The iconic co-lead vocalist and bassist of The Beatles, Paul McCartney has opened up about the process of songwriting with his former bandmate and the legendary musician, John Lennon, while revealing his thoughts on working solo or collaborating.
As this year marked the 50th-anniversary of Paul McCartney’s debut solo album, ‘McCartney,’ which was released one month before The Beatles’ ‘Let It Be,’ the great bassist has talked about the experience of writing each song and playing every instrument on an album himself.
In honor of this special date, McCartney has given an interview in which he gave an insight into the years he worked with the founder and co-lead vocalist of The Beatles, John Lennon. Paul said that they were working off each other and getting better all the time.
Though he believes that the good songs can come from both methods, solo or collaboration, McCartney said working with Lennon made things a bit easier, since if you’re stuck then hopefully the other person isn’t, and if they’re stuck hopefully you can help them out of it.
‘McCartney,’ which was released on 17 April 1970 by Apple Records, is one of the most praised albums of Paul McCartney. He recorded the album in secrecy, mostly using basic home-recording equipment at his house in St John’s Wood. Mixing and some later recording took place at professional studios in London.
Paul recorded the album during a period of depression and confusion, following John Lennon’s private departure from the Beatles in September 1969. Conflicts over the release of McCartney’s album further estranged him from his bandmates, as he refused to delay the album’s release to allow for Apple’s previously scheduled titles, notably The Beatles’ album ‘Let It Be.’
The album received a special 50th-anniversary release in a limited edition half-speed mastered vinyl pressing for Record Store Day on 26 September 2020. It was pressed from a master cut by Miles Showell at half-speed using the original 1970 master tapes at Abbey Road Studios.
Here is what Paul McCartney said when asked if writing solo songs any different than writing with The Beatles:
“Yeah, it is different when you’re writing with someone. Particularly with John, who I did most of my collaborations with, it was a completely different ball game because we were working off each other. Often one of us would say a line, and then – it was like it was a joke – the other one would say the next bit!
It became quite conversational. I’d write ‘it’s getting better all the time’ and then John would go, ‘it couldn’t get much worse!’ You’re spinning each other through the song, and so that process is interesting.
In fact, I think it makes it a bit easier, because if you’re stuck then hopefully the other person isn’t, and if they’re stuck hopefully you can help them out of it. So, it’s a pretty good way of working.”
“Working on your own isn’t quite as easy, but it’s something different altogether. It’s more like writing a novel. You do the opposite of sitting in a room with someone; you go off as far as you can, into the quietest part of the house when no one can hear you and no one can see you, hiding away under the staircase or something, until you’re very much in your own thoughts. It can make something that turns out better, really.
But yes, it’s not as easy. It’s all on you, whereas when you’re collaborating with someone, that’s on you both and you can help each other out. I think good songs can come from both methods.”
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