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7 February 2014
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Mincer Ray
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All empirical evidence points to it likely being John.  It cannot be certain at all, unless someone asks Paul. And even if someone asks Paul, and he says "X," some Beatles people will doubt that too.  

 

"I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil."  - Bobby Kennedy

7 February 2014
5.36pm
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Mincer Ray
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PeterWeatherby said

Into the Sky with Diamonds said
But I've been fooled by McCartney before ... The man's got a million voices.

There you go. Exactly, spot-on, couldn't agree more. This stands out especially in his solo work, the way he uses different tonal/timbre ranges and colors. Here's just a partial list, off the top of my head, where (in my opinion) each of these voices that he uses is different from the others:

  • "Why Don't We Do it in the Road?" - this is like his "Elvis voice," real throaty and darkly colored, mid-range
  • "Monkberry Moon Delight" (Ram album) - it's one of his raucous, screamy voices, but it's still mid-range and different from ...
  • "Long Tall Sally" - this is his upper-range scream, more like Little Richard (who he was, by his own admission, trying to mimic)
  • "Back Seat of My Car" (Ram album) - again, it's a very throaty, almost "Elvis" tone, but this time is way up in the vocal register
  • "So Bad" (Give My Regards To Broad Street album) - yet another completely unique sound, with the very high falsetto that's also very light and airy, almost like what he used when he sang "Girlfriend" and was trying to mimic Michael Jackson

I'm sure others can think of more examples. But the point is, by his own admission, Macca often deliberately used to change his voice in order to imitate other artists. He had that ability, and that was part of his writing and performing process, so I think it's a mistake to say "well, this line sounds like John, so just trust your ears, case closed."

 

 

You are completely correct; Paul had one of the most versatile voices in all of pop/rock.  And I am really trying to be thoughtful here because it is an interesting topic.  But listening to all of those tracks you listed above, they are diverse, but I still know it is Paul. I do not think that I have ever been "fooled" by a track.  Even when Paul did *his* own "John"--like when he doubles on some songs--it never sounds like the "in summer" line.  We cannot know for sure short of a scientific voice analysis, but I believe in evidence not hunches, and the empirical evidence suggest to me that it is John. As with most human endeavors, we could be wrong. But I am betting Nate Silver would place the John likelihood at 90%.  

"I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil."  - Bobby Kennedy

7 February 2014
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PeterWeatherby
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Mincer Ray said

All empirical evidence points to it likely being John.  It cannot be certain at all, unless someone asks Paul. And even if someone asks Paul, and he says "X," some Beatles people will doubt that too.  

 

Well, I was looking for definite and documented evidence, as opposed to subjective opinions based on what each person hears, but it looks like there isn't any. It's a real brain itch. As was pointed out earlier, it's a bit of an anomaly - here, see, this is my song, I wrote it, I'm singing lead for 99% of it, but I want you to sing just these two words. I can't think of another example like that in the Beatles' catalog, so I'm just surprised that it never turned up in someone's biography or wherever. Paul talked at length in Many Years From Now about each of his songs, down to the details, so I guess I expected that somewhere he (or someone) would have said something like, "We had this funny little bit where John sang these couple of words, because I was out of breath," etc.

Alas.

Not a bit like Cagney.

7 February 2014
5.56pm
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Mincer Ray
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Yeah, I get that. But I've seen fans doubt when someone who was *there* says something.  See Geoff Emerick on the "ahhs" on A Day in Life and Harrison on his comments about playing bass on "Old Brown Shoe."  So, if Paul said "yeah, John sang that" or "I sang that," people here would still doubt it just like people doubt John sang the ahhs despite Emerick and about bass on Old Brown Shoe despite what George said, etc etc,  So what good would any documentation do?

I am not being snarky or negative... just sayin'  

"I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil."  - Bobby Kennedy

7 February 2014
7.24pm
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Funny Paper
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Into the Sky with Diamonds said
But I've been fooled by McCartney before … The man's got a million voices.

"There you go. Exactly, spot-on, couldn't agree more. This stands out especially in his solo work, the way he uses different tonal/timbre ranges and colors."

True, Paul had a mercurial ability to sing different styles and different voices.  That would help to suggest he could sound like John.  However, what would be more convincing would be any recorded example that exists where he is actually sounding like John on purpose.

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...

17 February 2014
9.49pm
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Matt Busby
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PeterWeatherby said

Mincer Ray said

All empirical evidence points to it likely being John.  It cannot be certain at all, unless someone asks Paul. And even if someone asks Paul, and he says "X," some Beatles people will doubt that too.  
 

I agree with some modifications.  I think John joins in low harmony in "in summer meanwhile back" and also at  all 3 of the "there beneath the blue suburban skies" sounds like someone (George) is singing the high harmony.

Anyone else hear George in that line?

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17 February 2014
9.53pm
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IveJustSeenAFaceo
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I think it was Justin Bieber. There.

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17 February 2014
9.58pm
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IveJustSeenAFaceo
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Um, Artist Formerly Known as Kermy, did you delete that post that was there a second ago? It was pretty good I thought

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17 February 2014
9.59pm
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Matt Busby
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PeterWeatherby said

  • "Why Don't We Do it in the Road?" - this is like his "Elvis voice," real throaty and darkly colored, mid-range

 

I've always really gotten into the way he bites into that first line: "Why Don't We D-Do it in The RRoad" - really sends the primal message of the song across, to me anyway.

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17 February 2014
10.25pm
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Matt Busby
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IveJustSeenAFaceo said
Um, Artist Formerly Known as Kermy, did you delete that post that was there a second ago? It was pretty good I thought

Well thank you 🙂  I'll try to recreate the important part: (plays the song yet again - 4 times! a-hard-days-night-george-10

I hear John clearly sing "in summer" and I hear someone (George?) in high harmony the words just before, "fish and finger pies"

But I hear George almost surely in "there beneath the blue suburban skies".  Does anyone else hear his high harmony on this line (all 3 times I think).

BTW I was listening to the Swedish Penny Lane EP version, which is very close if not the generally released version.

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18 February 2014
11.40am
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ScrambledEggs
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^^ It is most definitely Paul singing the high harmony. Take another listen to the videos meanmistermustard posted 🙂 
I think it is John singing the low harmonies on "There beneath the blue suburban skies.." and "A four of fish and finger pies.." and merely carries on with "...in summer.." and ".. I sit and..". 

It wasn't a fun little thing they did, having John sing two words of the lead vocal. It was only harmonies, and that's all.

18 February 2014
1.09pm
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IveJustSeenAFaceo
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I love how everyone's "arguing" about this, when everyone agrees. 

IT WAS JOHN. a-hard-days-night-john-1

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8 November 2015
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Silly Girl
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I just listened to this on headphones and heard some really neat bowed double bass in the left speaker right after 'We see the banker sitting waiting for a trim'. Fabosity. 

EDIT: It was John. a-hard-days-night-john-1

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8 November 2015
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meanmistermustard
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Cant believe that discussion was nearly 2 years ago. Time certainly passes quickly.

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

"Don't make your love suffer insecurities; Trade the baggage of 'self' to set another one free" ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)

8 November 2015
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Silly Girl
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And then one day you find,/ Ten years have got behind you... 

Faster than the blinking of an eye, like a flash you could miss it going by. 

(Okay, okay, enough with the quotes...) 

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10 May 2016
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meanmistermustard
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"Blackberry Way" is often cited as an "answer song" to the Beatles' "Penny Lane." It has similarity with "Penny Lane," only with much darker lyrics and a melancholy mood. The bridge is lifted from the intro of Harry Nilsson's "Good Old Desk." When it was put to him in an interview, Roy Wood admitted the influence of "Penny Lane" on this song. He said: "I suppose it could have been. We were all very influenced by what The Beatles were doing because they were the best songwriters around."

Songfacts

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1 September 2017
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vonbontee
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I think it is kinda notable, John taking over for a few words in a Paul lead vocal, inasmuch as it seemed they were into occasionally blurring the lines between lead and backing vocals, around Pepper time (also You Won't See Me), like with the counterpoint of SLH or (yes) ADITL.

Also there's the slightly odd case of Lucy, when Paul seems to randomly harmonize-or-not) with John on the title line.

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23 October 2017
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Was just now listening to this and the kidsister asked, 'What is fish-and-finger pie, anyway?' paul-mccartney-facepalm_gif

I told her the truth -- fish pie is a thing, and finger pie is Liverpool slang. I didn't explain what for.a-hard-days-night-john-6

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23 October 2017
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Starr Shine?
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It could be more of a Sweeney Todd thing.

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23 October 2017
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sir walter raleigh
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I always thought it was a fish with a  separate finger pie. I never thought that the fish could be part of the pie. 

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