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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.
"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.
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.
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!
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.
For me, the Beatles are great and still lives in my heart and that of my sons and daughter. They will never be replaced.
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.
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.
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.
Alan Jones, UK
A simple message to Sir Paul:
'Let it be......'
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.
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.
Let's not worry, and enjoy their genius. They were probably both the best!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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... "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.
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?
Does it really matter? Whether it is "Yesterday" or "In My Life," the music will live forever. As for Yoko, what does she know?
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.
The frog chorus. Enough said.
This is only one album. Nothing else is being changed so what is the big deal.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All you did was Yesterday. Get over yourself.
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.
Lennon deserved top billing; McCartney is behaving like the old Hollywood actresses of another era ("Is it time for my close-up?")
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
... 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.
18 Dec 02 | Entertainment
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