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Literal Songwriting Credits
28 July 2016
9.34am
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Jolly Jimmy
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If you look at present day recordings by today's artists on CDs and such, you will see many songs with songwriting credits by three or more people.  This is true even on relatively simple short songs.  I guess even if somebody contributes a small portion, they insist of a mention to get some royalties.

This made me think of the Beatles.  As you know, many if not the majority of the Lennon-McCartney songs have little or no input from one of them.  And in many cases George Martin may have been the true composer of an instrumental bridge or such.  Maybe this is true for Harrison or Starkey songs as well.

Is there a definitive list of Beatle songs showing what the literal songwriting credits should be?  It often gets discussed on the pages about the individual songs.  But I have yet to see a general list.

If not, perhaps we can start to create one here.

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28 July 2016
9.40am
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Starr Shine?
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We'd have to find that taxi driver for Eight Days A Week .

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28 July 2016
9.44am
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meanmistermustard
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It depends on how far you take it as surely Chuck Berry could now claim something as Paul's bassline in 'I Saw Her Standing There ' is taken straight from 'I'm Talking About You', John blatantly stole "i'd rather see you dead little girl than to be with another man" from 'Baby, Let's Play House', the riff in 'I Feel Fine ' is clearly inspired by Bobby Parker's 'Watch Your Step'. I'm sure if any of that happened today a lawyer would be sending a letter asking for a cut and part credit for their client.

How often did John, Paul, George and Ringo open up their songs to others, not just other bandmate Beatles, to add a line, word, chord or solo?

It was different back then as you could get away with a bit of borrowing here and there. Were there many lawsuits back in the 60's for musical plagiarism?

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28 July 2016
10.01am
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Ron Nasty
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John did an in-detail of the songwriter splits during his 1980 Playboy interview.

Paul did a similar, though far less detailed, thing for Playboy in the mid-80s, and got far more detailed in Many Years from Now.

George covered his songs and their genesis in I Me Mine .

The lists are there, it's just the problem of the disagreements...

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28 July 2016
1.54pm
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Jolly Jimmy
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Everything you all say is true.

My vision is to see a comprehensive list using interviews from band members, books, Wikipedia and other reference materials.  This would just be a straightforward list without commentary or in-depth origin stories.  It might be fun to use our imagination to see how it might have looked on records in an alternate universe.

For example, we might have:

A Hard Day's Night (Lennon, McCartney, Martin)
Julia (Lennon)

I don't think song influences such as Baby, Let's Play House would count in this case.  Yes, there would be arguments.  But that's part of the fun of it.  This would make a great start-off point.

A similar case for Rolling Stones fans would also be interesting for all the times Brian Jones contributed to a song.

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28 July 2016
2.02pm
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Necko
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This is far from a definitive list, but Wikipedia's List of songs recorded by the Beatles is a pretty good starting point. 

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I'm also ewe2 on weekends.

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28 July 2016
2.31pm
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Zig
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Starr Shine? said
We'd have to find that taxi driver for Eight Days A Week .  

Love it!

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28 July 2016
8.44pm
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Jolly Jimmy
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Eight Days A Week (Lennon, McCartney, That Taxi Driver We Had That One Day)

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10 September 2016
6.18pm
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Ahhh Girl
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Piggies would need to include George's mother for the line "What they need is a damn good whacking."

In the Beatles Anthology Revisited, in Episode 8 at 56:40, someone claims to have come up with the line "Watching her eyes and hoping I'm always there" to the song Here, There And Everywhere . Several people who have heard it think it is Mal Evans speaking.

I'm going to look for Mal interviews to see if I can confirm that he is the one who said that.

I'm finding places on the web that say Mal claimed to have made that statement.

EDIT:

Here's a transcript of the clip I heard.

mal.JPGImage Enlarger

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11 September 2016
7.46am
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Into the Sky with Diamonds
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Donovan says that "Sky of blue and sea of green, in our Yellow Submarine " was his contribution.

(It was at this same visit that Paul played him the melody to E. Rigby; didn't have the words yet. Had father McKenzie sitting by the fireplace smoking his pipe or something or other.)

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27 September 2016
12.05pm
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Leppo
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Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure song copyright is based on chord structure, melody and lyrics. Therefore using someone's bass line or guitar riff would not constitute a writing credit. George Martin adding a piano solo or string arrangement to an existing chord structure would also not qualify him. This is why Paul, John and George would occasionally borrow chord sequences and lyrics  but they knew how to alter them to avoid getting in trouble (although not all of the time i.e Come Together , My Sweet Lord ). I also seem to remember hearing an interview with John and Paul where they pretty much admitted they pinched some chords for "Michelle ".

 

Ahhh Girl said

In the Beatles Anthology Revisited, in Episode 8 at 56:40, someone claims to have come up with the line "Watching her eyes and hoping I'm always there" to the song Here, There And Everywhere . Several people who have heard it think it is Mal Evans speaking.

I'm going to look for Mal interviews to see if I can confirm that he is the one who said that.

I'm finding places on the web that say Mal claimed to have made that statement.
  

@Ahhh Girl I heard that clip from Mal on a recent Something about the Beatles "Mal special" podcast and I think it was from a 70's radio interview.

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Pivotal Moments in Beatles History No.118:  Yoko helps herself to one of George's digestives. 

6 December 2016
10.04am
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Ahhh Girl
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Also about Michelle : Ivan Vaughan's wife, Jan, gave Paul the French words to sing in the song. https://www.beatlesbible.com/s...../michelle/

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6 December 2016
7.53pm
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HMBeatlesfan
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If we're doing literal songwriting credits, almost every song would be Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey, as for the most part, John wrote his own rhythm guitar parts, Paul wrote his own bass parts, George wrote his own lead guitar parts, and Ringo wrote his own drum parts.

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Maybe you should try posting more.

7 December 2016
11.23am
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Pablo Ramon
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HMBeatlesfan said
If we're doing literal songwriting credits, almost every song would be Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey, as for the most part, John wrote his own rhythm guitar parts, Paul wrote his own bass parts, George wrote his own lead guitar parts, and Ringo wrote his own drum parts.  

There is a distinction between composition and arrangement - coming up with a great guitar solo may make a great contribution to a recording but it doesn't necessarily make you a composer. Typically, songwriting consists of creation of melody and lyrics. The instrumentation falls into the category of "arrangement."

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7 December 2016
11.52am
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Ron Nasty
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Have to agree with @Pablo Ramon and @Leppo, @HMBeatlesfan.

Instrumentation on the recording is arrangement not composition of the song.

Composition is about the solid parts of the song, lyric and melody etc., rather than the arrangement which is an interpretation of the composition.

As an example, let's take the song Help !. On your interpretation, the literal songwriting credit would be "Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey".

Yet, listen to this version of the song...

There's no way to credit that the same because George's guitar parts and Ringo's drum patterns aren't used. John and Paul only stand in that version because they wrote the base song, mainly John, not for how the recorded it.

The composition is in the writing, while the recording of just one of many possible arrangements.

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7 December 2016
2.26pm
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HMBeatlesfan
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I think that sometimes the instrumentation is just as important if not more than the lyrics, so I would gladly credit that cover to Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey/Blackmore/Simper/Paice/Lord, as they completely revamped the song from a fairly simple British invasion folk rock number into a progressive hard rock ballad with an organ solo, therefore Deep Purple's Help is less similar to The Beatles version than Revolution is to Revolution 1 . Also, if you think that the lyrics are the only things worth giving songwriting credits to, than who would you credit songs like Iron Maiden's Transylvania and Van Halen's Eruption to, would you credit those songs to Nobody or would you make an exception and credit them properly. What about a song like Flying that although it's not an instrumental, there's not a lot of vocals, would you credit it entirely to McCartney because he was the one who wrote the Ra-Ra-Ra-Ra-Ra's.

Maybe you should try posting more.

10 December 2016
6.31pm
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Ahhh Girl
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From Joe's page for Savoy Truffle : Derek Taylor wrote some of the words in the middle - 'You know that what you eat you are'.

10 December 2016
9.10pm
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Beatlebug
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Ahhh Girl said
From Joes's page for Savoy Truffle : Derek Taylor wrote some of the words in the middle - 'You know that what you eat you are'.  

How many are there? a-hard-days-night-paul-4 

a-hard-days-night-george-10

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It verges from the sublime to the ridiculote

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10 December 2016
9.22pm
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Ron Nasty
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Ate.

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11 December 2016
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Ahhh Girl
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LOL you two. I fixed it.

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