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Paul McCartney Explains Why He and John Lennon Didn’t Record Early Beatles Songs

It has to do with prank calls.

Wikimedia Commons

Way before they ever thought of forming a band called The Beatles, John Lennon, George Harrison and Paul McCartney all knew each other in freaking high school. And, during this time McCartney has just revealed why he and Lennon didn’t write down or record their earliest songs. When presented with an opportunity to use recording equipment, the pair apparently decided to create material for prank call instead.

“We borrowed one once, and put a few songs on it,” McCartney told Jarvis Cocker in a Facebook Live interview on Wednesday when asked how he and John Lennon remembered their early songs. McCartney explained that recording equipment was expensive, and when they used a borrowed huge tape recording machine, they didn’t really spend much time putting their music on it. 

“We mainly used it for prank phone calls,” McCartney told Cocker and then proceeded to recall a comedy routine he and John used to prank one of their school teachers they disliked. Basically, in addition to being the greatest songwriters of the 20th century, Lennon and McCartney also seemingly invented the art of prank phone calls, later perfected by the Jerky Boys and Crank Yankers.

Paul McCartney in Casual Conversation with special guest Jarvis Cocker at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts#EgyptStation

Posted by Paul McCartney on Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Cocker (famous as the front man of the band Pulp) pressed McCartney as to why he and Lennon didn’t even write down their earliest songs. McCartney said that he and John would frequently forget songs they’d come up with at night, but that the ideas would “always come back in the morning.”

We had to write songs you could remember,” McCartney said and added. “If we can’t remember it, how can we expect other people to?” Obviously, this songwriting test worked: millions of people remember the songs John Lennon and Paul McCartney did decide actually to write down and record.

McCartney was talking to Cocker at his old school in Liverpool, and he just announced he will play a show at the Cavern Club, the venue that made the Beatles famous. McCartney is doing all this press because his new album — Egypt Station — drops on September 7, 2018. McCartney is on tour now.