• Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Nikki on Apr 23, 01:23 @Michael – I can definitely understand that being frustrating. I wrote another (equally rambling) comment out about 10 minutes ago and I think it disappeared into the ether, so apologies if this comes through twice! The gist of it was: I agree with what you set out in your comment, and the ‘genius in different but complimentary areas, of equal importance, and equally brilliant’ approach to John and Paul is my only real stance on the Beatles. The rest I have ideas about, but I also think the Beatles shift between light and shade (in terms of both the mood of their story, and our understanding of it) with every new anecdote or opinion. Also, I spend most days doing one of two things: writing (my job, which I love) or playing a musical instrument for pleasure/unparalleled frustration. I have tried so many times over the years to combine these two things that I’m hopefully halfway decent at (enough to make myself understood in either medium, at least), and I have found it pretty much impossible. That mirror concept you describe is, of all the unbelievable things about the Beatles, still the thing that comes out on top for me in terms of ‘how in the world did that happen?’. That John was a genius communicator and Paul was a genius musician, and on top of that both of them could also do the other thing not just well, but often brilliantly, is only something to be celebrated, as far as I’m concerned. When the argument turns into who was better than/smarter than/more of a genius than the other, or when we believe that the only way for them to be equal is if they are both great at all the same things (which is not, in my experience, how life generally works), I think everyone loses and we’ve all missed the point.
  • Avatar The Beatles and the Krays Comment by Dave on Apr 22, 23:02 Remember they had that incident at some concert in middle America where a firecracker went off, Paul, George and Ringo immediately looked at John expecting him to drop, fearing that was a gunshot. This was in the midst of the Bigger than Jesus backlash He also supposedly thought that he will die a violent death because he was a violent person, though I don’t think there’s a direct quote attributed to him. He had every right to be worried about assassination, though when he was out an about anywhere he was approachable, never seemed to have bodyguards. Maybe that’s the way it was with celebs in the 70’s..
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Lara on Apr 22, 21:16 I believe personal or emotional connection to music is highly subjective myself. Those who say they’re able to personally connect to John’s songs but not to Paul’s make the assumption that just because they can’t, then nobody else can either. And likely vice versa. Individual brains are wired differently; their emotional and psychological experiences throughout life vary. I think it was someone in the Davies biography or the Beatles Monthly, I can’t remember, who described Paul as a visual thinker. I think that’s true. Paul was/is a visual thinker; John a verbal thinker. But they were still only tendencies. Different tendencies in their approach to music, neither of which preclude emotional power and personal experience. There won’t be a true evaluation of either of them until Paul dies in my opinion. That John was this, but Paul was that, is only the tip of the iceberg.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Dave on Apr 22, 20:29 Yea you’re right I think with George because he was a more private person, less bombastic and controversial as John, the quiet Beatle etc I may have glossed over his own 70’s crises. The mountains of cocaine, followed by fasting…prayer…yoga, cleaning up, followed by sex/philandering, followed by more cocaine.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Dave on Apr 22, 20:19 I think we can add Ringo to the mix there along with John/George thinking Paul was overbearing/a control freak. A few years ago on Howard Stern, Ringo mentioned how he’d be hanging out with John, in the Garden (drugs likely involved) and the phone would ring and the two of them would immediately wince. “It’s him, we could tell from the ring, he wants to work!” I think sometime around maybe 1966 George/John/Ringo had already come to a Paul is too controlling consensus . Though he did go on to say we have Paul to thank for the volume of material we ended up putting out, but Ringo seemed to be more in the George/John camp then Paul’s
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Dave on Apr 22, 20:10 You’re right about John’s difficulty in articulating what he wanted in the studio…Martin talked about how he was perhaps the most impractical man that he’s known, Geoff Emrick remarked about how difficult it was for him and the other techs to understand what Lennon wanted. John Lennon himself remarked about how he functioned in the studio by saying things like “Can we take this song and Be Bop A Lula-it a bit?” granted in that example a producer would probably know what he wants but in other situations what he wanted could be a great challenge to decipher
  • Avatar More Beatle Cars! Comment by Dave on Apr 22, 19:55 I’d be curious which of those vehicles was the one that John, George, Pattie and Cyn drive back from the club while on an acid trip. With George gripping the wheel terrified and going exactly 18mph or whatever snails pace it was
  • Avatar More Beatle Cars! Comment by Dave on Apr 22, 19:11 Yea I’ve heard that small hands stuff too, and on the subject a weird quote from Paul popped in my head regarding John having “beautiful hands” which I just can’t make heads or tails of…I guess he could’ve meant his hands produced beauty or did he mean physical beauty… Anyway apparently John’s father I’ve heard somewhere between 5’2 and 5’4, and his mother 5’1. Not bad that Lennon made it to 5’10.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Tasmin on Apr 22, 17:52 Wow! Great discussion here today. I love this blog because it’s seems to attract people who are very articulate and are able to express exactly how I feel in their writing. I’m not a writer, just a middle aged woman from Idaho who loves the Beatles! Thanks to all for the great discussion!
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Annie M on Apr 22, 16:58 On the subject of cool collaborations that never were, does everyone know about the telegram Jimi Hendrix/Miles Davis sent Paul in ’69 about coming and playing with them? But Paul never got it!! I comfort myself about this tragedy with the thought that maybe it was fate stepping in, that maybe if Paul had been hanging out with Jimi at that time he’d have ended up joining the 27 Club, too.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Kir on Apr 22, 15:46 @Michael G- I also wanted to add that his melodies are intriguing and as you stated, it’s not something that can be easily explained, but it can be felt.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Michael Gerber on Apr 22, 15:42 @Dave, always factor in Lennon’s drug use. George used too, and to the degree he used–say, coke in the 70s–his life was chaotic and lonely, like John’s. His work deteriorated, like John’s; he was a “lost soul” like John. It was only after George cleaned up that he was able to live a life of familial stability with Olivia and Dhani. The key to Lennon isn’t that his mother abandoned him; lots of mothers do that, sadly. It was WHY Julia was like that (addiction), which John inherited. What appears to us as a lack of ballast, an increasingly frenzied search for something REAL, is simply a refusal to change the obvious thing: change the unhealthy relationship to [several things], and address the mental and emotional issues that caused you to develop that habit in the first place. Recovery works; I’ve seen it. It might have worked with John, eventually, but probably not until he was really down and out. Lotta self-will in that guy, for some pretty obvious reasons. Here’s a quick discussion of “self-will” which may be THE concept when looking at poor dear John.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Kir on Apr 22, 15:38 @Michael G- Wonderfully stated. This is why I’m not surprised about Paul using his music to tell his life story in his upcoming autobiography. John and Paul expressed themselves differently. I believe this is why they worked so well together and is why they still hold the record for best-selling duo.
  • Avatar More Beatle Cars! Comment by Michael Gerber on Apr 22, 15:31 I have a short-scale Rickenbacker 325 and I can tell you John did not have big hands. I have medium-sized hands and slim fingers, and even so above the fifth fret or so, the fretboard is a squish. There’s a reason why 3/4 Ricks are Lennon-fan only. John had enough reach to do all the Chuck Berry pinkie-stuff, and I broke my left pinky and can’t. So he wasn’t elfin; he could play that Casino fine, and it was a full-sized guitar.
  • Avatar More Beatle Cars! Comment by Annie M on Apr 22, 15:07 I’ve always wondered if this dexterity thing is the real reason he had “no reach” on guitar or whatever it was Jack Douglas said. He attributed it to John having small hands, but John demonstrably did not have small hands. So maybe it was a nimbleness issue instead.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Annie M on Apr 22, 14:55 I really enjoy these thoughts, @Neal, and dont have anything to add other than a take on “genius” which speaks to the significance of innovation: . “Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.”
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Dave on Apr 22, 13:58 Lennon is a strange case regarding intelligence…you wouldn’t figure someone as smart as him would be as naive, trusting, susceptible to fads/schemes etc as he was. What I always keep in mind is that Johns life was chaotic start to finish. Paul had a tragedy, George had stability, Ringo dealt with illness…but the 3 of them knew they were loved, wanted, protected, supported and had normalcy. They understood that they came from run of the mill folks and were nothing special….not sure John ever felt that. He was a lost soul from day 1 in a way and never felt fully comfortable and that he belonged anywhere and with anyone. Why are these things happening to me? Why can’t I have a loving mom and dad like most everyone else…his whole life to him as it unfolded seemed almost magical. Of course add drugs and fame and then you have the decisions that he made…abandoning Cynthia (who loved him unconditionally) Yoko etc George could be weird too, plenty of examples, but he was far more grounded and emotionally mature than John. Plus he developed a lot of hobbies…Indian Music & culture, gardening, auto racing, constructive pursuits that he developed expertise in. John not so much (I know he was taking an interest in sailing before his death) but he just didn’t strike me as a guy who wanted to learn how to do new, different, challenging things John crafted better songs than George, he was more talented than him in that respect. In every other aspect of life, I think George comes out ahead.
  • Avatar More Beatle Cars! Comment by Michael Gerber on Apr 22, 13:36 @Dave, I am a huge car guy whose vision is just *that much* too poor to drive. Pity me. 🙂 I love the idea that not only was John a terrible driver, he would wreck the car internally–it’s amazing that a guy dextrous enough to be a professional musician apparently couldn’t drive stick.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Michael Gerber on Apr 22, 13:32 @Nikki, thank you for saying all this because it was something I was too disheartened to address. You have no idea how frustrating it is after starting this blog, writing hundreds of posts and thousands of comments, to have someone characterize my opinion as “John Lennon had no musical talent.” As a professional communicator it made me despair at the possibility of communication. John and Paul were basically mirror-versions of each other in an interesting way. John was a very good musician and an excellent singer; but more than that, John was a genius — GENIUS — at communicating via mass-media. He could transmit his personal inner thoughts in a way that forged an intimate connection between himself and the individual audience member. Because of the time and place he was born, he used pop music. Paul, on the other hand, is a very good communicator and an excellent singer; but a GENIUS musician. He would’ve been a pop musician regardless of time and place. What Lennon fans react to about Lennon’s work isn’t usually the melody or the gorgeousness of the arrangement or the sonic world that is created (except when Lennon’s songs are joint efforts between him and Paul and George Martin, all using the studio-as-instrument; and even then, there’s a kind of impatience from John, a “you guys figure it out”). What McCartney fans react to about McCartney’s work isn’t the raw emotional honestly/personal connection. It is the music. (PLEASE DON’T TALK ABOUT “HERE TODAY”, COMMENTERS. There’s a lot going on with that song, given the precise time it was released and as such it’s different from what John did.) This is why they were such good complimentary pieces to each other, and why it’s utterly foolish to try to say one is “better” or “smarter” than the other. John will always be more comprehensible to writers because they, like John, deal in communication. The best ones, like John, have the gift of writing something personal that goes out over the wires to the world and somehow feels personal to individual strangers. Paul will always get a bit of raw deal because what he does is non-verbal, and cannot be captured easily via words or images. And anybody who truly understands Paul’s gift via their own experience is, like Paul, a musician first. Have you ever read writing by Stevie Wonder or Prince? Have you ever listened to Brian Wilson talk? They are not going to be able to explain. So I think it’s necessary, and probably even important, to keep this in mind when talking about John, and Paul, and JohnandPaul.
  • Avatar More Beatle Cars! Comment by Ben on Apr 22, 06:04 ‘John’s first car’…a Ferrari. Love it! Surely the most ‘rock star’ of the Beatles; ditto for the Rolls.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Velvet Hand on Apr 22, 05:53 Thank you Nancy 🙂 I agree that ‘No More Lonely Nights’ is a pulchritudinous tune (in fact the way Paul sings the accapella opening can make me tear up). That only applies to the ‘ballad’ version though – the other one at the end of the record is a bit too “ha! You liked that nice love song earlier? Here’s a misconceived ‘dance’ remake to make you forget all about that” for me. Much of the rest of the album displays a similar attitude – “been fond of ‘Yesterday’ for 20 years? Have this pointless rehash!”
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Nikki on Apr 21, 23:14 @Michelle, it seems like you’re often fighting an argument that wasn’t made, which must be a bit disheartening. In this instance, no-one said John knew nothing about, or didn’t understand, music. It’s just that they’re different kinds of talents – understanding that one song combines elements of a couple of others is very different to hearing entire orchestral arrangements in your head, seeing them in blocks of colour and then – without any formal training – being able to sing them to classical musicians or enter them into a computer in order to get them scored. That IS different. And, as Michael says, a far less common talent than the ones John, George and Ringo possessed, and so likely to cause friction in a band. If the story that Michael was talking about was just an April Fool’s thing, the point still stands. Paul always looked for ways to make more music, he sought people out and found ways to create music with them, and he is a multi-instrumentalist who seems to be able to adapt to whoever he’s playing with, regardless of the instrument he’s picked up or the type of music he’s playing. He also experiments effortlessly with form and genre, he learns anything new almost instantly and I’m almost certain he has absolute pitch, although I can’t find any definitive answer on that! None of those things are true of John, no matter how great he was. It’s something I was talking about with Annie a bit further up, but because of how uncommon his particular talent is, it means that Paul’s “genius” is never adequately explained when people write about him. You need someone who also has his sort of musical brain to write a book and tell us about it all to truly understand how rare and strangely magical-seeming someone with Paul’s (or Prince’s – great comparison) kind of talent is. Not liking Prince’s music except Little Red Corvette is about our preferences really, not his ability – he was and is commonly recognised as a musical genius, regardless of whether we like his music. Paul is one too. In my firm opinion, John wasn’t, despite a real talent and passion for music, and his amazing voice. Acknowledging Paul’s incredible talent as a musician doesn’t diminish John in my mind, because his “genius” just lay elsewhere. I’m quite glad of that, because I think otherwise the Beatles would have been a very different and far less accessible band, if they existed at all.
  • Avatar Beatle Cars Comment by Annie M on Apr 21, 21:46 Thanks for the tip about The White Company! That’s kind of hilarious and even more so if Paul is involved. Once that man gets a bee in his bonnet… . However in browsing their website I am disappointed by 3 things: A) The name. “White Inc.” is right there, and whatever business juju they had to pull to turn the whole enterprise from a Co to an Inc would be well worth the pun. B) Lack of commitment. Those wood floors and earthy accent colors can fuck right off! I want price tags with a matte background and gloss printing. I want white-on-white 3D signage you can’t read from more than 6 feet away. Give me outrageous, gratuitous novelty or give me death! If I don’t leave the shop with snow blindness and a migraine, what’s the point? C) Where’s the FOOD? The sandwich counter serving chicken salad on wonderbread (crusts removed, natch) with a side of clam chowder and a vanilla milkshake for dessert?
  • Avatar Hey Dullblog Housekeeping Notes Comment by Annie M on Apr 21, 21:25 I’m the bookcase that is definitely not a secret passageway
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Lara on Apr 21, 21:18 Richard Feynman, genius Nobel physicist in quantum mechanics and theoretical physics, had an IQ of 125. Sylvester Stallone has an IQ of 160. We can try and work that one out. As one wry educator pointed out, past the score of 140, people become geniuses at answering IQ type questions, nothing else. It’s meaningless, and presumably the reason why the term has been dropped from modern IQ testing. I’ve heard of many super-high IQ scorers leading very successful lives as scientists, writers, artists, in business and education, etc. They may even be notable. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they are exceptional amongst their peers, and more often than not, they aren’t. It was that exceptionality, outstandingly so, that put the Beatles head and shoulders above others. Genius can’t be measured. Superior intelligence fosters it, undoubtedly, but a higher score is often just superfluous to requirements. And I wonder if Einstein’s ‘estimated’ IQ was closer to Feynman’s than to Rowan Atkinson’s 178. Perhaps we expected too little from Mr Bean!
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Annie M on Apr 21, 19:18 What a crummy April fool’s gag! I mean at least include a link to a “sneak peek track” that turns out to be rickroll or something. Weak effort!!!
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Annie M on Apr 21, 18:55 I can easily sympathize with someone who lashes out due to trauma, or who has a persecution complex due to trauma. But when someone does both of those things, constantly, their entire life, sometimes in the same breath, with no apparent awareness of this insane double standard, my eye starts to get twitchy. And I’m not sure if “sensitive” is quite the right word for them.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Michael Gerber on Apr 21, 18:45 Oh no! Say it ain’t so! 🙂
  • Avatar More Beatle Cars! Comment by Dave on Apr 21, 18:45 Lennon was an absolutely terrible driver, and I don’t think it was solely because he didn’t want to wear his glasses. He had that crash in 69 with Yoko and I believe he was wearing his glasses then, and would’ve been wearing his contacts beforehand during his other road misadventures. It took him until 25 to get his license. I remember reading (possibly Anthology) that when he did drive he would wreak havoc on the car itself and it would need maintenance pretty much immediately. Being able to drive is usually something most young men absolutely can’t wait for, it’s a rite of passage, it’s independence…many become certified “car guys” (as George was) John absolutely never cared for it it seems.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Michael Gerber on Apr 21, 18:43 Very exciting! https://www.allaboutjazz.com/hey-bill-its-paul-from-abbey-road-bill-evans-april-first-records?width=412
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Michelle on Apr 21, 17:44 I don’t think drugs have an effect on IQ.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Michelle on Apr 21, 17:23 LOL, well there goes that theory. Paul didn’t think to do it either, it turns out. John didn’t have an understanding of music? He had incredible discernment and understanding when it came to music. I think it was during his guest DJ spot in 1974 when he explained how ELO’s “Showdown” is a combination of “Lightning Strikes Again” by Lou Christie and “I Heard It Through The Grape Vine” by Marvin Gaye. He knew what he was talking about. There are plenty of other examples. Just as John wouldn’t have given Paul the time of day if he were “rubbish”, Paul wouldn’t have been drawn to John if he didn’t know anything about music. George and Ringo understood music as well. What a weird statement.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Ben S on Apr 21, 15:51 Ahh…. @Michael, I KNEW something was up ;D
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Kir on Apr 21, 15:41 @Michael G- That’s an interesting point you made about them viewing each other negatively in order to maintain their own confidence. I’ve never thought of it like that, but I can see it.
  • Nancy Carr Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Nancy Carr on Apr 21, 15:31 ” . . . one of the clearest commonalities about really smart people is that they aren’t particularly impressed with ‘smartness'” Thought of this today when I saw that a guy on Twitter had his putative height and IQ in his header! Agree with you about the probable role of drugs on the rise of people like Magic Alex in the Beatles’ circle. Sad to see.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Ben S on Apr 21, 15:20 @Michael – (sorry, I’m not able to reply to the post I want to reply to so this is in a weird place) – Paul McCartney played music with Bill Evans?!?!?! As a huge fan of both, I had absolutely no idea about this, where did you read it?
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Neal Schier on Apr 21, 15:05 @Michael Your statement “Yes, John, Paul, and George were all musicians, but Paul’s a totally different kind of talent than those other two” led me think again what, if anything, can be used as an adequate definition of genius. We, collectively and conversationally, frequently bandy the term about as we talk about certain artists, scientists, innovators, etc. When it comes to the Beatles, we, almost by default, label all four of them as geniuses but is that always accurate? Their collective effort certainly was genius, but were all the components genius or just one or two that, in turn, lit the fire? You make a sound argument for Paul being a first among equals at the very least and most likely something much more. I have always hewn to the idea that a genius is someone who can take existing, and often quite disparate strands, in a field and while looking over the horizon can make something completely new, creative, useful, and the like out of them. Einstein, as we know, was a master of using thought experiments to question what might happen if given certain conditions such as the lightning striking as two railway cars pass each other. All the while he was, figuratively, peering over the horizon as to what could be done, what questions needed to be asked, and what mental models could be employed to figure it out. McCartney seemed to be the same way in that he was always peering over the horizon. He took what he had at hand and added other elements into the mix—such as you mention his concept of using the studio itself as an instrument. Perhaps I get a little too fixated on this “looking over the horizon” type of thing as it has to be linked with the creation of something—whether that be an idea or music or a painting, but McCartney certainly was looking at places few others were and he intuitively recognized that by folding so many ideas into the mix was the way to move forward. The story of him inviting Bill Evans over is a perfect example of that. Maybe genius does not have a working definition, but McCartney certainly exhibited all the characteristics of what we would consider to be one. He was, quite simply, moving an art form forward as no one (or very few) of his generation could. I think of the thought experiment of bringing J.S. Bach back to life and explaining to him what electricity and an electric guitar are and then showing him a clip of the White Stripes playing Seven Nation Army in concert. I have a feeling after 15 seconds he would say “I see what they are doing there.” I think Paul had that same upper-level of thinking to recognize everything around him as being something he could use to create…at least in the Beatles era. Prince did the same by linking bringing technical expertise with a recognition of new possibilities.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Jesse on Apr 21, 14:42 @Michael Gerber, that session sounded intriguing, but it apperas to be a hoax. The only publicity for it is a review on a jazz music site dated April 1, 2021. And the record label given for the release is called April First Records.
  • Avatar More Beatle Cars! Comment by Alejandra on Apr 21, 14:33 I think they would have looked so much cooler in a Vocho!
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Michelle on Apr 21, 14:03 @Elizabeth- That’s fair enough, I guess.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Michelle on Apr 21, 13:58 Paul didn’t leave the Beatles. And John did his own directing and explaining in the studio; he just had a harder time articulating what was in his head. He would paint pictures of what he wanted rather than use technical jargon. Must have been more frustrating for him than Paul. I don’t get the “musical genius” label for Prince. I mean, I’m not a musicologist or anything. All I know is Little Red Corvette is about the only song I like from him as far as melody is concerned. I don’t even want to know what Brian Wilson did solo. I think John was a musical genius.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Michelle on Apr 21, 13:35 Thanks for clarifying, @Laura and @Jesse. Makes sense that Paul’s brother would be interested in art school.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Michael Gerber on Apr 21, 13:03 @Annie M., in this regard I think of Prince. Paul McCartney is a Prince-level musical genius; his comfort with melody, his facility with instruments, his immediate grasp of the studio AS an instrument. His obsession with making music. So when we hear John or George or anybody else call Paul “overbearing,” we also have to remember that Paul’s spending his time in a band with guys who–while geniuses–are not MUSICAL geniuses. That has to cause a lot of friction, especially after Paul’s reached his full flood after Revolver. (And starts dabbling in cocaine. That’s part of this, too.) In 1968, during the White Album sessions, Paul called up Bill Evans, the jazz pianist whose trio was playing Ronnie Scott’s. The Trio came over to Abbey Road and they jammed a bit, which is now being released as an album. No other Beatle would’ve thought to do this, nor did any other Beatle have anything like the understanding of, and facility with, music to be able to keep up with topflight jazz musicians like Evans, DeJohnette and Gomez. Yes, John, Paul, and George were all musicians, but Paul’s a totally different kind of talent than those other two. Now, 99.9999% of the people reading this blog are much closer to John, George, or Ringo–people who could probably, under the right circumstances, create some really wonderful music. But we are not like Paul or Prince or Brian Wilson or Stevie Wonder…all of whom eventually left their old bands and became solo acts, because whether you’re working with John Lennon or Wendy Melvoin or (horrors) Mike Love, it gets super-frustrating to constantly have to be explaining, directing, compromising over what you hear in your head. I can’t blame those guys–even if I prefer The Beatles to Paul’s solo work, or The Revolution to every Prince album but Sign O’ The Times. I’m sure it was unpleasant for George to work with Paul after 1966 or so, but in Paul’s defense, George stops being interested in making Beatle music. He gets interested in Hindu mysticism; John gets interested in Yoko; but Paul is still the same guy he was in 1964 in that he lives to make music. This is why it’s so unfair for Lennon to talk about being a sideman for Paul; it’s not Paul’s fault that John got bored, and it’s not Paul’s fault John grew insecure. Paul was surely insecure about areas where John was more gifted. Far from being a monster, I think Paul was actually very good at dealing with the frustrations that he must’ve felt every time he went into the studio. Do I think he always acted nicely? No. But all things considered, I think he showed high EQ even there.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Michael Gerber on Apr 21, 12:26 @Nancy, for me one of the clearest commonalities about really smart people is that they aren’t particularly impressed with “smartness.” They know what it can do, and what it can’t. Credentials, even less. Someone who talks a lot about where they went to school or their awards or whatever is generally not, in my experience, a first-class brain. So what I think is so interesting about John after psychedelics is how he’s so susceptible to “geniuses”–electronic geniuses like Magic Alex, or artistic geniuses like Yoko, or the therapy geniuses from Maharishi to Janov, or health geniuses like the Macrobiotics guy or magical geniuses like the directional person or the various psychics…Similarly, after the transition to heroin, John becomes markedly less whimsical–compare the guy in Feb ’68 to the guy in Feb ’69. He becomes doctrinaire, which once again isn’t a trait I’ve found in highly intelligent people. There are glimpses of his old whimsy, but it’s really not evident much. It’s impossible to know, but I really do think all the drugs had an impact on how his brain functioned; if you’re looking for something to reduce your “clock speed,” 18 months of eating acid every day would probably be a great way to do it. That, plus fame, would make anybody stupider.
  • Nancy Carr Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Nancy Carr on Apr 21, 12:07 I’ve seen the movie and can confirm that it’s bad. “Broad Street,” both album and film, feel to me like a combo of midlife crisis and acting out about the ego blows McCartney sustained at the height of John’s lionization in the 1980s. A great example of the kind of thing that happens when no one around you can tell you “no, this is a bad idea” and get through. I do have affection for “No More Lonely Nights,” however. Nice covers of that song by the Airborne Toxic Event, the Merrymakers, and John Pizzarelli. I’ll see myself out . . . .
  • Avatar More Beatle Cars! Comment by Michael Gerber on Apr 21, 12:04 @Sam, I think it’s sweet that these guys, who were so much cooler, still retained some warmth for American culture. It reminds me that they were real people.
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Michael Gerber on Apr 21, 12:03 Knowing a lot of really bright people, the one thing they all have in common is that they would only partner with someone whom they felt was at their same intellectual/talent level. The clearest evidence of J/P/G/R being all at the same level is that they were able to tolerate each other and work together well from 1957-69. And for the first ten years of that, they were together constantly. Anybody who wasn’t “bright,” or even “bright in the same-ish ways,” would be replaced.
  • Avatar More Beatle Cars! Comment by Michael Gerber on Apr 21, 11:48 That was my favorite, too. 🙂
  • Avatar Paul McCartney: The Lyrics Comment by Velvet Hand on Apr 21, 09:52 Re. Broad Street: Haven’t seen the movie myself either, I’m sorry to say, but have heard the LP. In interviews at the time, did Paul comment on why he’d felt the need to re-record some of his greatest Beatles songs AND credit them to ‘McCartney-Lennon’ there just a few years after John died? In any case, I feel that GMRtBS the album has its fair share of banal/mediocre moments, plus a lot of unnecessary artifice/ostentation (that 7-minute orchestral ‘coda’ to Eleanor Rigby! That gatefold sleeve with pics from the film where Paul and the band are dressed as Venusians… or was it Victorians?). But is it camper than ‘The Luck of the Irish’ and ‘Angela’? Maybe not!
  • Avatar More Beatle Cars! Comment by Annie M on Apr 21, 08:35 OH MY GOD the cleaning instructions note from George!!! Please everyone read it immediately. There’s a twist at the end! 😉