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Who wrote what songs?
1 November 2012
2.15pm
Funny Paper
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Is there a definitive list out there of all Beatles songs and their "true" author?

 

More importantly, how do we know whether such a list is accurate?  Is there a scholarly article published in a peer-reviewed journal(The International Journal for the Study of Beatlenomics) that lays out all the verification with references? 

 

I found one list that claims to apportion out each song -- whether the main author was Lennon, or McCartney (or Ringo or Harrison):

http://www.myrsten.nu/worldnet.....esongs.htm

 

-- but the guy who put the list together doesn't cite his source.  I emailed him, and he said he got it from Ian MacDonald's book A Revolution in the Head.  But if so, how did MacDonald ascertain who really wrote what song?

 

I know this site here, the Beatles Bible, lists actual author for each song -- but where did they get that info?

 

apple01

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1 November 2012
3.44pm
meanmistermustard
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Generally the information comes from interviews given by John, Paul, George and Ringo over the years. Both John and Paul have openly discussed who wrote what and how much in tons of interviews from the time the song came out right thru the solo years; for example John went thru a lot of the songs in an interview with Playboy in September 1980 and Paul spoke about many tracks in the book 'Many Years From Now'.
Some books give percentages (John .75 Paul .25 for example) but some of that is presumption and for a handful of tracks there is a dispute about who wrote what due to differing accounts from both - but nothing is trully simple in beatleworld.

He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief and whatever thoughts we have... to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is. (John Lennon - 27/8/67)
1 November 2012
8.47pm
meanmistermustard
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Isnt Drive My Car Lennon and McCartney together singing the lead? Thats what Lewisohn and other sources have.

He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief and whatever thoughts we have... to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is. (John Lennon - 27/8/67)
1 November 2012
10.48pm
Funny Paper
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meanmistermustard said
Isnt Drive My Car Lennon and McCartney together singing the lead? Thats what Lewisohn and other sources have.

Just have a listen to the song.  The poster "paulsbass" is correct -- Paul is singing the lead; however, it does sound like John chimes in to sing at least backup with Paul in the chorus part (and the "beep-beep, beep-beep, YEAH!"), and I could swear it's John singing that one little line -- "and baby I love you"..

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2 November 2012
2.48pm
frankdialogue
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Yes, generally lead singer either wrote most of, or is main inspiration for song.

 

'Yes It Is' & 'This Boy' mostly Lennon, but with Paul adding finishing touches, clean up man if you will.

 

Song like 'Wait' is McCartney, but Lennon still adds important vocals.

 

In early days, Lennon have a little stronger voice, and some would say a more distinctive voice...But also realize that Lennon's vocal mike always turned up higher.

2 November 2012
3.43pm
Joe
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Funny Paper said
 

I know this site here, the Beatles Bible, lists actual author for each song -- but where did they get that info?

 

From hundreds of books, interviews, videos and other sources I've accumulated over the past 20 years.

The following people thank Joe for this post:

Oudis

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Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes

2 November 2012
4.23pm
Von Bontee
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I'm with meanmm - I think that "Drive My Car" is best described as a shared lead vocal. Paul's higher voice cuts through the mix a little more, but he and John are still singing the same words (except when John screws up that one line near the end!)

Anyways, yeah; there's abundant documentation out there as to who wrote what. "In My Life" and maybe "Eleanor Rigby" are really the only disputed tracks.

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
2 November 2012
7.09pm
meanmistermustard
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Drive My Car - Paul or John?

Anyone got any cyanide?

He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief and whatever thoughts we have... to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is. (John Lennon - 27/8/67)
2 November 2012
8.40pm
Von Bontee
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OK, so it's just a matter of how you define "lead". To my way of thinking, the fact that J & P are singing the verses together makes them co-lead singers - even though Paul's voice is more prominent.

I've listened to the record many times, thanks!

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
2 November 2012
9.25pm
robert
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paulsbass said

Von Bontee said
I'm with meanmm - I think that "Drive My Car" is best described as a shared lead vocal. Paul's higher voice cuts through the mix a little more, but he and John are still singing the same words (except when John screws up that one line near the end!)

Funny Paper nailed it:

Just have a listen to the song.

 

This is Macca's song, and of course there is a second vocal, but in this case it really IS a SECOND vocal and not a co-lead.

In the chorus all three join in, but McCartney is still the dominant voice, apart from some "and baby I love you" where John is more audible.

I think Paulbass has it right. McCartney does the lead vocal in Drive My Car. I think you can figure it out this way - first based on the chord structure, Paul's vocal is the actual melody - John is doing a harmony - Paul notes are the ones that go with the chord structure. The more practical method is that when you sing the song by yourself, you sing Paul's part. Your ear can tell.

"She looks more like him than I do."
2 November 2012
9.27pm
robert
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To add wood the fire, it's the same in If I Fell - although there's 3 part harmony John is doing the main melody. Same with This Boy - John's part is the actual melody.

"She looks more like him than I do."
2 November 2012
9.53pm
Von Bontee
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OK, I understand your point (and Robert's) & won't argue about it. I just wanted to make sure you weren't claiming that Paul double-tracked his voice so he could sing harmony with himself!

I accept your interpretation of "lead".

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
3 November 2012
6.09am
Funny Paper
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If I may -- I will delineate the vocals in "Drive My Car" (and will also thusly "indicate precisely what I mean to say"):

 

Asked a girl what she wanted to be
She said baby, "Can't you see
I wanna be famous, a star on the screen
[both Paul and John are singing, but Paul's voice cuts through louder and higher and with that recognizable inimitable McCartney je ne sais quoi  tonality to his voice, while John is doing some very interesting lower-part harmony, but definitely subtle, not dominant]
 
But you can do something in between
[here both voices mingle more closely and it's difficult to distinguish Paul]
 
Baby you can Drive My Car
Yes I'm gonna be a star
Baby you can Drive My Car
[Here the voices of Paul, John and George are all blended together such that no individual is distinct (which is the very definition of a good 3-part harmony)]
 
And maybe I love you
[Here, John's voice seems dominant]
 
I told a girl that my prospects were good
And she said baby, "It's understood
Working for peanuts is all very fine
[cf. above]
 
But I can show you a better time
[cf. above]
 

[etc.]

 

Beep beep'm beep beep yeah!
[another fine blending of all three voices]
 
[And so forth.  Also, note that in the later lines --]
 
I told that girl I can start right away
And she said, "Listen baby I got something to say:
I got no car and it's breaking my heart..."
[Paul's distinction of voice is even more recognizable.]
 
[The parts where Paul's voice pierces through may be said to be analogous to those 2-part vocals of the Stones in which both Jagger and Keith Richards are singing, and if one listens one can detect the tell-tale sound of Richards, but it's clear that it's being "driven" by Jagger, so to speak]
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3 November 2012
6.16am
Funny Paper
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Joe said

Funny Paper said
 

I know this site here, the Beatles Bible, lists actual author for each song -- but where did they get that info?

 

From hundreds of books, interviews, videos and other sources I've accumulated over the past 20 years.

Thanks Joe!

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3 November 2012
12.40pm
gotagoodreason
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Funny Paper said
If I may -- I will delineate the vocals in "Drive My Car":

(...) 

But you can do something in between
[here both voices mingle more closely and it's difficult to distinguish Paul]
 
(...)
And maybe I love you
[Here, John's voice seems dominant]
 
[etc.]
 
You're absolutely right, except for these 2 lines :
- the first is sung by 3 voices (notes : C-F(lead)-G), Paul probably singing the highest note of this terrific harmony (the close second between F and G is what makes it so terrific) ;
- the line 'And maybe I'll love you' is definitely sung by Paul and George, no matter what the experts say here about John singing it, again the ear can tell !
3 November 2012
2.01pm
Funny Paper
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gotagoodreason said

Funny Paper said
If I may -- I will delineate the vocals in "Drive My Car":

(...) 

But you can do something in between
[here both voices mingle more closely and it's difficult to distinguish Paul]
 

- the first is sung by 3 voices (notes : C-F(lead)-G), Paul probably singing the highest note of this terrific harmony (the close second between F and G is what makes it so terrific) ;

Ah, interesting:  that's a C suspended chord.  Not surprisingly, the "Ultimate Guitar" website has the chords all different:  alternating from D7 to G7 (in the key of D apparently), then for the "But you can do something in between" line, they say it's just A.  Doesn't sound right; it does sound like a sus chord, as you say.

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4 November 2012
11.37am
Ben Ramon
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paulsbass said

robert said
To add wood the fire, it's the same in If I Fell - although there's 3 part harmony John is doing the main melody. Same with This Boy - John's part is the actual melody.

Well, in these two songs (This Boy and Yes it is) for me it's a three part harmony in the verses, and I have a hard time saying which one is the actual melody, but in the middle eights it's just John (with some Aaahs from George and Paul), so there's no mistake.

 

If I fell: Lead vocal John with a very strong second vocal by Paul (so it's actually a two part harmony). the fact that the second vocal is so strong is prove for me that Paul had a lot to do with the writing/composing.

John's very rough acoustic home demo of If I Fell uses the melody that Paul sings, which indicates to me that John wrote the majority of it. Paul's input was probably helping John compose the lower line, more in his range.

SHUT UP - Paulie's talkin'
4 November 2012
12.49pm
gotagoodreason
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Funny Paper said
Ah, interesting:  that's a C suspended chord.  Not surprisingly, the "Ultimate Guitar" website has the chords all different:  alternating from D7 to G7 (in the key of D apparently), then for the "But you can do something in between" line, they say it's just A.  Doesn't sound right; it does sound like a sus chord, as you say.

No, actually your source is right : it is an A chord obviously (both bass and guitar play it rather earnestly) but with the C, F and G notes sung on top of it, which makes it very bluesy because of C (bluesy third of the A chord) and F (bluesy third of D which is the key chord of the song).

They felt all of this by instinct, that's why we call them 'Fab'...

4 November 2012
3.58pm
gotagoodreason
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paulsbass said
Verses: It IS just Paul, imo, duetting with himself on the lower vocal. Listen to the third verse "I got no car", that deep stuff sounds very much like Paul.

On the "but I can show you a better time" George and John join in.

Chorus is sung by Paul, John and George who can be heard quite well.

The "maybe I love you" is DEFINITELY sung by Paul (maybe also George) and JOHN, who comes in from the left especially at that part, check it out.

Actually these 3 buddies blended SO well together that it's hard to tell...

Sooo... let's check it out and have a listen to the vocals only :

 

1) In the verses, Paul & undoubtedly John for the lower part

2) Last line of verses (note how well work C, F & G !) + chorus : Paul, George & John

3) BUT there's only one singer along with Paul on 'and maybe I'll love you' and from what I've always heard, it is George (especially after the words 'maybe' and 'I', sorry but his accent sounds different from John's !).

To be continued...

4 November 2012
8.52pm
gotagoodreason
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paulsbass said

You got it wrong imo, as I explained John is coming in from the left on that special part and is very clearly audible with his nasal and rough sound. If you hear and believe something different, so be it.

After listening very closely and several times to that particular line in the vocal track, I have to say the doubt is creeping in... I tried to leave any pre-conceived idea that George sings and I noticed that at the end of the line, the mysterious singer lets his 'you' last just a little longer than Paul's each of the 4 times. These 'you-a' sound very similar to John's final 'you' of 'If I Fell'... but George could also do so in the very same record (listen to his final 'you' in his own 'Think For Yourself' !)

So I guess we can't be really sure at times, can we ?

(Anyway, still wondering why 15 pages of debate about the 'aaah' in 'A Day In The Life' while anyone with 2 ears should agree it's Paul a-hard-days-night-george-10).

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