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Found: Lennon and McCartney’s comedy about the messiah

In BBC interview in which he insists it was John who split the Beatles, Paul says the long-lost play is ‘quite a funny thing, called Pilchard’

John Lennon, left,and Paul McCartney, announce the establishment of Apple Corps Ltd., in New York, NY, May 15, 1968. The new company, owned equally by all four Beatles, would make films, produce records, and own clothing stores in London. (AP Photo)
John Lennon, left,and Paul McCartney, announce the establishment of Apple Corps Ltd., in New York, NY, May 15, 1968. The new company, owned equally by all four Beatles, would make films, produce records, and own clothing stores in London. (AP Photo)

Paul McCartney says a long-lost comedic radio play that he and John Lennon wrote about the messiah has just been found.

Speaking on an episode of BBC Radio 4’s “This Cultural Life,” that is scheduled to air on October 23, McCartney said the four-page story, titled “Pilchard,” was unearthed recently.

He said it revolves around a mother and daughter discussing the mysterious lodger who lives in an upstairs room of their home.

“For years, I’ve been telling people that me and John wrote a play,” he said, according to the Guardian. “It’s quite a funny thing, called Pilchard, and it’s about the messiah, actually.”

McCartney has discussed the play in the past, including in a 1997 biography, “Many Years from Now,” by Barry Miles.

“We were going to have this character: the person upstairs who never comes in, and the play is just people talking about him and his terrible crisis. ‘Oh, our Pilchard, you know, he’s taken a turn. He’s born again, and he really thinks he’s the messiah. He’s upstairs praying.’ This was the way it was going to go but we couldn’t figure out how playwrights did it,” said McCartney then.

Paul McCartney, left, and John Lennon, two members of the Beatles pop group during a concert in London, on November 11, 1963. (AP Photo/N)

Speaking ahead of next month’s release of Peter Jackson’s six-hour documentary chronicling the final months of the Beatles, McCartney used the new BBC interview to revisit the breakup of band, flatly disputing the suggestion that he was responsible.

McCartney said it was Lennon who wanted to disband The Beatles. “I didn’t instigate the split,” McCartney said. “That was our Johnny.”

Paul McCartney appears during his One on One Tour in Tinley Park, Ill., on July 26, 2017. (Rob Grabowski/ Invision/AP)

The band’s fans have long debated who was responsible for the breakup, with many blaming McCartney, who made the split public in April 1970. But McCartney said Lennon’s desire to “break loose” was the main driver behind the split.

Confusion about the split was allowed to fester because their manager asked the band members to keep quiet until he concluded a number of business deals, McCartney said.

Jackson’s documentary, “The Beatles: Get Back,” set for release in November on Disney+, is certain to revisit the issue.

When asked by interviewer John Wilson about the decision to strike out on his own, McCartney retorted: “Stop right there. I am not the person who instigated the split. Oh no, no, no. John walked into a room one day and said, ‘I am leaving The Beatles.’ Is that instigating the split, or not?”

McCartney expressed sadness over the breakup, saying the group was still making “pretty good stuff.”

“This was my band, this was my job, this was my life. So I wanted it to continue,” McCartney said.

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