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Old 10-28-2005, 11:14 PM   #31
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Originally posted by Sleep Over Jack
[B] Its just over-simplifying things to say John=experimental, a real artist, McCartney= a mere fluff artist..but then I'd expect such pretentious musings on this site.
I agree with you.

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Old 10-28-2005, 11:29 PM   #32
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Most of my favorite Beatles songs are on the Paul McCartney collumn - For No One, Elenor Rigby, Hello Goodbye - I guess I like the more melodic Beatles style.

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Old 10-28-2005, 11:44 PM   #33
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It just bothers me when people automatically accept Lennon as the bette of the two because its so trendy and safe to espouse that stance..just shows how many people can't even form their own opinions and just fall in line to the trendy line of thinking, scared they'll be seen to be to the two of them..I think both are at the top of rock and roll's tree..I just don't see how some can rate John so highly and Paul miles below him.
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Old 10-29-2005, 12:47 AM   #34
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While the Beatles were still a band, McCartney was every bit as good as Lennon. After the Beatles broke up, Lennon continued to write a lot of really good songs, but McCartney's songwriting kind of went down the toilet.
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Old 10-29-2005, 01:03 AM   #35
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Of course McCartney wasn't a 'fluff artist'. That's just silly on the part of whoever said that. But he and Lennon each had skills and character traits that the other one lacked. It's not neccessarily about good and bad or better at and worse at. It's just differences they had between them.

The differences I'm thinking of are these:


I've always felt that Lennon was rawer than McCartney, both in his songwriting and his singing. Far more often would you hear a Lennon-composed song that basically consisted of a guitar or two and a vocal track(or that kind of thing) than you would a McCartney track of that style(although when McCartney did, he managed to make some of the greatest songs in history i.e. 'Yesterday' and 'Blackbird'). Where his singing is concerned, the rawness lies in the fact that he, imo, was better at emoting with his voice than McCartney was. I think McCartney probably has a slightly wider range in his voice and perhaps is a better 'technical' singer, but I have always felt that Lennon could convey emotions and feelings, particular innocence, sadness, anger, bitterness, longing, reflectiveness, and nostalgia(and things like that) better than McCartney could.


I think McCartney's songs were probably, for the most part, more complex than Lennon's, both in the music and in the arrangements. Take 'Eleanor Rigby' - there were orchestral elements to this song that demonstrate a certain complexity that perhaps McCartney was better at writing with. Same with Long And Winding Road, there were some orchestral elements there too. I don't off the top of my head recall if there are any Lennon songs with orchestral elements/arrangements, but think of songs like 'She's Leaving Home', 'Lovely Rita', 'You Never Give Me Your Money'(and various parts of the AR medley), and the aforementioned 'Eleanor Rigby' and 'The Long And Winding Road'; There's a certain complexity with regards to musical arrangements and musical layering that I think McCartney is probably the superior in.


This has been echoed by a lot of people, and I can't think of a better way to say it, but, Lennon just seemed to have a certain 'edge' about him and his music that I've never really felt with McCartney. I have a theory as to what that 'edge' really was. In the late sixties and seventies, Lennon came off as sort of this peace-loving hippie-type, and in part because of that, I think he came off as more of a 'rock star' than McCartney. Of course this is all image, but the image is a reflection of what's inside, and what's inside is ultimately responsible for the music. What was inside Lennon, I think, was a hunger for political change, maybe even cultural change. I think he wanted push the envelope in life by challenging the way we think of the BIG things; religion, politics, life, self, etc. And I think that obviously had to carry over to his music. Now, when you write lyrics about that stuff, they were bound to be provacative and even prolific at times, and as a songwriter you want the music to match the words. Hence, just like he pushed the envelope in life, he pushed the envelope in the music too. The result of this comes through clearest, imo, when you look at the way the two did 'rock' music. It is my feeling that when McCartney did 'rock', it was more 50s-ish Jerry Lee Lewis style(though musically much more inventive) whereas when Lennon did 'rock', it was more 70s-AND-ONWARD Zeppelin-style, a style from which most of today's better rock music was spawned. That's my long-winded interpretation of their difference in attitude and what that Lennon 'edge' was about. As a sidenote, please understand that when I compare Mac to Lewis and Lennon to Zep, I am not saying they're cut from the exact same cloth, I'm just applying some general frames-of-reference to my very broad interpretations of two different styles.


I think McCartney probably had a better musical ear than Lennon(though to write what Lennon wrote you still have to have an elite ear, I think). What I mean by this, just so we're all on the same page, is the ability to hear a piece of music and then hum/whistle/sing it with exceeding accurateness, and to recognize different notes and keys and the like without looking at sheet music. I think the better you are this, the better you will be at writing musical compositions. It's like, the best authors are almost certainly voracious readers themselves, right? The better a reader you are, the better a writer you will be, and the better a listener(in a technical sense) you are, the better a composer you could be. I'm saying all of this in a very general sense of course. Anyway, having a somewhat better musical ear is probably a big factor in why McCartney, in most peoples' eyes(I think) is superior in the melody-writing department. 'Yesterday' is arguably the greatest melody in the history of pop music. Although, the melody of 'In My Life' is hardly anything to be ashamed of - it's on par, imo, with any melody McCartney ever wrote save for perhaps 'Yesterday'.

Bottom Line

I think what this basically all comes down to is that, McCartney probably needed Lennon to add that 'edge' and innovation and ability to emote to his music, and I think Lennon probably needed McCartney to add that complexity and polish and at times layering to his music. Listen to Lennon's solo music. It is very raw most of the time, but also very emotive most of the time. I love it. Listen to McCartney's solo(or even Wings) music. It is probably more complex than Lennon's solo stuff, and sometimes maybe even more technically sound, but I don't think I've heard a McCartney solo or Wings song that carried the emotional punch of 'Jealous Guy' or 'Imagine' or 'Working Class Hero' or 'Mother'. They definitely needed each other, but while I love a lot of McCartney's Beatles songs, I will always prefer Lennon. I know it's cliche, but because of his ability to emote, and because of his desire(or what I percieve to be desire) to change the way people think with his music, I see him as more of an 'artist'(yes, in the most idealistic, romantic, perhaps naive way imaginable).

But they were both, without doubt, indisputably two of the greatest songwriters in the history of pop music.
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Old 10-29-2005, 03:39 AM   #36
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Great post namkcuR
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Old 10-29-2005, 03:52 AM   #37
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Difficult to choose.

They kind fo share the honours early on in the career. Although I'd be interested to see who primarily wrote She Loves You and Please Please Me. Two of the great early songs, especially PLease Please Me which is in my Beatles top ten.

Personally I prefer McCartney by far in the White Album-Abbey Road-Let It Be era. Especially the white album. Although McCartney is writing these very kitsch songs, i prefer them so much more than Lennon's.

Especially Martha My Dear, Mother Nature's Son and USSR.

Mind you, Harrison is brilliant on White Album. Piggies, Long Long Long and Savoy Truffle....i actually prefer those three songs over his so-called "best" Beatles song While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Also with Macca, let's not forget he pretty much co-ordinated all of the second side of Abbey Road, so that works in his favour. I find Lennon's I Want You too self indulgent and overblown, while Golden Slumbers is all class.

In the Revolver-Pepper-MMT period I'd say Lennon wins hands down. Stawberry Fields, Day in the Life, Walrus, LSD, Rain, In My Life (Rubber Soul), All You Need is Love.

I'd be interested to see who'd get crdeited with another of my faves, Magical Mystery Tour.

...and who'd get credited with the little oddity, All Together Now.

Anyway, it's all a matter of opinion, and I'll go Lennon based on his Pepper material, Strawberry Fields, Julia and his work on Help.

Lovely Rita is a Macca classic though.
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Old 10-29-2005, 04:06 AM   #38
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Originally posted by U2Man

Great post namkcuR
must agree with you U2Man! - well said namruk

And just because I prefer Lennon doesn't mean I hopped on any bandwagon!
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Old 10-29-2005, 07:02 AM   #39
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I was going to write a long post defending my stance but namkcuR did it for me. It's also really fucking cliche to accuse anyone who thinks Lennon is brilliant in comparison to McCartney of following some kind of elitist party line. It's akin to liking U2 over Coldplay. Sleep Over Jack, this preference isn't trendy OR safe, but something that people who respect the work of Bob Dylan (Lennon's most important inspiration) wouldn't have a hard time understanding . Regardless, I never said McCartney was simply a fluff artist--just that the MAJORITY of what he wrote was sap. I'm not denying his great musical achievements, I just think they're inferior to what Lennon gave us.

That stuff about McCartney being just as experimental--laughable. Really. Sure he may have contributed some sounds to certain tracks, but Tomorrow Never Knows, Strawberry Fields, A Day in the Life, Walrus, Revolution #9--these were John's babies, no doubt about it. And let's not confuse sophistication with experimentation. Adding strings to Eleanor Rigby may have been new for a pop band, but you couldn't call it "innovative" like what John was doing. His use of strings on A Day In the Life--THAT'S experimental. The wildest thing Paul ever gave us was probably Why Don't We Do It In The Road, one of his greatest tracks because it's so un-Paul. And the medley was a gimmick, made out of half-baked ideas, the only great song in it being Bathroom Window, and a special mention for the alternating guitar solo in The End.

What namkcuR was saying about rawness & emotion is right on the money. While Paul may have the better voice technically, listen for how fake he sounds when trying to pull off the vocal on Oh Darling. Lennon was able to give a far wider range of deliveries, and the nakedness of his voice gives you a direct line to his soul. His troubled childhood is something you feel in the same way you do with Bono. The tribute to his mother in Julia blows ANY Paul ballad out of the water because it's just so fucking real.
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Old 10-29-2005, 07:31 AM   #40
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john wrote a decent song about sgt pepper paul
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Old 10-29-2005, 08:11 AM   #41
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I'll rate 'em for ya

A Hard Day's Night - **
Any Time At All - *
I'll Be Back - ***
Help - ****
You've Got To Hide Your Love Away - ***
Ticket To Ride - ***
It's Only Love - **
Norwegian Wood(This Bird Has Flown) - *****
Nowhere Man - ***
Girl - **
In My Life - *****
Rain - ****
I'm Only Sleeping - ***
She Said She Said - *****
And Your Bird Can Sing - ***
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds - *****
A Day In The Life - *****
I Am The Walrus - *****
Strawberry Fields Forever - *****
All You Need Is Love - ****
Dear Prudence - *****
Happiness Is A Warm Gun - *****
Julia - **
Revolution - *****
The Ballad Of John And Yoko - ***
Come Together - *****
I Want You(She's So Heavy) - ****
Across The Universe - *****

Added extras:

Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey - ****
Sexy Sadie - ****
I'm So Tired - *****


I Want To Hold Your Hand - *
I Saw Her Standing There - *
Love Me Do - *
P.S. I Love You - *
All My Loving - ***
If I Fell - Isn't this Lennon singing?
Can't Buy Me Love - **
Things We Said Today - *
Eight Days A Week - **
I've Just Seen A Face - *
Yesterday - ***
Drive My Car - ***
I'm Looking Through You - ***
Michelle - **
Eleanor Rigby - **
Here There And Everywhere - ***
For No One - ***** - Best McCartney song.
Hey Jude - ****
Paperback Writer - *
Getting Better - **
She's Leaving Home - ***
When I'm Sixty-Four - *
Lovely Rita - **
Lady Madonna - *
Back In The U.S.S.R. - **
Ob-la-di-Ob-la-da - *
Martha My Dear - **
Blackbird - ****
Helter Skelter - ****
Honey Pie - **
Hello, Goodbye - *
Penny Lane - **
You Never Give Me Your Money - *****
Two Of Us - ***
Let It Be - **
The Long And Winding Road - **

Added extras:

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band - *****
I've Got A Feeling - ****
Birthday - ****
(though both have Lennon bits in it)

Average John rating: 3.83
Average Paul rating: 2.42

Burn in hell, McCartney.
You're crap.

Seriously speaking though, Lennon is God. We're not even counting Imagine, Jealous Guy, Instant Karma, the entire Plastic Ono Band album, Mind Games and so forth. (edit) And Don't Let Me Down, dang it.

People fancying McCartney =
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Old 10-29-2005, 08:25 AM   #42
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Just a few comments...

Originally posted by namkcuR
Same with Long And Winding Road, there were some orchestral elements there too.
They were added by Phil Specter, and Paul didn't even want them to be there. All the orchestral stuff on Let It Be was hated by McCartney.

Originally posted by namkcuR
I think Lennon probably needed McCartney to add that complexity and polish and at times layering to his music.
Complexity? I don't know. A Day In The Life is mainly John's song, all Paul contributes is his little irony-verse thing, the arrangement - which surely is amongst the most complex they've ever done - is entirely John's. Listen in on the Anthologies

Also - Happiness Is A Warm Gun. Experimental, - and complex. Just watch how Radiohead are doing the same today.

Finally - talking melodies/musical ear/etcetera - I just wanted to add Imagine as a great melody. Maybe not on par with Yesterday, but it's up there, just as In My Life.
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Old 10-29-2005, 08:40 AM   #43
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Originally posted by Sleep Over Jack

Paul was responsible for a lot of the trippier stuff on Tomorrow Never Knows and Strawberrry Fields...I fail to see how he was any less experimental than John, and for my money he was a little better with a melody and a MUCH better singer.
Paul had no influence at all whatsoever on Strawberry Fields Forever. The "fake ending" and Revolution 9 and stuff like that is entirely Lennon.

Originally posted by Sleep Over Jack

It was he who came up with the great Sgt. Pepper concept and propped the band up during Let It Be (John was pretty weak on this album) and Abbey Road periods(he basically masterminded the immense medley with George Martin).
Sgt. Pepper was a great concept but the change in musical direction isn't "all-Paul" as you deem it.
John rocks on Let It Be - Across The Universe is the best song on the album probably. Just because he hasn't got that many songs doesn't mean that he's weak. Dig A Pony and Maggie Mae and that sort of stuff reflects his attitude at the time that pop music could be absolute nonsense but people didn't care.
And if they'd only added Don't Let Me Down he's be on par with McCartney.

But I do think that the medley is brilliant (though the best songs are Lennon's, strange...)

Originally posted by Sleep Over Jack

Its just over-simplifying things to say John=experimental, a real artist, McCartney= a mere fluff artist

Originally posted by Sleep Over Jack

..but then I'd expect such pretentious musings on this site.
Sorry's who the pretentious one?
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Old 10-29-2005, 10:34 AM   #44
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Originally posted by God Part III

People fancying McCartney =
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Old 10-29-2005, 10:57 AM   #45
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I must admit, looking at their solo work - they have certainly both made a lot of truly uninteresting stuff here, but Lennon wrote some true classics on his own in that period. More than McCartney.

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