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The songwriting partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney is one of the best-known and most successful musical and cultural collaborations in history. Between 1962 and 1969, they wrote and published approximately 180 jointly credited songs, of which the vast majority were recorded by The Beatles and form the bulk of their catalogue. Unlike many songwriting partnerships which comprise separate lyricist and composer, both Lennon and McCartney wrote words and music; often however, their songs were principally the work of one of the two credited authors.
Lennon–McCartney compositions have been the subject of numerous cover versions. According to Guinness World Records, "Yesterday" has been recorded by more artists than any other song.
Lennon's and McCartney's first musical idols were the Everly Brothers, Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly and they learned many of their songs and imitated their sound. Their first compositions were written at McCartney's home (20 Forthlin Road), at Lennon's aunt Mimi's house at 251 Menlove Avenue, or at the Liverpool Institute. They often invited friends such as George Harrison, Nigel Whalley, Barbara Baker, and Lennon's art school colleagues to listen to performances of their new songs.
Although Lennon and McCartney often wrote independently — and many Beatles songs are primarily the work of one or the other — it was rare that a song would be completed without some input from both writers. In many instances, one writer would sketch an idea or a song fragment and take it to the other to finish or improve; in some cases, two incomplete songs or song ideas that each had worked on individually would be combined into a complete song. Often one of the pair would add a so-called middle eight or bridge section to the other's verse and chorus. Lennon called it "Writing eyeball-to-eyeball", and "Playing into each other's noses". This approach of the Lennon/McCartney songwriting team — with elements of competitiveness and mutual inspiration as well as straightforward collaboration and creative merging of musical ideas — is often cited as a key reason for the Beatles' innovativeness and popular success.
The two wrote songs together from 1958 until 1969. As time went on, the songs increasingly became the work of one writer or the other, often with the partner offering up only a few words or an alternate chord. "A Day in the Life" is a notable and well-known example of a later Beatles song that includes substantial contributions by both Lennon and McCartney, where a separate song fragment by McCartney ("Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head...") was used to flesh out the middle of Lennon's composition ("I read the news today, oh boy..."). "Hey Jude" is another example of a later Paul McCartney song that had input from Lennon: while auditioning the song for Lennon, when McCartney came to the lyric "the movement you need is on your shoulder," McCartney assured Lennon that he would change the line — which McCartney felt was nonsensical — as soon as he could come up with a better lyric. Lennon advised McCartney to leave that line alone, saying it was one of the strongest in the song.
In his 1980 Playboy interview, Lennon said of the partnership, "you could say that he provided a lightness, an optimism, while I would always go for the sadness, the discords, a certain bluesy edge. 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....Then again, I'd be the one to figure out where to go with a song — a story that Paul would start. In a lot of the songs, my stuff is the 'middle eight,' the bridge."
However, Lennon said the main intention of the Beatles music was to communicate, and that, to this effect, he and McCartney had a shared purpose. The book Help! 50 Songwriting, Recording and Career Tips Used by The Beatles, points out that at least half of all Lennon/McCartney lyrics have the words "you" or "your" in the first line.
The Lennon/McCartney songwriting partnership makes up the majority of the Beatles' catalogue. The first two UK studio albums included twelve cover tunes out of twenty-eight total songs, with one Beatles original ("Don't Bother Me") credited to George Harrison and the rest to Lennon/McCartney. A Hard Day's Night is the only Beatles album made up entirely of Lennon/McCartney compositions. The next album released, Beatles For Sale included six covers. The subsequent release Help! had two covers and two Harrison compositions along with ten Lennon/McCartney tracks. Beginning with Rubber Soul, The Beatles released only original material on their studio albums, with George Harrison contributing between one and three songs on each record, Ringo writing two songs ("Don't Pass Me By" and "Octopus's Garden"), and the rest of the catalogue coming from Lennon and McCartney. This 8-track tape features world famous artist's recreating the written music of the song-writing duo, maybe not Beatles, but, you will stay awake through all of these wonderful compositions by world famous performers. Comes with splice, pads and 7 day money-back guarantee.