McCartney wrote this for John Lennon after his tragic death on December 8, 1980. He sings of the years they spent together in much detail.
With this song, McCartney was reconciling his relationship with John Lennon to himself and others. He told GQ: "After John died, there'd been a lot of talk about who did what and who liked who and did the Beatles argue. I was almost buying into this idea that me and John were fighting all the time. But I remembered it wasn't true, so I wrote the song about how, 'if you were here, you might say this or those... but I know better.'
I remember well some of the things we did. It was really for me thinking about John. We had a great relationship and like any family, there's always arguments, there's always disputes, but in the end we loved each other and I wanted to make a song where I actually said "I love you" to John, so that was that song.
It's quite emotional because it came from a real feeling about him, and I wanted to correct the record in my mind as much as in any one else's mind. There were some photos from that period which were really beautiful, and there's just him and me working and you could see we loved each other. So, once all these rumors go about, you almost buy into them yourself. So that song helped me set the record straight."
Paul McCartney: "The truth of the matter is when John died it was so weird for everyone and obviously for those of us that were near to him it was doubly, triply weird and then there was the obvious sort of thing is anyone going to write a song about John because obviously certainly we all felt deeply enough and normally when we felt deeply enough we committed it to song. I was wondering if I was going to do it but I thought I'm not going to sit down and try to do it but if anything comes sometime I'll do it. I was one day just sitting quietly in this little room with my guitar and these chords started coming out and I started having these thoughts as if I was talking to myself to John about our relationship and stuff and obviously one of the things that had been funny for me was this idea of when the Beatles broke up we became enemies for a time. But I knew we weren't and I know for a fact he knew we weren't too because independently of each other we'd talked nicely of each other but there was a pride thing of two men very difficult business and all that." (Transcribed from this interview.)
McCartney told The London Times December 5, 2009 that in this song, "I'm talking to John in my head. It's a conversation we didn't have." He added that they were reconciled again by the time of the tragedy: "We were mates. God, that was so cool. It was the saving grace. Because it got a bit sticky after the Beatles. No, we were really good mates again - it was lovely, actually. Performing this song, in New York, where he was killed, is a very emotional affair. The last verse, where I sing 'and if I said I really loved you, and was glad you came along,' it's like singing it to your dad who died."
During the Q&A Mojo Magazine Session in November 2009, McCartney said that this song is his most difficult to perform: "I realize I'm telling this man that I love him, and it's like, 'Oh my god', like I'm publicly declaring it in front of all these people I don't know! It's a good thing to do, though."
Suggestion credit: DeeTheWriter - Saint Petersburg, Russia Federation
McCartney performed this live on his 2002 release Back In The US.
Lada from Zelenograd , Russia FederationGreat song.
Lada from Zelenograd , Russia FederationBeautiful song. Love it.
Brent from South Bend, Inwhen i first heard it , i thought maybe it was about linda , then i thought maybe it was about john. then when i bought paul's "good evening new york city" a couple of years ago , i found out it actually was about john. paul wrote "my love" for linda. i'm a 53 year old male. "here today" brings a tear to my eye , and gives me goose bumps , and i don't mind saying it. whenever john comes to mind , its never just a passing thought , it makes me stop for a second and i go back. this is something that is constant and will never go away , and nor would i want it to.
Mamie from Cleveland, OhHave never heard that song. Never knew it existed, like it though. Nice song. Prefer EMPTY GARDEN.
Andrew from London, United KingdomI challenge anyone to listen to this without crying.
Obviously I didn't because i'm a manly man...
Crazyc63312 from Why Do You Want To Know?, RiIt's pretty inspiring and sad.
Suzanne from Germantown, MdITA with everything that has already been said. My heart just aches for John and I don't even know why. He must have had inner beauty and love that radiated from him to everyone. This song pretty much says as much the way Paul sings this from his heart.
Kayla from Pierce City, MoThis song makes me cry everytime I hear it. Definitely a very moving song. Paul sings his heart out on this one.
Michael from Birmingham, United KingdomHi I just sat in my car and listened to this song 3 times on the trot.
At first I thought paul was singing about Linda.
The words along with the beautiful guitar ritfs made me sob.......It was after Blackbird on the Album Live in New York
As a 49 year old builder not many songs make me cry (literally) but this one does.
Amanda from Gretna, VtThis song makes my heart ache when i hear it. even some of john's songs make my heart ache. I know i wasn't here during the Beatle era. hell i wasn't even born until 15 years after John had died! and i was only 6 when George died. so ive missed a lot. yeah. anyways, i still love them all!
Adam from Los Angeles, CaChristy, CA----i'm not ashamed to say i tear up alittle myself when i hear this one. i think it's beautiful!
Reed from New Ulm, MnLet's face it..we ALL miss John. The lyrics in this couldn't be more heartfelt, from a guy who took that incredible journey with him so many years ago.
Christy from Palm Springs, CaThis song is so beautiful and makes me cry!!
Tom from Marble Falls, ArI get so depressed when I see old films of the Beatles performing. I am fortunate to have lived in the Beatles era, even if I was a kid. As wierd and scary as those times got, I would give anything to go back there again. Musicians today just don't have the impact the Fab Four had.
Ken from Louisville, KyWhen Paul was planning this album with George Martin in the Fall of 1980, he hoped he could convice John to join him on a track, since John was recording again at the time.
Bill from Arlington Heights,il, Ilbeautiful song. makes you miss lennon but also makes you think of the wonderful magical songs the beatles produced or could have produced.
Steve from Ny, NyGenerically written for the masses as most songs are. But Paul opens his heart do divulge his true love for John, his dearest friend.
Ashlee from Jacksonville, FlI love it! I miss John though
Luna from London, EnglandThis song makes me so sad. Its beautiful, but all i can think of is the idiot that killed John.
Krist from Temperley, ArgentinaBeautiful lyrics and melody!!!
Calum from Edinburgh, ScotlandHard not to be moved by this song