The Beatles Essay Research Paper When people

The Beatles Essay, Research Paper

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.

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.


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