Showing posts with label Songwriting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Songwriting. Show all posts

Sunday, October 31, 2021

"McCartney and Lennon": Paul reverses credits on some songs in new "Lyrics" book

In his new, two-volume "Lyrics: 1956 to Present" book, Paul McCartney puts his name first on some tunes traditionally credited to "Lennon-McCartney." The reversal is meant to highlight, in Paul's view, the primary author of each of the included songs, Showbiz 411 reports.

McCartney has talked about the credits situation for years, feeling like his name should come first on Beatles songs written primarily, and sometimes solely, by him., after 60 plus years, Paul gets his way. In his new two volumes called “The Lyrics,” covering 154 songs, Paul has reversed the byline. All the songs he wrote or primarily wrote, are credited Writers: Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Those songs include all the obvious ones including “Yesterday,” “Hey Jude,” “Let it Be,” “Long and Winding Road,” and even “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

There are plenty of others, too, from “Paperback Writer” to “She’s a Woman” and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” Paul doesn’t do it to songs Lennon wrote, or that they collaborated on

That's my emphasis on the last sentence!

The book isn't out, yet, so it's not clear on which, or on how many, tunes the credits are reversed. But the maneuver and Paul's recollections of some songs are likely to spur controversy, as they already have when it was mentioned recently that, in the book, he states he was writing about his late friend Tara Browne in "A Day in the Life," whereas, in the past he's stated that he wasn't thinking about Browne when he and John collaborated on the song's lyrics.

In the book, Paul says: 

“I wrote about [Browne] in "A Day in the Life." ‘He blew his mind in a car/he didn’t notice that the lights had changed.”

Whereas, John stated in Hunter Davies' 1968 authorized Beatles biography that he had Browne in mind when writing the song's lyrics: 

"I didn't copy the incident. Tara didn't blow his mind out. But it was in my mind when I was writing that verse."

In his 1980 Playboy interview, John said: 

"I was reading the paper one day and noticed two stories. One was about the Guinness heir [Browne] who killed himself in a car. That was the main headline story. He died in London in a car crash. On the next page was a story about 4,000 potholes in the streets of Blackburn, Lancashire, that needed to be filled."

And in Paul's 1997 memoir, "Many Years from Now," authored by Barry Miles, McCartney says:

"[The lyrics have] been attributed to Tara Browne, the Guinness heir, which I don’t believe is the case. In my head I was imagining a politician bombed out on drugs who’d stopped at some traffic lights and didn’t notice that the lights had changed.”

When Paul's evident reversal of his story made the news earlier this week, debate ensued online as to whether he was trying to rewrite the past or take more than his fair share of credit for the song's lyrics. 

But, hey!, the fact that we're still debating and worried about such things indicates how important and how fascinating the Beatles are to us, even today.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Harvard study shows Paul didn't write melody to "In My Life"

Findings from a new computer-modeling study indicate Paul McCartney didn't write the melody to the Beatles' "In My Life," no matter what Paul says.

Paul has often taken credit for the tune, telling broadcaster Paul Gambaccini: "Those were the words John wrote, and I wrote the tune to it. That was a great one."

John, however, insisted only the ‘middle-eight’ and harmonies were Sir Paul's work.

But a computer analysis of nearly 149 different musical hallmarks present in various Lennon and McCartney songs give credit for both words and music to John.

According to the Daily Telegraph:

“We wondered whether you could use data analysis techniques to try to figure out what was going on in the song to distinguish whether it was by one or the other," said Dr Mark Glickman, senior lecturer in statistics at Harvard University.

“The basic idea is to convert a song into a set of different data structures that are amenable for establishing a signature of a song using a quantitative approach. Think of decomposing a colour into its constituent components of red, green and blue with different weights attached.

“The probability that 'In My Life' was written by McCartney is .018. Which basically means it's pretty convincingly a Lennon song. McCartney misremembers.”

... [The researchers] found a major distinction. While the pitch of Sir Paul’s songs was complex and varied, Lennon’s did not change much at all.

"Consider the Lennon song, 'Help!'" added Dr Glickman. "It basically goes, 'When I was younger, so much younger than today,' where the pitch doesn't change very much.

“It stays at the same note repeatedly, and only changes in short steps. Whereas with Paul McCartney, you take a song like 'Michelle.’' In terms of pitch, it's all over the place."

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Paul McCartney on "The End"

Paul McCartney, in a new interview from Australia, has some interesting quotes regarding the final song (if you don't count "Her Majesty") on Abbey Road, which serves as a swansong for the Beatles.

“I didn’t think of it as the end of The Beatles, I think of it mainly as the end of an album. But I just had that little couplet: ‘in the end, you love you take/is equal to the love you make’ I liked that as a sentiment and as a mini-poem. That came on the end of the album and that song, quite luckily.”
"It is good as you say, everyone got to do their bit. I don’t analyse my stuff but if I was to, that’d be a good one to analyse. You’ve got John, George, Ringo, - that’s sewing it all up. You get Ringo, does his drum solo, which he would never do we had to really persuade him to do [a] drum solo.”

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Artifact: "Rocky Racoon" songwriting agreement signed by John Lennon

Via Heritage Auctions:

Beatles - Publishing Agreement Between MacLen (Music) Limited and Northern Songs Limited for "Rocky Raccoon" Signed by John Lennon and Neil Aspinall (UK, October 15, 1968). One page printed on the front and back, 8" x 13", completed in typescript (carbon), and signed at the close: "Neil Aspinall" in black ballpoint (for Maclen Music) and "John Lennon" in bold black felt tip. "Principal Publishing Agreement" between parties agreeing that the publishers will pay royalties as listed to Maclen for the full period of copyright. "Rocky Raccoon" was on the The Beatles ("The White Album"), released a month after this agreement.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

History: Beatles Book Monthly October 1966

The October 1966 of the Beatles' official fan magazine catches the group following their post-"Bigger than Jesus" tour of the United States, when all members were taking a break and plotting their next moves. Not surprisingly, the mag puts a bright spin on the whole Jesus controversy.

The big news is John cutting his hair to appear in Richard Lester's "How I Won the War" film. There's also interview with George about songwriting and a nice photo of Ringo, with wife Maureen and son Zak, at home. Not much to report regarding Paul, this month.

Beatle road managers Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall and driver Alf Bicknell

Thursday, August 25, 2016

History: Beatles Book Monthly August 1966

The August 1966 issue of the Beatles' official magazine reached readers on the heels of the release of Revolver and the group's ill-fated experiences in the Philippines, about which, from the Beatle camp's perspective, the less said the better.

Not much is said about Revolver or the unique tracks and recording methods used to create them. But there are a few references in the issue about the group struggling to come up with the LP's title.

The lead editorial also reminds fans the group will soon depart England for America. At this point, the Beatles had no idea of the controversy awaiting them there.

The issue also devotes a number of photos and two features to Germany. The Beatles had just completed their tour of the country, where they reunited with old friends from Hamburg. They traveled through the country by train and spent some of their time working to come up with the name for their upcoming L.P.

In the Beatle Talk section, Paul and John discuss killing time on long flights.

In the letters section, one fan asks about rumors concerning the Lennon-McCartney team's songwriting practices.

The mag also included this shot of George with his Jag at Abbey Road (standing with road managers Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans) ...

And Neil mentioning the Beatles working on their famed group painting while holed up in a hotel in Japan:

And, finally, another fun shot of Ringo.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Video: Paul McCartney discusses songwriting

Sir Paul McCartney sat down with model Lily Cole to answer questions about his new song for Cole's Impossible campaign in central London.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

McCartney talks chords and more in latest "You Gave Me the Answer" chat

A weekly feature on Paul McCartney's website is "You Gave Me the Answer," a column where he answers questions.

Oftentimes, it's generally full of Paul saying the same old stuff about the same old stuff, but this week there's some interesting conversation about the mechanics of playing guitar and songwriting:

Several of us here at play instruments and we’ve always been delighted and impressed by how intricate and complex Paul’s arrangements can be. ‘You Gave Me The Answer’ is a great example with Paul employing F diminished, G# diminished and Bb diminished; chords not often found in pop songs!
We wanted to geek out a little, so our question to Paul was this:
"You have famously talked about how you jumped on a bus across Liverpool to learn the chord B7 from a guy who knew how to play it. How did you get from there to using the more complicated diminished and augmented chords that began appearing on the early Beatles albums and have continued to be used in your songs such as ‘You Gave Me The Answer’"?
We sat down with Paul in his London office just before he left to continue his ‘Out There’ tour of the US. And boy, were we in for a treat!
Paul told us,
“It was a combination of three ways, really. Some were from people showing them to us; for example, Jim Gretty who was a guy from a guitar shop in Liverpool called Hessy’s. He had a guitar and was a jazz player, and I remember him showing us a chord that was F, but it had a couple of notes added. We called it F demented!"
Paul then picked up the acoustic guitar that lives in his office and began playing the F demented chord. You have to really stretch your fingers to make the chord, but Paul did it
with ease.
“The chord found its way into a lot of things, like ‘Michelle.’  Another chord came in via ‘Along Came Jones’ by The Coasters.”
Paul again illustrated his point by playing 'Michelle' followed by 'Along Came Jones' by The Coasters. (Check out The Coasters' song when you get chance, it's a great tune!)
"Sometimes we would pick them up from sheet music, like, 'Oh! We don’t know that chord'. But mainly it was just figuring it out from listening to songs we liked. We knew that
something went up in the chords, so me and George would work it out. Buddy Holly would use an odd chord like that - ‘Raining In My Heart’ - and the second chord in there was
augmented. We worked a lot of that out by ear. There’d also be songs like 'Til There Was You’ that would have these chords in too."
Paul then told us whilst laughing, "Sometimes we’d be working with people who knew notation and stuff and they would say, 'Is that C diminished? Is that the chord?' And we’d
look at each other, shrug and go, 'Yes!'"
Then, almost as an encore to our question, Paul played us 'Raining In My Heart' by Buddy Holly.
 P.S. F-diminished isn't really so tough.