The songwriting relationship between Paul McCartney and John Lennon was one of the most prolific of all time. They began to write on a more individual basis as the 1960s wore on, and their working relationship fell apart entirely when The Beatles broke up. McCartney noticed a shift in their dynamic when Lennon met Yoko Ono. He believed Lennon was intentionally putting distance between them to leave more time for her.
Paul McCartney said it was a bit off-putting to watch John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the studio
When Lennon and Ono began a relationship, they started spending all their time together. He brought her to Beatles recording sessions, which bothered his bandmates.
“Now John had to have Yoko there,” McCartney said in The Beatles Anthology. “I can’t blame him, they were intensely in love — in the first throes of the first passions — but it was fairly off-putting having her sitting on one of the amps. You wanted to say, ‘Excuse me, love — can I turn the volume up?’ We were always wondering how to say, ‘Could you get off my amp?’ without interfering with their relationship.”
He said it became clear that Lennon was more interested in Ono than The Beatles. McCartney understood they wanted to be together, but he didn’t particularly like watching them interact.
“It was a very difficult time,” he said. “I felt that when John finally left the group he did it to clear the decks for his relationship. Anything prior to that meant the decks weren’t clear — he had all his Beatle baggage, all his having to relate to us. He just wanted to go off in the corner and look into Yoko’s eyes for hours, saying to each other, ‘It’s going to be all right.’ It was pretty freaky when we were trying to make a track.”
George Harrison said he found her presence uncomfortable
After The Beatles broke up, Lennon said he had a major problem with the way McCartney and Harrison treated Ono. Both of them spoke about their frustration with having her in the studio. Harrison believed she was actively trying to drive a wedge between the group.
“Maybe now if you talk to Yoko she may say she likes The Beatles or that she liked The Beatles,” he said. “But she didn’t really like us because she saw The Beatles as something that was between her and John. The vibe I picked up was that she was a wedge that was trying to drive itself deeper and deeper between him and us, and it actually happened.”
He admitted it would be unfair to blame her for the band’s breakup. Still, he believed she played a role in their dissolution.
“We were all going our own ways and she might have become the catalyst for speeding up that situation, whatever it was,” he said. “I don’t really regret any of that, but at that time I was definitely uncomfortable about her being there.”
John Lennon was frustrated, but he partially understood how Paul McCartney felt
Lennon found it difficult to forgive McCartney and Harrison for the way they treated Ono. He also believed it was outrageous to place any blame on her for the band’s breakup. Still, he admitted he understood why they found her constant presence frustrating.
“And suddenly we were together all the time; in a corner mumbling and giggling. And there were Paul, George, and Ringo saying, ‘What the hell are they doing? What’s happened to him?’” he said. “And my attention completely went off them. Now it wasn’t deliberate, it was just I was so involved and intrigued with what we were doing… And then we’d look round and see that we weren’t being approved. But I understand how they felt, because if it had been Paul or George or Ringo that had fallen in love with somebody and got totally involved ….”