Back in the end of 1960s, it was the testing times for The Beatles. Hiring Allen Klein began their downward spiral, involving different legal matters that pitted Paul McCartney against the rest of the group. It has been noted that Paul McCartney was the first to put out a solo record but his former bandmates weren’t kind in their assessments via Far Out Magazine.
After the Get Back sessions, McCartney had already started planning a solo record, demoing various tunes that his band rejected at his home and Abbey Road. While McCartney was known as the relentless worker of the Fab Four, his relationship with John Lennon was about to become strained.
The involvement of Yoko Ono has been brought up as a sticking point but Klein was the aggressor in breaking the songwriting duo apart. After running away from the deal, McCartney released his first solo album, effectively confirming that The Beatles had broken up.
Containing many different demo recordings of what could have been finished songs, fans and critics saw the album as a shock, being far too rough around the edges than what was usually expected out of Macca. Then again, no one was a harsher critic than Lennon.
When talking about the latest album, Lennon wasn’t shy about how much he detested McCartney’s debut release, telling Rolling Stone,
“I thought Paul’s was rubbish”.
Since George Harrison was already riding high off the success of his massive debut album All Things Must Pass, Lennon would also describe McCartney’s attempts at a solo career as “light and easy”. Lennon wasn’t the only Beatle having issues with McCartney’s solo ventures. Talking about the album RAM at the time, Ringo Starr said that he wasn’t a fan of McCartney’s work, thinking that there were hardly any good tunes on the record and that McCartney seemed to be losing his edge.
This led to the war of words between the former writing partners, with McCartney lobbing the ball back at Lennon with his song ‘Too Many People’. Throughout the song, McCartney made mention of Lennon’s unnecessary preaching to the public, which Lennon quickly rebutted on Imagine with the brutal track ‘How Do You Sleep’.
Even in the Rolling Stone interview, Lennon never once questioned McCartney’s talent, remarking on his latest solo album:
“I think it’ll probably scare him into doing something decent, and then he’ll scare me into doing something decent like that. I think he’s capable of great work and I think he will do it”.
Following their verbal spats in the press, Lennon and McCartney would eventually make up towards the end of Lennon’s life, with the McCartneys visiting the Lennons at their Dakota apartment building when off any Wings press circuit. However, Lennon and McCartney would never work on music together again.