Paul McCartney on processing Lennon’s death with Here Today: “It had hit me so much”

The singer reveals the story behind the line ‘the night we cried’ in a recent interview.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon of the Beatles

Image: Bettmann / Getty Images

Paul McCartney has opened up about the making of Here Today — the acoustic tribute from his 1982 album Tug of War dedicated to the late John Lennon.

In a new interview with SiriusXM’s The Beatles Channel, McCartney shared that grieving over Lennon’s death had led to him writing the song, saying “When John died it was so difficult. It was difficult for everyone in the world ‘cause he was such a loved character and such a crazy guy, you know, that he was so special.”

“And so it had hit me so much so that I couldn’t really talk about it.”

“I remember getting home from the studio on the day that we’d heard the news he died and turning the TV on and seeing people say, ‘Well, John Lennon was this,’ and ‘What he was, was this,’ and ‘I remember meeting him,’ the musician recalled.

“And it was like, I don’t know, I can’t be one of those people. I can’t just go on TV and say what John meant to me. It was just too deep. It’s just too much. I couldn’t put it into words.”

McCartney recalled heading to his recording studio “once the emotions had sort of settled a little bit”, saying “I was in a building that would become my recording studio, and there were just a couple of little empty rooms upstairs.”

“I found a room and just sat on the wooden floor in a corner with my guitar and just started to play the opening chords to ‘Here Today.’”

The Beatles frontman also elaborated on an incident referenced in the lyrics of Here Today, which was composed in the form of an imaginary conversation between Lennon and McCartney himself.

“‘The night we cried,’ that was to do with a time when we were in Key West down in Florida,” he explained. “And for some reason — I think it was like a hurricane — something had been delayed, and we couldn’t play for a couple of days, so we holed up in a little Motel. So what would we do? Well, we’d have a drink, and we would get drunk.”

“We got drunk and started to get kind of emotional,” McCartney continued. “‘Oh, you were great when you, I love that.’ You know, we started, it all came out, you know, but on the way to that, there was a lot of soul searching. You know, we told each other a few truths, you know, ‘Well, I love you. I love you, man. I love that you said that. I love you. And we opened up.”

“So, that was kind of special to me. I think that was really one of the only times that ever happened.’

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