Lennon And McCartney 1966-1970

You may like them or hate them, regardless one cannot ignore the influences in popular music by the compositions of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Composing The Beatles Songbook takes a look at what likely are the most productive years for these two composers. It is clear though that while fellow band members, their musical styles were very different.

Paul McCartney being the creator of class rock ballads, stories told through the medium of music and words, while John Lennon was very much more into the rebellious nature of the rock and roll genre. Rock was a direct assault on the music of the previous generation. A way that the youth of that time could express themselves. In many ways this is very similar to the Punk movement of the late 70’s, which was born out of frustration at the glam rock bands that had by this time distanced themselves from their fan base.

I have to admit that I was not, and am not a Beatles fan, but I am a fan of documentaries about music, and music legends. I enjoy other peoples views and critical analysis. Sometimes I may not agree, but always I learn something. Maybe that is one of the reasons that I became a reviewer?

Lennon and McCartney, at least in my mind had a very uneasy relationship, and the break up of the Beatles was not surprising, it was merely a question of when.

Composing The Beatles Songbook combines some great vintage footage with some insightful analysis by some of Britain’s best known musicologists.

Tomorrow Never Knows maybe one of the least recognized Beatles songs, I can pretty much bet a dollar that 9 people out of 10 could not tell you the bands name if you played it to them, and I’d bet another dollar that if you were to ask what year it was created, exactly no-one would say 1966. Yet it is this one song that is a prelude to new musical directions for these two composers. Although the writing credit says Lennon/McCartney, clearly this is McCartney giving us a preview of his hugely successful collaboration with his wife of many years Linda, and their band Wings.

I really enjoyed this documentary, and I will repeat what I said at the beginning of this review, I always learn something. You can get your copy from our friends at MVD.

Update: I notice that many of you disagree about Tomorrow Never Knows. Let me clarify what the DVD says. The lyrics were indeed written by Lennon and were based largely from Timothy Leary’s book. However the music component is almost entirely from McCartney who had been exploring various electronic instruments and electronic composers. He had become interested in technologies like tape loops, and had become somewhat of a master of the style.

Simon Barrett


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