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The Beatles


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 cry 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 visitors. 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.
Bates, Norman "The Beatles Recording Sessions" Harmony
Publishers London
c. EMI Records Ltd. 1988 
The Beatles Abbey Road EMI Records Ltd. 1969 
_____ ____ 
The Beatles Let it Be Capitol Records 1970 
___ __ __ 
The Beatles Revolver EMI Records Ltd. 1966 
The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band EMI
Re____ ________
______ ______ ____ ____ 
cords 1967 
Cameron, Gail; Cutner, Naomi; Griffin, Nancy Waters, Celia.
"The Beatles"
LIFE Feb. 1984 
Coleman, Ray "Lennon" McGraw-Hill, NY 1984 
"John Lennon: In the Hard Day's Light" excerpted from "The
Lives of John
Lennon" Goldman, Albert in People Weekly Aug. 15, 1988 
Loder, Kurt "It was twenty years ago today....The story
behind the making
of 'Sgt. Pepper'" Rolling Stone #502 June 18, 1987. 
"The Beatles" Music Review in Rolling Stone #507 Aug. 27,
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" Music Review in
Rolling Stone #507 Aug. 27, 1987 
1. Ringo Starr was originally named Richard Starkey. His 
name was changed to allow for better press marketing. 
2. All titles composed by either Lennon or McCartney are 
credited to Lennon-McCartney. 
3. It was also at this time that Lennon divorced his wife 
Cynthia and associated himself with Yoko Ono. 
4. Lennon is reported to have done more than 1000 "trips".
5. George Martin, from The Beatles Recording Sessions
6 . "I want you (she's so heavy)", The Beatles, Copyright 
EMI Records Ltd. 1969 
7. "Golden Slumbers", The Beatles, Copyright EMI Records 
Ltd. 1969 
8. The Beatles was also referred to as "The White Album"
9. "Sexie Sadie" was written for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
after he was
discovered seducing one of his followers.


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