Paul McCartney gave a wide-ranging, revealing interview to GQ, where among the many tidbits lighting up the internet is the story about he and John Lennon masturbating together with some friends before the two were Beatles.
While McCartney is well known for being quick with an early days anecdote, the author of the piece, Chris Heath, wanted to dig deeper and get at some exploits not previously detailed for the press. And boy did he:
“What it was,” he explains after I have prompted him, “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.”
There would be about five of them: McCartney, Lennon, and maybe three of Lennon’s friends. As they each concentrated on their mission, anyone in the group was encouraged to shout out a name that would offer relevant inspiration.
“We were just, ’Brigitte Bardot!’ ’Whoo!'” McCartney says, “and then everyone would thrash a bit more.”
At least until one of them—the one you would perhaps expect—opted for disruption over stimulation.
“I think it was John sort of said, ’Winston Churchill!'” McCartney remembers, and acts out the aghast, stymied reactions.
I ask whether this ritual took place often.
“I think it was a one-off,” McCartney replies. “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.”
Lennon’s sexuality has been the source of speculation in the past. In 1973, he published a limerick called, “Why Make It Sad To Be Gay” in The Gay Liberation Book, edited by Len Richmond and Gary Noguera:
Why make it sad to be gay?
Doing your thing is okay.
Our body’s our own, so leave us alone
And play with yourself today.
Speaking to The Daily Beast in 2015, Yoko Ono said she believed Lennon had the desire to have sex with other men but was “too inhibited,” before correcting herself.
“No, not inhibited,” she said. “He said, ’I don’t mind if there’s an incredibly attractive guy.’ It’s very difficult: They would have to be not just physically attractive, but mentally very advanced too. And you can’t find people like that.”
“John and I had a big talk about it, saying, basically, all of us must be bisexual,” she added. “And we were sort of in a situation of thinking that we’re not [bisexual] because of society. So we are hiding the other side of ourselves, which is less acceptable.”
A 2008 book by Philip Norman, John Lennon: The Life, alleged that Lennon wanted a relationship with McCartney. McCartney called that idea, and the rumors that his former bandmate was gay, untrue.
McCartney is doing press for his new album, Egypt Station, which was released last week and has been well received by critics.