By Bill Harry
John Lennon's comments on who wrote what are interesting. Many of the songs were actually mainly written by either of the two, with some numbers given a certain amount of input from the other partner. John was also to say that they did all their best work alone.
John says 'Love Me Do' had the main structure written by Paul and he thinks he had something to do with the middle part of the song. 'PS I Love You' was Paul's, although John said he helped a little bit. 'Please Please Me' was written entirely by John and both John and Paul collaborate on 'From Me To You', which was written in a van. 'Thank You Girl' was another collaboration, along with 'She Loves You' and 'Misery.' John wrote 'Do You Want To Know A Secret?' and 'I Call Your Name' while Paul wrote 'I'll Be On My Way.' John wrote 'Bad To Me' and 'It Won't Be Long.' Paul wrote 'All My Loving' and 'Little Child'. 'Hold Me Tight' and 'I Wanna Be Your Man' were collaborations, although John admits that Paul mainly wrote the latter. Paul composed 'I'll Keep You Satisfied' and 'Love Of The Loved' while John wrote 'I'm In Love' and 'Hello Little Girl.' The two collaborated on 'Can't Buy Me Love' although John says it was mainly Paul's number. Paul also wrote 'From A Window' and 'Like Dreamers Do'.
'And I Love Her' saw the first half provided by Paul with John penning the middle eight.
John wrote 'I'll Be Back', 'I Feel Fine', 'No Reply', 'It's Only Love', 'Day Tripper', 'Norwegian Wood', 'What Goes On', 'In My Life', 'Run For Your Life', 'She Said', 'And Your Bird Can Sing', 'Dr Robert', 'Tomorrow Never Knows', 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds', 'Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite', 'Good Morning, Good Morning', 'I Am The Walrus', 'Revolution', 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun', 'Julia', 'Everybody's Got Something To Hide',
'Sexie Sadie', 'Because', 'Across The Universe', 'There's A Place', 'This Boy', 'All I've Got To Do', 'Not A Second Time', 'You Can't Do That', 'A Hard Day's Night', 'I Should Have Known Better', 'If I Fell', 'I'm Happy Just To Dance With You', 'Tell Me Why', 'Any Time At All', 'I'll Cry Instead', 'When I Get Home', 'I'm A Loser', 'I Don't Want To Spoil The Party', 'Ticket To Ride', 'Yes It Is', 'Help!' 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away', 'You're Going To Lose That Girl', 'Nowhere Man', 'Girl', 'Rain', 'I'm Omly Sleeping', 'Strawberry Fields Forever', 'Dear Prudence',
'Glass Onoion', 'Bungalow Bill', 'I'm So Tired', 'Yer Blues', 'Cry Baby Cry', 'Goodnight', 'Ballad Of John And Yoko', 'Come Together', 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)', 'Mean Mr Mustard', 'Polythene Pam', 'One After 909', 'Hey Bulldog', 'Don't Let Me Down', 'You Know My Name', 'Sun King', 'Dig A Pony', 'Dig It.'
Paul wrote: 'I Saw Her Standing There', 'Ask Me Why', 'Love Me Do', 'PS I Love You', 'All My Loving', 'Hold Me Tight', 'Things We Said Today', 'She's A Woman', 'I'll Follow The Sun', 'Every Little Thing', 'What You're Doing', 'I'm Down', 'The Night Before', 'Another Girl', 'Tell Me What You See', 'I've Just Seen A Face', 'Yesterday', 'We Can Work It Out', 'Drive My Car', 'You Won't See Me', 'Michelle', 'I'm Looking Through You', 'Paperback Writer', 'Eleanor Rigby', 'Here, There And Everywhere', 'Yellow Submarine', 'Good Day Sunshine', 'For No One', 'Got To Get You Into My life', 'Penny Lane', 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', 'With A Little Help From My friends', 'Fixing A Hole', 'She's Leaving Home', 'When I'm Sixty Four', 'Lovely Rita', 'Hello Goodbye', 'Magical Mystery Tour', 'The Fool On The Hill', 'Your Mother Should Know', 'Lady Madonna', 'Hey Jude', 'All Together Now', 'Back In The
U.S.S.R', 'Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da', 'Wild Honey Pie', 'Martha My Dear', 'Blackbird', 'Rocky Raccoon',
'Why Don't We Do It In The Road', 'I Will', 'Birthday', 'Mother Nature's Son', 'Helter Skelter', 'Honey Pie', 'Two Of Us', 'Let It Be', 'The Long And Winding Road', 'Get Back', 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer', 'Oh! Darling', 'You Never Give Me Your Money', 'She Came In Through The Bathroom Window', 'Golden Slumbers', 'Carry That Weight', 'The End', 'Her Majesty.'
John was to say, "Maybe I've led a hard-centered life. I can only write what I feel and what I've felt. I can go all sloppy if I want to write a love ballad but I get a greater kick out of being a little more devious and crafty with my words than that."
He said, "My contribution to Paul's songs was always to add a little bluesy edge to them. He provides a lightness, an optimism, while I would always go for the sadness, the discords, the bluesy notes."
"There was a period when I thought I didn't write melodies, that Paul wrote those and I just wrote straight, shouting rock 'n' roll. but, of course, when I think of some of my own songs - 'In My Life', or some of the early stuff, 'This Boy' - I was writing melody with the best of them.
"In the early days the majority of singles were mine. Only when I became self-conscious and inhibited did Paul start dominating the group a little too much for my liking.
"Usually we'd spend hours doing little detailed cleaning-ups of Paul's songs, but when it came to mine, especially if it was a great song like 'Strawberry Fields Forever' or 'Across The Universe', somehow this atmosphere of looseness and casualness and experimentation would creep in: subconscious sabotage."
Commenting on their collaboration, Paul said, "Most of the time we wrote separately, not in the same room together, not even aware of what the other was working on at any given time. If I was stuck I'd see what John thought. He'd do the same, bringing stuff to me for comment. If the other half of the team gave it the go-ahead, that was great. Otherwise we'd accept honest criticism from each other. We had that degree of respect, a two-way thing.
"The second opinion was always very important. Often it only led to lines being changed here and there. Occasionally one of us would go away and start again but more often it was a matter of getting into the recording studio and making last-minute changes there and then on the studio floor before a session got under way. If there were things we disliked about a song, we were open with one another. It was the only possible way to make the relationship work. That was the basic value of being in a song writing team, getting a reaction which you could trust, hearing an opinion you'd be prepared to act upon."
Their recording manager George Martin was to observe, "John sneered at a lot of things, but that was part of the collaboration between the two of them. They tended to be rivals. Their collaboration as songwriters was never Rodgers and Hart, it was always more Gilbert and Sullivan. If John did something, Paul would wish he'd thought of it and go away and try to do something better and vice versa. It was a very healthy spirit of competition."
When the Beatles settled in London, Paul used to compose in the music room of the Asher's house, where he wrote numbers such as 'And I Love Her', 'Every Little Thing', 'Eleanor Rigby', 'I've Just Seem A Face', 'You Won't See Me' and 'I'm Looking Through You.'
Discussing the Lennon & McCartney partnership, John said, "We only ever wrote together because in the early days it was fun and later on convenient. But our best songs were always written alone."
He also commented, "One of us might think of a song completely, and the other might just add a bit. Or we might write alternative lines. We never argue. If one of us says he doesn't like a bit, the other agrees. It just doesn't matter that much. I care about being a song writer, but I don't care passionately about each song."
Discussing writing with John in an interview with Ray Connelly, Paul said, "It simply became very difficult for me to write with Yoko sitting there. If I had to think of a line, I started getting very nervous. I might want to do something like, 'I love you, girl,' but with Yoko watching I always felt that I had to come out with something clever and avant-garde. She would probably have loved the simple stuff, but I was scared."
The song writing partnership came to an end in September 1969. John had written the number 'Cold Turkey', which he wanted the Beatles to record. Paul refused, so John recorded with Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann and Ringo Starr. John decided to break the agreement he had with Paul that any song they wrote would be credited to Lennon & McCartney and he credited it solely to John Lennon.
Editor's note: The above article was actually an entry in my 'Paul McCartney Encyclopedia.' Shortly prior to the publication date I was told that 50,000 words had been lost at the printers. When they were eventually found, it was too late for them all to be included in the book.