When people hear the name The Beatles,” most think of the 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 formation of the Beatles.
In 1962, along with Ringo Starr and George Harrison, they formed the rock group known as The Beatles”. The group featured 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. When they first began playing, the main influence inside the band was John Lennon, who had an uncanny ability to compose songs at a moment’s notice with 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 was very effective for audiences but lacked on their albums. Together with Paul, John began to evolve the band. As the years passed, the band obviously grew musically. They moved from simple lyrics like Love Me Do” to harshly aware reflections of life in their home country in “Eleanor Rigby”. There were attempts, some more successful than others, to incorporate the other Beatles into the idea stage. George Harrison made this leap successfully with tracks such 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. As Lennon began to use LSD in greater quantities, the other Beatles began to have more influence in the production of the albums.
Lennon became reclusive and often delayed recording sessions. By the time they recorded Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967, Lennon proposed songs and themes while McCartney executed the plans and tied together whims. They made demands of the crew, stating that Beatles songs were quite simple in the early days and couldn’t be played around with too much.
But by 1967, we were building sound pictures and my role as George Martin had changed. It was to interpret the pictures and determine how best to record them. Paul was fine – he could express what he wanted, the sounds he wanted to create. But John would make whooshing sounds and try to describe what only he could hear in his head, saying he wanted a song to sound like an orange.”
As soon as the Sgt. Pepper album was underway, Paul McCartney came up with the idea of actually creating a band and performing the songs as that band. They took the idea from there and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts 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 heavy
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