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Which Beatle Do You Prefer Singing The "Screaming" Songs? John Or Paul?
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17 February 2014
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Matt Busby
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meanmistermustard said

I know that there are mixes out there that have isolated the vocals on all tracks as well isolating the three part harmonies on This Boy and Because to reveal what each Beatle is singing so it probably is possible. How to do it i have no idea.

If you try hard and have a good ear, you can often discern the three voices, despite their being in perfect harmony.  Especially if you know what to listen for.  Especially in the early years, John's low harmony was pretty sandpapery and didn't sound nearly as good as it did 2 years later (about 1962).  Paul, being in the middle and always exactly on key, is hard to pick out, but George (high) and John (low) can be distinguished, at least in some takes.

I think most of the 3 parts were John, bass; Paul, tenor; George, alto.  Sometimes George and Paul switched up I think.  Also not sure if John was a pure bass...his voice was so amazing (to take nothing away from Paul and Georges' excellent voices!)...think of Mother...his vocals just skate on a plane...he minimizes most of the hard consonant sounds and just emotes!!!  I think the Beatles were amazing and unsurpassed in their ability to just join in anytime in perfect harmony...many obviously unrehearsed live versions of George (esp., but the others sometimes) walking up and joining another at a mike.  Just at random times (but of course they were the perfect random times a-hard-days-night-george-10 

I assume you know that each of the 3 voices was triple-tracked for a total of 9 voices in Because.  The um...Anthology cd set I think has this vocals-only version.  If I listen close I can just make out the 3 voices (well the triples of each man's voice)Like I said in another recent post (hopefully in another topic!), only the Beach Boys surpassed the Beatles in harmonizing, but they had more voices and a lot of studio work.  Whereas the Beatles could just harmonize effortlessly.  I'm sure I'm not the first who's said that (in fact, it's the second time I've said it in this post - but it deserves the emphasis!)

Ok getting to the actual topic:  I like John's screaming better, but Paul did it well too, and it's just a personal thing.  There's a fairly early version of Twist And Shout where he sang most of the verses clearly and only screamed at the loud endings of lines, and it sounds really good (some live version, cavern club maybe or hamburg?).

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18 February 2014
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Mincer Ray
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PeterWeatherby said
Paul had the naturally higher vocal range, so he's able to do more with the full-voice screaming than John. The top note in the "Mr. Moonlight" intro is a B-flat, I believe, but the Anthology outtakes reveal that John had a hard time getting there. Heck, he had a hard time getting to the high A in the chorus of "No Reply" ("I saw the liiight"), so he eventually relegated that part to Paul, just as he handed over the bridge of "A Hard Day's Night" to Paul because he couldn't hit the repeated high G's, F#'s, and screamin' high A at the end. "Anytime at All" is another example - Paul gets the second "anytime at all" in the chorus because it went too high for John, and again, it was only an A.

All of that to say, John could hit the occasional high screamer note if it was a somewhat isolated instance in the song, but even then he seems to have topped out around an A or maybe a B-flat on a good day. With that in mind, "Oh Darling" has that bridge that just freakin' camps out on high B's and A's, and I have absolutely no doubt that this would have been way out of John's range and ability. Not only does that bridge go higher than I've ever heard John sing, but it stays up there for longer than John could have done. (Listen to the end of "Instant Karma" and how the repeated high G's in the chorus eventually force John to start speak-singing because his voice can't sustain the punishment - and those are lower notes than the ones found in "Oh Darling".)

They could both scream, but John had a limit as to how high he could go and how often he could go there. Paul's screaming stuff is more razor-sharp and closer to the actual notes as well, whereas John's screams tended to splatter a bit (as in "Mother").

I'm not sure this is the best way to judge their screams.  

 

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10 September 2016
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ewe2
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John. It's not about range or power, he lights a fuse. Not to knock Paul, he just comes from a different place, it's just the way you're made.

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11 September 2016
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Mademoiselle Kitty >^..^<
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Paul. He's got such a wide array of screams and when he goes for it, it's just out of this world. Having said that, both John and Paul have their own distinct style and I have to admire how they always knew which type of screams to add to which song. I love both!

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11 September 2016
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Matt Busby said

meanmistermustard said
I know that there are mixes out there that have isolated the vocals on all tracks as well isolating the three part harmonies on This Boy and Because to reveal what each Beatle is singing so it probably is possible. How to do it i have no idea.

If you try hard and have a good ear, you can often discern the three voices, despite their being in perfect harmony.  Especially if you know what to listen for.  Especially in the early years, John's low harmony was pretty sandpapery and didn't sound nearly as good as it did 2 years later (about 1962).  Paul, being in the middle and always exactly on key, is hard to pick out, but George (high) and John (low) can be distinguished, at least in some takes.

I think most of the 3 parts were John, bass; Paul, tenor; George, alto.  Sometimes George and Paul switched up I think.  Also not sure if John was a pure bass...his voice was so amazing (to take nothing away from Paul and Georges' excellent voices!)...think of Mother...his vocals just skate on a plane...he minimizes most of the hard consonant sounds and just emotes!!!  I think the Beatles were amazing and unsurpassed in their ability to just join in anytime in perfect harmony...many obviously unrehearsed live versions of George (esp., but the others sometimes) walking up and joining another at a mike.  Just at random times (but of course they were the perfect random times a-hard-days-night-george-10 

I assume you know that each of the 3 voices was triple-tracked for a total of 9 voices in Because.  The um...Anthology cd set I think has this vocals-only version.  If I listen close I can just make out the 3 voices (well the triples of each man's voice)Like I said in another recent post (hopefully in another topic!), only the Beach Boys surpassed the Beatles in harmonizing, but they had more voices and a lot of studio work.  Whereas the Beatles could just harmonize effortlessly.  I'm sure I'm not the first who's said that (in fact, it's the second time I've said it in this post - but it deserves the emphasis!)

Ok getting to the actual topic:  I like John's screaming better, but Paul did it well too, and it's just a personal thing.  There's a fairly early version of Twist And Shout where he sang most of the verses clearly and only screamed at the loud endings of lines, and it sounds really good (some live version, cavern club maybe or hamburg?).  

I would disagree. Paul usually sang the high harmony, John the middle, and George the lower. John and George would mix it up quite a bit, and there are even a few songs where Paul sings the lowest harmony, but it's most often Paul -> John -> George if you list them high to low.

Because is no different. George sings the low harmony, although it must be noted that at a few points, that one goes up whilst John's middle (and main) harmony dips down, so that John sings lower notes than George there. It's only on 4 occasions, though: a few words in each verse ("it turns me on", "it blows my mind", and "it makes me cry") and the "love is old, love is new' line in the bridge. If you listen closely, you can hear each harmony quite well, and they're a lot of fun to sing along. Paul's is challenging, though. Even as a girl, I sometimes find myself straining to sing that part in full voice. Falsetto tends to be easier, and sounds a bit better.

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11 September 2016
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Paul has his moments, but John nails these songs virtually every time.   So John.  

11 September 2016
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I agree, John screams much more convincingly than Paul.

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11 September 2016
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Mademoiselle Kitty >^..^<
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That doesn't necessarily mean John's screams come from a deeper place, though. I've often seen people suggest John's screams are "real" and "heartfelt" as opposed to Paul's. But is that the case? I'm pretty sure John could scream at will without having to dig deep for it, and we know Paul often had to make an effort to get outside of his head so he could belt out those screams - both he and John have mentioned that. Also, I've always wondered what makes Paul's screams "less convincing". Is it because they're pitch-perfect? Can you hold that against him, or is that just fuelled by the biases some people have against Paul in general?

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11 September 2016
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It's the emotion behind it. Paul seems like he's having fun when he screams. You even see him smiling/almost laughing on old concert films as he screams.

When John screams it just seems more rock and roll.

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11 September 2016
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Mademoiselle Kitty >^..^<
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Emphasis 'seems'. 

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11 September 2016
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I don't have an opinion on who I think was more convincing or powerful at screaming, but I do prefer Paul's screaming songs better. I just generally like most everything about Paul better than John.  

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