Friday, June 18, 2010

Still Cute After All These Years

Paul McCartney, who's 68 today, loved performing more than the rest of Beatles combined. If it had been up to him, they'd never have quit live shows after 1966. And it's good to know he's still out there, allowing millions the fantasty of singing "Hey Jude" with him.

One of the negative after effects of John's death was it accelerated the process of downplaying Pauls' contribution. Some critics saw him as too mindlessly poppy, but he was as essential to The Beatles as Lennon was.


Anonymous Denver Guy said...

Say more. McCartney is playing Denver this weekend. I don't have tickets, but there has been a lot of McCartney music on the radio all week.

With the perspective of time, I think it is likely that McCartney's songs will leave a more indelible impression on the public's music conscious. Of course, during the Beatles era it isn't always clear who was the prime source for some songs. But don't you think Yesterday, Michelle, Hey Jude, Let it Be, Sixty Four and Eleanor Rigby have more "staying power" than Norweigian Wood, Lucy in the Sky, and Revolution?

After the Beatles, while Imagine will probably be the single most remembered post-Beatles song, McCartney has racked up a lot more hits that will keep getting played decade after decade (Maybe I'm Amazed, Silly Love Songs, Band on the Run and Uncle Albert all hitting before Lennon's death).

I tend to think Lennon would not have become an icon without McCartney, though Paul would have become a great success even without John.

10:59 AM, June 18, 2010  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I've written quite a few posts on the Beatles, and I expect there'll be more to come. Let me summarize my views on the Paul versus John issue.

I think, combined, they're the greatest songwriters in the second half of the twentieth century. It's true they generally wrote alone, but just knowing they'd have to pass the test of the other made their work with the Beatles generally better, as did performing with their mates.

After listening to the Beatles for years without knowing who wrote what, when I did find out, I realized I had a strong preference for John's songs. I did understand, however, that Paul had a clearer pop (or melodic) gift which makes his songs much more likely to be covered. But rock isn't like Broadway, and cover versions aren't necessarily what matters. I can't predict what music will live, but it's the Beatles performances as much as their songs that should live on, and if that's so, then John's should be remembered at least as much as Paul's, maybe more.

John was always my favorite Beatle, but after his death, there was such lionization that I think it even led some to turn against Paul. Both were essential to the Beatles' sound and both did masterful work.

Paul was more commercially successful in the solo years, but he also recorded a lot more (even if you just look when they were both alive). i think, in general, Paul would have been a popular songwriter and performer in any era, while John's inspiration was rock and roll and he only could have been a hit in his particular time.

As to my feelings about "Imagine," they're negative. But not, perhaps, for the reasons you'd think. I wrote about the song in one of my earliest posts:

12:05 PM, June 19, 2010  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...


10:41 AM, June 22, 2010  
Blogger LAGuy said...

You're welcome.

12:47 AM, June 23, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay -- anyone who wants to see the blogpost LAGuy refers to above, and if, like me, you can't click on it, and when you enter the address into your browser it says the document "doesn't exist," -- go to December 2004 in the upper right side of the blog -- you'll find it (a lot faster than I did) on December 13th.

9:30 AM, June 23, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction-- upper left side.

9:31 AM, June 23, 2010  

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