Paul McCartney insists his late Beatles bandmate John Lennon never compared himself to Jesus Christ during the Fab Four's heyday.

The rocker claims a controversial quote attributed to his late songwriting partner, suggesting he thought the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, is one of many myths linked to the band - although he admits it was the sort of thing Lennon might have said.

"I don't remember that (and) I think I would have remembered that," he tells GQ. "He was the kind of guy that could do that, (but) I don't remember him actually ever doing it.

"I mean, on the Sgt. Pepper cover he wanted Jesus Christ and Hitler on there. That was, 'OK, that's John'. You'd have to talk him down a bit: 'No, probably not Hitler...'

"I could say to him, 'No, we're not doing that'. He was a good enough guy to know when he was being told."

McCartney also shoots down Lennon's boast about trepanning - drilling through the skull to the brain.

"John was a kooky cat," he adds. "We'd all read about it - you know, this is the 60s. The 'ancient art of trepanning', which lent a little bit of validity to it, because ancient must be good. I don't think he was really serious. He did say it, but he said all sorts of s**t.

"John always wanted to jump over the cliff. He once said that to me: 'Have you ever thought of jumping?' I said, 'F**k off. You jump, and tell me how it is'. That's basically the difference in our personalities... I'm more careful in everything.

"My dad is a very strong factor in this. He was an ordinary working-class guy, very intelligent, very good with words, but his whole philosophy was to think it out a bit. So that turned out to be my sort of way. Whereas John, you've got to remember, didn't have a father. John didn't even have an uncle. He went to live with the uncle - the uncle died. His dad had run away.

"So John felt like he was a jinx on the male line, he told me."