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.
...now, 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.