David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage Paul McCartney
Talking with Lennon's son Sean, he says that it would have been a ″heartache″ if they hadn't been able to meet up again after the band had been torn apart due to what McCartney calls ″arguing ... business differences.″
Lennon died after being shot outside his apartment on Dec. 8, 1980, at the age of 40 — and the landmark of what would have been his 80th birthday is being celebrated in the interview that airs on BBC Radio 2 this weekend.
″I always say to people, one of the great things for me was that after all The Beatles rubbish and all the arguing and the business, you know, business differences really .. that even after all of that, I'm so happy that I got it back together with your dad,″ McCartney, 78, says. ″It really, really would have been a heartache to me if we hadn't have reunited. It was so lovely to me that we did and it really gives me strength to know that."
Chris Ware/Keystone/Getty Image The Beatles and producer George Martin with the band's first silver record
In the chat, McCartney is asked about a picture, taken by Paul's wife Linda, of the iconic stars talking while making the last Beatles album, Abbey Road.
He tells Sean Ono Lennon, 44, that it was something he clung onto. ″It really gave me hope that picture ... That was one little picture I held onto. You can just see that we're into each other and we're smiling, and I will write down something, so we're engaged in doing something artistic, something interesting."
And he talks about their ″friendly competition″ which was part of the magic that spurred them on. Explaining what made them such groundbreaking songwriters, McCartney says, ″Okay, number one, we were good. Right there. Number two, we'd grown up together."
″From little kids, we'd taken the first steps together, we learned to walk together, then we learned to run. And the fact that each of us was influencing the other was very important, you know. And we were learning, not just about songs and stuff about life, you know. And the fact that we'd come along this journey together meant that, hey, we're just gonna continue, and who knows, we might get better. And so we did, and if I did something that was a little bit ahead of the curve, then John would come up with something that was a bit ahead of my curve. And then so I'd go 'Well, how about this?' ... there was a lot of friendly competition."
The two-part documentary John Lennon at 80 also features memories from his elder brother, Julian Lennon, and godfather Elton John. is broadcast at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3 on BBC Radio 2. A second episode follows on Sunday, Oct. 4.