Paul McCartney says he “often” mentally consults John Lennon when writing songs

“What would he think of this? What would he say now?”

Paul McCartney and John Lennon

Image: Bettmann / Getty

Paul McCartney has revealed that his songwriting process often takes into consideration what John Lennon would have thought of the music.

Speaking to Uncut about the recording of McCartney III, he was asked if he ever “mentally consults” his late bandmate, to which he replied “often. We collaborated for so long, I think, ‘OK, what would he think of this? What would he say now?’ We’d both agree that this new song I’m talking about is going nowhere.”

He revealed Lennon’s influence encourages him to kill his darlings more often, and he’d just recently implemented that approach: “Instead of sitting around, we’d destroy [the song] and remake it. I started that process yesterday in the studio. I took the vocal off it and decided to write a new vocal. I think it’s heading in a better direction now.”

He also revealed that his current home studio, the one he had been locked down in, contained an old mellotron from Abbey Road – which appears on McCartney II. The mellotron is an early tape-based synthesiser-styled keyboard, which could emulate different instruments by changing out the equipped tape reels. In a Beatles context, it most famously appeared on Strawberry Fields Forever, but McCartney also revealed that There’s a Spanish guitar line on The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill that’s actually the Mellotron.”

Listening to the track, it’s a fairly convincing sound – especially considering that it was recorded well before digital synthesis was used to recreate other instruments.

Nowadays, McCartney said that he uses the mellotron outside of how it was intended to get the most musical sounds from it: “If you go a bit crazy on it and don’t allow it to do its full sample, you end up with a wacky piece of music.”

McCartney’s latest solo record McCartney III will be released on 11 December 2020. It was teased via a set of three-themed hints online, and follows his two previous self-titled records from 1970 and 1980 respectively.

McCartney’s full cover interview can be read in its latest issue of Uncut. The talk goes in-depth to to how McCartney III came about in lockdown, more of the gear found in his extensive home studio and how he keeps experimenting. Find out more over at, and get a peek at its cover below.

Paul McCartney
Image: Uncut. Note: Uncut is owned by Bandlab Technologies, which also owns

For more music news, click here.


Get the latest news, reviews and features to your inbox.


The world’s leading authority and resource for all things guitar.

Join our mailing list

Sign Up Now

© 2023 is part of NME Networks.