John Lennon’s Opinion of Hello Goodbye

For Beatles fans everywhere, there is no need to ask if they’re familiar with the Paul McCartney composition, ‘Hello Goodbye.’   Of their vast repertoire of well known songs, this one, at least commercially, is one of their most popular.  What will surprise some people, however, is that John Lennon had no fondness for the song at all, referring to it as “three minutes of contradictions and meaningless juxtapositions.”

Conversely, McCartney saw the lyric as something significant.  “The answer to everything is simple.  It’s a song about everything and nothing.  If you have black you have white.  That’s the amazing thing about life.”   Another reason, and perhaps the main one behind Lennon’s negative attitude toward the tune was the fact that a much more substantive song, “I Am the Walrus,’ (which, judging by the lyrics, was undoubtedly more of a Lennon composition) was issued as the ‘B’ side to the ‘Hello Goodbye’ single.

In my whodunit mystery novel, You Say Goodbye, the title is taken, of course, from the second line of the chorus to Hello Goodbye.  So, yes, as you correctly assume, the song plays an important role in the story – important enough that the second line is the title of the book.  The story also features my protagonist - a one-hit wonder former rocker, as well as a young girl fighting cancer and intent on raising as much money as she can selling lemonade in front of her home for the Alex’s Lemonade Stand foundation for cancer research.  And, of course, a cast of characters for you to choose from as to whodunit…

The premise of the story is this:  The murder of an ex-rock star’s girlfriend leads a detective to conclude that the perpetrator is not only a renowned serial killer who leaves Beatles song titles behind as his calling card, but is probably somebody the singer knows.  Now the detective needs the musician’s help to find the killer.

So although John Lennon may not have liked the song, Hello Goodbye, the same can't be said for the serial killer Beatles fan in my novel.

10 Replies to “John Lennon’s Opinion of Hello Goodbye”

  1. Lennon was wrong. McCartney was right.the song is great, and so is your book’s premise. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by this combination of elements?

    1. Saralyn, I’m appreciative that you feel those elements of my story offer intrigue to someone like yourself who knows how to write great mystery novels with plenty of intrigue. Yes, there is a mix of personalities and events for the reader to ponder, and if I was successful, keep them engaged through the climactic finale.

  2. Keith,
    As you know, I read and reviewed You Say Goodbye, a great mystery-crime story with important themes. I’m well into Poe Consequence. And here’s my over-arching opinion of your oeuvre: You have an amazingly broad creative range. I conclude this with only this small sample of your work. You also can delve deeply into the human condition. Not only do you have good protagonists and evil villains, the good and bad aren’t a binary in your stories; and you explain to the reader, using several techniques, just why characters are the way they are.
    Don’t stop writing, man, because we need your stories!

    1. Steve, I am so touched by your message that I’ve printed it as a memento to help me in those unavoidable future times as a writer where I’ll doubt by ability to make it through to the finish line of another book, or where some reviewer’s harsh critique for a completed book brought pain. I thank you very much. Your words brought me a great sense of validation that I have the ability and innate sense to capture emotions and bring them to my characters in a truthful way. As an author there’s nothing more important than that.

    1. Hi Loretta,

      I appreciate your comments and good wishes. I’m gratified that You Say Goodbye has received some very nice accolades which of course offers me a great sense of validation for a book I believe in. If you ever have any further questions about the story and the true events behind my inspiration I welcome hearing from you anytime. Good luck to you as well.

  3. Keith,

    This sounds like a fascinating book! The Beatles are my era and I’ve always loved their music. I even gave one of my granddaughters a songbook collection of their music. She plays piano.

    1. Thank you, Jacqueline. We’re from the same era so we of course are familiar with the incredible influence the Beatles had on musical and social culture. I have two adult children who love the Beatles’ music as well as the stuff they grew up on themselves. It seems that the music of the Beatles is timeless no matter the generational differences.

    1. Hi Genie,

      Just using the three words, You Say Goodbye isn’t considered lyric infringement because it’s still a generic phrase that can apply to anything in everyday life (as opposed to if I had named a book, Bridge Over Troubled Water. That would be going over the line). But it’s interesting that you bring this up because in the story, my protagonist, who happens to be a former rock star who had composed many songs, experiences various situations where he refers to lyrics he had written. As the author, I wrote those lyrics but when I first sent the book to an editor I originally had lyrics by well known rock groups. It was then that I found out that it’s illegal to use lyrics from artists without first obtaining permission from the publishers. After some initial panic, I decided to write my own lyrics (I’m a former lyricist anyway). I feel the story is better off for it and it gave me a greater connection to the protagonist’s emotions.

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