Sir Paul McCartney describes the moment he learned of John Lennon's murder

Sir Paul McCartney and John Lennon pictured in June 1963. Credit: PA Wire

Sir Paul McCartney has spoken of his shock at learning of John Lennon's murder and his relief that they managed to "get back" together before his death.

In a frank interview, broadcast on tonight's The Jonathan Ross Show on ITV, the music legend opened up about his friend's death in December 1980 and healing the rift between them after The Beatles' split in 1970.

Speaking on the show, Sir Paul describes the moment nearly 34 years ago when he first heard Lennon had been shot dead by Mark David Chapman in New York.

Sir Paul held back tears as he said the worst thing for him about the murderer was he had no real motivation for his actions.

"For me it was just so sad that I wasn't going to see him [Lennon] again and we weren't going to hang," he said.

"The phrase kept coming in my head 'The jerk of all jerks'. It was just like 'this is just a jerk, this is not even a guy politically motivated, it's just some total random thing."

George Harrison, Sir Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr. Credit: AA/EMPICS Entertainment

Speaking about rifts in the band that led to its collapse, Sir Paul said he was "very lucky" they had managed to get over their differences 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," he said, adding, "We were good friends."