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Stands for John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

At the very start of The Beatles' career, it was obvious that the pair would write most of the material (they did, in fact, write over 90% of the Beatles' original compositions). Before the first song was published, they decided that all the songs that they wrote together, as well as the ones they wrote separately, would be credited to them both. Thus, there are no Beatles songs credited to only one.

This proved to be critical on three levels:

  • It probably contributed to the stability of the Beatles, as they could be more free to write without thinking who would get the credit (and royalties). Queen, for example, almost broke up for a similar reason (Roger Taylor wrote I'm In Love With My Car, which was the B-side of Bohemian Rhapsody. He demanded equal royalties from the single's sale, which caused no end of conflict. In the end, Queen realised it was best to split things evenly, and in later albums there is no distinction as to who wrote what).
  • It gave Beatles fans lots of speculation as to who wrote what. It is easy to tell, for example, that Lennon wrote Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and that McCartney wrote Yesterday. But some songs are not so obvious, and may even surprise you.
  • Near the end, when the heat was brewing between the two, it gave them a chance to piss each other off. Paul McCartney was (perhaps still is) angry that his name was on Revolution 9. Actually, as John was recording Revolution 9, Paul was sitting alone, and recorded Blackbird. Both expressed the need for freedom from the Beatles, but in such different ways!

On The Beatles' first LP, Please Please Me, the songs were credited to McCartney/Lennon, but for every subsequent album they were always Lennon/McCartney. Paul McCartney, however, recently (2002) released a live album "Back In The US" containing many Beatles songs, curiously credited to "McCartney/Lennon." Mayhem ensued.

Macca claims that the original agreement was that if we ever wanted it could be changed around to make me equal, and that he wants to make it clear which songs were written by whom. He apparently decided the latter after seeing a music book which credited "Hey Jude" to John Lennon, when in fact the song was almost entirely Paul's.

Paul McCartney's place in history is probably pretty well cemented. Whether this manipulation of the credits is justified or just self-indulgent is up to you. In any case, Yoko Ono, John's widow, is planning to sue if she can, having turned down Paul's request for permission to reverse the credits for "Yesterday," another Beatles song that was primarily McCartney's, on the Beatles Anthology 2. Whatever ends up happening, it's doubtful that it will help the Beatles' reputation for getting along.

Source: Garcia, Gilbert. "The Ballad of Paul and Yoko." http://www.salon.com/ent/music/feature/2003/01/27/paul_yoko/index1.html.

Also my dad, for bringing this to my attention.

On a sunny day in Liverpool, a police dog display led to the greatest songwriting team in history. And we will forever more remember June 6, 1957, when The Quarry Men played, and Paul admired, and then showed his prowess at the guitar with his upside-down version of "Twenty Flight Rock" and bonds were made.

Early on in their partnership, John Lennon and Paul McCartney came to a decision to share songwriting credits. They somewhat arbitrarily decided to do it Lennon-McCartney: McCartney later said because they were alphabetical, Lennon because it sounded better. Whatever the reason, it stuck.

Over the years, the duo penned hundreds of songs for The Quarry Men, The Silver Beetles, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Donovan, Badfinger, and numerous other acts. Sometimes they wrote the songs together, throwing ideas at each other, playing riffs for the other's approval. Other times they worked alone, doing the entire song in full. Sometimes they would run it across the other for a line or a hook or a harmony to fill the gap. Whatever the case was, the credit always read the same: Lennon-McCartney.

In today's world, the term Lennon-McCartney isn't just synonymous with musical genius; today, it conjures up the beauty of teamwork, the yin and the yang, emotion and reason, the masculine and the feminine combining together into one singular unit. You'll often hear the phrase "So and so and so and so are the Lennon-McCartney of such and such." A great compliment indeed, suggesting such a tight ship of teamwork.

In the later years, when they hardly spoke and argued bitterly over the direction of their singular future, and then became two, as they had been before, they both stopped using the "Lennon-McCartney" epithet. They would see each other occasionally, and were cordial, but that energy, that passion that had fused them together into a whole had faded, perhaps with age, perhaps with greed, perhaps with the disillusion of the high life.

On a cold day in New York, a casual conversation led to the greatest musical tragedy in history. And we will forever remember December 8, 1980, when Mark David Chapman shot and killed John Lennon, and shocked the world, and Paul, whose name was so close to John's for so long, and not just on paper.

Recently, Paul had asked for permission from Yoko Ono, John's widow, to change some songs that he had written to "McCartney-Lennon." Yoko refused, and Paul accepted gracefully, saying he liked it the way it was. And rightly so, because it tied all of their songs together, into the finest of packages.

PS I Love You. Paperback Writer. We Can Work It Out. Help. Come Together. Happiness Is A Warm Gun. Michelle. Strawberry Fields Forever. Yesterday. She Loves You. Hey Jude. Carry That Weight. A Day In The Life. Hey Bulldog. And Your Bird Can Sing. If I Needed Someone. The list goes on, endlessly into the night, but the bond that ties them lives on in those little words at the end of every credit, a lifetime or memories and adventures captured and connected on every page.

My first submission to our radio station's new music mag. Editorial comments and feedback welcome.

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