McCartney
December 23, 2005 8:34 AM   Subscribe

Why do people dislike Paul McCartney so much?

Most of the hits were written by him, the much acclaimed albums were mostly his doing, and he had the better singing voice. Why is Lennon praised and McCartney dissed so much?
posted by riffola to Society & Culture (89 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
are you serious? because lennon is way cooler. lennon has attitude; mccartney doesn't.

also, of course, lennon died young, which helps. and mccartney played bass, which is hardly sexy (like, well, sting...). and his solo stuff is kinda boring. lennon had the edginess. he had the smooth. together they were more than the sum of the parts.

come on. this is basic.
posted by andrew cooke at 8:41 AM on December 23, 2005


For what it's worth, I do not dislike Paul McCartney. Who's with me?
posted by odinsdream at 8:42 AM on December 23, 2005


It's somewhat complex, mainly Lennon is dead and McCartney is alive. It is natural to romanticize the dead (Kennedy, Marylin Monroe, etc.) and ignore their less admirable traits. It doesn't help that McCartney changed a lot of the songs to read McCartney-Lennon. Who actually wrote the song is irrespective of whether Lennon-McCartney or McCartney-Lennon is on the the back of the CD case, it just looks to be in bad taste when one of them is dead.

Also Lennon never got a chance to produce bad singles, where McCartney has had the last thirty-some-odd years.
posted by geoff. at 8:42 AM on December 23, 2005


May I suggest - his wealth, the Frog Chorus, his (Irish) Republicanism, over-eagerness with the 'thumbs up' sign, vegetarianism, accepting a knighthood (something Lennon would never have done) and remarrying.

and he had the better singing voice
. Pretty subjective, no?
posted by the cuban at 8:43 AM on December 23, 2005


I think it's probably because he lived long enough to start sucking. Lennon's last album, Double Fantasy, was a wonderful album (minus the Yoko contributions). McCartney hasn't made a good album since the late-seventies, in my opinion.

I think the question of who was the most brilliant Beatle is endlessly debatable, and in the end you'll have to recognize that they inspired each other and they traded places as the most inspired members of the band. On Revolver, for example, Lennon was moving on to newer and better territory while McCartney was still languishing in their rock/crooning past. However, they trade places on the White Album and Abbey Road where McCartney dominates.

Ultimately - they are both great and niether would have been as great without the other.

I know that's a slight bird-walk from your original question: I think the answer to your original question is that McCartney sucks now. He didn't die young. If Jim Morrison was a fat old guy, with 10 horrible solo albums under his belt, singing in Tahoe and Vegas every weekend, I bet his stock would drop quite a bit too.
posted by crapples at 8:44 AM on December 23, 2005


I'm a Beatles fan myself, and I'm not aware of any pervasive dislike of Sir Paul. I actually prefer him myself. Also, what geoff. said re: dead vs. alive.

Where is this notion of Paul-Dislike coming from? Serious question, asked in the interest of clarifying the original question.
posted by Gator at 8:45 AM on December 23, 2005


Wings.
posted by huskerdont at 8:46 AM on December 23, 2005


I totally disagree with Andrew Cooke: McCartney was just as edgy as Lennon when he was a Beatle. And Lennon wasn't very edgy when he was killed. Double Fantasy is not edgy at all. McCartney was an absolutely brilliant musical genius - he concieved of St. Pepper, for goodness sakes!

As for singing voice - I actually think Lennon's is better.
posted by crapples at 8:48 AM on December 23, 2005


Lennon had substance (not always good, but there), McCartney is fluff at best, saccharine dreck at worst (most of the time).

McCarney has talent, for sure, but so did the Partridge Family.

I was 14 when the Beatles appeared (in the US, 1964). My initial take on McCartney was "bet he spends a lot of time in front of the mirror." John was cool, sly and subversive. McCarney was the Beatle your grandma liked.
posted by words1 at 8:49 AM on December 23, 2005


Because he's a dick!

No seriously, I used to hate Macca and exalt Lennon, until I realized that by the late, great, Beatles albums Macca was doing much more of the work. There was also something with the whole 'Wings' thing that got me (you know, having his wife in the band playing tambourine seemed pretty lame) but actually, there are some really great, well crafted post-Beatles McCartney songs (and besides I'd rather have Linda doing her thing that listen to the pretentious bullshit that Yoko came out with on some of Lennon's post-Beatles stuff.)

I think a lot of it is to do with Lennon's rebellious stance vs. McCartney's more 'establishment' attitude, and also because Lennon was killed which feeds into the cult of personality. I think that when one takes a mature look at the two of them, rather than to buy into adolescent rebellion, McCartney is as great as Lennon.

Actually, when I think about it, I think that Macca is more of a natural musician and Lennon a better lyricist, but that's really all that divides them.
posted by ob at 8:49 AM on December 23, 2005


Also Lennon never got a chance to produce bad singles, where McCartney has had the last thirty-some-odd years.

What about his work with Yoko Ono?
posted by delmoi at 8:52 AM on December 23, 2005


He's a smug, self-centred, arrogant individual, surrounded by sycophants who delight in reminding him of talents he had and talents he *wished* he had. He continues to patronise the people of Liverpool with his billionaire man-of-the-people attitude.

Macca would have done well to have retired post Beatles.
posted by jonthegeologist at 8:55 AM on December 23, 2005


Lennon was always viewed as the anti-establishment, adventurous, I-don't-give-a-fuck one. Combine that with McCartney's tendency towards sappiness, and which one do you think would be perceived as cooler in a culture that fetishizes rebellion?

Lennon's singing and songwriting is more confessional and direct, and that willingness to be blunt and personal in your art is another signifier of "authenticity" that = cool.

Ironically, McCartney's always been more adventurous musically (he went to painfully earnest lengths to document his avant-gardism in Barry Miles' recent authorized bio of him) -- he was the one listening to John Cage and Mahler's Song of the Earth in the mid-60s, scoring films, etc. It's also safe to say John would probably not have been working with the likes of Super Furry Animals on sound collages -- he was a '50s rocker at heart.

I love them both. McCartney is a more sophisticated musician but a cheesier individual. Lennon's life and personality means something to people independent of his music; the same can't really be said of McCartney.
posted by alexfw at 8:59 AM on December 23, 2005


I still think that if Lennon hadn't been shot, he'd be such a cheesy crappy old git now, and we'd probably think: 'how the fuck can he still think of himself as a working class hero, with all those billions in the bank...'
posted by ob at 9:00 AM on December 23, 2005


I don't think the romanticization of death has much to do with it; even a little reading of pre-1980 sources reveals that the idea of Paul being fluff has been around a long time.

I love 'em both, but they are distinct personalities. Paul is musically gifted, even extremely so; but I've always been fond of saying that had he lived in the 1920s, he would have been on Tin Pan Alley banging out standards. Not that that's a bad thing; but Paul's music has always been about the medium, while John's was very much about the message.

By allying themselves philosophically with John and panning Paul, people are trying to signal that they consider themselves serious, iconoclastic, clever, political, and substantive. People of this bent see Paul as less intelligent, more commercially oriented, and more emotionally facile. All fine.

Personally, I happen to think that these distinct qualities, opposing and in balance to one another, were the greatest contributor to the Beatles' greatness. They needed each other to be great; on their own, both have made good music but not the kind of culture-changing music the Beatles created. A band of all Johns or all Pauls would not have worked. The emotional tension generated by their differing approaches to music exploded in a degree of furious creativity that had never been seen before, and has not since been equalled.
posted by Miko at 9:03 AM on December 23, 2005


Let me just add this caveat: I hate a lot of what McCartney has done (Liverpool oratorio -please!) and what he represents (jonthegeologist puts it well) but I still think that he is/was a great songwriter and a gifted musician. Granted he isn't as gifted as he thinks he is (he can't write symphonic/classical music for shit) but he is talented nevertheless and I think, in comparison to Lennon, equally talented...
posted by ob at 9:05 AM on December 23, 2005


odinsdream, I'm with you!

I think McCartney was/is a better songwriter than Lennon; I think he has an unsurpassed gift for melody; I think Wings is one of the most criminally underrated bands ever. McCartney is great.

I think the hatred for McCartney is more of a backlash for making crowd-pleasing music with Wings (how dare he?!); for making some legitimately shitty records (they can't all be winners); for making some lousy business decisions; and for not having the grace to die and be made into a martyr. Oh, and for Linda, who, yeah, was pretty lousy, but whatever. The guy was in love - cut him some slack.

It also doesn't have to be a comparison with Lennon, but it always turns into that, and Lennon comes out ahead because he wrote treacly songs about Peace and Harmony and other eighth-grade, back-of-the-notebook topics. It's easy to love Lennon when you're in middle school and first getting to love The Beatles, and one's Favorite Beatle sticks with one for most of one's life.

Personally, I think the Beatle with the most interesting post-Beatle catalog is George Harrison.
posted by Dr. Wu at 9:05 AM on December 23, 2005


maybe i misunderstood the question. are we supposed to be arguing who our personal favourite is, or explaining the "standard" take on the relationship. because i can make snide comments about people's immature tastes along with the best of them if that's what this thread is about.
posted by andrew cooke at 9:10 AM on December 23, 2005


Both Lennon and McCartney were helpless without each other and George Martin. McCartney needed someone to tell him to stop being so twee, Lennon needed someone to tell him that self-indulgent posturing isn't the same as talent. Neither's wives were up to the task.
posted by TimeFactor at 9:11 AM on December 23, 2005


To add to the "because Paul sucks now" chorus, my bride has complained that the recent, sucky, saccharine, schmaltzy Paul reaches back through time to make the Beatles... not suck, but less anti-suck. She says that she can hear the beginnings of Paul's suckage in Beatles songs now that she knows what to listen for, and that knowing that makes her like Paul's Beatles songs less.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:13 AM on December 23, 2005


cf. Maxwell's Silver Hammer
posted by the cuban at 9:14 AM on December 23, 2005


I'm in the minority: I think that McCartney is a great musician, and his best work came after the Beatles broke up. Lennon, on the other hand, was a complete moron. McCartney's creativity has given us many great songs over many decades.
posted by davidmsc at 9:18 AM on December 23, 2005


I think Miko's got it pretty much bang on. Paul was considered much lighter than Lennon even when Lennon was alive, and I think it has a lot to do with the perception - and the reality - that John was a true artist while Paul was a pop star.

Say what you want about Yoko and her music, but Yoko Ono was (and is) a serious artist long before she met John Lennon. The Fluxus Group is rightly considered to have been an important art movement and continues to have a great deal of impact today. That John and Yoko were together says a lot about their personalities and mutual respect for each other as artists.

By contrast, Paul is a pop star. Artists have a mystique that pop stars will never have, and though it's not as cut and dried as that, there is some basis in fact for that distinction between the two of them.

BTW George Harrison made consistently the best post-Beatles music.
posted by mikel at 9:26 AM on December 23, 2005


The same reason I don't want sugar in my coffee.
posted by 31d1 at 9:29 AM on December 23, 2005


Critics don't like happiness and love surliness. John was always the sulky, surly, sarcastic one while Paul was the happy melodic one. A+B="Paul sucks".

For one of the most obvious examples, see the lyrics to Getting Better. Paul: " ... it's getting better. A little better all the time". John chimes in with "Can't get no worse". While they were still co-writing, this balance made for arguably the greatest songwriting duo ever. Separately, well ... opinions vary.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:32 AM on December 23, 2005


FWIW, the older I get the more I appreciate McC and the less I care about Lennon. And for me it's all about who they outwardly appear to be not the music. McC seems to be a genuinely decent bloke whowants to do the right thing and live his life as he wants to lead it. Lennon had some great ideas, but his ego was fucking monstrous and if he'd lived that would, I believe, overshadowed any desire for peace and love he had. As his youth faded, I think his self-hate would have grown and he'd be just another celebrity no one cares about.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:42 AM on December 23, 2005


I dislike almost all of the Paul McCartney Beatles songs.
Listen to A Day in the Life, an evocative, plantive song interspliced with a children's show ditty. McCartney is a fucking cheeseball.
posted by dydecker at 9:51 AM on December 23, 2005


The moon is right
The spirits up
We’re here tonight
And that’s enough
Simply having a wonderful christmastime
Simply having a wonderful christmastime

The party’s on
The feelin’s here
That only comes
This time of year

Simply having a wonderful christmastime
Simply having a wonderful christmastime

The choir of children sing their song
Ding dong, ding dong
Ding dong, ding ohhhh
Ohhhhhhh

Simply having a wonderful christmastime
Simply having a wonderful christmastime

The word is out
About the town
To lift a glass
Ahhh don’t look down

Simply having a wonderful christmastime
Simply having a wonderful christmastime

The choir of children sing their song
They practiced all year long
Ding dong, ding dong
Ding dong, ding dong
Ding dong, ding dong

The party’s on
The spirits up
We’re here tonight
And that’s enough

Simply having a wonderful christmastime
Simply having a wonderful christmastime

The moon is right
The spirits up
We’re here tonight
And that’s enough

Simply having a wonderful christmastime
Simply having a wonderful christmastime
Simply having a wonderful christmastime
Simply having a wonderful christmastime

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Christmastime


This is reason enough, no?
posted by scratch at 9:52 AM on December 23, 2005


Personally, I think the Beatle with the most interesting post-Beatle catalog is George Harrison.

Word. I like to think he understood best the journey the four of them took.
posted by mkultra at 9:53 AM on December 23, 2005


scratch; you mean that song is from Paul McCartney?

I'd like to revise my previous response.
posted by odinsdream at 9:57 AM on December 23, 2005


I think we are still - still - too close to the Beatles' work to truly appreciate it for what it is. For example, I was listening to "Back in the USSR" the other day - a fine song, a classic McCartney rocker, grooves really nicely, tasteful guitar solo, a clever nod to the Beach Boys. Not one of the epic McCartney compositions - which, for me, include Penny Lane, Yesterday, and Hey Jude, pieces of compositional perfection seemingly plucked from the ether - but an incredibly good song, in terms of the composition, performance, and recording. Say, relative to other McCartney tunes, a B+.

And then I remember that he was all of TWENTY-SIX at the time. And, in addition to writing and singing the tune, he played the guitar solo AND THE DRUMS. And it rocks VERY HARD.

So sure he's created his share of crap (as has, in my opinion, Dylan and Costello, two writers who are generally perceived to be more edgy), but his accomplishment in total (Beatles and post-Beatles) clearly says to me that we are dealing with a MONUMENTAL musical talent. "She's Leaving Home" - he was 25. "Yesterday" - he was 23. A goofy little song like "I'll Follow the Sun" - he was 15!

That said, one need only watch "Let it Be", or the Anthology, to see that his ego is limitless, and he was probably not a very fun guy to have in a band. Ditto Lennon. I don't think Yoko broke up the Beatles. I think it was the fact that John and Paul couldn't stand to be in the same room as each other, regardless of who their wives were.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:58 AM on December 23, 2005 [1 favorite]


first off, this is a stupid question/argument
...
BUT how is it that Paul is a dick/wimp/loser for letting Linda play tambourine in WINGS, but John is cool by letting that horrid Ono warble on every other track on Double Fantasy, leaving us with essentially an EP, not a final album.

Ninja please

it's like asking which fruit is better, apple or orange.... silly

But the one fact is George Harrison was the tits, and criminally ignored.

seacrest out
posted by stavx at 9:59 AM on December 23, 2005


All of those McCartney songs are awful though!
posted by dydecker at 10:00 AM on December 23, 2005


mccartney's dissed because people like to dis pop music and mccartney is a pop musician

as for me, i'm shameless in my love for pop music ... he's done a lot of things i don't care for ... but he's done a lot of things that were very good

he happens to be one of the greatest melody writers of the rock and roll era
posted by pyramid termite at 10:04 AM on December 23, 2005


When I was a kid, social groups were all about who your favorite Beatle was. Mine was definitely Paul, and I played bass in a band (that performed a total of 1 time), and practiced that wide-eyed, high eyebrows look of Paul in front of the mirror as much as I could. Lennon-ophites wanted to think of themselves as tough and cool, and sometimes even drifted over to the Rolling Stones as their favorite band, which was high treason, as far as I was concerned!

I never understood why people disliked him then, and was shocked at the hatred manifest in the whole "Paul is dead" thing. Part of it may have stemmed from him being the first to publically leave the band as it was falling apart. But personally, I think it's just an attempt at being cool and macho by liking the guy who was stereotyped as being "tough."

Paul is a fantastic musician and songwriter, and I defy any of those who claim that they think he's not any good to write just ONE song that is as good as McCartney's.
posted by jasper411 at 10:15 AM on December 23, 2005


I've written about 33 songs which were better than Honey Pie.
posted by dydecker at 10:18 AM on December 23, 2005



I've written about 33 songs which were better than Honey Pie.


And recorded them?

Thing is, while all the naysayers are busy slagging him off, McCartney has got on with doing something. Not bad for a stoner.
posted by the cuban at 10:25 AM on December 23, 2005


I adore Paul McCartney, the music and the man. As I've said before, he is smokin' hot.
posted by JanetLand at 10:27 AM on December 23, 2005


a clever nod to the Beach Boys
I always heard that it was a clever "up yours" to the Beach Boys

posted by mimi at 10:29 AM on December 23, 2005


>And then I remember that he was all of TWENTY-SIX
>at the time

Also, he can't read or write music, yet he wrote "Michelle" and *dreamed* the F#m7 in "Yesterday." John himself said Paul was the better musician.

Plus it was Paul who came up with the "concepts" (Pepper, etc.) that have been such an influential part of the Beatles legacy.

To answer the original question, Paul's songs are completely straightforward, while John's can be almost deliberately incomprehensible, especially the later stuff. That means John's are more open to "interpretation," which means many critics will favor them, and also that some fans will find meaning in them that isn't necessarily there. I think they're aging badly, for that reason.
posted by futility closet at 10:31 AM on December 23, 2005


mimi - myth has it that, before recording Pepper, Paul invited the other Bealtes over to listen to an advance recording of "Pet Sounds", after which the consensus in the room was "we've got our work cut out for us." I always thought that he in particular was a huge fan.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 10:32 AM on December 23, 2005 [1 favorite]


My 2 year old has written about 500 songs better than Wild Honey Pie and What's The New Mary Jane. Lennon was a sophmoric egomaniac with decent guitar chops and a great backing band, IMHO. Those traits put him at about the top 5% of rockstars.

People respect Lennon more because they're ignorant of all the crap music he did both during and after the Beatles. They also are apparently unaware of his moronic "political" posturing (which was really just publicity) and imagine that he was far more intelligent and poignant in his social commentary than he really was.

Both McCartney and Lennon were brilliant songwriters. Both produced a lot of junk. Both were giant egomaniacs with dumb soiopolitical agendas. Both owe all their fame and fortune to George Martin.

Interestingly, every rock star since the Beatles probably also owes his/her fame and fortune to George Martin, too.
posted by JekPorkins at 10:40 AM on December 23, 2005


Very, very easy: because John died. If Paul had been killed and John were still alive, I GUARANTEE you that everyone would be mourning Paul like some sort of God. Do you think Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, et al would be idolized in the same way if they had lived?

It's hard to compete with a dead guy.
posted by apple scruff at 10:41 AM on December 23, 2005


The Girl Is Mine.
posted by justgary at 10:46 AM on December 23, 2005


Yes, I have even made records. But that's beside the point. You don't have to be a cook to know lunch tastes bad.

I'm racking my brains to come up with a McCartney song I like. I think his best ones are the rockers:
Helter Skelter, Back in the USSR, Jet.

The list of McCartney songs I cannot stand is as long as my arm: insert all the usual dreary suspects, Yesterday, Get Back, Eleanor Rigby, Get Back, Penny Lane, Let it Be, Hey Jude. I hate them one and all. This is not to mention the second second tier album cuts like Dig A Pony, Hello Goodbye, Lady Madonna, Rocky Racoon, Maxwell's Silver Hammer, Ob La Di, Her Majesty, Bungalow Bill, and on and on it goes through the catalogue. The guy's default mode is cheerful, cheap and nasty.
posted by dydecker at 10:49 AM on December 23, 2005


For me it really comes down to Blackbird and/or Yesterday versus Strawberry Fields Forever and/or Day in the Life.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 10:54 AM on December 23, 2005


Jasper411:

When George Martin is done producing my 2 year old's babblings, I'll let you know. Granted, he doesn't have the luxury of Syd Barrett and Yoko screaming and banging on pots in the background, but I have no doubt you'll fill your iPod with it.

The bottom line here is that the perception that Lennon was better than McCartney is based primarily on misconceptions by people who aren't actually familiar with the work of either artist.

I mean come on. For every Strawberry Fields that Lennon did, there's a Maggie Mae or a Dig It.

And for every The Girl Is Mine there's an Eleanor Rigby.

I strongly suspect that anyone who says they like John Lennon's songs but don't like Paul McCartney's songs doesn't know which ones were written by which guy.
posted by JekPorkins at 11:01 AM on December 23, 2005


This is my right, a right given by God
To live a free life, to live in freedom

We talkin' about freedom
Talkin' bout freedom
I will fight, for the right
To live in freedom

Anyone, who wants to take it away
Will have to answer, cause this is my right


We talkin' about freedom
Talkin' bout freedom
I will fight, for the right
To live in freedom, ah yeah, comon now...

(lead solo)

You talkin' about freedom
We're talkin' bout freedom
I will fight, for the right
To live in freedom

Everybody talkin' bout freedom
Talkin'bout freedom
I will fight, for the right
To live in free----------dom
It's a mixed message for those of us who thought all you needed was love; this gives Toby Keith a run for the Most Belligerent Redneck Prick title of 2002.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:04 AM on December 23, 2005


dydecker - Bungalow Bill and Dig A Pony are Lennon tunes.

This is, of course, an entirely subjective issue on which your opinion is as weighty as anyone else's. That said, considering that you are in the same field as McCartney - a "colleague", as it were - you do yourself a tremendous disservice by not acknowledging the depth of his talent, skill, and accomplishment - even if it doesn't curl your particular toes.

I make records too. Don't love every tune that McCartney wrote. In fact, I probably dislike more than I like. But the ones that I like are to pop music what Hamlet, Lear, and Othello are to the English language.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 11:05 AM on December 23, 2005


I strongly suspect that anyone who says they like John Lennon's songs but don't like Paul McCartney's songs doesn't know which ones were written by which guy.
posted by JekPorkins at 11:01 AM PST on December 23 [!]


The Beatles songs on wikipedia.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:06 AM on December 23, 2005


imho
posted by fingers_of_fire at 11:07 AM on December 23, 2005


George was the man.
Criminally ignored, underestimated, and a hell of a lot more interesting than the other three put together.
posted by willmize at 11:08 AM on December 23, 2005


Amen, willmize!
posted by scody at 11:08 AM on December 23, 2005


People always say that Wings was a good band. What are the great post beatles McC tunes?

His beatles stuff was very good. But that's all he has, and that's sad.

Plus he isn't even the real Paul.
posted by ewkpates at 11:12 AM on December 23, 2005


Looking at the Wikipedia list of Beatles songs, I'm reminded of just how prolific and brilliant those four guys were. Nearly every song on that list is better in every conceivable way, both objective and subjective, than almost every song recorded since (and I say that in spite of the fact that I think the Pixies are the greatest rock and roll band in the history of the world).

I must say that putting down Paul to praise John is like saying Petrarch sucks because you like Dante more.

Just more evidence that the whole "Paul sucks, John rules" thing is uninformed and silly.
posted by JekPorkins at 11:16 AM on December 23, 2005


Great link The Jesse Helms! Thanks so much.

Which Beatle are you? This test thinks I'm John!!!, but this one thinks I'm Paul.

BTW, I'm listening to Wild Honey Pie right now, and *really* enjoyed reading what the wiki said about it, and following the link to Alan Pollack's little tribute to it.
posted by jasper411 at 11:20 AM on December 23, 2005


This is a terrible question, just asking for the long "your favorite Beatle sucks" thread it's getting, but since you ask:

mainly Lennon is dead and McCartney is alive.

What bullshit. The same kinds of people who hate Paul now hated him back in the day. There have always been John people and Paul people, and there always will be. (Sorry, George and Ringo fans, but your guys are definitely the lesser pair.) John fans favor edge, quirkiness, genius; Paul fans favor melody, niceness, talent. (Yes, I'm a John guy, how did you know?) Yeah, John made some crappy music, but so does almost everybody (Mozart and Jelly Roll Morton excepted); at his best his honesty and inventiveness blew everybody else out of the water. I enjoy Paul's rockers and obviously he was a vital presence in the band, but I can't take him seriously beyond a certain point.
posted by languagehat at 11:25 AM on December 23, 2005


dydecker - you seriously don't like Sgt. Pepper, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, Why Don't We Do It In The Road?, I Will, We Can Work It Out, and You Never Give Me Your Money?

Listening to the Beatles must be painful for you.
posted by JekPorkins at 12:02 PM on December 23, 2005


This doesn't answer the question, and hasn't actually come up here in so many words, but I'm going to kick the next person who says "Paul wrote schmaltzy stuff, while John wrote great songs like 'Imagine'"

"Imagine" is the height of schmaltz. It's hippie schmaltz, it's atheist schmaltz, but it is still utterly lame.

I dunno. I understand that people like to associate with John because they like to think of themselves as rebels but who in their right minds can take seriously a guy who can say with a straight face "The way things are going, they're gonna crucify me". You're not Jesus, John. Get over yourself.
posted by dagnyscott at 12:02 PM on December 23, 2005


scratch; you mean that song is from Paul McCartney?

Odinsdream: Yessirree bub, it certainly is.


I basically agree with dagnyscott but I would just like to point out (tangentially) that it's possible to dislike the Beatles' music while still comprehending why they're important. All four Beatles, mind you; when I hear the words "solo career" I reach for my copy of Revolver.
posted by scratch at 12:16 PM on December 23, 2005


What are the great post beatles McC tunes?

maybe i'm amazed
another day
uncle albert/admiral halsey
let me roll it
comin up

there's also quite a few good to very good ones ... and yes, some stuff that needs to be buried forever

Do you think Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, et al would be idolized in the same way if they had lived?

no doubt about it in hendrix's case ... he was a revolutionary musician
posted by pyramid termite at 12:19 PM on December 23, 2005


I, personally, always liked the John songs more, although I think that's mostly a matter of taste. De gustibus etc etc etc

However, I think that Paul's solo stuff sucked WAY more then John's, and that's part of why John is thought of more fondly.

Besides, people can blame John's failings on Yoko. Who can they blame Paul's failings on?
posted by Afroblanco at 12:22 PM on December 23, 2005


i don't understand the question. who hates paulie? paulie was the talent in the beatles, sheesh. lennon, however, was not a nice person in the least. double fantasy also sucked major ass.
posted by 3.2.3 at 12:30 PM on December 23, 2005


I love McCartney. I prefer his songwriting, and he was the best singer and overall musician in the band. His new album is good, too.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:31 PM on December 23, 2005


I always heard that it was a clever "up yours" to the Beach Boys

I'll add to the "friendly competition/mutual admiration with the Beach Boys" angle.

According to an interview that I saw, Mike Love even worked with Paul a bit on USSR whilst the two were hanging out at the Maharishi's. (Apparently, Love suggested the musical "breakdown" part of the song, which, conincidentally, is the part of the song that sounds the most like the Beach Boys)

Paul himself has admitted that Wilson was an enormous influence on his bass playing, which was apparently the cause for Paul's "change of style" halfway through the Beatles' career.

It's interesting that, to this day, the rivalry between the two bands lives on. I read some interview with McCartney recently where he was asked, "Do you really think that the Beatles were the best band?" and he says something to the effect of, "Yes, undoubtedly yes. The Beach Boys were close, but we were the best."

It's only too bad that Wilson didn't finish Pet Sounds until last year. Had he finished it back in the 60's, who knows how it would have affected the development of rock music.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:40 PM on December 23, 2005


Or even Smile :)
posted by the cuban at 12:56 PM on December 23, 2005


the cuban - yeah, that's what I meant.

(oops)
posted by Afroblanco at 1:08 PM on December 23, 2005


Paul actually wanted to keep the Beatles as the lovable moptops. People value earnesty as opposed to vaudeville traditionalism.

I still love Paul's Beatles work, and this new album is pretty good (everything in between, ech.)
posted by abcde at 1:39 PM on December 23, 2005


(I actually prefer him to John, whose earnesty was of a self-conscious and -adoring, unfiltered kind that makes for annoying music)
posted by abcde at 1:40 PM on December 23, 2005


Post-Beatles McCartney gems:

Comin' Up
Let Me Roll It
Too Many People
Treat Her Gently
Tug Of War
What's That You're Doing? (Great overlooked track - the other Macca/Stevie collaboration, where the two of them cover all the instruments
Take It Away
Band On The Run
Maybe I'm Amazed
Live and Let Die
Jet
Every Night
posted by fingers_of_fire at 3:14 PM on December 23, 2005


I read a Paul biography about 10 years ago that just trashed him. I can't remember the name of it (Blackbird something..), just a few details:
*Paul was jealous of Pete Bests looks and talent and was the reason he wasn't in the Beatles.
*When the Beatles broke up, the members resented/blamed Paul, not John and Yoko.
*Paul and Linda treated Denny Lane (Wings guitarist) and his wife badly.

I take it all with a grain of salt and still like him okay, but the interviews with Denny and Denny's then wife were pretty convincing.
posted by sophie at 4:08 PM on December 23, 2005


It's a brand thing. Both men were spoiled rock star babies. The Lennon brand is about having Annie Leibowitz photograph you nekkid, being spied on by J. Edgar Hoover, and singing about world peace. The McCartney brand is about "...silly love songs. And what's wrong with that, I'd like to know."

And, because it can't be said enough: George. Starting with "Don't Bother Me."
posted by Eothele at 4:41 PM on December 23, 2005


It's a brand thing.

And there you have the difference between the '60s and now. Now everybody thinks everything is "a brand thing."
posted by languagehat at 5:05 PM on December 23, 2005


strawberry fields. a day in the life. glass onion. the ballad of john and yoko. cold turkey. jealous guy. in my life. john single handedly takes on the velvet underground and joy division and anyone else who tried to make an art out of pop. mccartney is great, fine. obladee obladah yeah i like it but who cares. lennon is interesting. find me an adult who deeply feels about a mccartney song. its just selling kids to other kids. lennon took rock farther.
posted by cascando at 8:10 PM on December 23, 2005


It's only too bad that Wilson didn't finish Pet Sounds until last year. Had he finished it back in the 60's, who knows how it would have affected the development of rock music.

Well, for one thing, I like to think that Garcia & Co. would've just thrown in the towel and given up.

In all seriousness, all the Yoko haters can bite me. Her 70s records were more amazing than any of the former Beatles post-band work. adventurous, epic, thrilling, funky, and beautiful, albums like Fly, Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band (though John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band is a jem in its own right) & Approximately Infinite Universe rank up there near the best work of Brian Eno, Can, Cluster, and the other early-to-mid seventies experimental rock artists. The world is better musically for having Ono as a part of it. Too bad folks still harbor that ancient combination of racism and sexism towards the woman. No, her music is definitely unconventional and not for everybody, but the venom that's still spewed forth whenever her name's brought up is fucking obscene.
posted by item at 8:57 PM on December 23, 2005


Well, item just sucked the words from my brain. Also, nothing is more annoying than people who think modern "popular" music ended with the Beatles...
posted by hototogisu at 10:08 PM on December 23, 2005


item, I really don't know what to make of your taste in music. On the one hand, you hate the Dead and love Yoko Ono. On the other hand, you like Can and Brian Eno.

So, to break the tie, answer me this - how do you feel about Pink Floyd?

(And for the record, I'm completely, totally, 100% Yoko Neutral. While I'm not of the opinion that she has any particular musical talents, it's not like anyone's asking ME to marry her.)
posted by Afroblanco at 10:21 PM on December 23, 2005


In my life.

Paul wrote the second verse to this, and wrote the musical bridge.
posted by Miko at 10:33 PM on December 23, 2005


I had no idea we had so many young folk on MeFi.

Whatever other reasons you wanna give to explain why Lennon was more popular than McCartney -- you really cannot use "death". The factions were neatly divided and rather rabid long before the Dakota tragedy.
posted by RavinDave at 11:28 PM on December 23, 2005


>i>dydecker - you seriously don't like Sgt. Pepper, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, Why Don't We Do It In The Road?, I Will, We Can Work It Out, and You Never Give Me Your Money?

Yeah, seriously. Of that lot I can only listen to She Came In Through The Bathroom Window! Macca childish melodies curl my toes.

posted by dydecker at 12:05 AM on December 24, 2005


He Went from Back In The USSR, Blackbird, and Helter Skelter to Band On The Run, The Girl Is Mine, and that hideous 9/11 song. (guilty pleasure confessions; Ob La Di and Live And Let Die!)

He is a true pop-genius despite the Long and Winding slide.

We should all lighten up and Simply Have A Wonderful Christmastime.
posted by vurnt22 at 3:34 AM on December 24, 2005


I don't dislike him, just find him rather annoying. He makes a bit too much of the "I'm just this fella, y'know?" good old honest Paul stuff for my liking. It's like he's pretending to be A Good Guy, and overdoing it badly, when he doesn't need to pretend because he is a good guy and we all know it. Lately he seems to have lost the ability to sing without trying to jazz it up and put on some awful hokey fake voice, but I suspect that's because his voice really has changed with age and he can't sing pure and true any more.

Musically, he's done both good stuff and tripe, like his fellow ex-fabs. I think it's simplistic saying that he wrote most of the hits; there was real collaboration between him and Lennon, although not in the later years perhaps. Really both Lennon and McCartney were best with one another, whereas George Harrison shone once he got out on his own.
posted by andraste at 4:03 AM on December 24, 2005


her music is definitely unconventional and not for everybody, but the venom that's still spewed forth whenever her name's brought up is fucking obscene

Amen. I admit I went through a Yoko-sucks phase that lasted longer than it should have (I know she didn't really break up the Beatles, but at the time it looked like that), but I grew up and got over it. And she had Ornette on her Plastic Ono Band record—how cool is that?
posted by languagehat at 6:38 AM on December 24, 2005


incidentally, I saw Macca last October. Through 35 songs he sounded great. The voice has definitely, definitely aged, but I've still never heard anyone play Blackbird the way he does (I've played it myself for about 25 years and taught it to probably 50 people). And, what's more, throughout the 3 hour concert, he did not stop ONCE for a sip of water. Pretty amazing.

Incidentally, when was the last time you heard "Live in New York City", featuring an early-30's Lennon? That's some rough vocals.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:50 AM on December 24, 2005


Afroblanco: Syd-Floyd = yay! Waters/Gilmore-Floyd = nay.

Though I grew up listening to The Wall, I also grew out of it by the time I was about 13. As for the stuff between Piper & the Wall, I can't say that I like it either.

And you'd likely be surprised by my musical tastes. Who'd know that I consider Leonard Cohen to be the greatest living songwriter, or that I find Gary Numan overwhelmingly underrated? I also must admit that I've got a very soft spot for seventies experimental music of the non-prog variety (think krautrock).

posted by item at 9:26 AM on December 24, 2005


To me, Paul sort of spoiled the Beatles Can Do No Wrong myth more than any of the others. Whereas everything they put out as a group was held to the highest standard, Paul seemed to forego any type of quality control on his post-Beatles work and subsequently put out a lot of shit. Lennon also put out shit but you still got the feeling he was singing from his heart and was still an artist.

What also bugs me about Paul is that he doesn't seem satisfied with his amazing legacy and still has to try to convince everyone of how great he was. Hence, his trying to change the writing credit of Yesterday from Lennon/McCartney to McCartney/Lennon. Everyone knows McCartney wrote it and things like that are just completely unnecessary. It's beneath Paul to do things like that.

That said, he has also put out some great solo stuff and the new record, Chaos And Creation in the Backyard, is an excellent album. Nice to know he still has it in him. Now if he would just lose the hair dye.
posted by gfrobe at 10:03 AM on December 24, 2005


item : ok, that's a little more helpful.

However, this should settle it for once and for all : How do you feel about King Crimson?

(oh yeah, and with regards to the Dead, please refer to my comment here.)
posted by afroblanca at 10:04 AM on December 24, 2005


Wait a second: that comment's by Afroblanco, no?

*gasp*

You two are one and the same!!!

I knew it.

And I dislike King Crimson. Too proggy, and despite having some cool friends, Fripp's a wanker.
posted by item at 12:17 PM on December 24, 2005


You two are one and the same!!!

ummm, ummmm, ummmm...

afroblanca is obviously trying to impersonate me here. I'm going to have to talk with her about that. May be difficult, though, since she's somewhere in the Loire valley in France, last I checked.

And you like Can, but think Crimson is too proggy? Can's longtime vocalist sang in an invented language, forchrissakes! What could be more proggy then that?

No argument about whether or not Fripp is a wanker, though. That much is obvious.

posted by Afroblanco at 1:42 PM on December 24, 2005


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