Monday, July 16, 2007

Who Really Contributed The Most To The Beatles Success - Lennon Or McCartney?

OK, an interesting post by Per Myrsten showing who was the main composer of Beatles songs got me thinking - who was the biggest contributor to the group regarding song-writing and singing combined? Which Beatle could theoretically take the most credit for the bands huge success? I realise that here was a great example of the sum of the parts being greater than the whole and so to single one individual out is distorting the overall picture, but then I thought 'sod it, who cares. I'll just do it anyway'. So here we go.

I decided to use statistics based on the following:

(1.) No.1 hit singles only - rather than going through every country in the world that had ever charted a Beatles hit I opted for what I felt was a representative cross-section of countries: US, UK, Germany, Australia and Holland.

(2.) a points system based on 4 points for the songwriter and 2 points for the singer. I reasoned that being responsible for writing the song was about twice as important as singing it, hence the uneven distribution of points. Where both Lennon and McCartney both contributed to either function the points were evenly split between them.

(3.) the points total awarded at (2.) are then multiplied by the number of countries where the song scored a No.1 hit.

So, for example, for We Can Work It Out, the songwriter was both Lennon and McCartney (2 points each) but the singer was just McCartney (so he gets another 2 points). These points are then multiplied by 4 (because the No.1 hits were in UK, US, Australia and Holland) giving a total for this song of 8 for Lennon and 16 for McCartney.

Taking all of this into account, I got the following table:

song title comp
singer

UK US Ger. Aus. Holl.

From Me to You Len / McC Len / McC
1





She Loves You Len / McC Len / McC
1 1




I Want to Hold Your Hand Len / McC Len / McC
1 1 1 1 1

Can't Buy Me Love McC McC
1 1
1 1

A Hard Day's Night Len Len / McC
1 1
1 1

I Feel Fine Len Len
1 1
1 1

Ticket to Ride Len Len
1 1
1 1

Help! Len Len
1 1
1 1

Day Tripper Len Len / McC
1 1
1 1

We Can Work It Out Len / McC McC
1 1
1 1

Paperback Writer McC McC
1 1 1
1

Yellow Submarine McC Sta
1
1 1 1

Eleanor Rigby McC McC
1
1 1 1

All You Need Is Love Len Len
1 1 1 1 1

Hello, Goodbye McC McC
1 1 1 1 1

Lady Madonna McC McC
1

1


Hey Jude McC McC
1 1 1 1 1

Get Back McC McC
1 1 1 1 1

The Ballad of John and Yoko Len Len
1
1 1 1

Penny Lane McC McC

1 1 1 1

Strawberry Fields Forever Len Len

1 1 1 1

Come Together Len Len

1 1 1


Something Har Har

1 1 1


Let It Be McC McC

1 1 1


Yesterday McC McC

1

1

Love Me Do McC Len / McC

1




Baby It's You n/a Len







Eight Days a Week McC Len / McC

1




The Long and Winding Road McC McC

1




Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da McC McC


1 1


I Saw Her Standing There McC McC



1


I Should Have Known Better Len Len



1 1

Rock and Roll Music n/a Len



1 1

Nowhere Man Len Len



1


Long Tall Sally EP n/a McC




1

Michelle McC McC




1























The results? Lennon : 264 - McCartney : 334. Paul McCartney was 26% greater than John Lennon in terms of the contribution made to their success while the group was still together*. Not that this matters. Not that this is even true. The methods used to produce this conclusion are totally arbitrary and the Beatles were far too genius as a collective to judge them at all, let alone by my crude methods. But anyway, well done Sir Paul. Give yourself a pat on the back, baby, its you.

* Note, the Magical Mystery Tour EP, The Beatles Movie Medley EP, Free As A Bird, Real Love and All My Loving EP were deliberately omitted from the survey.

1 comment:

Lbell60 said...

Sorry, but I disagree. John Lennon is wholly responsible for the success of The Beatles because he was the founder of the group and the leader. If it wasn't for John, Paul wouldn't have been in the group. It doesn't matter what subsequently happened. I know the roles somewhat reversed at some point, but the foundation is the key, and that was John all the way. I love them all though. As you said, they were genius collectively. I've always said that it was truly a miracle for these 4 geniuses to come together just at the right time, right place, with the right message. In fact, I truly believe that the ultimate reason they broke up was that it was just too much talent for one band. Thanks for the blog.