John Lennon and Paul McCartney were dear friends. Together they toured the world, shared the heights of unimaginable stardom, and changed the course of popular music with the songs they wrote. But in a new interview with GQ, McCartney revealed just how close he and his bandmate were. They played together, but they also, errr, played together.
Ostensibly speaking to writer Chris Heath about his new album Egypt Station, the 76-year-old music icon recalled the time that he and Lennon masturbated together with a small gang of friends.
“What it was, was over at John’s house, and it was just a group of us. And instead of just getting roaring drunk and partying — I don’t even know if we were staying over or anything — we were all just in these chairs, and the lights were out, and somebody started masturbating, so we all did,” McCartney explained.
Lacking the proper reading materials (it was, after all, a pre-digital era) the boys called out the names of attractive film stars to stoke their imaginations. “We were just, ’Brigitte Bardot!’ ’Whoo!’ And then everyone would thrash a bit more,” he continued.
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The proceedings came to a screeching halt when the future “Imagine” songwriter forced his friends to imagine a great British hero instead of a blonde bombshell. “I think it was John sort of said, ’Winston Churchill!’” Mood — spoiled.
According to McCartney, the event was far from a regular occurrence and only happened once. OK, maybe twice. But definitely not more than two times.
“I think it was a one-off, or maybe it was like a two-off. It wasn’t a big thing. But, you know, it was just the kind of thing you didn’t think much of. It was just a group. Yeah, it’s quite raunchy when you think about it. There’s so many things like that from when you’re a kid that you look back on and you’re, ’Did we do that?’ But it was good harmless fun. It didn’t hurt anyone. Not even Brigitte Bardot.”
The story itself isn’t exactly a one-off, either. McCartney has told it several times over the years, including a passage in his 1998 authorized biography, Many Years from Now, which offers slightly different details.
“We used to have wanking sessions when we were young at Nigel Whalley’s house in Woolton,” he said in the book, written by his friend Barry Miles. “We’d stay overnight and we’d all sit in armchairs and we’d put all the lights out and being teenage pubescent boys we’d all wank. What we used to do, someone would say, ‘Brigitte Bardot.’ ‘Oooh!’ that would keep everyone on par, then somebody, probably John, would say, ‘Winston Churchill.’ ‘Oh no!’ and it would completely ruin everyone’s concentration.”
Lennon himself would immortalize the moment in a sketch he wrote for the 1969 off-Broadway play Oh! Calcutta!