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Part two of this review of Mark Lewisohn’s Tune In suggests that Lewisohn could have done more to explain why Paul and George formed a connection to one another: 

“Close school pal Ian James says he couldn’t understand what (aside from music) drew Paul to George, who was younger and decidedly more abrasive than Macca. Lewisohn doesn’t really explore or try to explain that. Indeed, while John and George had quite similar temperaments and world views, Paul was different in many ways, and I’d have liked the book to dig a little deeper into what attracted – and ultimately bound – them to each other.”

I’ve just picked up Graeme Thomson’s George Harrison: Behind the Locked Door and though he mainly talks about Paul and George’s early bond being about music and “being grammar school boys stuck on the outskirts of town,” he also maybe offers a bit of a clue to what drew them together in his early descriptions of George: “In certain company, [George] could be loud, extrovert, aggressive and confrontational. Paul McCartney’s earliest impressions were of ‘a cocky little guy with a good sense of himself; he wasn’t cowed by anything.’ At other times he would be thoughtful, with a shyness that could be both soulful and surly.” (23, 15). Thomson then goes on to say that “[George] never quite aligned himself to the notion of being told what to do” (15). 

Though Thomson suggests that Paul “Was shaping up to be one of nature’s diplomats, pouring oil on troubled waters” while “Harrison was less inclined to play nice when his mood dictated otherwise,”(14) it is the case that Paul *also* really disliked being told what to do, as he explains here: “I never much liked authority. I didn’t like school teachers or critics telling me what I should do. Or myself telling me.”

I wonder if, in addition to shared humor, an interest in music, and a long commute their mutual dislike of authority/being told what to do bonded them–though the way they handled this dislike of authority manifested itself in different ways. It’s also interesting to me that Thomson’s bio of George and Chris Salewicz’s bio of Paul indicate that they could both be outgoing as well as shy/sensitive–though again, their ways of being outgoing and shy/sensitive looked different.


Throwing my hat into the “Why did Paul and Jane break up?” ring. There have been fantastic posts on this already, but looking at the McCartney bios by Sounes and Salewicz back-to-back has given me a slightly different perspective (this could all need to be tossed out if anything else about them comes to light/there’s other material I’m not aware of, which is more than possible, but here’s what I’ve got for now!) 

The short version: I think they split up because of a lack of long-term compatibility that they both recognized as they got older. They also grew to prefer different lifestyles and possibly also had different ideas about whether/when to start trying to have children. By the time they split up, Paul had already realized, according to the joint interview with Jane described in Hunter Davies’ 1968 bio, that it was “silly” of him to have expected Jane to do what the other Beatles’ partners had done and give up her career after marriage (Paul describing his expectation as having been “silly” is in Davies 308-309. The observation that all the other women who had “married in to the band” had given up their careers because that was “expected by men of [the Beatles’ background]” is in Sounes 189). Jane having a career she wanted to continue after marriage seems to have been resolved as a possible impediment before the split. The Salewicz bio suggests that what *may* have been a factor was the question of children, with Jane not wanting them to interfere with her career. However, it’s not clear from that bio when this question came up for them–whether it was closer to the time of the split or whether it had been discussed and resolved prior to their engagement. I think these are the main reasons they split. I don’t think his many, many, many affairs helped at all, but I think the above reasons are the main ones.

Jane and Paul got together when they were quite young (Jane was 17 and Paul was 20) and their interests diverged in a few ways that really mattered as they got older. As the bios have suggested, Jane wasn’t really into rock ‘n’roll and really wasn’t into the drug scene. Paul was into both (understatement!). This likely contributed to the tension that people like Marianne Faithful witnessed between them. In addition to that, they both seemed to realize that they didn’t ultimately “click.” For bio excerpts and more, please see below!

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