On the anniversary of John Lennon’s death, I’m remembering how many people thought John was the leader of The Beatles, while Paul did 80% of the work.
The Beatles was a strange little business entity that only lasted for about ten years. The company turned a pretty good profit and customers seemed to enjoy its products and services. The company had four managing partners; four distinct and disparate personalities.
John was the poet of the group, the relater. He wore spectacles and liked to write. He composed songs with titles like Imagine and In My Life. You’d have to be a relater to write songs with those titles. He cultivated a personal creed: Give peace a chance (also a pretty cool song).
George Harrison was the thinker of the group. He was the first of the four to travel to India to study transcendental meditation with the Maharishi. A quiet personality by comparison, George learned how to play a sophisticated stringed instrument called the sitar. He eventually released a slew of solo albums, choosing to call one of them, All Things Must Pass.
Paul McCartney was the director type personality. Paul was the leader of the group almost since its inception, which surprises a lot of people because he was the “cute” one and because John was often the spokesperson.
Efficiency and productivity are very important to directors, so Paul often took charge in the studio. He even took over the other Beatles’ instruments on occasion. Paul knew what he wanted and was extremely dedicated to making it happen.
In some ways, rampant productivity is therapeutic to directors like Paul. When John was assassinated on December 8, 1980, the media wanted Paul’s reaction, but they couldn’t find him until the next day. The reporters shoved a microphone in his face as he was on his way . . . to the recording studio.
When his longtime wife died, Paul worked through the grieving process his own way – - by recording a collection of tunes and dedicating the package to his recently deceased Linda.
Finally, Ringo Starr was the socializer of the group. He’s had his share of problems with addiction. Ringo sang lyrics for the band like “don’t pass me by” and “we all live in a yellow submarine.”
Around 1967, the Beatles were under deadline on a major project. They had yet to achieve consensus on basic decisions such as the new product’s packaging and their producer George Martin, was growing frustrated.
After weeks of trying to get the lads to work it out, Martin finally said, “Bullocks to this!” and made the cover of the album white. And that’s how we got The White Album.
The album won all kinds of awards for creativity.
R.I.P., John Lennon.
Who is your favorite Beatle and why?