The Last Time John Lennon Saw His Beatles Bandmates
Here's a look back at the last time Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr saw Lennon. Each meeting took place in the last four years of his life, with one happening less than a month before Lennon was killed.
Paul McCartney: April 25, 1976
Lorne Michaels famously offered the Beatles $3,000 to reunite during an April 24, 1976 episode of Saturday Night Live. Lennon and McCartney were actually hanging out that night at the Dakota, a mere mile and a half away from 30 Rockefeller Plaza, and briefly considered making the trip.
The next day, Paul showed up at John's place again, but Lennon couldn't make time. "I said to him, ‘Please call before you come over. It’s not 1956, and turning up at the door isn’t the same anymore. You know, just give me a ring,'" Lennon told Playboy in 1980. "He was upset by that, but I didn’t mean it badly. I just meant that I was taking care of a baby all day, and some guy turns up at the door.”
They never saw each other again, but the duo kept in touch. “The last phone conversation I ever had with him was really great," McCartney told Playboy in 1984, "and we didn’t have any kind of blowup. It could have easily been one of the other phone calls when we blew up at each other and slammed the phone down.”
A few months after Lennon's death, McCartney invited Carl Perkins to guest on a song called "Get It" during sessions for Tug of War. The experience moved Perkins to write "My Old Friend," and he played it for Paul the next day. McCartney was reportedly touched by the lyric, "Think about me every now and then, old friend," and left the room in tears. Paul's wife Linda apparently told Perkins that those were the last words Lennon said to McCartney at their final meeting.
George Harrison: 1978
The exact date of the last meeting between George Harrison and John Lennon is unknown, but Harrison said in a 1990 interview that it was two years before Lennon was killed. “I was in New York at his house at the Dakota,” Harrison recalled. “He was nice. He was just sort of running around the house making dinner."
Harrison was surprised to discover Lennon had hundreds of cassettes of Indian music, given his former bandmate's attitude when Harrison introduced those exotic sounds into the studio during the Beatles era. "He grew into it," Harrison added.
George admitted that Lennon's death didn't change his life too much, however, because he felt like they would see each other in the next life.
"I hadn’t seen him for so long," Harrison added. "I didn’t see him for two years anyway, occasionally [I'd] maybe send a postcard, and it’s knowing that he’s on the other end of the telephone if you do want to call. That’s the difference. Now you need the big cosmic telephone to speak to him. But I believe that life goes on, and so to me, I can't get sad. I'm sad that I can't go play guitars with John but then I did that, anyway. I did that for a long time. So, we’ll meet again somewhere down the line.”
Ringo Starr: Nov. 15, 1980
Ringo Starr was the last ex-Beatle to see Lennon alive, when he and wife Barbara Bach visited New York only a few weeks before the murder.
"I was staying at the Plaza; we went over to New York for a while," Ringo told Barbara Walters in 1981. "And I hadn't seen him for a while because, you know, we see each other wherever we are. And he came over with Yoko for an hour. And we had such a great time, cause they stayed five hours. And it didn’t matter that it was a year between we didn’t see each other, it was always fine when we did – but it was a particularly great time that we, that I had, anyway."
“And then the asshole appeared,” Ringo added, referring to murderer Mark David Chapman. “There’s no understanding it. You think about it, but I’m telling you, you never understand it. The world has lost a wonderful man.”
The Best Song on Every Beatles Album
You Think You Know the Beatles?