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Paul McCartney remembers 'shock' of John Lennon death

Paul McCartney and John Lenon in 1963 Image copyright PA

Sir Paul McCartney has recalled the "horrific" moment when he learned of the murder of his former Beatles bandmate John Lennon.

Speaking on the Jonathan Ross Show on ITV, he also said he felt "very lucky" that he eventually made up with Lennon after the rifts that split the pair.

Lennon was shot outside his apartment in New York on 8 December 1980.

"I just for days couldn't think that he was gone... It was just a huge shock," said Sir Paul.

He said: "I was at home and I got a phone call. It was early in the morning... It was just so horrific, you couldn't take it in and I couldn't take it in."

Sir Paul said it was "very difficult" to relay the news to his own family.

He added: "For me it was just so sad that I wasn't going to see him again and we weren't going to hang."

'Jerk of jerks'

Lennon's killer Mark Chapman reportedly said he had heard voices in his head telling him to kill the musician. He was sentenced to 20 years to life in 1981 after pleading guilty to second-degree murder and was denied parole again in August this year.

Sir Paul told Jonathan Ross: "The phrase kept coming in my head 'The jerk of all jerks'. It was just like 'this is just a jerk, this is not even a guy politically motivated, it's just some total random thing."

After the Beatles split up in April 1970, Sir Paul and Lennon did not see each other again for four years.

Referring to the band's break-up, he said: "We got to a point where we got really crappy over business.

"To me that rubbed off on me and for years I thought 'oh me and John, bitter rivals' and all this stuff. "

But Sir Paul said they really became on speaking terms again after their wives gave birth in the mid-1970s.

He said the fighting between them had became "boring" and they bonded over "normal stuff" - being new fathers and bread-making recipes.

"I'm so glad because it would have been the worst thing in the world to have this great relationship that then soured and he gets killed, so there was some solace in the fact that we got back together. We were good friends," said Sir Paul.

"The story about the break-up, it's true but it's not the main bit, the main bit was the affection."

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