A collage made by John Lennon and given to Paul McCartney. Paul later gave it to Julian Lennon as a gift. Scanned from “Beatles Memorabilia: The Julian Lennon Collection”.
Q: Did you see The Beatles differently from John Lennon?
Paul: Hmm. I don’t think so. We all had a common vision, at least in the early days. Then everyone seemed to think that we wanted to go in different directions. But I’m not even sure that’s true. The thing about me and John is that we were different, but we weren’t that different. I think Linda put her finger on it when she said me and John were like mirror images of each other. Even down to how we started writing together, facing each other, eyeball to eyeball, exactly like looking in the mirror. That’s how songs like ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand” were written.
Q: You were like two sides of the same person?
Paul: Well said. But the sides would switch. On the surface, I was very easy-going, always accommodating. That came easy to me. That’s how I’d been brought up. But, at certain times, I would very much be the hard man of the duo. At certain moments, I could bite. But that would be when no one outside the group was watching. John would allow me to take that role because it enabled him to drop his guard and be vulnerable. On the surface, he was this hard, witty guy, always on hand with a cutting witticism. He appeared caustic, even cruel at times. But really he was very soft. John was very insecure. He carried a lot of that from his upbringing, what with his father leaving when he was five. Then, of course, we’d both lost our mothers so we had that in common.
Ultimately, we were equals. All The Beatles were equals. If things got too deep, Ringo would crack a one-liner and that kept us on a level. If things were getting too sentimental, John would harden it up. If John was getting too hostile, I’d soften it down. Then George was always on hand with his own kind of unique wisdom.