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 wasMcCartney, not Lennon who was the driving force behind the Beatles. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were in many bands together before theforming 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 modernrock that was new and popular during the period with John and Paul composingand doing the leads on most of the songs. They were backed by George onrhythm and bass guitar and Ringo on drums. George and Ringo also assisted onbacking vocals. When they first began playing, the main influence inside the band was JohnLennon, who had an uncanny ability to compose songs at a moments notice with aninspiration that others missed. He pushed the members of the band during theirtouring 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 forthe audiences but was lacking on their albums. Together with Paul, John beganto evolve the band. As the years began to pass, the band was obviouslybeginning 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 theother Beatles into the idea stage. George Harrison made this leap successfullywith such tracks as “I want to tell you”, “TAXMAN”, and the psychedelic “Loveyou to”.
Ringo was featured in the humorous “Yellow SubmarineAs the group matured, their creativity began to rely more on the effectsand manipulations that they were able to produce in the studio. The Beatlesagreed to end their touring career after an American tour of large halls thatthey failed to fill. It was around this time, that John Lennon began to search for himself. Hebegan using any means that he thought might help him connect. This era wasmarked by the Beatles visits to the Maharashi Mahesh Yogi, and the beginning ofheavy drug use3. As Lennon began to use LSD in greater and greater quanti-ties4, the otherBeatles 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 Bandin 1967, Lennon would simply propose songs and themes, and McCartney was leftto execute the plans and tie together whims. They began to make demands of thecrew:Beatles songs were quite simple in the early days, youcouldn’t play around with them too much.
But by 1967we were building sound pictures and my George Martinrole had changed-it was to interpret the pictures anddetermine how best to get them down on tape. Paul wasfine-he could express what he wanted, the sounds he wanted to have. But John. . . would make whooshing soundsand try to describe what only he could only hear inhis head, saying he wanted a song to ‘sound like anorange’.
5As soon as the Sgt. Pepper album was underway, Paul McCartney came up withthe 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 cameinto existence, never to see the outside of studio 2 at Abbey Road. They spentnearly a year recording various tracks for the album and John’s state of mindwas steadily declining.
In 1969 when they issued Abbey Road it was no longer difficult todistinguish between the writings of Paul and John . John was producing workslike “I want you (she’s so heavy)” which had the lyrics:I want youso badit’s driving me madShe’s so heavy6And the more musical and thoughtful work of McCartney, such as “GoldenSlumbers” which was almost a lullaby:Once there was a way to get back homewardOnce there was a way to get back homeSleep pretty darling do not cryAnd I will sing a lullabyGolden slumbers fill your eyesSmiles awake you when you riseSleep pretty darling do