Lenon/Mccartney Essay, Research Paper
Lennon/McCartney John Lennon and Paul McCartney are two of the greatest artists popular music has ever embraced. Their collaboration on early Beatles songs propelled the group to international fame. As the Beatles matured, however, the relationship between these two became more competitive than cooperative. They developed unique and surprisingly polar styles. In a 1980 Playboy interview John Lennon stated: “You could say that (Paul) provided a lightness, an optimism, while I would always go for the sadness, the discords, a certain bluesy edge” (Dowlding 297). The songwriting skills of John Lennon and Paul McCartney are amazing but their individual syles are extremely distinct and identifiable. Help!, the Beatles fifth album, is one of their greatest. It contains some of John and Paul’s most memorable songs. The title song Help! Is a perfect example of where John was going with his songwriting. The tempo and lyrics give this song a real sense of urgency. It is, however, rather dark subject matter. The third verse: “Help me if you can I’m feeling down/And I do appreciate you being round/Help me get my feet back on the ground/Won’t you please, please help me.” conveys real need and humbleness, topics not common to popular music of the time. In contrast, I’ve Just Seen A Face, my favorite McCartney track, expresses the joy of fresh love. This song also has a fast tempo but here the intent is different. The whole structure of this song communicates a sense of excitement very effectively. The lines are short and there are no pauses in between them. McCartney does not seem to stop for a breath as he sings the opening lines: “I’ve just seen a face/I can’t forget the time or place/Where we just met./She’s just the girl for me/And I want all the world to see /We’ve met, mmm-mmm-mmm-m’mmm-mmm”. These two songs clearly demonstrate the strengths and temperaments of John and Paul respectively. Abbey Road was the Beatles last offering to their adoring fans. It provides a stunning last impression of the four artists who had captivated the world for almost a decade. Lennon’s song I Want You (She’s So Heavy) is a credit to his vocal, musical, and lyrical talents. It’s composition is simple yet extremely effective. The main lyrics of this song are short and simple. The lines: “I want you/I want you so bad/It’s driving me mad” are more than adequate for the seven minutes and forty seconds of this song (the Beatles longest). Over methodical blues guitar riffs Lennon repetitively belts out various forms of these few lines. His only deviance from this formula is at the songs crescendo when he declares: “She’s so heavy.” The majority of this song imparts a feeling of maniacal yearning. The declaration at the songs zenith conveys the fatigue such an infatuation can incur. George Harrison gave this assessment of his friend’s song: ” . . . It is very heavy. John plays lead guitar and sings, it’s basically an old blues riff he’s doing, it’s a very original John-type song as well . . . ” (284). I agree.
The last few minutes of Abbey Road belong to Paul. Realizing that this would be the Beatles last album he closed it with a grand farewell. The song The End begins with a very upbeat and erratic feeling. The ‘Fab Four’ (at Paul’s request) all take part in the solo in the songs first minute. McCartney, Harrison and Lennon take turns on lead guitar, in that order and one bar at a time. Surprisingly, Ringo’s performance in this song was his only recorded drum solo. Near the end of the song the tempo slows and the mood becomes more serene in order to accommodate the closing lyrics. Paul sings: ” And in the end/The love you take/Is equal to the love you make.” to conclude the song. After about twenty seconds the albums secret song, Her Majesty, reveals itself. The short, playful song is a tribute to the Queen of England. It goes: Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl,but she doesn’t have a lot to sayHer Majesty’s a pretty nice girlbut she changes from day to day I want to tell her that I love her a lotBut I gotta get a bellyful of wineHer Majesty’s a pretty nice girlSomeday I’m going to make her mine, oh yeah,someday I’m going to make her mine.This song is more like the Beatles earlier songs than anything on Abbey Road. The End and Her Majesty present an interesting end to the Beatles collaboration. It seems that Paul was trying to show how far they’d come, how much they’d changed. He does so with two very light and cheerful songs. Two trademark McCartney songs. The polar styles of John Lennon and Paul McCartney brought balance and ecumenicity to the Beatles legacy. John’s songs convey many of the emotions and thoughts humans encounter but rarely discuss. In addition to the songs mentioned I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party, I’m A Loser and I’m So Tired are great examples of John’s unabashed approach. Paul, on the other hand, chose to write about the more pleasant aspects of our human experience. His songs exude optimism and rapture. I’ll Follow The Sun; Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da and Let It Be are more examples of Paul’s brand of idealism. Ringo Starr once said: “The priority was always the song. The song is what remains. It’s not how you’ve done it. I honestly believe in the song more than the music. . . And John and Paul wrote some amazing songs”(297). Amen, Ringo! Work CitedDowlding, William J., Beatlesongs, New York, Simon & Schuster. 1989