Paul McCartney’s first duet with Linda was an emotional goodbye to The Beatles

BBC archive interview with Paul McCartney and girlfriend Jane Asher

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The Beatles came to an end in 1970 after finishing the writing and recording of their final album, Let It Be. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison all went their separate ways after ten years of being in a world-famous band, selling millions of records and touring the entire world. McCartney released his first solo record in April 1970, one month before Let It Be came out in May 1970, and included within it an ode to his former band, Man We Was Lonely.


The song was recorded just before Let It Be had received its finishing touches.

The jaunty track was later described by McCartney as his attempt at creating a Johnny Cash-like song. However, there was a lot of sadness behind the lyrics.

In 2001 McCartney said: “It wasn’t that easy when I left the Beatles. Man We Was Lonely, I think, was a little bit of a reflection of those times.”

Included in Man We Were Lonely were the words: “Man we was lonely, yes we was lonely / And we was hard pressed to find a smile / Man we was lonely, yes we was lonely / But now we’re fine all the while.”

Although it was a sad time for McCartney, the track was a little special, as he brought on his wife to help him put the finishing touches to it.

He said in 1970: “The chorus [to Man We Was Lonely] was written in bed at home, shortly before we finished recording the album. The middle was done one lunchtime in a great hurry, as we were due to record the song that afternoon.

“Linda [McCartney] sings harmony on this song, which is our first duet together. The steel-guitar sound is my Telecaster played with a drum peg.”

Despite this being the first instance of the couple’s musical work together, it wasn’t exactly a happy song.

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McCartney later gave some insight into his emotions behind the song’s composition.

He said: “My biggest problem was I had to sue the Beatles.

“I tried to sue [Apple Group business manager] Allen Klein, but he wasn’t a party to any of the agreements, so I ended up having to sue my best friends as a technical matter.”

On December 31 1970 McCartney filed a lawsuit against Lennon, Harrison and Starr to dissolve the partnership – something he couldn’t do without their consent.

McCartney later added: “It was the last thing in the world I wanted to do, but it was pointed out to me that it was the only way to do it.

“I knew I had to get out [of the Beatles], and I knew I would apologise to them, and I knew once I got out, they’d get out. So if I got out of prison, I’d free them.”

He emotionally added: “It was a very difficult call. I went through a lot of tough times emotionally, so something like Man We Was Lonely reflects that.”

Despite the ongoing lawsuits, the star’s album, McCartney, did well in the charts.

The record reached number one in the Canadian and US Album Charts.

It has since gone triple platinum around the world, selling over 2.3 million records worldwide.


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