Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and Edward Lear

It has always irked Paul that posterity regards him as the tuneful, cosy, safe side of the Lennon–McCartney partnership and John as the rebel, experimenter and iconoclast. The casting had been decided in Liverpool, then Hamburg, where he’d always hung back, feeling himself a provincial outsider, while John hung out with the arty in-crowd. After the migration south John had had his usual shaggy head start, cast as the ‘intelligent’, ‘clever’ or ‘deep’ Beatle, as opposed to the merely ‘cute’ one.

In 1964, he’d become the first pop musician to publish a book and the only one ever to have it launched at a Foyle’s bookshop literary lunch attended by the cream of the capital’s intelligentsia. John Lennon in His Own Write was a collection of his cartoons and nonsense writings, with a deferential foreword by Paul, recollecting their first meeting at Woolton church fête (and characterising himself that day–unbelievably to millions of young women around the world–as ‘a fat schoolboy’). The book was a massive bestseller and a critical triumph, its author hailed as a joint reincarnation of Edward Lear and James Joyce.

But by the mid-Sixties, the elastic-sided boot was firmly on the other foot. As Swinging London approached its zenith, McCartney was at the epicentre of its cultural avant-garde while Lennon rarely emerged from suburban Surrey. ‘John was basically a lazy bastard,’ their former assistant Tony Bramwell remembers. ‘He was quite happy to stay down in Weybridge, doing fuck-all.’


From there, she [Heather] joined Paul in Los Angeles where he was to record a new album with the producer David Kahne. The title, Driving Rain, seemed an odd choice as its theme was how Heather had rescued him from tempests of grief; the tracks included ‘Back in the Sunshine Again’ (‘You gave me the strength to get out of bed’), ‘Riding into Jaipur’ (‘Riding with my baby/ Oh, what a delight’) and ‘Heather’, identifying the two of them with Edward Lear’s ‘Owl and the Pussycat’ (‘I will dance to a runcible tune with the queen of my heart’).

Philip Norman, Paul McCartney: The Life. New York: Little, Brown, 2016.

Here are the song lyrics:


I’m gonna fly to the moon
Check in outta space
Find me a suitable plot
Build myself a place
There I will stay
For a year and a day
Until the cares of my life blow away
And I will dance to a runcible tune
With the queen of my heart

This is clearly a different song from the 1968 one of the same title, see here, and listen to the older one:

or the new one from Driving Rain:

This entry was posted in Edward Lear, Nonsense Lyrics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and Edward Lear

  1. Aunt Jobiska says:

    Beautiful song! Thanks for sharing.

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