They said our love was just fun/The day that our friendship begun/There’s no blue moon that I can see/There’s never been in history/Because our love was just fun.“
“‘Just Fun,’” McCartney says, announcing the title proudly. “I had a little school-exercise book where I wrote those lyrics down. And in the top right-hand corner of the page, I put ‘A Lennon-McCartney original.’ It was humble beginnings,” he admits. “We developed from that.“
Paul McCartney also played a 20-seconds version of “Just Fun” on acoustic guitar, when interviewed by Sean Lennon for the “John Lennon At 80” radio series in 2020.
Last updated on October 6, 2020
[...] They said our love was just fun
The day that our friendship begun
There’s no blue moon that I can see
There’s never been in history
Because our love was just fun [...]