The Beatles

When people hear the name “The Beatles” most people think of
lead singer, John Lennon. However, the role of Paul McCartney is
often overlooked. It was McCartney, not Lennon who was the
driving force behind the Beatles.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney were in many bands
together before the forming of the Beatles. In 1962, along with
Ringo Starr1 and George Harrison, they formed the rock group
known as “The Beatles”. The group featured a modern rock that was
new and popular during the period with John and Paul composing
and doing the leads on most of the songs. They were backed by
George on rhythm and bass guitar and Ringo on drums. George and
Ringo also assisted on backing vocals.

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When they first began playing, the main influence inside the
band was John Lennon, who had an uncanny ability to compose songs
at a moments notice with an inspiration that others missed. He
pushed the members of the band during their touring years and was
able to achieve the best possible results from the group.

The band began playing in a Music Hall style that is very
effective for the audiences but was lacking on their albums.

Together with Paul, John began to evolve the band. As the years
began to pass, the band was obviously beginning to grow
musically. They had moved from simple lyrics like “Love me Do” to
harshly aware reflections of life in their home country in
“Eleanor Rigby”2. There were attempts, some more successful than
others, to incorporate the other Beatles into the idea stage.

George Harrison made this leap successfully with such tracks as
“I want to tell you”, “TAXMAN”, and the psychedelic “Love you
to”. Ringo was featured in the humorous “Yellow Submarine” As the
group matured, their creativity began to rely more on the effects
and manipulations that they were able to produce in the studio.

The Beatles agreed to end their touring career after an American
tour of large halls that they failed to fill. It was around this
time, that John Lennon began to search for himself. He began
using any means that he thought might help him connect. This era
was marked by the Beatles visits to the Maharashi Mahesh Yogi,
and the beginning of heavy drug use 3. As Lennon began to use LSD
in greater and greater quanti-ties4, the other Beatles began to
have more and more influence in the production of the albums.

Lennon began to become almost reclusive, and often delayed
recording sessions.By the time that they were recording Sgt.

Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967, Lennon would simply
propose songs and themes, and McCartney was left to execute the
plans and tie together whims. They began to make demands of
the crew:Beatles songs were quite simple in the early days, you
couldn’t play around with them too much. But by 1967 we were
building sound pictures and my George Martin role had changed-
it was to interpret the pictures and determine how best to get
them down on tape. Paul was fine-he could express what he wanted,
the sounds he wa nted to have. But John…would make whooshing
sounds and try to describe what only he could only hear in his
head, saying he wanted a song to ‘sound like an orange’.5 As soon
as the Sgt. Pepper album was underway, Paul McCartney came up
with the idea of actually creating a band and preforming the
songs as that band. They took the Idea from there and Sgt.

Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band came into existence, never to
see the outside of studio 2 at Abbey Road. They spent nearly a
year recording various tracks for the album and John’s state of
mind was steadily declining. In 1969 when they issued Abbey Road
it was no longer difficult to distinguish between the writings of
Paul and John . John was producing works like “I want you (she’s
so heavy)” which had the lyrics:
I want you so bad it’s driving me mad
She’s so heavy6
And the more musical and thoughtful work of McCartney, such as
“Golden Slumbers” which was almost a lullaby:
Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby
Golden slumbers fill your eyes
Smiles awake you when you rise Sleep pretty darling do not
And I will sing a lullaby7
The writing of the material on The Beatles8 seemed more balanced
as Lennon began writing more cogent songs, and collaborating on a
song-by-song basis with McCartney. Their songs varied from a slow
ballad in McCartney’s “Blackbird” to the bizarre and intriguing
“Revolution #9) by Lennon. Yet McCartney was needed to control
Lennon when he recorded the original version of “Sexie Sadie”
with the verse:
You little twat
Who the fuck do you think you are
Who the fuck do you think you are
Oh, you cunt.9
Fortunately McCartney prevented the track from proceeding any
farther than rehearsal. He ended up suggesting that the song take
a more sympathetic note and, eventually, Lennon agreed. During
this time, one almost constant presence in the recording studio
was Yoko Ono, John’s wife. This was against an unspoken code
amongst the Beatles not to allow wives and girlfriends into the
studio. Yoko had a large affect on John, almost completely
altering his style, and inspiring such songs as “I want
her (she’s so heavy)” and “Revelation #9”. Many of the other
songs that Yoko and John created were rejected by the group, but
her presence changed John’s behavior and performance. The Beatles
final album together was Let It Be released in 1970. The album
was not in any way spectacular and exhibited many of the traits
that are associated with the Beatles writing. The title track,
“Let It Be” is one of the most famous tracks recorded by the
group. The music on the album was a last chance effort to keep
the group together, and although the album was well received, it
was not what the group had in mind. The Beatles did not make
another recording after that date, though there were rumors of
the group reforming until the shooting of Lennon in 1980.

One of the most obvious indicators of the heavy hand that
was often kept on Lennon is the progress of his band which he
formed after the breakup of the Beatles. The Plastic Ono Band was
an only moderately successful group that took the popular
psycedalia a few steps to far and lost most of its popularity.

Lennon attempted to enter theater, but it was quickly obvious
that he was no actor. He lived a bizarre and drug ridden life
secluded in his apartment with his wife Yoko Ono and his son.

Both he and his wife were reported to have serious heroin
addictions and were often said to be high in the presence of

After the breakup, McCartney launched a moderately success-
ful solo career. He has released many recordings both in the
United States and abroad. His most recent accomplishment was the
“Liverpool Oratorio” which is no small feat considering that
McCartney never learned to read music. The songwriting styles,
the studio records, and the individual careers all show that
there was a very large influence in the group, and in the music,
by Paul McCartney. Equal to Lennon in the beginning, but
surpassing him at the conclusion of the relationship. Two key
factors that probably caused this are his affection and
infatuation with Yoko Ono, and the heavy use of hallucinogenic
drugs. On some occasions, both of those factors may have given
Lennon inspiration for his music, but they greatly reduced his
control and influence in the band.Words
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