Who Wrote the Beatle Songs? new book
I decided to join Beatlelinks Fab Forum to tell people about my new book, Who Wrote the Beatle Songs? Available on Amazon.
People ask me Ė why another book on the Beatles? I guess because I have an interest in the Beatles as songwriters first, as performers second. I think they were fundamentally different from people like Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton Ė great musicians all, but the last two were guitar virtuosi, and Elvis didnít write his own songs, and apparently often didnít even select the songs he sang. The Beatles started out as a cover band, then started introducing their own songs into their shows. Lewisohnís Tune In shows that one of the reasons they were signed was because EMI was interested in their songwriting. And as we know, the early albums had covers, but eventually the Beatles albums were all Beatle original songs.
So I submit that the foundational reason for the Beatlesí greatness was their songwriting. Now, what books do we have on how the Beatle songs were written? There is Dowlding, Beatlesongs (1989) and Turner, In Their Own Write (1994, with some updated editions). These were great books, but I felt the need for a book that was in more depth, more academic, with good footnotes. After the breakup, there have been a number of interviews by John, Paul, George and Ringo that deal with how the Beatle songs were written. They are often contradictory. I felt that it was necessary to look at every song, and try to make sense of those contradictions.
One standard mistake people make, when they look at the writing of a Lennon-McCartney song, is to take one quote, from either Lennon or McCartney, usually from their late interviews, and stop there. Actually, you should look at both Lennon and McCartney, to get two important viewpoints, but you should also look at how John and Paul give differing accounts of a songís writing in early and late interviews. They donít just disagree with each other; they often disagree with themselves.
Paul once said that he and John only disagreed on the writing of one song, ďIn My Life.Ē Though Iím a big Paul fan, I have to say that that statement is very wrong. They disagreed on many songs. So in my book, for every song in the Beatles canon, I told the story of how the song was written (as best I could), which is a fascinating part of the book; then I look at conflicts in evidence. Then I come to a conclusion on who wrote the song.
So all of this is much different than what Dowlding and Turner did. My book goes into a lot of depth, and has lots of footnotes. I think that footnotes show the date of the source, which is important in weighing statements, and let the reader go read the statement in context.
If you think the Beatlesí songwriting is at the heart of their genius, then I think youíll see that this book is very important. Itíll come to be seen as a key reference work, I think, and also a major interpretation of the Beatlesí creativity.
Hey, but Iím the author. Iím biased. I hope some of you agree with me someday. (Itís so new that I donít think anyone has read it all the way through yet.)