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Who is The Leader?
12 January 2010
4.53pm
AaronMontefusco123
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Ok

My moms favorite song is Hey Jude. Its considered by many to be there most essential song, there greatest composition, along with Yesterday and the Pepper Album.

Now im NOT downing on them, i love em. But if you notice, Jude and Yesterday are both by paul. Most of pepper is Paul, and Yesterday only has Paul on it.

This has lead my mother to belive that the Beatles are ment to represent McCartney, hes the leader, the best, has the best voice, is the best musician, and is all around better then the others. This is simply not true!

Paul is a bassist. George and John are much better guitarists, and John is deffinetly the leader. I could go on and on...

what are your thoughts?

12 January 2010
6.57pm
skye
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And you're basing this on what instruments they played? I think it was more of a partnership/ friendly rivalry between Paul and John that gave the group direction. If that makes them the "leaders", then I guess they led the band.

Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo! So little time! So much to know!
12 January 2010
7.18pm
Von Bontee
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For pure musicianship & compositional ability, Paul McCartney stands the tallest. His bass & keyboard skills were unsurpassed, he contributed the finest guitar solos to be heard on a Beatles recording, and "Dear Prudence" shows that he could certainly hold his own with Ringo, drumwise. But I don't think there's any question that Lennon was the leader, even if he did nothing other than start the damn band.

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
14 January 2010
1.39am
Alissa
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As much as I'd like to say there isn't one, that everyone had equal footing, it's not true. Personally, for the beginning of their career, I don't think anyone stood out for me as leader, though. Yes, John was the obvious "leader" per se of the group, but I think the fact that they were all new to the game and life of a music career kind of leveled them all a bit. Sure, Paul and John were more leaders than George and Ringo if anything, but at that time, no one really took the stand. They were kind of herded around like sheep, told what to wear and how to act, so, to me, no one really stepped up and took that position. BUT if by leader you mean purely and only "head" of the Beatles, I would say John, because it was him who first started the band/rounded up the members. He got them started, and had the backbone to keep it going.

Post Brian's death, I would say Paul took the lead. All the way until Abbey Road, he was the force behind them. He would rally them, like, "come on, lads" and just remind them of what they were in the first place; the Beatles. So, they carried on with music in their own ways, yes, but under Paul's supervision and guidance, I think. He kept them steady until it was too hard for him to stabilize the band on his own.

I hope that was coherent, I think I rambled for ages!

Tongue, lose thy light. Moon, take thy flight… see ya, George!
14 January 2010
3.43am
Henry the Horse
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In the early years, John dominated things as Paul never did in the later years.  He was the main songwriter for their first six albums, including A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, which is practically a John Lennon solo album.  John wrote 10 of its 13 songs as well as parts of two others.  Only "Things We Said Today" is a 100% Paul song.  Paul never dominated any Beatle album as John did with AHDN.

"Yesterday" may feature only Paul, but so what?  "Julia" features only John, and George's Indian-influenced songs feature only George.

Yes, Paul did dominate in the later years, and he was also the group's main arranger throughout its entire history.  But his dominance extends to only four albums (Pepper, MMT, Let It Be, and Abbey Road), whereas John dominates the rest (including, by a slight margin, the White Album), except for Revolver, on which he shares equal time with Paul.

John also contributed to Sgt. Pepper more than people tend to give him credit for.  He had three songs (Lucy, Mr. Kite, Good Morning), wrote the main part of the album's masterpiece (ADITL), collaborated with Paul on "With a Little Help from My Friends" and contributed a good deal to "Getting Better" and "She's Leaving Home." Yes, Paul had more songs, and the Pepper concept was his, but it was far from a one-man show.

Paul deserves credit for taking up the reins after Brian's death, and he did a rather good job of it musically, although he may have lacked some skills in the diplomacy department.  (Then again, I don't know if anyone could have dealt with John, Yoko, and George any better during that period.)  And he was dominant during that time as John never was during the early years (save for AHDN).  But leadership is about more than writing more songs; it's also about determining the artistic direction of the band, and Paul never had complete control in that area.  He came close, perhaps, but if Paul had his way, there'd have been more tours, more movies, and more cornball pop tunes.

A reminder to you and your mother: there were about 200 Beatle songs in addition to "Yesterday" and "Hey Jude," including a long list of classics by John Lennon.  (And, no offense, but some of us longtime fans have had quite enough of those two songs, thanks much.)  It's true that Paul is one of the greatest of rock singers, and definitely a more versatile vocalist than John.  But John is also widely regarded as one of the greatest singers in history, and to suggest that Paul is "better" is beyond absurd.

To argue that either John or Paul was the leader fails to take into consideration the entirety of the Beatles' history.  Each was the leader, each in his own way, at one time or another.

John L.

14 January 2010
10.49am
Joe
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Have a look at this, from 1962: http://www.beatlesbible.com/19.....interview/

"Q: "How do you do? What's your job?"
George: "Uh, lead guitar and sort of singing."
Q: "By playing lead guitar, does that mean that you're sort of leader of the group or are you...?"
George: "No, no. Just... well you see, the other guitar is the rhythm. Ching, ching, ching, you see."
Paul: "He's solo guitar, you see. John is, in fact, the leader of the group."

I think that was certainly the case right up until the mid-60s. John, in one of his angry post-Beatles interviews, pointed out that pretty much all the key early songs had him on lead vocals, from Please Please Me to Help!. I think he dominated the group until around 1965, after which Paul came into his own. That's where I see the balance changing; that John's songwriting peaked with Rubber Soul, and from Revolver Paul gradually took over. Drugs and Yoko Ono both taught John that there was more to life than the band, after which he gradually took his foot off the pedal.

When the band stopped touring John's witty persona in interviews etc became less frequently seen, and the group members became more equal for a couple of years (Revolver, Pepper, MMT were largely group collaborations). Probably from the death of Brian Epstein, though, it was Paul who became the group's leading force, even if he wasn't explicitly acknowledged as such. One of John's complaints about the Let It Be film was that it cast the rest of The Beatles as Paul's backing band, which he felt shouldn't have been the case.

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18 January 2010
7.03am
Day Tripped
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From when The Beatles first started to Brian Epstein's death, John Lennon was the leader.

Even Paul himself said so. But When Brian Epstein, their manager, died of a drug overdose, the band wanted to quit. Paul wouldn't let them and told them to keep making music and he slowly started becoming the leader. John was a little mad during Let It Be saying he was just Paul's backup or something. so I suppose John then Paul. They were pretty much the leaders of the group. Even when John was the leader, Paul was sort of too.

19 January 2010
9.13pm
iCaramba
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I have to agree with everything Henry the Horse said. Very well put.

But I'd like to add that I think it was actually the John/Paul synergy that led the band. Maybe John was dominant at first and then Paul in the later years, but neither one of them could have done it without the other.

4 February 2010
6.14pm
Elsewhere Man
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Joe said: Probably from the death of Brian Epstein, though, it was Paul who became the group's leading force, even if he wasn't explicitly acknowledged as such. One of John's complaints about the Let It Be film was that it cast the rest of The Beatles as Paul's backing band, which he felt shouldn't have been the case.


John might have felt differently about Let It Be if he had had better material and shown more of an interest in turning the Get Back sessions into a proper live concert to be recorded as an album, which was the plan they had agreed on in the beginning. But the only true classic song John had at that point was "Don't Let Me Down," which was unfairly relegated to b-side status. "Across The Universe" had already been done and "Dig A Pony" was just filler - great filler to be sure but filler nonetheless. Other than that, it's all Paul and for good reason. Like Ringo said, (paraphrasing), "whoever had the best song at the time - that was the track we did." If anyone got short shrift on Let It Be it was George. Why they passed on "All Things Must Pass" I'll never understand...

4 February 2010
11.59pm
iCaramba
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Well, by Let It Be, John was firmly under the grip of a pretty bad drug addiction. (And, some would say, a Yoko addiction.)

7 February 2010
6.36pm
Elsewhere Man
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Exactly, which is why Paul naturally fell into the role as leader.

7 February 2010
9.18pm
PaulRamon
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Paul is a bassist. George and John are much better guitarists


Paul was as good if not a better a guitarist as John and George when The Beatles started and probably throughout their career too. He only took on the bass because no one else wanted the job. He proved his worth on the guitar many times over the years.

Having said that, i think John was the leader until he no longer wanted the job then Paul took over.

Onward my friends, and glory for the thirty ninth!!
27 February 2010
11.03pm
Marcelo
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I think you are forgetting that "Sgt. Pepper" was a project carried by Paul. I think that both John and Paul were the leaders, with a preeminence of John until "Revolver", and the last albums by Paul.

And for something completely different (as Monty Pyton said), Paul is a better musician and composer, very cerebral, if you let me say. His melodies and harmonies are perfect, no doubt.

But John was more intuititional, and his songs can express deep emotions not only by words, but with music too. He was a genius, no doubt too.

The best of The Beatles is the combination of two genius of different breed, one apollineous, the other dyonisiac.

I'd like to say "thank you" on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition. John Lennon
2 June 2010
5.19pm
Joe
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US people, particularly those who were around in 1964:

I was watching the first Ed Sullivan Show appeareance and something struck me. The Beatles kicked off their set with All My Loving, which is quite an interesting choice in itself. After that they played Till There Was You, and it's clear the spotlight was firmly on Paul. She Loves You was the third song, and again the director seems to have thought Paul was the lead singer and George and John were on backups.

In the second bit they sang I Saw Her Standing There - a Paul song - and closed with I Want To Hold Your Hand, a duet, but Paul's vocals are mixed way higher than John's (listen for the imbalance in the "And when I touch you..." bits).

Have a look for yourself. I Saw Her Standing There isn't here but the rest are. Bear in mind this was the first time most people in the US saw The Beatles - would most casual viewers have presumed that Paul was the leader? Certainly the way it was filmed seems at odds with how they were shown in the UK at the time.

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

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

2 June 2010
5.35pm
GniknuS
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I think John was the obvious choice as leader, just because of who he was as a person. Paul was a perfectionist and left very little, if any, room for improvising on his songs. John was much more experimental in his recordings, thus making it easier for George and Ringo to gravitate towards him because maybe they felt their input was more needed or appreciated. I think John receded his title as leader in about 1967 or so, but by then George and Ringo were much more independent individuals, so no leader was really needed. Paul tried and was successful at times, but he also struggled in that role.

I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine
2 June 2010
9.10pm
Brother_Mustard
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Ringo Was secretly pulling all the strings behind the scenes.

Haha, seriously though, I agree with pretty much everything that's been said here. And GnikNus, I agree with you about how George and Ringo probably gravitated towards John because they were able to be more... spontaneous, I guess is the word I'm looking for. Not everything had to be perfectly structured. I get the feeling Paul was kind of a recording Nazi a-hard-days-night-paul-2 (Nothing against his work, though, I still love it!). I didn't really notice it until I played B:RB, and noticed which songs had better drum patterns. It definately seems like they were John's.

2 June 2010
11.23pm
toryst
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Joe said:

US people, particularly those who were around in 1964:

I was watching the first Ed Sullivan Show appeareance and something struck me. The Beatles kicked off their set with All My Loving, which is quite an interesting choice in itself. After that they played Till There Was You, and it's clear the spotlight was firmly on Paul. She Loves You was the third song, and again the director seems to have thought Paul was the lead singer and George and John were on backups.

In the second bit they sang I Saw Her Standing There - a Paul song - and closed with I Want To Hold Your Hand, a duet, but Paul's vocals are mixed way higher than John's (listen for the imbalance in the "And when I touch you..." bits).

Have a look for yourself. I Saw Her Standing There isn't here but the rest are. Bear in mind this was the first time most people in the US saw The Beatles - would most casual viewers have presumed that Paul was the leader? Certainly the way it was filmed seems at odds with how they were shown in the UK at the time.


Yes, the cameras were definitely focused on Paul.  The little blurb "sorry girls, he's married" under John's name surely didn't help matters for publicity's sake, pretty much saying "Forget him! Check out Paul!" to all the young girls.  This is the best band in the world and the fact that the media tried to dissuade everyone's perception of them only made them better.  As for leadership? Who cares? If the 4 of them did not come together when they did, we would not be talking now.
14 June 2010
1.54am
HammerDealer
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No one, simply as that. But, really I always think as Paul as the leader. He seemed to care more about getting in the studio, and you're right about him singing the most 'popular' songs. a-hard-days-night-paul-5

When I Twish And Shout, it makes the Girl say "What Goes On?", and than I say, "I do this Here, There and Everywhere", and than she finishes by saying "Honey Don't".
14 June 2010
3.00am
MrBig
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George Martingeorge-martin

"The best band? The Beatles. The most overrated band? The Beatles."
13 July 2013
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Henry the Horse said

    "In the early years, John dominated things as Paul never did in the later years.  He was the main songwriter for their first six albums, including A Hard Day's Night, which is practically a John Lennon solo album.  John wrote 10 of its 13 songs as well as parts of two others.  Only "Things We Said Today" is a 100% Paul song.  Paul never dominated any Beatle album as John did with AHDN.Yes, Paul did dominate in the later years, and he was also the group's main arranger throughout its entire history.  But his dominance extends to only four albums (Pepper, MMT, Let It Be, and Abbey Road), whereas John dominates the rest (including, by a slight margin, the White Album), except for Revolver, on which he shares equal time with Paul."

 

That’s not really true. If you take a look to John’s and Paul’s comments about “who wrote what”, and make an objective count, you will see that Paul wrote more songs than John in at least 6 albums (Sgt. Pepper, MMT, Abbey Road, Let it be, Revolver and Beatles For Sale), and they have the same number of songs in two albums (With The Beatles and Help).

 If you don’t believe me, check this:

With The Beatles

According to McCartney and Lennon:

I Wanna Be Your Man, Hold Me Tight and All My Loving were mainly Paul’s.  It won’t be long, Not Second time and All I’ve got a do were mainly Lennon’s. Little Child was a 50/50 collaboration.

So Paul 3, John 3, john/Paul 1.

Ps: John helped Paul a lot on I Wanna Be Your Man, Paul helped John a lot on It won’t be long. Lennon also helped a little bit on Hold Me Tight.

Help

According to McCartney and Lennon:

Paul was the main writer of five songs (The Night before, Another Girl, Tell Me What You See, Yesterday, I’ve just seen a face), John was the main writer of five songs too (Help, You’ re going…, You’ve got hide…, It’s Only Love and Ticket To Ride).   So they have the same number of songs.

And I’m not even counting that Paul said Ticket To Ride, It’s Only Love and You’re going to lose… were 60-40 collaborations toward John. He also claims to have helped on the "countermelody" of Help, estimating the song as "70-30" to Lennon.

Beatles for Sale

According to McCartney and Lennon:

4 songs are mainly Paul’s (every little thing, Eight Days A Week, what you’re doing, I’ll follow the sun), 3 songs are mainly John’s( No Reply, I’m loser and I don’t want to spoil..). And one is a 50/50 collaboration (Baby’s and Black). So Paul wrote a bit more than John in that album.

Ps: Lennon helped Paul on every little thing, Eight Days A Week, what you’re doing. McCartney helped Lennon on No reply and I don’t want to spoil the party.

Revolver

According to McCartney and Lennon:

Paul wrote 6 songs ( Eleanor Rigby, Yellow submarine, Here there…, Good Day Sunshine, Got to get you into.., For No One). According to him, he helped John on Doctor Robert, I’m Only Sleeping and And Your Bird Can Sing.

John wrote 5 songs (Doctor Robert, I’m Only Sleeping and And Your Bird Can Sing, Tomorrow Never Knows, She Said She Said). He helped Paul on Eleanor Rigby, Yellow Submarine and Good Day Sunshine.

So in this album, again, Paul wrote a little bit more than John.

In Rubber Soul and Please Please Me, it’s no clear who wrote more songs. Because if you believe in Paul’s version he wins by a slight margin, but if you believe in John’s version, Lennon is the winner, also not by much. For example, McCartney said There’s Place , Misery, and Do you Want a secret were 50/50 collaborations, Lennon said that those songs were his , though he accepted McCartney’s participation in Misery.

So basically Paul was the main songwriter in six albums, John in two (one, if you count Paul's Can you take me back as a independent song in The White Album, if you do that, is another draw), and they have the same number of songs in two albums. And there is not a clear winner in another two records.

 Yellow Submarine for me doesn’t count.

In fact, in the White Album period Paul is the most prolific songwriter if you count the singles Hey Jude and Lady Madonna ( Revolution and Revolution1 are really the same song).

Paul also contributed to AHDN more than people tend to give him credit for.  Paul said I’m happy just to dance with you and If Fell were co-written, he also claimed that he helped to finish off I’ll be bacK.  He also said he helped a little bit in the title track. And that it’s not strange, because Richard Lester remembers John and Paul giving the final touches to that song in the movie set. John said to Playboy in 1980 that Can’t buy me love was Paul’s song completely. McCartney also said it was his song , and not mentioned any help from John.   That song is another solo (or almost solo) 100 % McCartney composition. So I don’t think you can’t call A Hard Day's Night a John Lennon solo album.

Two (And I Love Her and Can’t buy me love) of the three big songs in that album are essentially Paul’s songs (and sung by him alone, without any backing vocals), so AHDN is not John's show only, just like Pepper  is not Paul's show only.

 

 

Henry the Horse said

John also contributed to Sgt. Pepper more than people tend to give him credit for.  He had three songs (Lucy, Mr. Kite, Good Morning), wrote the main part of the album's masterpiece (ADITL), collaborated with Paul on "With a Little Help from My Friends" and contributed a good deal to "Getting Better" and "She's Leaving Home." Yes, Paul had more songs, and the Pepper concept was his, but it was far from a one-man show.

 My answer:

Well don’t forget that Paul also helped John a lot on Mr Kite and Lucy in the Sky.

If you have any doubts read this:

 

           Confusion over Paul's work in the Beatles sometimes extends to the Inner Circle. Paul even had to assure George Martin that he had co-written 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds'. 'I remember going to John's house and him showing me Julian's drawing [from school], and John saying: "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Good title, eh?" And we wrote it: it's John and me doing something like a Lewis Carroll. Now, John will have told George Martin that he had this great new song. He won't have told him: "Hey, yesterday Paul came to my house and we wrote it together." You don't. You just say: "I've got this new one." George would say: "Super, John, it's lovely." And he would assume it's John's song. In a recent book by George [Martin] it very nearly went down as one of John's solo compositions. So I find myself these days trying to fight for some of the credit, particularly because John's died in such crazy circumstances.' (  excerpt  from the book Yesterday and Today by Ray Coleman).

  PAUL: I went up to John's house in Weybridge. When I arrived we were having a cup of tea, and he said, 'Look at this great drawing Julian's done. Look at the title!' He showed me a drawing on school paper, a five-by-seven-inch piece of paper, of a little girl with lots of stars, and right across the top there was written, in very neat child handwriting, I think in pencil, 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds'. So I said, 'What's that mean?', thinking, Wow, fantastic title! John said, 'It's Lucy, a friend of his from school. And she's in the sky.' Julian had drawn stars, and then he thought they were diamonds. They were child's stars, there's a way to draw them with two triangles, but he said diamonds because they can be interpreted as diamonds or stars. And we loved it and she was in the sky and it was very trippy to us. So we went upstairs and started writing it. People later thought 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds' was LSD. I swear we didn't notice that when it came out, in actual fact, if you want to be pedantic you'd have to say it is LITSWD, but of course LSD is a better story.

PAUL: John had the tide and he had the first verse. It started off very Alice in Wonderland: 'Picture yourself in a boat, on a river ...' It's very Alice. Both of us had read the Alice books and always referred to them, we were always talking about 'Jabber-wocky' and we knew those more than any other books really. And when psychedelics came in, the heady quality of them was perfect. So we just went along with it. I sat there and wrote it with him: I offered 'cellophane flowers' and 'newspaper taxis' and John replied with 'kaleidoscope eyes'. I remember which was which because we traded words off each other, as we always did ... And in our mind it was an Alice thing, which both of us loved. (from the book Many years from Now)

John said in two of his interviews (Rolling Stone 1970 and Hit Parader 1972) that Paul helped with some of lyrics of Lucy. For example, he said that the "newspaper taxies..." verse indeed was mostly Paul's.

    PAUL: 'Mr Kite' was a poster that John had in his house in Weybridge. I arrived there for a session one day and he had it up on the wall in his living room. It was all there, the trampoline, the somersets, the hoops, the garters, the horse. It was Pablo Fanque's fair, and it said 'being for the benefit of Mr Kite'; almost the whole song was written right off this poster. We just sat down and wrote it. We pretty much took it down word for word and then just made up some little bits and pieces to glue it together. It was more John's because it was his poster so he ended up singing it, but it was quite a co-written song. We were both sitting there to write it at his house, just looking at it on the wall in the living room. But that was nice, it wrote itself very easily. Later George Martin put a fairground sound on it. (from Many years from now)

...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Finally, who was the leader?. I think both in different ways. McCartney was the main musical director and arranger in the studio, their working leader. Lennon was their spiritual leader, the one that others beatles admire and respect most.  Together they were the force that led the group to be the number one in the planet.

 

 

 

 

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