Paul McCartney is glad he and John Lennon repaired friendship

Story highlights

Paul McCartney on John Lennon's death: "It was just a huge shock"

Lennon was killed 34 years ago Monday

McCartney was glad the pair repaired their friendship before Lennon's death

CNN  — 

Thirty-four years after his friend and songwriting partner John Lennon was shot and killed, Paul McCartney still remembers the jolt of his death.

“I just for days couldn’t think that he was gone. … It was just a huge shock,” McCartney told UK talk-show host Jonathan Ross.

Lennon was shot to death by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980, at the entrance to his New York apartment building, the Dakota. He was 40 years old and had just released “Double Fantasy,” an album with wife Yoko Ono, after five years away from the spotlight.

McCartney, who was criticized at the time for his seemingly glib remark, “It’s a drag, innit?” when asked for his reaction to the news, remembers being unable to process the loss for quite some time.

“I was at home, and I got a phone call. It was early in the morning. … It was just so horrific. You couldn’t take it in, and I couldn’t take it in,” he said.

He had known Lennon since 1957, when both were teenagers, and thought of them like brothers – a comparison Lennon agreed with.

“He’s like a brother. I love him,” Lennon said in his last interview. “Families – we certainly have our ups and downs and our quarrels. But at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, I would do anything for him, and I think he would do anything for me.”

McCartney takes some comfort in the knowledge that he and Lennon, who had sniped at each other following the Beatles’ split in 1970, had gotten to be friends again before Lennon’s death.

“I’m so glad, because it would have been the worst thing in the world to have this great relationship that then soured and he gets killed, so there was some solace in the fact that we got back together. We were good friends,” McCartney said. “The story about the break-up, it’s true, but it’s not the main bit. The main bit was the affection.”