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Is it Lennon/McCartney or Lennon vs. McCartney?

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A friend of mine just sent me an article from the August 27 issue of the National Review about Paul McCartney entitled "The Bard of Optimism," by Kyle Smith. The article falls into one of the sadder conflicts of modern music history, the seemingly inevitable John or Paul argument.

Lennon’s assassination in 1980 would sadly prove to be a staggering blow to McCartney’s musical reputation. Lennon, after five years of silence, had in Double Fantasy just released his strongest work in years. Meanwhile, McCartney was entering one of his tougher creative periods, which would see him release a number of shallow songs like "Press" and "Spies Like Us," as well as an ill thought re-recording of his previous Beatles material for the movie Give My Regards to Broadstreet. This period seemed to show an artist in decline.

The truth is that McCartney was thrown into an impossible situation, where he found himself and his reputation competing with a much loved, now martyred legend. John Lennon's death perhaps saved him from the decline even the greatest artists of the '60s like Bob Dylan found themselves in as they entered the third decade of their career. John Lennon would never write a great song again, but he also would never write a horrible one either.

The early innocence of the Beatles is what we want to remember. The one that saw John and Paul agree to credit all their song compositions as Lennon/McCartney even though they for the most part stopped writing as a real team very early in their careers. Nevertheless, the partnership remained healthy for a long time, both as a competition that spurred the two to produce great work, and as a sounding board.

This saw such musical moments as when Lennon muted the optimism of McCartney’s "We Can Work It Out," with a pessimistic bridge, and McCartney’s addition of the middle section of "A Day in the Life." It was the sort of musical partnership where even just a friendly reassurance – like the time Lennon assured McCartney, that the line “the movement you need is on your shoulder” in "Hey Jude" was indeed worth keeping – helped to make Lennon and McCartney the historic songwriting team they were.

Sadly, things got ugly.

The death of Brian Epstein left a void of leadership right at the time when Lennon met Yoko Ono. Lennon’s interest in the band began to flag, and McCartney’s perhaps understandable response was to try to take on a role of leadership, pushing the group into the disastrous Magical Mystery Tour project as well as earning the enmity of his three band mates, who suddenly felt like side men. You can see just how bad this got in the film Let It Be, where an enraged and fed up George Harrison tells McCartney acidly that he’ll play whatever Paul wants or indeed perhaps nothing at all.

Money of course always makes things worse. As Apple, the group's idealistically naïve business project, started to bleed money, Lennon, Harrison, and Starr chose Allen Klein as their new manager, overruling McCartney, who probably rightly preferred his father-in-law Lee Eastman. It was a fracture that the group never recovered from. McCartney wound up suing his band mates and announcing that he had left the group, leaving Lennon enraged.

The Lennon/McCartney myth took a huge hit in the ‘70s, mostly from Lennon, who, in a historic interview with Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone, divvied up specific credit for nearly every Beatles composition. Lennon similarly declared in "God" that “The dream is over,” and “I don’t believe in Beatles.” Lennon than put an exclamation point on it with the acidic, vitriolic, and incredibly mean anti-McCartney rant "How Do You Sleep," which in true contradictory Lennon fashion appeared on the same album as his utopian classic "Imagine."

Things between John and Paul appeared to be thawing in the late ‘70s. Indeed, in Lennon’s last interviews he regained his love for the Beatles and what they had accomplished. Lennon also acknowledged that he had only had two true partners in his life, Paul and Yoko, and that he had chosen them quite well. His death ended this thawing, and left us with the endless John or Paul debates indicative of Smith’s latest flurry in the National Review.

Admittedly, time has been incredibly unfair to McCartney. Lennon has been cast as a genius while some would toss McCartney to the heaps as just a sunny schlock merchant. It’s stuck in McCartney’s groin so much that he released a live album, where he reversed his Beatle songwriting credits so they appeared as McCartney/Lennon, and got into a much publicized failed dispute with Yoko Ono, where he insisted that his song "Yesterday" be officially credited similarly.

Smith’s defense of McCartney, though of course goes way too far, as if the only way to rebuild McCartney’s reputation is to take a swing at Lennon’s. Smith writes that “Paul McCartney was not only a genius, but the genius: the most essential member of the undisputed best musical group, the author of a huge volume of brilliant post-Beatles work … in short, the most monumental figure in pop music.”

He goes on to claim that “starting in 1966, as the Beatles were graduating from ditty merchants to transformation force, every album contained more top-level McCartney compositions than Lennon ones. The first side of Sgt. Pepper, for instance contains seven classic songs – five written by McCartney. Let It Be contains three McCartney greats and one be Lennon. And so on.”

This is just sheer nonsense. Choosing Let it Be, the group's final album (if it even was a group at this point) as starting point is absurd. While, Sgt. Pepper is perhaps a McCartney-led opus, trumpeting "Getting Better" and "Fixing a Hole" as classics is a weak argument. It is also one which ignores that it was Lennon’s addition of “can’t get no worse,” and the uber-honest line “I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her away from the things that she loved,” that saved "Getting Better" from being overly lightweight.

"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is hardly a song to be ignored, and the stone cold masterwork “A Day in the Life” was for the most part a Lennon composition. Smith seems to imply that Lennon’s edgy material on Revolver, as well as compositions like "All You Need is Love," "Strawberry Fields Forever," "I Am The Walrus," "Revolution," and his numerous brilliant compositions on the White Album, don’t exist. In truth, Lennon was producing great songs, but they were too experimental, challenging, or contrary for A-side status, which was routinely left for McCartney’s more pop confections.

Smith writes that “McCartney – unpretentious, industrious, determined, responsible, devoted to his family, undistracted by fads or marches – is driven to create beauty out of suburbia (“Penny Lane”), his mother’s death (“Let It Be”), or Lennon’s murder (the 1982 ballad “Here Today”). He approaches his calling the way true artists do: as a job.”

The last line about artists treating their work as a job makes my skin crawl. The rest is just an inane attack on Lennon, who wrote an equally beautiful song about suburbia (“In My Life”) years earlier. In fact, the companion song to "Penny Lane," Lennon’s "Strawberry Fields Forever," takes the same subject, but is infinitely more complex and revolutionary, both lyrically and musically. Lennon also wrote about his mother’s death in the beautiful "Julia," and the haunting, disturbing "Mother." The fact that he wrote no song about his own murder can hardly be held against him. Do we really need to tear down one great artist to boost another?

It gets worse. Smith calls brave, great songs like "God" and "Working Class Hero" “silly hate songs,” a premise so absurd it needn’t even be dealt with. He cites National Lampoon's mockery of Lennon as proof that he was off his rocker (it’s funny and has some truth, but my guess is that not even its author Christopher Guest would agree). Smith also completely ignores Lennon’s album Imagine, which besides the title track contains the beautiful and heartbreakingly honest "Jealous Guy."

Here’s the funniest stab at Lennon from Smith: “Lennon may have been a professional outlaw who wrote "Attica State," but McCartney is the one who actually did time – nine days in Japan in 1980 after a pot bust.” This is an incredibly odd and facile argument from someone who celebrates McCartney’s polished home life over Lennon’s agony and rabble rousing. It also ignores the fact that Lennon was targeted by Richard Nixon and the FBI, and had to fight deportation hearings for years (due to the politicization of an earlier Lennon pot bust).

Smith goes on to laud McCartney’s recent work, which is fine, but one has to recognize the following: 1) McCartney wrote many of his finest recent songs when he had a Lennon figure like Elvis Costello to work beside, 2) much of that recent work has been spurred by his own sense of mortality in response to the death of his wife Linda.

The underlying thesis of the article, though, is that Smith hates Lennon’s politics. I suppose he has a right to. But what can’t be denied is that as a political songwriter and sloganeer McCartney, even when he has tried, can’t hold a candle to Lennon. McCartney’s response to 9/11, "Freedom," for example, was a pathetic and embarrassing composition.

By contrast, Lennon’s great strength was as a sloganeer and an organizer. "All You Need is Love," "Revolution," "Come Together," "Give Peace a Chance," "Imagine," "Gimme Some Truth," and "Instant Karma" are unmatched in their love, compassion, and righteous anger. A song like "Freedom" was out of McCartney’s league, and despite his good intentions, only added fuel to the fire of his most vocal critics.

In the end, though, let’s put this inane rap battle to rest. The Lennon/McCartney partnership was something that has made us all better, more fulfilled people. Choose your favorite if you will, but let’s stop tearing down the one to laud the other. There’s plenty of other crap out there to rail against. Indeed as Paul said, perhaps we should just “Let It Be.”

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About keithcrime

  • http://donaldgibson.blogspot.com/ Donald Gibson

    I believe that McCartney requested (from Ono) that “Yesterday” be credited solely to himself (given that he was the only Beatle who wrote and performed on the track), for his poetry book, Blackbird Singing.

    Yoko wasn’t quite that generous.

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Interesting, if extremely long thesis Brad.

    Personally I think this is the classic argument of apples vs. oranges. Both men were immensely talented, and I think it goes without saying that both men made their music as a team.

    But again, the argument is somewhat moot. If you like a great pop tune, it doesn’t get much better than Paul McCartney. On the other hand, if you like your social commentary with an acerbic twist of lemon, or I mean Lennon — than John’s your man.

    Two sides of the same coin if you ask me.

    -Glen

  • http://www,bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    Thanks for the comment Donald

    Here is an article that discusses the minifeud.

    “When the song [“Yesterday”] appeared on one of the Anthology releases that have mined Beatles music in recent years, McCartney asked Ono if the credits could be transposed. She refused. Ono recently told Rolling Stone magazine that she warned McCartney that he might be doing himself a disservice in switching the credits.”

  • Phil Auster

    Paul reversed the credits on the live triple album Wings Over America (in 1976) and there was no fuss attall.

  • Juan

    Nothing touch the beatles as a group.
    McCartney alone however, might be the best songwriter of all times.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Do we really need to tear down one great artist to boost another?

    I think this is the central question of the whole thing. Smith’s article seems to me like a knee-jerk overreaction to the usual tearing-down-and-lauding, which makes John Lennon a saint and visionary, and Paul McCartney a villain and hack.

    It’s all too easy to do; as you said, John’s not around to decline as an artist, but it also means we tend to idealize him, without even trying. Even in your wonderfully thought-out article, Brad, you do it a little bit here:

    By contrast, Lennon’s great strength was as a sloganeer and an organizer. “All You Need is Love,” “Revolution,” “Come Together,” “Give Peace a Chance,” “Imagine,” “Gimme Some Truth,” and “Instant Karma” are unmatched in their love, compassion and righteous anger.

    This is basically true, but you also have to remember that when Lennon relied too heavily sloganeering, i.e. Sometime in New York City, the result was a ham-handed mess. In short, Lennon’s political edge underestimated the importance of pop appeal in his music – which McCartney, despite his many creative gaffes, could NEVER be accused of.

    Now I feel I’m going back in the opposite direction again. I think it’s best, frankly, not to choose a favorite among the duo. They were equals, whether we like it or not, and neither was as good alone as they both were together.

  • kc

    DID NO ONE BUT ME READ McCARTNEY’S BOOK? They didn’t quit writing as a team early on, but kept writing as a team for years, always at the least editing each other’s songs. Lennon gave an interview to rolling stone in 1970 wherein he even later admitted he made a bunch of stuff up cause he was mad at maccartney. Read mccartney’s book–please.

  • Stephen O’Sullivan

    I guess it goes with the territory. It’s comparable to a football team having two great quarterbacks. It’s a problem yes. But a problem of riches. The Beatles and thier fans bennefit no matter who is better. I think most true fans may have a favorite, but love the other three completely. Mine was always John. But if someone told me Paul was the greatest songwriter of all time, I would not disput it. My criticism of John would be his attitude towards great songs they wrote being “rubbish and throwaways”. Sgt Pepper was “rubbish”. What! Now Paul always came across to me as extremely self indulgent without directly saying it. He never met a stage, microphone, or camera he didn’t like. I simply think both of thier inner insecureties came out in different ways. But I was very angry at Paul for the reversal of songwriter nonsense. We all know it was you Paul. Get over it!But having said that I love ‘em. Love all four. Always have, Always will.

  • http://www,bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    I agree KC that they always continued to edit and add to each other’s work. My point is that the days where they would sit in a room and create together ended early on.

  • http://jonsobel.com/ Jon Sobel

    I like and agree with your evenhanded point of view – both were artists touched with greatness, who together added up to even more than the sum of those very excellent parts.

    But I’d like to comment on your statement, “The last line about artists treating their work as a job makes my skin crawl.” Smith was making a very valid point – when you’re a songwriter, writing is, in fact, your job, and most successful songwriters treat it that way – they get up each day and go to work. Smith is using this as a way to praise McCartney, and rightly so, but he is doing so, probably unfairly, at the expense of Lennon.

  • http://www,bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    A valid point Jon, but to me an artist doesn’t work 9-5, he flows with passion. Maybe, I have an overly romanticized view of the process, but I see the true giants as staying up all night until their fever is quenched. Paul famously woke up with Yesterday in his head. He didn’t clock in and search for ideas. Then again many albums like A Hard Day’s Night were produced out of need on the clock. Personally, I just hate the notion of creativity being boxed into yet another cubicle.

  • Stanz Man

    sorry but is everyone too young to remember the truth? Double Fantasy was a disaster rock fans HATED that album…I guess in the tragedy or the murder people forgot but when that came out Beatle fans were enraged at the sappy blah songs Iif you don’t believe me do a google search on some of the review of the time ..even Joe Pope publisher of Bealtes fanzine Strawberry FF panned the LP ) …sadly. Lennon was in decline since his first LP the brilliant PLASTIC ONO BAND..musically he did nothing of interest again and stuck with the same tired sound..for DOUBLE FANTASY he copped some of McCartney’s sound to give himself some melodies (check out Woman next to Bluebird) ..in any case it was very sad John was killed , a horror… but it shouldn’t warp who was obviously the more creative partner here…Joh states A DAY IN THE LIFE was mostly Lennon , but the AVANT GARDE section of the song (from the line “Id love to turn you on” with the orchestral swelling ) was ALL McCARTNEY …so let’s check up on these facts.. I find that people usually give lennon credit for mccartney songs . very frstrating and very 1984-ish … I love Lennon and I love McCartney but let’s be real here ..if we are going to compare FREEDOM a duff song lets compare it to POWER TO THE PEOPLE another awful piece of ‘music” …check out the facts first !

  • stanz Man

    I mean to add in my post PLEASE WHY CAN”T WE LIKE THEM BOTH???
    In my music collection next to the Beatles cds I have Lennon and McCartney side by side as they should be .. they were brothers

  • http://jonsobel.com/ Jon Sobel

    Brad, I think your romanticized point of view and the “job” aspect of art can safely coexist. You’re right, there’s a lot of inspiration, late nights, craziness involved in the job. But usually when there’s an inspiration, that’s only the beginning of the work – after that it has to be formed and shaped, and that’s real work. IIRC, it was the melody of “Yesterday” that McCartney said he woke up with in his head. He first fit some nonsense words to the melody until he came up with artful lyrics to go with it, which took work.

  • Daniel Morales

    To the Beatles: “Thanks for the music!”

  • Guido Sosi

    I greatly admire the catalogues of both Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Their influence will be felt for a long time among songwriters. I think there was synergy between them when they were Beatles. They may have gained inspiration and motivation from each other.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I recently filled in some gaps in my Lennon and McCartney solo-careers music from iTunes. I had several Wings LPs years ago, but I hadn’t heard a lot of those songs for a long time. I had also just recently bought the Capitol boxed sets of the first 8 US Beatles albums.

    Quite a contrast. McCartney’s songs as a Beatle are often brilliant and delightful. But two-thirds or more of the stuff on the “Wingspan” hits collection sounds very thin – minor and sometimes downright annoying or even awful.

    Lennon’s best songs, from both the Beatles period and the early solo albums, are equally wonderful in different ways. He shows amazing development as an artist. Of course he did hit a fallow period from 1972-79, returning with one last excellent album. But “Plastic Ono Band” and “Imagine” are still among the finest rock albums by anybody.

    And although Lennon and McCartney occasionally contributed to each other’s songs as Beatles, they really didn’t work as a songwriting team after about 1965. All the ’66-’69 songs have one primary songwriter, who nearly always is the lead vocalist.

  • JC Mosquito

    Sorry – I gotta agree with the workmanlike aspect of art – the perspiration that goes hand in hand with the inspiration. Or – the Craft that supports the Art. Not all songs are either/or, or even 50/50 – there’s differing amounts that go into any one particular creation. However, when all’s done, it has to sound as natural as breathing.

    Paul vs. John? – We’ll never know – I wonder how Lennon’s art would have stood up after 27 extra years of writing? Would he have developed along lines similar to the alleged “workmanlike” style of Paul, or waited for the occasional visit from the Muse?

    A can o’ worms, just waiting to be opened – as are all things Beatle.

  • http://www,bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    One of my favorite quotes ever JC – Noel Gallagher of Oasis (a huge John fan) in response to a question on Paul’s draught at the time said: If John Lennon were alive today he’d be writing shite like Biker Like and Icon too.

  • zingzing

    i would hope that lennon would have pulled a scott walker, putting out challenging pieces of art every decade or so… but i doubt it. lennon was a troubled man when he died, almost infantile. lets face it, his best work over the last 5 (or 8) years of his life was the job he did on yoko’s “walking on thin ice,” which he mixed the day he died. if i am not mistaken…

    lennon had no clue how to live a normal life, and it didn’t look like he was going to mature any time soon. if he hadn’t died from being shot, i have little doubt that he would have survived crack-cocaine. he was aiming straight for overdose. (maybe i’m reading too much goldman… but i have no problem believing that lennon was a paranoid, childish drug addict over the last few years of his life.)

    plus, his music took a distinct nosedive after 1971. it didn’t have the creativity or the confidence of his earlier work. but no one can stay on top forever.

    to the author–it’s pretty obvious that you prefer lennon, who hardly needs defending from the nasty national review… and you’re just as bad as the author of that piece… not that i disagree with you… but you must realize what you are doing.

  • http://www,bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    zing

    I admit that I may have also fallen into the trap of assaulting one to laud the other, but my point was why must we spurn the one to appreciate the other. As I wrote, I feel for Paul, competing with a martyr is impossible.

  • zingzing

    brad, i do see your point. but how often do you see someone defending lennon at the expense of mccartney? and how often the opposite? maybe lennon defenders deserved this one.

    the flat truth is that, in the long run, lennon was the artiste, mccartney the craftsman. both lennon and mccartney had their turns as the other, but even lennon’s most craftsmen-like moments (at least pre-72) were viewed as art, while sometimes mccartney’s most artistic endevours (like abbey road side 2) are more revered for their technical accomplishments than their artistic merits. mccartney doesn’t even get the credit he deserves for his more avant ideas… lennon gets the credit he doesn’t deserve.

    it’s because that’s how they are viewed. lennon as the artist, mccartney as the workman. for the most part, that view is true, especially in light of their later work. as soon as lennon’s innovation was spent, his work became dismal crap. he was nothing without his artistic brilliance. mccartney could get away without innovating. he could still craft perfect little songs. it’s a lesser talent, i think.

    while i don’t think bashing lennon is really all that necessary to elevate mccartney, who else are you really going to talk about? lennon and mccartney are, and always will be, linked together by everyone. they are up there by themselves. to elevate one, you have to drop the other, or else keep them on equal ground. it’s impossible for them to get any higher in consideration as compared to anyone else in the rock world. they can only go up or down compared with the other.

    blarblarblar

  • http://www.thesonginmyheadtoday.blogspot.com Holly Hughes

    Wonderful provocative piece, Brad. I’m tired of having “John fans” feel it their duty to assault me as a “Paul fan”, when in fact our musical tastes are likely to be quite close to each other’s — closer than, for example, a Dylan fan or a Stones fan or, let’s get real here, an Otis Redding fan or a Ramones fan or a Hank Williams fan. Unfortunately in your own article you fall prey to a bit of this, Brad.

    I’m willing to admit that my preference for McCartney is based on a) my preference for melody over lyrics, b) my preference for more rhythmic invention (McCartney, as a bassist, was always more likely to go for offbeat beats), and c) the fact that Paul was cuter in 1964. (Being real honest here.) Those are matters of personal taste, and I don’t see why I should have to apologize for them. I’ve never felt compelled to tag him as “better” than John, just different from John.

    But Lennon fans seemed to regard John as a sort of musical messiah even before his untimely death sealed the deal. I respectfully submit that Lennon fans are more likely to look down on McCartney fans than vice versa — being by nature more sarcastic, satiric, critical sorts of people. (Which is why Lennon’s acid wit and furious ideals always appealed to them.) Over the years, McCartney fans had to get defensive and bite back. It’s a shame.

  • Joe

    I don’t think any of us who were alive in the sixties or seventies will ever be able fairly appraise The Beatles or any of their solo work.

    I know my expectations tend to be too high or too focused on my own preconceptions.

    I probably would have warmed to Paul’s latest much sooner if everything on it had been like “Ever Present Past.” (I LIKE silly love songs if their done with wit and brio.) But I’m glad I took the time to appreciate it for what it was – with both strengths and weaknesses.

    I guess I’ve always favored Paul, but I’m still sad about the loss of John and then George. Nobody should (or needs to) denigrate one to praise another. The National Review again demonstrates how reprehensible it can be (and usually is).

  • Carol Cleveland

    There’s a standard McCartney review by Lennon fans, and it holds that McCartney is light-weight, shallow, missing something essential to great artists, and just altogether a lesser man and musician than Lennon was. (This attitude is not surprising, since Lennon gave everyone permission to think that with “How Do You Sleep…?”)

    When you say:

    “Smith goes on to laud McCartney’s recent work, which is fine, but one has to recognize the following: 1) McCartney wrote many of his finest recent songs when he had a Lennon figure like Elvis Costello to work beside, 2) much of that recent work has been spurred by his own sense of mortality in response to the death of his wife Linda.”

    … you seem to be doing your best to make sure that someone or something besides Paul McCartney is credited with his recent string of classic filled albums–either a strong writing partner or an evil fate.

    Those of us who’ve followed his career think that his second classic period (the present one) started, not after Linda’s death, but before it, with Flaming Pie, which followed his reliving much Beatles history in the making of the Beatles Anthology. From 1995 on, it’s as though McCartney ‘s ghosts are all friendly ones. And since Linda’s death, McCartney has been on an emotional roller-coaster, up, down, and all over the place. He’s also been even more productive than usual. If there were something essential missing in the man, I think the production would have ceased, but McCartney has almost never indulged in public self-pity. Rather, he says he’s grateful for the chances and the experiences he’s had.

    In fact, I think McCartney’s career is an illustration of the usefulness of thinking of artistic creation as a job, and of several other tenets of the McCartney philosophy, which is as sturdy, and as beautiful in its way, as a well-made song.

  • http://www,bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    Thought I’d throw this out there to let you guys know I love Macca too. Has anyone heard the demo of “My Brave Face” with both Elvis and Paul singing, it’s fantastic as is the released version.

  • Cristina

    I agree with you, Carol. I do think the author of the article endend up doing what he said we shouldn’t do.

    As for the degree of colaboration in the Lennon/McCartney partnership, I agree with the person who said that they colaborated with each other all the time, and not just at the beggining. And it went way further than just editing. Sometimes it was that (which was important, of course), but they did sit down and wite together as far as 1967, at least. By any accounts, that’s how they wrote With a Little Help from my Friends.

    And I just don’t like it when people say Paul is good at writing “pop” songs, because, considering the quality of pop music nowadays, it sounds like comparing him with the likes of Britney Spears.

    He’s (and always has been) one of the best (if not the best) at writing practically any kind of songs.

  • Carol Cleveland

    Christina–

    Not only did they collaborate while they were still “The Beatles”, but Paul was still checking the lyrics with John (in his head) while writing a song for Flaming Pie. Paul will probably always check the lyrics with John in his head.

    I think that if people started listening to the music that both men made, they would discover that a) they admired *each other’s* work, and b) their “solo” efforts were influenced positively by the long period of close collaboration. I think John wished he could write melodies more like Paul’s, and he succeeded, and Paul wished he could write lyrics more like John’s, and he succeeded. An artistic collaboration is not, after all, a football game, it is something entirely different, and … messier to score.

  • http://www,bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    Give Paul some credit for having a sense of humor too. Writing Silly Love Songs in response to the typical criticism of his work by John was brilliant.

  • Alessandro

    I think the author did a good job at attempting to be fair in the face of an article he disagreed with. But even if you try, you always have a sentimental favorite. No crime in this.

    I’m only 35 so The Beatles came to me way past their days. However, their essence and aura did not escape me. I am not tied into the McCartney/Lennon/Lennon/McCartney thing. It doesn’t interest me. It’s probably a generational thing.

    One poster mentioned it’s a lyric versus melody thing – that’s probably closer to the truth. But not enough for me.

    I just accept them for what they were and what they created. The criticism and romanticism for either of them is excessive – the John Lennon as some peace emissary tends to be annoying. And the McCartney as shallow just as much.

    We weren’t there and we will never know the intricate dynamics of their relationship to each other and The Beatles – to say nothing of Harrison and Starr.

    The Beatles ARE….that’s good enough for me.

  • stanz Man

    rock on macca and lennon lovers everywhere !!!! the magic lives on !!!

  • Juan Bodniza

    Lennon or Mccartney ? What about both?
    The truth is their music was good but never as amazing as when they were beatles.
    ALSO, Why is it always Lennon\Mccartney?
    The Beatles were nothing before Ringo joined the band. And Georges guitar parts couldnt be done better in 100 years.

  • http://pleasestopstampingonmyhead.blogspot.com/ Colin Ricketts

    Crikey Brad, excellently long piece and well done for dismissing some of the original article – Working Class Hero a silly hate song? Please…
    You may well be well aware of Ian Macdonald’s masterful Revoloution in the Head – which every Beatle fan should read, and which was a major step change in the Macca reputation (certainly in the UK press), from a simplistic John = troubled genius, artist V Paul = showbiz craftsman, artiste.
    I think there is something in that simplistic view, by the way, but for years Macca was unfairly traduced as shallow (and you’re right that his 80s work didn’t help). . . By the way, KT Tunstall has just done a rewrite job on Blackbird with a song on her new album called, I think, White Bird with a Black Tail, and will soon be able to buy a country estate I should imagine.

  • Aussie Dave

    McCartney a political lightweight? I think not – what about ‘Give Ireland Back To The Irish’, written at a time when things were really bad in the early ’70’s between the British Govt. and Irish Republicans. After that track was banned by the BBC, Paul had the good humour to record a musically hip version of ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb ‘! There’s irony for you! Maybe he should write a song called ‘Give Iraq Back To The Iraqis’ – someone has to bring an end to the senseless killing since Bush & Co. paid a visit when they hadn’t been invited.

    Peace & Love

  • Doc

    So much controversy so many years later. You got to love it. They were equals. One needed the other, period, or they would not of made it the way they did. That being said their egos prevented someone who was their equal to shine just as bright. The less insecure and most underappreciated songwriter of all. GEORGE HARRISON !

  • http://www.marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    i’ve never been able to identify with this “who’s better” sort of thing, as if choosing sides somehow confers a concrete score (“john: 96, paul: 89!!”).

    it’s like saying that Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica is “better” than The Who’s Quadrophenia. a waste of time, is what that discussion is.

  • http://www,bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    Well, I sort of agree that it’s hard to compare two great works, but you agree that Quadrophenia is better than It’s Hard don’t you?

  • http://www.marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    no, i don’t. i just don’t think that way.

  • http://www,bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    It’s a tough question, and if someone loves a piece of work even after you’ve discussed it – the conversation needs to end, but I enjoy the conversation. The attempt to describe why we think something is of superior quality is a noble one. Then again, have I had an infinite number of “He sucks,” “No he doesn’t” silly arguments. Who hasn’t :).

  • http://www.marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    yeah, i mean, take Trout Mask as an example. to my brain, the recording positively explodes with all sorts of textures, rhythms, and odd juxtapositions of things. i love every crazy second of it.

    on the other hand, i can totally see why some folks just can’t stand it.

  • http://www,bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    Yeah, there are some things I don’t get, where I admit I haven’t put a lot of time into it (Frank Zappa). Even John Coltrane, I love him up to the free jazz stuff, and then it gets complicated. I’m mostly talking pop though, and the critical view of that seems to ebb and flow. Look at the Bee Gees rep. Then those Yacht Rock guys started mocking soft rock, and suddenly people are professing a real love for The Pina Colata Song. It’s crazy, but it’s fun. Gives us something to talk about.

  • Lissa Parker

    I don’t have anything particularly cerebral to say about all this. My comment is, gadzooks, it’s 2007 and many Beatles fans still feel the need to debate the merits of Lennon’s and McCartney’s creativity, and defend one over against the other? Wha–?? They were both brilliant, everybody! Get over it! And I agree: I think that, had John lived, he, too, would be writing his own song clunkers as an aging codger. No different. I’m just glad that I’ve been here during their, and the Beatles, lifetimes. What a great musical time to be alive!

  • http://www,bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    Well, it does go to their quality. I suppose there were Freddy and the Dreamers vs. Gerry and the Pacemakers debates, but they waned with time. Ferry cross the Mersey rules tho!

  • JC Mosquito

    I love Coltrane more after the free jazz stuff started.

    Quadrophenia is a little better than It’s Hard, but neither of them’s as good as Who’s Next.

    Apples are better than oranges.

    Naaaaaah – I’m kidding of course – but sometimes it’s convenient to lay out a reference point to et the discussionstarted.

  • http://www.marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    a carrot is as close as a rabbit gets to a diamond.

    so there!

  • HUTCH

    Great article, and great reader feedback. I’d have to say that I am a bigger Lennon fan, but I really liked Paul’s “Chaos”, and thought “Memory” was even better. I though George’s last album was brilliant too. I’d love to hear what John would be putting out were he stilll with us.

    I think if we put the question to Paul himself, he’d admit he’s the biggest Lennon fan of all.

  • Lissa Parker

    I would also like to add: I remember reading, maybe in the Anthology if not also elsewhere — and I think that Paul may have actually said this — that John and Paul were like mirror images of one another. That could speak to their creative similarities and differences, too. It’s easy to forget that John could write heartfelt lyrics and beautiful melodies, and Paul, rockin’ melodies and in-your-face lyrics. Were those their primary strengths? Maybe not. But they could still do both successfully. So I would say it’s more like comparing an Apple-orange to an Orange-apple. “Penny Lane”/”Strawberry Fields Forever” is a great example of them using their creative strengths to describe their growing-up-in-Liverpool memories. Don’t these songs complement and balance one another in a striking way?

  • Stanz Man

    well said Lisa ..I have always said it is a poor writer who has to knock someone in order to bulid someone else up ..and don’t get me started on these goons here who are writing on who they think is the “Greater Artist” or :”Lesser Artist” those kind of ignorant statements ALWAYS come from non-creative minds.. now don’t get me going on what I think of critics who sit on their fat arses and point their talentless fingers at everyone …ugh !!!!

  • John McCartney

    Wow…the ever present Lennon/McCartney debate. Will it ever cease? Probably not. Let me start by saying both men are, without doubt, incredible geniuses. The body of work they have left behind (in a considerably short amount of time, mind you) will probably never be matched by any other band/artist in the foreseeable future (certainly not in my lifetime).

    With regard to who is better? It’s difficult to say. In terms of raw talent, you would have to say Lennon. Although McCartney would proclaim he taught himself to play music, which for the most part is true, he did have lessons (even during his tenure as a Beatle) and his dad was a musician, therefore, he clearly had the advantage of being exposed to the formal (technical?) side of musical performance/creation. This is probably why he was better at writing melodies that were catchy and popular. Lennon, with little or no formal training, did not have this advantage, thus his talents were more raw in nature.

    Many try to put a tangible slant on the debate by looking at the numbers. If you consider number 1 hits (which tend to be more catchy/popular) McCartney’s compositions have the edge by a considerable margin. The Beatles 1 album. which contains their 27 number 1 hits, is comprised of 3 Lennon/McCartney compositions, 14 primarily McCartney compositions, 9 primarily Lennon compositions, and 1 Harrison composition. In terms of total compositions, however, Lennon has the edge by an appreciable amount. In their catalog of songs, there are 13 Lennon/McCartney songs, 78 mainly Lennon songs, 67 mainly McCartney songs, 22 Harrsion songs, 2 Starr songs, and 2 credited to all four. While these facts are certainly interesting, they really do not answer the question of who is better. If you think about it, success (i.e. #1 hits) in popular music (pop music, if you will) is not really a true measure of an artist’s gifts/abilities. Just look at Britney Spears…y’all.

    Some argue, in McCartney’s favor, that the debate can be settled by looking at their performance as solo artists. While McCartney certainly had more commercial success, in terms of number 1 hits, his albums were mostly dismal. In fact, most of his solo albums would only produce 1 or 2 good songs with the rest being lackluster. Lennon, on the other hand, usually (although he did have a few stinkers as well) produced albums that had a majority of songs that were good. Someone commented that Lennon’s “Double Fantasy” was not a very good album. I would agree with this, but not because of his tracks. Yoko’s contributions (with a voice I would liken to the sound of someone running their fingernails down a chalkboard) is what ruined an otherwise good album. Take the Lennon tracks from “Double Fantasy” and combine them with the Lennon tracks from “Milk and Honey” and you have one hell of an album.

    Where does all this leave us with regard to the answer to the debate? Well, in my opinion, it’s really too close to call. I guess it really comes down to personal preference. If I was pressed, however, I guess I would have to say it was 50.5% Lennon, 49.5% McCartney. But I might change my mind tomorrow as it can easily go the other way.

  • Lissa Parker

    Whoa, Stanz Man. I appreciate your agreement with my last posting. I don’t agree, however, with your disparaging remarks about the other folks posting here or about critics. In my time, I have heard plenty of ignorant comments coming from creative minds, too. (Ignorance is highly democratic…) So I vote for keeping things in a more respectful zone here when offering opinions and critiques of others’ opinions. There are plenty of ways to disagree without putting others down. Didn’t you yourself say, “…it is a poor writer who has to knock someone in order to build someone else up”?

  • stanz Man

    yes lisa , you are right i went a little maxwell silver hammer sorry !!

  • The Haze

    Lennon / McCartney….we(the music lovers)were there.need I say more?

  • LUNA PEN PINWHEEL

    “LET IT BE; WAS NOT THE BEATLES FINAL ALBUM.

    ABBEY ROAD WAS RECORDED SEVERAL MOPNTHS AFTER THE COMPLETION OF LET IT BE.

  • http://web.mac.com/sirguitarist/iWeb/Site/Podcast/Podcast.html sirguitarist

    At age 50, I grew up with the Beatles and then (1964) through even now have found that I can love and appreciate them all either individually or collectively through different phases of my life, or different moods. The debate is interesting at times, but also tiresome at others. For the most part I enjoyed this article as I feel McCartney has taken a lot more unfair scrutiny than deserved, and this article though unintentionally slipping off track once or twice in making the point, did a good job of stating that unfairness. Right now I have been diving more into the George Harrison catalog (wasn’t it great to see the revival of the Traveling Wilburys albums?), and “even” (I say with tongue in cheek) Ringo has been on my stereo again with the release of the hits CD. One day we may see the tired expression “apples and oranges” actually universally changed to “that’s like comparing Lennon and McCartney!” I think most will agree that with the Fabs the “whole was greater than the sum of its parts” but I am glad all four continued making music at all after the group was no more. A great time in the history of music to be alive, wouldn’t you say?

  • alessandro

    Clarence was the 5th Beatle who penned “She has a ticket to ride and the bitch don’t care.” Long live Clarence.

  • Earl E.Byrd

    The Beatles were always the sum of their individual personalities. There was a chemistry amongst the members that was irreplaceable after the break-up of the group.

    All of the Beatles struggled, at one point or another, with their solo careers. John and Paul, as the chief songwriters of the Beatles, suffered because they didn’t work with each other. When John and Paul wrote separately in the Beatles Years, they had a healthy competition going which spurred them on to write better songs. Each was cognizant of the fact that the other would frankly critique their work. In the ’70’s and beyond neither John nor Paul had a writing partner would could tell them they were full of crap. It always helps to have someone around you to tell you you’re full of crap.

  • http://www,bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    Let It Be wasn’t recorded last but it was the last release.

  • http://www,bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    Clarence: Paul still uses Afro-Sheen because of me!

  • Lissa Parker

    If John had lived, I’m confident that he and Paul would have eventually re-upped as at-least-occasional songwriting partners … to see if they “still had it,” if nothing else. Can you imagine what they might have conjured up, with so much more life experience under their belts? (Yeah, sadly, we’ll never know.) Also, Earl: I agree with you. John and Paul both needed a partner who could frankly tell them when they were “full of crap.” It takes a superstar rock icon who’s a childhood friend & fellow creative kid to tell another superstar rock icon the unvarnished truth. Nowadays, who’s going to tell Paul McCartney when he’s writing crap? Ringo? Bob Dylan? Mick Jagger? Oops, I forgot — we can always count on Yoko…

  • Brian Mannix

    I think McCartneys best work is when he’s finished with a song, and says to himself, what would John think? Freedom was an embarrasemnt, I think he wrote it on the way the show. He is hands down the most talented writer and musician period. Paul is also human, and I believe that he is just as nervous as anyone else when they do something new, Always wondering if its good enough. He has such a reputation to keep up with. When I told him that I liked “Chaos” his eyes lit up and a wide smile came on his face, he looked so, how shall I say, “Human”, like with a sigh of relief. But lets not forget, the top five greatest beatles songs, George owns of them. “Something” as Sinatra says is the greatest love song ever written.

  • Brian Mannix

    I think McCartneys best work is when he’s finished with a song, and says to himself, what would John think? Freedom was an embarrasemnt, I think he wrote it on the way the show. He is hands down the most talented writer and musician period. Paul is also human, and I believe that he is just as nervous as anyone else when they do something new, Always wondering if its good enough. He has such a reputation to keep up with. When I told him that I liked “Chaos” his eyes lit up and a wide smile came on his face, he looked so, how shall I say, “Human”, like with a sigh of relief. But lets not forget, the top five greatest beatles songs, George owns of them. “Something” as Sinatra says is the greatest love song ever written.

  • johnozed

    Walls and Bridges is a GREAT lennon album. As Band on the Run is a GREAT macca album.

  • stanz Man

    haha that comment about lennon having raw talent therefor being greater and mccartney being lesser because he was ‘learned’ was such hogwash I actually had to laugh out loud… such “pull the wool over your eyes” nonsense .so then if that is true, who would have taught Lennon how to play? well McCartney, of course …and that in a nutshell says it all (and we are still allowed to like/love them both ok? ) now thank you and goodnight !!!!!

  • http://pianowing sean schoenke

    Paul’s solo career is stellar. Now that his catologue is available on I-tunes, people will revisit and hear again the great melodies that makes him the greatest composer of all time. John’s art on the other hand had the genius of making people think deeply about finding the truth. But both John and Paul could cross styles and create serious or silly loves songs.

  • Kelly

    Paul was better with John than without John.
    John was better with Paul than without Paul.

  • girl

    Dear Brad, You begin your article by saying that it’s an old and sad story about Lennon vs. McCartney instead of celebrating the great songwriting team, etc. BUT you end up doing the same thing by comparing Lennon to McCartney with McCartney coming out slightly unfavorably in your article while the Kyle article makes Paul come out on top, and John looks like a nothing. Will this ever stop? For instance you say that ‘Strawberry Fields’ is so much more brilliant than ‘Penney Lane’, making it seem like no one should even think that it would be ‘Penny Lane’. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? I skimmed the comments but I can’t figure out why so many people haven’t noticed that both of them were geniouses. They were a musical muse. So talented and so creative and that should be celebrated. ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘Strawberry Fields’ are both wonderful. A Day in the Life is brilliant, but so is ‘Eleanor Rigby’. ‘In My Life’ was a 50/50. Paul/music John/lyrics. But what does that prove? That they were both brilliant? Hey no kidding! Who cares who contributed what and whose songs were better? If you went song by song you will find that they are even. Thats why they were together. I love them both.

  • http://www,bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    I do admit I sort of fell into the same trap – although my point is that we shouldn’t have to trash one to laud the other – the pro Mac slant of the National Review article I was commenting on forced me defend John. They’re both great.

  • gmatt44

    It appears more and more to me as I get older that the Lennon – McCartney writng “team” was more a competition than a collaboration ie who could come up with the next great song – sure they may have shared ideas but it was the competitive nature of both men that made their songwriting great and behind this we had George knowing he had to come up with something good to make it on an album. It was competiton not collaboration that made the Beatles great – IMHO.

  • JC Mosquito

    In other words, capitalism at its finest. If only those 60s conservatives who accused the Beatles of beign left wing pinko commmie hippies only knew…

  • girl

    I understand what you meant now Braid. And sorry for spelling your name wrong. I admit I always feel that I have to defend the one who is being attacked. Usually it’s Paul because as so many commenters have stated here, he has been in the maddening position of being misunderstood by people who just don’t know the facts. As one commenter has said, if you are a true fan of both guys, you need to read McCartney’s book. It is essential reading for true hardcore fans. I’d also like to say that I agree with “Stanzman”. Just scroll up and you will see that he says it all. I remember when ‘Double Fantasy’ came out. In the two weeks before Lennon’s death the album WAS panned. That is absolutely fact. Everyone thought this much awaited album was a big disappointment. It certainly was not recieved as his greatest. Not even close. ‘John Lennon Plastic Ono Band'(his first) was his best, and ‘Imagine’ was second best. Also, a lot of people love ‘Walls and Bridges’. Other than that, he had some good singles but that certainly doesn’t make him better than Paul. Paul had the lovely ‘McCartney’ and ‘Ram’and both of these albums sound a lot better today than they did then. (Great melodies and nice guitar playing) He also had ‘Band on the Run’. So they each had three strong albums in the 70’s. By saying John was better, people are remembering the tragedy and believing things that they’ve read. Listen to the music and read ‘Revolution in the Head’by Ian Macdonald. And most importantly know who wrote what and who contributed what. One commenter said that he/she often sees that John gets credit for songs or contributions that Paul made. This upsets me because I am hardcore and very knowledgable. Yes, ‘A Day in the Life’ is every bit a Paul song as a John song. The beautiful haunting melody is John’s but the avant gaurdism is Paul’s. My son and I sat down one day and hummed Beatle melodies to each other to try and figure out who wrote what. According to Ian Macdonald, John’s melodies were vertical and Paul’s, horizontal with octave leaps. My son plays a musical instrument and reads music so he could easily hear their unique contributions. So Macdonald was right, the melody to ‘In My Life’ was Paul’s. He remembers correctly that he wrote it and he’s not lying. Also ‘Every Little Thing’ has always been attributed to Paul but it’s really a 50/50. Paul wrote the chorus or “middle eight” and John wrote the rest. One of the most beautiful and underated songs in the entire catalogue. Perfect proof that they were both brilliant melodists. Lyrics? John has always been praised for writing better lyrics but again listen to the music and read McCartney’s book of poetry,’Blackbird Singing’. Paul is a poet in the traditional sense. Heavily influenced by Ginsburg, Keroac,Thomas,Frost,Eliot and Lewis Carrol. His song lyrics are too. Listen to ‘Strawberry Fields’ and ‘Penny lane’. While I like the melody of ‘Strawberry Fields’ better, I think the lyrics of both songs are abstract poetry at it’s best. Once again proving that both guys were brilliant lyricists AND melodists. As a Beatle fan I can’t even imagine liking one more than the other. When people say that John was better are they forgetting songs like ‘Eleanor Rigby’? John contributed nothing to that song. I’m not knocking him. I wouldn’t do that. I’m just saying that people should inform themselves about this music if they are going to comment. ‘Eleanor Rigby’ is a piece of poetry with a haunting melody. That doesn’t make Paul better than John, just equal. I think that is what Paul has been trying to say. Not that he was better but that he and John were equal partners. It obviously bothers him that some people might not think so. It would bother me if I were in his shoes. He’s taken a lot of s*** over the years and it was not deserved. Sorry for going on so long but this is a very interesting topic! Anyone reading this, I implore you to please read ‘Revolution in the Head’ by Ian Macdonald and Many Years From Now’ by Barry Miles. I’ve read hundreds of Beatle books but those are two that are essential. And play their music for your kids. Keep their music alive for generations. My teenage sons love them and they told me that a lot of high school kids do. That is special. Oh and don’t forget, George was wonderful too.

  • girl

    To add to my comment. John’s melodies were HORIZONTAL and Paul’s VERTICAL with octave leaps. My mistake. Also your name is Brad and I said “Braid”. Sorry!

  • http://www,bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    I actually wasn’t going to buy this Bob Spitz Beatles book but I just found it for $6 and I’ve had my head stuck in it the last couple days. I’ve learned a couple of things. I didn’t know paul got his girlfriend pregnant at the same time as John and she miscarried.

    Another good post on Paul girl. I just can’t help my fascination with John – the rogue who changed thing. Actually, this new book makes Paul seem a little more bawdy than I’ve heard previously.

    I had always only heard about Paul doing 20 flight rock the first time he met John, this book says he did like 5 songs in a row!

    Live and learn.

    I also recently read the book Lennon Remembered and it seemed to indicate that post Beatles – John tried to help George and Ringo, but knew that Paul was fine on his own.

    Like John said – If I ask Paul to join the band I’ll have to compete with him, but he’s really good!

  • Paul Lennon

    stanz Man:

    You are absolutely correct!! It is TRUE!! Paul did teach John how to play the guitar “proper”, as it were. If you remember your Beatle history (as I’m sure you do) John’s only musical instruction (pre-Paul) came in the form of a somewhat free-spirited (to put it mildly) mother who taught him some chords on the banjo. From what has been reported, however, she was far from an accomplished musician. Having acknowledged this, how does this (in a nutshell) say it all? You do realize that many students of any endeavor often wind up having more talent than their teachers, don’t you? Talk about laughing out loud.

    I’m not keeping anyone from liking/loving both of them, ok? Where do I leave the impression I don’t like Paul? If you look at my closing statements, I clearly state it could go either way. In fact, I’ll take it a step further and state none of the Beatles were great technical musicians, except for Paul. My arguments were not an attempt to make him the “lesser” I was merely pointing out that his technical merits, by definition, would tend to leave him out of the RAW category. That’s not to say he is not genius (which I pointed out in my opening comments) in his own right.

    There are many in the Lennon/McCartney debate who take up sides (no shite…it’s a debate) and some who display an obvious allegiance in the guise of neutrality, like yourself. Now thank you and good day!!!!

  • Paul Lennon

    And by the way….while both songs are pretty much shite, “Power to the People” is legions better than “Freedom”. Combine this with the fact that “Power” is hampered by a very prominent Yoko presence and you can see why it was shite. One aspect of the debate that is seldom addressed is the fact that Lennon was SEVERELY handicapped by his partner in the solo years. While Linda was certainly no American Idol, at least she provided some decent background vocals, and McCartney was clever enough to keep her in the lower end of the mix, rather than featuring her like Lennon did Yoko.

  • http://www,bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    Back off boogaloo,
    I said, back off boogaloo,
    I said, back off boogaloo, boo

    I can’t believe I actually started this :)

    Everyone stop watching Let it Be and turn on Yellow Submarine!

    So Richards or Jagger?

  • Carolyn

    First I want to let everyone know that I have been a huge highly impressed Beatles fan especially a big impressed John *and* Paul fan since I was 9,I got my first Beatles book for my 11th birthday and I had every Beatles album by age 13. I was born in 1965 during the middle of their recording career too.

    I have always loved and admired *both* Paul and John equally and it really p*sses me off when either of them are underrated,in comparing one to the other! It’s really ridiculous nonsense because as George Martin and millions of other people,many other well known music artists,like Elton John,Brian Wilson,Ozzy Osbourne,Bily Joel,Phil Collins,classical composer and conducter Leonard Bernstein have said and recognized,John Lennon *and* Paul McCartney were incredibly talented song composers and singers etc!

    One thing that really bothers me is when people minimize Paul McCartney by saying his lyrics are often simple and that John’s were much deeper and better. What many people don’t understand is that Paul’s father Jim McCartney was a naturally musically talented guy,who taught himself to play the piano as a very young guy,and became an accomplished jazz pianist and leader of his own jazz band called,Jim Mac’s Band that were popular in the 1930’s in clubs,but his father wasn’t a poet,and he even wrote some of his own instrumental music,and Paul recorded one of his father’s old jazz instrumentals called Walking in The Park With Eloise that was included on the 1976 Wings At The Speed Of Sound album.

    So Paul inherited his father’s natural musical talent to the genuis extreme! As someone already pointed out it was Paul who wrote most of the music in A Day in The Life,and he co-conducted The British Philharmonic orchestra at age 24 with George Martin. And it was Paul’s often experimenting with tape loops that he would often come into the studio with bags of,that made the seagull sounds on John’s Tomorrow Never Knows.

    THere is an excellent web site called,The Evolution of Rock Bass Playing McCartney Style by Dennis Alstrand,and in it Stanley Clarke,Will Lee,Billy Sheehan,Sting,George Martin and John Lennon are all quoted saying what a great,melodic and influential bass player Paul always was! And the 1992 Rolling Stone Album Guide also calls Paul a remarkable bass player,and rightfully calls both John and Paul the 2 greatest song writers in the history of rock.

    The All Music Guide says this too,and also says as singers both John and Paul were among the best and most expressive in rock. They also say that an inaccurate stereotype is that John wrote the rockers and Paul wrote more love ballads,but they said that the truth is they both were equally capable of writing love ballads and all out ballsy rock.Paul wrote some of their great rockers including in the early days,She’s A Woman from late 1964 is a great blues type rocker,and I’m Down from early 1965 is a screaming hard rocker especially for 1965! And as most people here already know,he wrote what many have called the first true heavy metal song,Helter Skelter on the 1968 Beatles White album. Of course many people have pointed out that John’s song I Want You She’s So Heavy on Abbey Road was also one of the first true heavy metal songs.

    Eric Clapton says in an online interview that John was a pretty good guitar player and he would have known because he played live in concert with John as a member of his 1969 Platic Ono Band.

    Walls and Bridges is one of my favorite John solo albums,and Plastic Ono Band is really brilliant,and the Imagine album is also very good too. John’s songs on Double Fantasy were very good,and it was nice to hear him happy and more emotionally together finally after 40 years of being so tormented and troubled from his traumatic childhood and it was stupid for any critics to not appreciate this and criticize his songs for being too “soft” etc. They liked it better when John was miserable!

    Paul McCartney’s first 5 years of his solo/Wings career was his his greatest music post Beatles! I really like his first solo album McCartney on which he played every instrument and played so many so well it sounds like a whole band playing,Ram has some great songs on it too like,Too Many People,Uncle Albert,and Back Seat of My Car,I love Red Rose Speeday,Band On The Run is a very good album,and Venus and Mars is so great,I think thats the last great album he made. He did some good stuff after this but for some reason he just never had the same great sound again.

  • Paul Lennon

    You do like to stir it up…don’t you?

  • Paul Lennon

    That last comment was directed at Brad, not Carolyn.

  • Carolyn

    Paul,

    Thank you I thought and hoped you meant Brad! I really didn’t meant for my post to on here more than once but the site wasn’t working and it kept saying my name is required,but I had already typed my name in,so I had to keep clicking on the publish button!

  • http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pageartist.cfm?bandID=463156 JC Mosquito

    Ummm…. Richards?

  • Carolyn

    bitch is a woman hating name along with slut and whore which women are often called in pornography!

  • Carolyn

    Who cares about Keith Richards or Mick Jagger I certainly don’t! Even though they were both friends with and big fans of The Beatles!

  • Carolyn

    I also want to say this is like arguing who is better Beethoven or Mozart!

  • http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pageartist.cfm?bandID=463156 JC Mosquito

    Ummmm… Beethoven. If he was born in the modern world, he would never have let his songs be used on Stars on 45 Play the Classics.

  • Lissa Parker

    LOL! Brad, talk about opening Pandora’s box. You have my sympathies, dude. As Ringo could say: Peace and Love, everybody. \/ <– (peace sign) Peace and Love, Peace and Love, Peace and Love.

  • Carolyn

    Lissa,

    Why does Brad deserve sympathy he’s the one that started this ridiculous argument on here!

  • Carolyn

    Paul Lennon,

    John and Yoko were totally equal partners and he said he and Yoko thought alike,and they both had the same dreams when they were alone and Yoko to her credit changed John for the better from a typical sexist woman hater to a feminist and he said himself it freed him to let go of the macho facade he had most of his life. And alowed him to be in touch with all of his “human” qualities our society defines and labels “masculine” and made him a whole full person instead of half of one which is what he realized feminism does for men!

  • JC Mosquito

    Hmm… do you know the story about Lennon with a tampon on his head?

  • Carolyn

    JC Mosquito,

    Yes I do and John was drunk and admitted he acted like a total as*h*le! But he really grew up during the 5 years he was a stay at home father to Sean.

  • John McCartney

    Carolyn:

    Don’t let the name John McCartney fool you, it’s me, Paul Lennon. I use the names in this way (interchangeably) to point out the actual duality of the Lennon/McCartney mystique (I hope everyone got that..stanz Man?). As someone has already stated, they truly are 2 sides of the same coin.

    In response to your comment, I would never presume to debate the benefits or detriments of the John & Yoko relationship, in terms of the love they may (or may not?) have had for each other. I know all too well what it’s like to be totally possessed by a woman.

    Having said that, your average casual observer can pretty much tell when they’ve heard a noise that makes their skin crawl, or their ears bleed. My comments were based solely on Yoko’s merits as a musical collaborator. In this regard, she leaves a lot to be desired. Equal partners? You’re kidding, right?

    If Lennon’s solo music suffered as much as many have said, I would argue Yoko’s influence played a major role in that. One of Lennon’s major attributes, when he was in the Beatles (whether it is politically correct, or not) was his macho, masculine, kick ass attitude. His pussification (pardon my French) by Yoko, was most certainly detrimental to his music as, some would argue, he lost the edge that made him who he truly is/was.

    Lennon said a lot of things in defense of Yoko. He would often comment on how his life was better because of her. In reality, he had to say these things. He had to provide some sort of justifaction for choosing a mate/collaborator that was so far beneath him. I mean, come on…Yoko Ono? How could she hope to hold a candle to the greatness that was John Lennon, or the Beatles. Give me a break!!

  • John McCartney

    Christ…I just read what I posted. The word is “justification” not “justifaction”. Why didn’t I catch this the first time around? The comments section does have a built-in spell checker. I must’ve not been paying attention!!

  • Carolyn

    Paul Lennon,/John McCartney,

    You just said typical sexist woman hating crap! Even your coice of words,pussification! John was a much happier person,after Yoko’s influence and he wasn’t hurting inside as much as before,and as a result wasn’t hurting other people like before! Yoko is a very intelectually inteligent woman I got news for you! And John made some of his greatest albums with Yoko’s influence and she co-produced his brilliant Plastic Ono Band Album and Imagine albums,and he always said she inspired the beautiful song Imagine!

    And of course they deeply loved each other everyone who saw them and knew them knew this!

  • Carolyn

    Also if it wasn’t for Yoko John never would have gone into scream therapy and he really should have gone when he was a child and especially after his beloved mother Julia was hit and killed by the off duty cop who was drunk when John was just 17! I once read comments from a woman radio DJ who said after she was asked how she felt about Yoko,that Yoko turned John from a sexist liverpool guy into a feminist and she said anyone who did that is OK with her!

    I also want to add that Paul McCartney is a very intelligent guy,and he even won a special prize for writing an essay when he was just 11 years old,and an art prize when he was just 17. And he was into Avant-garde *before* John,he was making experimental movies and music and friends with art dealer Robert Frazer,when John said he still thiught Avant- garde was french for bullshit!

  • http://www.soundclick.com/bands/messageboard.cfm?bandID=463156 JC Mosquito

    Y’know, eveybody, neither Lennon nor McCartney needs any of us to defend their great art they made, or even to excuse their artistic failures when their grasp overextended their reach. But both of themI would think when all is said and done (and Paul himself has passed away at some unforseeable point in the future), that they were both human beings, with their good points and their bad ones. But I believe neither of them wished to be set up as a god amongst mere humans (and I don’t mean JL’s belief one time on acid when he thought he was Jesus), so let’s all admit – both of them did some things that many regualr folk do, but most people don’t care about unless it’s a celebrity. And both wrote some great songs, but by definiton, if there were great ones, there were others that were not. And possibly, had John lived he would have done much like Paul and kept trying to keep his hand in the game, only to succeed when the game meant nothing to him anymore.

    What it comes down to is this: maybe I’m amazed that there’s more instant karma hangin’ around than any of us ever thought. Or whatever.

  • Carolyn

    JC Mosquito,

    John And Paul wrote more great songs than not! And they wrote enough great ones in just a 7 year recording career,plus solo, two life times worth in such a short period of time!

  • John McCartney

    Carolyn:

    Let me make something perfectly clear…I ABSOLUTELY LOVE WOMEN!!!! I wasn’t trying to be sexist, chauvinistic, women hating, or whatever. As I said before, my comments were aimed at Yoko’s musical abilities, or lack thereof.

    Please don’t take this the wrong way, but some people (both MALE & female) need to know their place. Yoko appears to be totally lost on this concept. John Lennon met a woman and wanted her in his life. Fine. God bless him. This is the natural way of things. But just because you’re sleeping with a musical genius doesn’t make you one. Yoko Ono, who is sadly lacking in musical talent, somehow thought (probably still thinks) she could stand as a musical equal to not only John Lennon, but the Beatles as a whole. Ridiculous!!! Utterly ridiculous!!

    Again, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not hating on women. I have no problem with any woman standing as an equal to any man, as long as that woman IS AN EQUAL. I’m sorry…I don’t care how intelligent Yoko is/was, she had no business offering up suggestions as to how THE BEATLES should be recording music (which, if you know your Beatles history, she would often do). John’s first wife, Cynthia, stayed out of this aspect of her husband’s life, as she had enough intelligence to realize she had no business there.

    With regard to Yoko’s contribution/influence on two of John’s greatest solo albums; please keep in mind these albums were made during a time (1970-1971) when the residual influence of The Beatles (specifically Paul) was still fresh in John’s mind and soul. Just because he gave her a co-producer credit doesn’t necessarily mean she merited it.

  • http://www.soundclick.com/bands/messageboard.cfm?bandID=463156 JC Mosquito

    True ’nuff, C, but they were still just people all the same – give them their due credit – but accept their limitatioins, too.

  • Diane Selwyn

    “I have no problem with any woman standing as an equal to any man, as long as that woman IS AN EQUAL.”

    Err…then that means you have a problem with women. Most definitely. (who gets to determine if the woman is lucky enough to be equal to you? you?)

    One reason it always irritates me to see people attacking Yoko (or Linda) is that they seem to use it as an excuse to express their underlying resentment and/or hatred of women. Under the guise of oh no, I like women really, but this little bitch…!

    It’s rather like the John/Paul argument isn’t it? I know people who think the Beatles are lousy and that Yoko’s stuff was cool. What’s that prove? Just that people have different opinions.

    John put out 2 solid classics after he got together w/Yoko, Plastic Ono Band and Imagine. I also think D Fantasy is good all the way thru, if not a classic. I’m not going to go thru all the singles, but there are other songs on his other albums I think are good. And I thought he did some great stuff w/Yoko, I do happen to like her stuff, esp the Plastic Ono Band album of her own, Fly, Approx. Infinite Universe, from the ’70s. My favorite tracks on Some Time in NYC are hers too; We’re All Water, and that killer live version of Don’t Worry Kyoko (John on guitar).

    I liked Paul better as a child (you have to have a “favorite,” don’t you?), but switched to John as a teen as he gave better interviews! I don’t think he put out an album as good as POB or Imagine in the ’70s, but Band on the Run is obviously a classic, (for me), and I quite like Ram as well. Frankly, I think I’d even take Some Time in NYC over Wild Life or R Rose Speedway if I had to listen to one of them.

    Paul’s problem is he’s so desperately insecure, as could be seen in Many Years From Now; all me me me, I did this I did this I did this! Someone earlier said you can’t compete with a martyr. He should take that lesson to heart and let it be! It some interviews it seems he compares himself w/John as much as others do! He needs to relax and just enjoy the fact that he’s already accomplished more in one lifetime than most could do in 20. The recent appearances in small places were a great idea.

  • zingzing

    john mccartney–

    you’re probably not a woman hater, but you sure haven’t listened to much of yoko’s work if you think she lacks talent.

    go listen to her plastic ono band, fly, “walking on thin ice,” and her half of double fantasy. (here’s a clue for you: her half is much better than john’s.)

    yoko pre-figured a lot of sounds that would eventually find their way into western rock music. of course, you’ve not listened to it, so you wouldn’t know. yeah, she shrieked sometimes. whatever. shrieking’s cool.

    maybe you don’t like abrasive music or something. fine. but don’t say she lacked musical talent. she didn’t play an instrument, but she had musical creativity oozing out of her.

  • JC Mosquito

    zing –

    Interesting thought you tucked in there at the end regarding musical creativity as opposed to muscial talent. It’s a hard concept for some people to grasp but I think I’d agree with you. Being a musician is kind of like being a micromanager – able to do all those little things that make you technically adept – a musician, for lack of a better word. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have a musical vision, although I would say most musicians do have this talent to some degree, but not all necessarily.

    Or you could be the kind of person who can see the big picture – be a macro manager as it were, and be unable to play an instrument well enough to want to record yourself playing it, but you could be a good arranger or producer.

    This is where many of the “my rock star is smarter than your rock star” arguments always seem to spring from – usually, the two artists are working two different sides of the street.

    Sk.

  • Carolyn

    Diane,

    Try a listen to the 1975 Venus and Mars Paul and Wings album,it’s really great.the whole album! It’s better than ohn’s Mind Games! And I love Red Rose Speedway,I find many people on message boars rediscovering or re-evaulating it as a very good album from Paul. As I said his greatest sound post Beatles was from 1970-1975,with Venus and Mars being the last album he truly sounded that great! And anyone who would say The Beatles are lousy is an ignoramous and thanfully in the minority and is deaf and dumb!

    And actually as John always said Yoko was one of the first punk rockers and groups like the B52’s have said Yoko was a big influence! I don’t Yoko’s songs are better than John’s on Double Fantasy though. And it’s not that Paul is so insecure or that he doesn’t have any good reason to be a little p*ssed off that he *has* been unfairly underrated after John died,and people are biased towards John often and as I and others already said on here John often gets credit for doing things in songs that Paul actually wrote and did,so you really can’t blame Paul for trying to set the record straight!

    And I have an excellent hour long interview with Paul from 1986 by Barbara Howar from Entertainment Tonight and she was such a great interviewer and asked a lot of great questions,and he really opened up and he was intelligent,serious,funny and likable. She asked him about his kind nurse midwife mother Mary’s death from breast cancer when he just 14,(which he wrote the beautiful song Let it Be about after he had a vivid dream 12 years after she died and saw her alive,and she told him to accept things as they are,and when he woke up he thought how wonderful it was to see her again!)his 1980 drugs bust and 9 days in jail in Japan,his relationship with Linda and their kids and his music etc.

  • Carolyn

    I just realized I made a few typing mistakes,I really wish there was an edit button on here! I also forgot to mention that Barbara Howar asked Paul about his feelings for John and about his murder by the crazy fan!

  • Carolyn

    And Paul told Barbara Howar that Yoko called him up not long after John died just to let Paul know that John had shared teary eyed moments with her and told Yoko how much he really loved Paul. In the June 1975 Rolling Stone interview which you can find online,John said that Band On The Run is a great album,and it’s Paul’s music and it’s good stuff.He also almost recorded The Venus and Mars album with Paul and Wings towards the end of his relationship with May Pang,but he reunited with Yoko instead and she was soon pregnant with Sean.

    Also Bob Dylan said in a Rolling Stone interview this Spring,that he really admires Paul McCartney for his musical talent as a composer and that he can play any instrument great,and his beautiful melodies and harmonies,and he said he’s the only one he really admires! He also said there were no greater singers than John Lennon and Paul McCartney!

  • John McCartney

    “”I have no problem with any woman standing as an equal to any man, as long as that woman IS AN EQUAL.””

    “Err…then that means you have a problem with women. Most definitely.”

    “One reason it always irritates me to see people attacking Yoko (or Linda) is that they seem to use it as an excuse to express their underlying resentment and/or hatred of women. Under the guise of oh no, I like women really, but this little bitch…!”

    Err…what?!?!

    In the first place, the statement was in reference to whether or not Yoko could stand on equal ground to John Lennon, musically; not whether or not they are equal humanists, pacifists, citizens, parents, money earners, or whatever other aspects of ones character/nature you want to include. I find it hard to believe anyone (even zingzing) could hope to argue she was Lennon’s equal, musically speaking, of course.

    “(who gets to determine if the woman is lucky enough to be equal to you? you?)”

    Err…I don’t know? I guess it depends on what we’re talking about. Just by virtue of the physical differences between the two, there are certainly many instances in which women are not equal to men, and vice versa. But hey, let’s talk real world examples where physicality is not part of the equation. If a woman earns more money than her husband (a reality in today’s society…Kevin Federline/Britney Spears, anyone?) with respect to income, would you say he is her equal? Gee…who decides this? Me? You? The public at large? How about it doesn’t take a genius to figure out, with respect to income, he is not her equal. Does this mean anyone who comes to this obvious conclusion has a problem with men? Is a man hater? Come on…you can do better than that.

  • John McCartney

    “you’re probably not a woman hater”

    Thanks zing!! I was really starting to worry.

    “you sure haven’t listened to much of yoko’s work if you think she lacks talent.”

    I find myself unable to listen to her work. Given enough money, most anyone can hire a top-notch set of studio musicians to create enjoyable sounding accompanying music (karaoke anyone?). But the voice man…the voice (shudders uncontrollably).

    “and her half of double fantasy. (here’s a clue for you: her half is much better than john’s.)”

    WOW!!! Now there’s a statement that’s definitely in the minority. I forgive you, though!

  • CCarolyn

    John McCartney/Paul Lennon,

    I got news for you for *most* jobs women still get payed les than men for doing the same exact job with the *same* qualifications,except when they use their bodies to sexually serve men in pornography,stripping and prostitution,women are payed the most for the only thing they are valued for the most!

    And when Yoko spoke,she always had a very pretty little girl pleasant sounding voice,and even though Cynthia Lennon is intelligent too,she admits she was conditioned to be a submissive obedient wife,who John got bored and unsatisfied with,he wanted an intellectual and artistic equal partner,and he found it pretty much in Yoko! And exactly what physical things do you think men and women are not equal in? Machines and other technology help women now do heavy kinds of work etc that have nothing to do with mental capacities.

    And believe it or not women and men have more similarities than differences,and lots of psychological research studies prove this,something John and Yoko realized.

  • John McCartney

    Carolyn:

    Whoa…didn’t mean to turn this into a debate on the equalities/inequalities between men and women. I am fully aware men still make more money than women for the same job, which believe it or not……wait for it…..I think is totally unfair (did you hear that Diane?). The situation, however, is improving. Women are closer to men, in terms of income, then ever before.

    I could easily have used the reverse situation (man makes more than wife) however, the point I was trying to make really had nothing to do with the fact there was inequality, simply that it didn’t take a genius to DECIDE it existed.

  • John McCartney

    “simply that it didn’t take a genius to DECIDE it existed.”

    Replace DECIDE with DETERMINE. I want to be sure I use the same wording as Diane.

  • joel beers

    george martin was the most indespenable part of the Beatles Empire, although the fact they had three of the best songwriters of their generation (John, Paul and, much later, George) certainly didn’t hurt.

    As far as the John vs. Paul imbroglo: John was more political, introspective and artistic than Paul. But Paul (Helter Skelter, back in the ussr, I’m down) was every bit as much a rocker.

    Paul also possessed something that John, even with all his popululist, idiosyncratic charm and self-awareness, never had: musical genius. Want proof? Check out his bass lineson Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Dear Prudence.

    McCartney was a phenomenal, self-trained musician, and as good as a bass player as classic rock can boast of. That explains both why people love, and dismiss him: Lennon could not have written “Penny Lane.” Invariably, there would have been darkness and ambiguity ala “For the Benefit of Mr. Kite.”
    By the same token, McCartney could never have written the beautifully self-reflexive “Strawberry Fields.”

    The Beatles were both Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields, Yer Blues and Martha, My Dear.

    We should count ourselves lucky that we lived in a time when two such great artists worked…

  • Joe Rodriguez

    It’s funny reading how people are saying that one is better than the other when, in reality, these two loved each other as well as respected and admired the other’s work and talents.

  • Michael Hughes

    I realize that this movie “Two of Us” is many years old now but I just watched it for the 1st time. I wasn’t sure what to expect from it going into it but I really enjoyed it. I also realize that any piece of fiction, especially ones made directly for TV will do anything to dramatize the story to the point of totally misconstruing reality but…I still enjoyed the movie. It kinda left me with a nice warm cozy feeling inside and sure made me wish John had lived long enough for the boys to have reunited one last time! Any thoughts on this movie from anyone??

    Oh, by the way, both John and Paul were/are wonderful artists. Mays/Mantle?? Astaire/Rogers?? Lennon/McCartney?? Why try to compare their talents? Both apples and oranges are delicious in their own ways…Enjoy them both!

  • http://bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    I liked the movie although the funniest part for me was where a fan recognizes John but not Paul which was accurate since Aiden Quinn looked nothing like Paul

  • Michael Hughes

    True, Aidan Quinn did not look like Paul. Jared Harris looked a lil more like John, I thought. I wonder if Paul ever watched this movie, and if he did, if he ever gave his thoughts about it.

    I have lil doubt that the real meeting between John and Paul had little resemblance to this fictitious account but it was nice to see how it could have gone down and to see that the hard feelings may have been laid to rest before John was, 4 years later.

  • http://bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    In real life, Paul showed up with a guitar and John turned him away saying it wasn’t 1958 or something, but supposedly they chatted on the phone a lot before John died and made up. Or at least that’s Paul’s story and he’s sticking to it.

  • Dan

    “This saw such musical moments as when Lennon muted the optimism of McCartney’s “We Can Work It Out,” with a pessimistic bridge,”

    life is very short, and there’s no ti-i-i-i-ime for fussing and fighting my friend. I have always thought, that it’s a cri-i-i-i-ime, so I will ask you once again…

    I thought that was Lennon. Once you explore there differences you see how freakishly compatible they were.

  • Michael Hughes

    Brad…”In real life, Paul showed up with a guitar and John turned him away saying it wasn’t 1958 or something…”?? Did John report that? or Paul? I had never read either of their accounts of what happened that night. Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I prefered the movie’s idea better! :)

  • http://bradlaidman.com Brad Laidman

    John Lennon discussed the Saturday Night Live episode, as well as his relationship with McCartney, in a September 1980 interview for Playboy:

    Paul and I were together watching that show. He was visiting us at our place in the Dakota. We were watching it and almost went down to the studio, just as a gag. We nearly got into a cab, but we were actually too tired […] That was a period when Paul just kept turning up at our door with a guitar. I would let him in, but finally I said to him, ‘Please call before you come over. It’s not 1956 and turning up at the door isn’t the same anymore. You know, just give me a ring.’ He was upset by that, but I didn’t mean it badly. I just meant that I was taking care of a baby all day and some guy turns up at the door. . . . But, anyway, back on that night, he and Linda walked in and he and I were just sitting there, watching the show, and we went, ‘Ha-ha, wouldn’t it be funny if we went down?’ but we didn’t.[3]
    Paul McCartney also remembered the event for an interview: “[John] said, ‘We should go down there. We should go down now and just do it.’ It was one of those moments where we said, ‘Let’s not and say we did.’ ”

  • Michael Hughes

    Brad,

    Thanks for that info! I’ll have to look up those interviews. Adios!

  • Jack F

    I AS A JONH LENNON FAN, STILL BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE SHOULD JUST ACCEPT BOTH HIM AND PAUL FOR WHAT THEY ARE, GREAT SONGWRITERS AND SINGERS. THEY BOTH APPEALED TO A WIDE VARIETY OF PEOPLE, JOHN TO THOSE WHO PREFER STRAIGHT-TALKING, NASAL INFLUENCED OPINIONS, WERE AS PAUL EQUALLY APPEALED WITH HIS THROATY, MELODY INFLUENCED POPTASTIC TUNES, SO REALLY BOTH ARE JUST AS GOOD AS EACH OTHER. BTW GEORGE WAS ALSO A CRACKING SINGER AND WRITER, HE TO ME IS THE BEST OF JOHN AND PAUL, HE HAS JOHNS NASAL AND PAULS THROATY VOICE, AND HE ALSO WRITES OPINIONATED MELODY BASED SONGS!

  • full beard master

    Paul McCartney suck!! John Lennon is the best!!

  • Owen J

    Far too many people take Goldman as an authority for any comparison to bear scrutiny, as is bourne out by reading some of the comments here. Goldman’s book is nothing but a rehash of every other ‘kiss and tell’ character assassination book published after Dec 1980. Double Fantasy won the Grammy in 1981, so so much for the idea that it was poorly received. I happen to think that McCartney’s Memory Almost Full was the album of 2008, but Lennon is my favourite of the two. Anyone who says Lennon was in decline after 1972 has never heard Dream No 9, Mind Games, Out the Blue, Woman, Watching the Wheels to name but a few. McCartney was a pop musician, one of the greatest melodicists and bass players of all time; Lennon was an artist, one of the greatest lyricists and rhythm guitarists of all time. George Martin said he wouldn’t place a cigarette paper between the two. Trying to make out that Lennon lifted musical ideas off mcCartney ie Bluebird/Woman is wrong. Both McCartney and Lennon used to magpie ideas off Motown/R&B. McCartney said the tune for In My Life (which he claimed as his own; Lennon disputed) was taken from ideas contained in The Tracks of My Tears by Smokey Robinson. Had Lennon lived, we could make more of a debate about it, but since Lennon’s ouevre is half that of McCartney’s, it’s fairly pointless. For me, Strawberry Fields Forever is ten times the song Penny Lane is, and as for A Day In The Life, it’s Lennon’s verses that elevates the song to genius, McCartney’s chirpy middle eight is asinine in comparison. Whereas McCartney had the greater commercial appeal, Lennon’s genius was for cultural impact, vis Give Peace a Chance and Imagine. No Post Beatles McCartney songs are as famous as these Lennon classics.

  • My

    See? This is what I’m TIRED of reading.

    Did you know, dear Brad, that Lennon WASN”T the one who had the idea for the tape loops in “Tomorrrow Never Knows”? That was a McCartney, Emerick and Martin work? Emerick got the idea for the loops and Paul did the most work. Lennon wasn’t even present at te studio when it was done.

    That it was McCartney who organized the arragements and thhe orchestral part in the middle of ” A Day In the Life”

    That the music (not the lyrics) of “In My Life” are McCartney’s?

    That the mellotron part of “Strawberry Fields Forever” was composed by McCartney?

    And where is the optimistic. McCartney in “You Never Give Me Your Money”? IMO, McCartney songs in that album are superior than Lennnon’s. As his songs are also superior in Revolver. By the way, where is “McCartney optimism” in that Abbey Road? He seems pretty gloom to me in that one.

    All this is in Geoff Emerick book. He gives many details about the Beatles studio work.

    Dear writer, I’m also fan o Lennon’s. I think his songs are superior in “White Album”. But I’m not going to be blind to McCartney’s contribution to Beatles experimentalism. He was the one who started it. “Revolver” and “Sgt Pepper” were pretty much idea. (and I think “Fixing a Hole” and “Getting Better” are masterpieces)

    You are just repeating the same old clichés I’m TIRED of hearing. You didn’t do your homework. You take a weak composition of Paul and say he is a bad political song writer (is this something bad?) . Well, I think John’s politics are naive and shalllow. I enjoy his other work way more.

    But I’m losing my time with this. Paul is still alive and he won’t be recongnize so early.

  • http://www.johnlennon.talktalk.net/index.html John Lennon Site

    Lennon and McCartney were both great songwriters.

    Lennon was the genius and McCartney the beauty.

    In My Life and Yesterday. Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane. Imagine and The Frog Song.

  • http://www.myspace.com/beatlesshop Beatles Myspace

    In reply to ‘My’.

    ‘In My Life’, was written by John Lennon, with Paul helping only on the middle eight.

    In many interviews, Lennon actually gave McCartney a lot more credit than he deserved. He failed to mention his own contributions on many songs, just dismissing them as ‘a Paul song’.

    eg: Middle sections/Chorus, of ‘Michelle’, ‘And I Love Her’, ‘She’s Leaving Home’.. all written by John.

    John also finished off ‘Good Day Sunshine’, ‘Here, There and Everywhere’, and ‘Penny Lane’ with Paul.

    and things like, ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, and ‘MMT’, which were ‘very’ co-written, as McCartney later said.

  • Brad Laidman

    I’ve always read that the piano middle to in my life was actually George Martin

  • Sandra Bird

    John and Paul are the best, but Paul is a melody genius.

  • gajjer

    I’ve been around for a while, and I use to be a Beatle know-it-all (not only did I listen to their music, but I also listen to every interview each one ever gave). I can’t help but think that one of the last interview Lennon gave with Rolling Stone before he died was accurate then, as well as now –> How long can Mick Jagger wear lipstick and Paul’s music must mean sometihng to him, though I don’t know what, nor probably he. Yep, 30 years later and he seem to know what he was talking about then …. pretty scarey when you read this guys thoughts then, and they hold up all this time later … I stopped listening to McCartney since 1974, and standby my decision 36 years later

  • Johan Cavalli

    I the ten singles and five albums before Yesterday, Lennon was the dominant composer. After that he composed every second song, with the exception of Pepper, where McCartey wrote more, but Lennon the most important.
    Despite those facts, it is incredible that McCartney by the press people and writers was appointed The Beatles composer, a n d McCartney encouraged that misconception. In all books all misconceptions about the Beatles songwritng, are always to McCartney´s favour. How could it be so?

  • Ken Rose

    I judge by what I still listen to now after 40 years. I still listen to Ram because its diversity keeps me entertained same reason I still listen to Imagine but I skip the title cut (overplayed), I still listen to Band on the Run. I do not listen too ONO Platic Band because it gets tedious. So I guess I favor McCartney.