The songs Paul McCartney wrote about his relationship with Jane Asher

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Contrary to the stereotypical image of rampant rock and roll homewreckers, The Beatles, as reflected in their early material, were a band largely composed of committed romantics. Opting for long-term relationships and marriage at a young age, their frontman, Paul McCartney, notably deviated from the conventional rockstar archetype.

Before encountering the love of his life, Linda Eastman, in 1967, McCartney was entangled in a profound relationship with British actor Jane Asher. Their connection began in 1963, during the initial stages of The Beatles’ success in the UK. Asher bore witness to McCartney’s meteoric rise to global fame, sharing many nights at her family home in London, where McCartney composed numerous hit songs.

It was within the walls of the Asher household that McCartney crafted some of his most iconic tunes. Notably, the melody and lyrics of ‘Yesterday’ materialized in McCartney’s head after a dream, exemplifying the creative synergy between the artist and his environment. A few years later, McCartney would go on to write ‘Let It Be’ in his sleep, further solidifying the significance of the Asher home as a creative haven.

The emotional ballad ‘Let It Be’ held a poignant connection to McCartney’s mother, Mary, who tragically passed away when he was just 14. With the mention of “Mother Mary” in the lyrics, this track stands out as one of the more explicit references to the women in McCartney’s life. However, his catalog is replete with songs dedicated to various muses.

Many of McCartney’s early and mid-1960s love songs were likely inspired, at least in part, by his relationship with Asher. The notable compositions ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand,’ ‘And I Love Her,’ ‘We Can Work It Out,’ ‘You Won’t See Me,’ and ‘I’m Looking Through You’ vividly capture the trajectory of McCartney and Asher’s romance during the mid-60s.

The first two songs, emerging in 1964, reflect the initial bliss of their relationship. However, as McCartney penned material for Rubber Soul in 1965, the follow-up to Help!, signs of a growing rift between the couple surfaced. Asher’s burgeoning acting career and McCartney’s dual commitment to touring and studio work left them with scant time for each other, sparking heated disagreements.

Lines like “Love has a nasty habit of disappearing overnight” from ‘We Can Work It Out’ poignantly echo the strain on their relationship. McCartney, reflecting on ‘I’m Looking Through You,’ admitted to being disillusioned over Asher’s commitment, acknowledging the song as a means of shedding emotional baggage.

In interviews, McCartney confessed to moments of selfishness and expressed the heartbreak of being without Asher when she pursued acting in Bristol. Despite enduring quarrels for an additional two years, McCartney proposed to Asher in 1967. Their tumultuous journey took them to India to meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1968. However, upon returning home, Asher discovered McCartney in bed with Francie Schwartz, leading to their eventual breakup during the recording of The White Album.

The songs McCartney wrote about Jane Asher not only serve as a testament to their complex relationship but also highlight the emotional depth and personal struggles that found expression in his art. The intricate interplay of love, heartbreak, and self-discovery within these compositions adds a nuanced layer to McCartney’s role as both a musician and a man navigating the complexities of romance and fame.

Songs Paul McCartney wrote about Jane Asher:

‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’
‘And I Love Her’
‘We Can Work It Out’
‘You Won’t See Me’
‘I’m Looking Through You’

Watch Paul McCartney perform ‘I’m Looking Through You’ live in Montreal in 2011 below.

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