McCartney said Lennon’s decision to leave the band was driven by his pursuit of social justice, including movements such as “bagism” where he and his wife, Yoko Ono, wore bags to urge people not to judge others based on their appearance. Lennon and Ono also held “bed-ins” for peace in Amsterdam and Montreal in 1969, whereby they lay in bed in hotel rooms for a week in protest against conflict, particularly the Vietnam War.
McCartney described the breakup as the “most difficult period of my life” and said he could have imagined the Beatles continuing for longer if Lennon had not instigated the split. “The Beatles were breaking up and this was my band, this was my job, this was my life,” he said. “I wanted it to continue, I thought we were doing some pretty good stuff — you know, ‘Abbey Road,’ ‘Let It Be,’ not bad.”
McCartney will release a book of commentaries on his song lyrics next month, edited by Irish poet Paul Muldoon, and including songs written for the Beatles.
He also told Wilson he and Lennon had written a four-page play in the “kitchen sink” genre before they started the Beatles.
The full interview will be broadcast on October 23.