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EDITIONS
 Monday, 23 December, 2002, 09:58 GMT
Lennon-McCartney: Who do you give credit to?
Paul McCartney has defended changing the longstanding "Lennon-McCartney" credit on 19 tracks on his new album.

Putting his own name first on certain songs has created a "silly dispute" with Yoko Ono, he said.

MCCARTNEY SONGS
Hey Jude
Let It Be
Yesterday

"I think it is fair and accurate for the songs that John declared were mine to carry my name first," he explained.

Yoko Ono objected to the change but has rebuffed reports that she was considering legal action over it.

LENNON SONGS
A Hard Day's Night
Ticket to Ride
Come Together

The original order for credits was jointly decided by the Beatles' manager Brian Epstein and John Lennon, on the basis of a future change around.

Who do you feel is the better songwriter of the two? Does it make a big difference to be credited second? Tell us what you think.


This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

If I wrote songs as beautiful as Sir Paul, I too would be upset at seeing one of my songs credited as written by someone else; even if it was John Lennon.
Kevin C., USA

The Beatles ruled because of the amazing combination of Lennon and McCartney.

Marcel Dichai, UK
It has been proved that together the Beatles were the mightiest musical force on Earth, but separately, they didn't even come close. Basically, the Beatles ruled because of the amazing combination of Lennon and McCartney. It was a reactive force. The question posed is like saying, which is more important to make water, Hydrogen or Oxygen?
Marcel Dichai, United Kingdom

I also think Harrison wrote the best of the Beatles songs, Lennon and McCartney were of equal talent in my opinion. Although I see Sir Paul's point of view in changing the credits I cannot see why they can't be left as they are known worldwide- as by Lennon and McCartney. Plus simplistically alphabetical order should probably be recognised!
Jen, England

George Martin said it best: "Asking who was more important to the group is like asking what is the more important ingredient in a sauce vinaigrette, the oil or the vinegar. Both were fundamentally important. One without the other would have been unthinkable in terms of the Beatles success." Personally, I thought the two were equally great as composers for the Beatles, but I think John's solo work was superior. Paul's songs frequently had the same middle-of-the-road formula.
Heather, USA

For me, the Beatles are great and still lives in my heart and that of my sons and daughter. They will never be replaced.
Pete Manansala, Philippines

I think John would have been thrilled to set the record straight

Richard Miller, USA
John would have been thrilled to let everyone know who wrote which song. John did not care for many of Paul's songs, I think John would have been thrilled to set the record straight that it was John who wrote "I Am the Walrus" and "Strawberry Fields Forever", not Paul.
Richard Miller, USA

I see you've listed Paul McCartney's most famous songs yet have failed to mention those all-time classics "Spies Like Us", "The Frog Chorus" and his collaborations with Michael Jackson... Paul McCartney wants to rewrite history in his own image.
Neil Andrews, UK

To me the Lennon-McCartney credit is a partnership and Paul should never be thought of as coming second. Although it is true that John formed the group, he was not the leader and wouldn't want to have been thought of as so. In fact the whole group was a partnership - they all worked together and each of them deserves equal credit.
Sarah Lamb, UK

Working together, Lennon and McCartney enjoyed a rare creative symbiosis. One of the pair had the intellectual edge whilst the other was more musically inventive. Their worst work appeared after the partnership foundered, and as McCartney produced marginally more rubbish during this period than Lennon, I'd have to say that Lennon, as a stand-alone talent, was the better of the two.
Chris B, England

I don't see what the fuss is about

Alan Jones, UK
I still have my copy of the Beatle's first LP. On the sleeve notes, the credits for their own songs are given as McCartney-Lennon. So I don't see what the fuss is about.
Alan Jones, UK

A simple message to Sir Paul: 'Let it be......'
Gordon McConnachie, UK

Who knows? John's life was cut short and his best work may not have been produced, and indeed Paul may not have produced his best yet. Who cares? They have both produced a plethora of truly wonderful songs both as a team and as individuals.
C. M. Sheard, UK

I think John was the most imaginative songwriter. Paul wrote great pop and could take the credit for their biggest hits. However, a hit is not always a measure of a good song, just a popular one. I think it's petty to demand that your name goes first on the credits. I always though credits were alphabetical, I was obviously wrong. It's to do with ego.
Andy, UK

Let's not worry, and enjoy their genius. They were probably both the best!
Gwyn Jones, UK

I feel for McCartney

E.W, U.K.
I feel for McCartney. Now people are attacking him for something that he is absolutely right to do. It is not a question of who is better or who wants more royalties. As McCartney is aging, it is probably becoming more important for him to sort this mess out while he can. He is perfectly entitled to do so. If he is taking away anything from Lennon then it's something Lennon had, undeservedly, for a long time.
E.W, U.K.

I don't see why Paul wants to change the 'billing'. Fans always knew who wrote which song, because either Paul or John would always take lead vocals.
David Clancy, UK

One wouldn't be famous without the other. It's a silly question. From the songs quoted I probably would prefer the McCartney compositions, but without Lennon's songs it wouldn't have been the same.
Volker, England (ex Germany)

The honours are equal

Darren Owen, UK
John was the more cutting edge writer, with songs like Tomorrow Never Knows and She Said She Said, but could not match Paul for melody on a consistent basis. The honours are equal.
Darren Owen, UK

Synergy is where two people join together, and the final output is greater than the sum of the two constituent parts. Who can claim that they added more than the other? Perhaps it is fairest that the order gets reversed after this time, in order to redress the balance.
Pete Revell, England

Personally, I feel that George Harrison wrote the best Beatles songs! However, Paul McCartney is well within his rights to want to get full credit for Yesterday. He was the most prolific of the composers and is constantly overshadowed by John Lennon the "genius" due to his tragic death. I think the BBC Best Briton programme proved this.
JW, UK

Does anyone really care? The band split up years ago. I just hope we won't be having the same debate about another group, say Nirvana in 20 years time!
Mike Rogers, Wales

Give it up Yoko

Norman Sidebottom, USA
I think that it's fairly obvious that sir Paul has been modest in letting John Lennon have so much credit up to this point. If Yoko is upset, let her try to put her name on those songs for which she has been found guilty of plagiarism. If you ask me, Sir Paul has been too nice for too long to the keeper of John's flame. Give it up Yoko.
Norman Sidebottom, USA

Anyone more than remotely interested in Beatles songs over the years should know which songs were down to either Sir Paul or John Lennon. In this case he has every right to put his name forward where it is relevant. That is no crime at all. If Paul is singing, generally the song is his and vice versa.
Anon, UK

John was easily the most talented writer within The Beatles. Paul is just being bitter about the lack of talent that he obviously does not have.
Ian, UK

Ian UK... "Paul is just being bitter about the lack of talent that he obviously does not have?" Surely you must mean an unreleased Macca song Double Negative... At least Paul McCartney can write coherent sentences. Macca gave the world Get Back, and for that alone - give the guy his due.
Steve, Lincoln

McCartney is just another one among the burgeoning group of ludicrous, self possessed, wealthy folk of this world. Hubris best describes the situation. If it is so unimportant as to whose name appears first then why change the order now?
Hilton Grayson, Canberra Australia

Does it really matter? Whether it is "Yesterday" or "In My Life," the music will live forever. As for Yoko, what does she know?
Keith, USA

History should record and credit the "primary" songwriter for each Beatles' song

Robyn Elliott, California
I had never really thought about this issue before today. The Beatles and Lennon-McCartney were always synonymous in my mind. But it seems very reasonable that the record be set straight while at least 2 of the band members are still alive. History should record and credit the "primary" songwriter for each Beatles' song.
Robyn Elliott, California

When I discovered the Beatles as a teenager, they were already separated for 8 years. After the initial infatuation, I took infinite pleasure trying to identify who sang/wrote the songs. Deep down, the order of the song writing credits didn't really matter. The Beatles were greater than the sum of the parts made up by John, Paul, George and Ringo, whatever the order you arrange the names.
Kelvin, Singapore

The frog chorus. Enough said.
Ray Doyle, UK

This is only one album. Nothing else is being changed so what is the big deal.
Bryan Paulding, Malaysia

I feel they both are extremely talented, I feel Paul is much more in it for royalties than John. Which in my opinion makes John a better songwriter.
Mya, USA

When you think of the Beatles you think of John

Joseph A Sanchez, USA
It seems as though Paul has never liked living under John's shadow. When you think of the Beatles you think of John, why change history now? We should be happy that the Beatles existed.
Joseph A Sanchez, USA

Based on the often, treacly, self-absorbed nature of McCartney's lyrics, it appears to be very much in tune with his character, that his ego requires such attribution.
Ian Miller, Canada

Those songs are forever in our minds as "Lennon-McCartney" and will never be McCartney-Lennon. I think Paul should honour his friend's memory and let him remain first. We thought they were a team, didn't we? Didn't they inspire each other? Didn't George and Ringo inspire them also? This is so petty, Paul McCartney has made a fool of himself by even bringing it up.
Mary Mckelvie, Canada

It's sad that anyone would ask a question, as to who was a better songwriter. They were a team, even as a child I realised such, although I have noticed I prefer John's words, and prefer Paul's melodies.
Dave Taylor, USA

Who cares which name goes first?

Laurence, England
Paul was an amazing song writer, there's 'Yesterday' and 'Hey Jude' which will make him one of the best. As for Lennon, his music was genius, and his later songs such as 'All you need is Love' and 'Imagine' confirm this. Therefore, who cares which name goes first? They were so close in the early years of the Beatles, and friendships like that should never die.
Laurence, England

Paul, All you did was Yesterday. Get over yourself.
David, USA

Definitely John Lennon. John was the lead singer and writer for the Beatles. He had a much better solo career after the break-up. Just think how much more he could have offered us if it wasn't for his untimely death.
Jay, USA

Lennon deserved top billing; McCartney is behaving like the old Hollywood actresses of another era ("Is it time for my close-up?")
Cathal O'Domnaill, USA

Paul is stealing nothing from John that wasn't his in the first place

John L. Haubrich, USA
Why should John get all the credit? Most of the Beatles number one hits in the latter years were penned primarily by Paul, yet John's name comes first. It seems petty on the part of Yoko to object to Paul doing this. Paul is stealing nothing from John that wasn't his in the first place.
John L. Haubrich, USA

Paul was always capable of writing good songs and less-than-good songs. The received wisdom is that whilst John was always his own best critic, Paul needed someone - usually John - to point out when he was writing rubbish. The quality-control went when they split. Hence some of Paul's more lamentable efforts since.
Anon, UK

It's sad that a man with McCartney's wealth, talent and following should be plagued by insecurity about his own abilities to this extent. I find the whole thing distasteful and my opinion of McCartney has diminished.
Hugh Gleaves, UK

John was great - Paul is brilliant!

Rickie Budnek, USA
Sir Paul - hands down the best. Great rock, great fun, great love songs, just great all around. He is brilliant. (John was great - Paul is brilliant!)
Rickie Budnek, USA

Paul is perfectly correct in putting his name first on the songs that are obviously his. No one thinks Hey Jude or Yesterday are anything other than Paul's, just as no one thinks Across the Universe could be anything other than John's genius. There should be no flap, Yoko should be happy to give credit where it is due. While I think John is the better composer, that is akin to saying Michael Jordan was a better basketball player than Magic Johnson was. Paul is genius in his own right, so we should all just Let It Be.
Stuart J. Holme, US

They are both musical geniuses, but it seems Paul is worried that his legacy will be overshadowed by Lennon's. It is true that John's tragic death has lead to him being mythologised as some kind of saint (which he was not!) However Paul has absolutely no reason to worry! Everybody knows how talented he is, and the success of his fantastic world tour only goes to show that.
Jonathan, UK

After all these years, it seems silly and petty on Mr McCartney's part. The songwriting duo he and John Lennon were, and the band that the Beatles were, can never be changed. Anyway, Keith and Mick produced a longer, stronger catalogue!
Steve Lunney, Canada

It was a team effort wasn't it?

Susan, UK/USA
It was a team effort wasn't it? Therefore, turn and turn about, Lennon and McCartney, then McCartney and Lennon.
Susan, UK/USA

... As if Sir Paul hasn't made royalties off Give Peace a Chance, a song which is half credited to him!!! Sheesh... let it be, already, Macca.
Anon, USA

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18 Dec 02 | Entertainment
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