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John Lennon Thought 'World Without Love' Wasn't Good Enough for The Beatles

Gettyimages | Fiona Adams
By Nicole Brandy Ryan

Young Paul McCartney and John Lennon were like an aspiring musicians - constantly creating. The duo wrote hundreds of songs, trying to find their own unique style. They workshopped songs, seeing which ones fit the vision they were trying to create. While some songs found their way on to future Beatles albums, others did not. One such song that didn't make the cut was “World Without Love." The song went on to become a huge hit for Peter and Gordon in 1964.

Jokes on John

Gettyimages | Ron Case

It's reported that Lennon couldn't even get through the first line of the song without laughing. "World Without Love," which was written by McCartney, begins by saying, “Please lock me away,” the song continues on, "and don’t allow the day here inside, where I hide in my loneliness.” John just couldn’t get past the opening line. Paul later opened up saying, “The funny first line always used to please John." He continued on “Please lock me away. ‘Yes, OK [John would say]. End of song.'”

Paul Saw Potential

Gettyimages | Edward Wing

While John thought the song was a joke, Paul saw potential in it. Even though "World Without Love" wasn't right for The Beatles, he felt it could still be a hit. McCartney first offered the song to Billy Kramer, a recording artist who declined. Paul eventually showed the song to Peter Asher, whose sister Jane Paul was dating. Asher fell in love with the song and asked if he could record it with his new group. Paul of course agreed.

Soaring to the Top

Gettyimages | Michael Ochs Archives

The Beatles certainly didn't need the hit. The band quickly soared to the top of the music scene, becoming the most popular artists in the world. In 1964, Beatlemania was sweeping the United States. In that year alone, the band had six No. 1 hits. They included "I Want to Hold Your Hand," “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “She Loves You,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Love Me Do,” and “I Feel Fine.” I guess The Beatles could afford to toss one hit to the side.

Peter and Gordon

Gettyimages | Michael Ochs Archives

Peter and Gordon quickly found themselves with a No. 1 with "World Without Love." The band also found themselves with a Peter and Gordon found themselves with a Lennon-McCartney songwriting credit. Peter and Gordon took the song to No. 1 on both the U.S. and UK charts. In what seemed to be divine timing, “World Without Love” went out a few weeks after the Beatles’ first appearance on Ed Sullivan. Peter and Gordon were able to ride the wave of the band's success on the show when releasing the single.

The Legacy of Lennon-McCartney


John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote some of the most iconic, well-known, and beloved songs of all time. Their worlds echo timeless messages of everything from love and heartbreak to friendship and fame. The two changed the face of music forever with their songs, and are still regarded as two of the greatest songwriters of all time. What made The Beatles so successful was the magic that happened when Paul and John came together, and it's that magic that will live on forever.

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