I was wondering if you had any thoughts on any tension that existed between John and Paul’s dad Jim. Particularly John’s “and in the end he chose me.” comments in 1971. We know that Paul in Michael McCartneys words “always did what Dad told him to” and this was obviously a source of tension with John. But was it a control issue? Concern for Paul (we know Jim was still physically disciplining Paul up to the age of 17, but did John?) or was it rooted in something else?
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Wow, this is a humdinger of a question which opens up a much larger discussion. Perhaps better suited for a full episode than a quick post.
Short answer is that John most likely had both: Jealousy over Jim’s influence and anger at anyone hurting Paul.
It’s not difficult to understand why John would be resentful towards a man who hits a person he loves. Easy to understand why John’s resentment would be exacerbated by Paul’s obvious adoration and loyalty for Jim.
I also agree that John enjoyed a certain influence over Paul simply in terms of John and Paul being like-minded besties who dressed alike, talked alike and loved all the same things AND in terms of encouraging Paul to misbehave, skip school, etc (although again I think this is greatly overplayed because Paul has always been a daredevil with a rebellious streak, even if he didn’t tend to openly defy his father).
I don’t think “control” was the issue because I don’t think John ever controlled Paul! That idea is pure science-fiction to me (even if does make a lot of jean jackets horny). However there is no doubt that John was a major influence on the appearance and demeanor of both Early Beatles and Early Lennon/McCartney.
John’s comment about Jim’s controlling behavior concerned Paul’s hair and clothing, which is something John had particular interest in; John and Paul fused their images almost immediately after hooking up in 1957, and John would understandably want his better half looking cool and fresh to death, both for his own benefit (i.e. Paul’s appearance is a reflection on John) and for his own gratification (John likes looking at Paul and takes pleasure in Paul looking good).
The bigger issue to unpack (which I won’t get into here) is John’s resentment and jealousy over Paul and Jim’s close father-son relationship (imperfect though it may be).
And how John wishes Paul (in his words!) to choose John over his own family, in either a sort of pseudo-star-crossed-lovers or pseudo-devoted-parent scenario (take your pick, it’s a matter of interpretation).
As always with these two, there’s a lot going on.
Thanks for the ask!