Paul McCartney Said The Beatles' 'Don't Let Me Down' Was John Lennon's 'Cry for Help'
The Beatles‘ “Don’t Let Me Down” is one of the Fab Four’s most famous later songs. Paul McCartney said the song was John Lennon’s “genuine cry for help” to someone he loved. Notably, the song performed differently in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Paul McCartney said John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s issues with drugs impacted The Beatles’ songs
In the 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, Paul discussed the origin of “Don’t Let Me Down.” “It was a very tense period: John was with Yoko and had escalated to heroin and all the accompanying paranoias and he was putting himself out on a limb,” Paul recalled. “I think that as much as it excited and amused him, at the same time it secretly terrified him.”
Paul said “Don’t Let Me Down” was sincere. “So ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ was a genuine plea, ‘Don’t let me down, please, whatever you do. I’m out on this limb, I know I’m doing all this stuff, just don’t let me down,’” he said.
Paul saw the song specifically as a message to Yoko Ono. “It was saying to Yoko, ‘I’m really stepping out of line on this one. I’m really letting my vulnerability be seen, so you must not let me down,’” Paul recalled.
Paul McCartney said The Beatles recorded ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ in a basement
Paul praised the track. “I think it was a genuine cry for help,” he opined. “It was a good song.”
Paul gave fans insight into how the song was created. “We recorded it in the basement of Apple for Let It Be and later did it up on the roof for the film,” he recalled. “We went through it quite a lot for this one.” Paul wondered if he helped write the song but he believed it was entirely John’s work.
How ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom
“Don’t Let Me Down” became a modest hit in the U.S. The song reached No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the chart for four weeks. “Don’t Let Me Down” appeared on the compilation album Hey Jude along with other Beatles singles that weren’t initially released on albums. The compilation reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200, lasting 36 weeks on the chart.
On the other hand, “Don’t Let Me Down” was not a single in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the song did not chart there. Meanwhile, Hey Jude was a U.S.-only release. Because of this, the compilation did not chart in the U.K. either.
“Don’t Let Me Down” wasn’t one of The Beatles’ biggest hits — but it gives fans insight into John’s emotions.
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