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Lennon vs. McCartney: Who was the more creative composer of this duo?

 
 
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 01:04 am
A good friend recently opined to the effect that John Lennon was the more creative of the two, based on the difference in their solo careers. He made a compelling argument, and after sampling their solo stuff (I'm not too familiar with it myself) I have to agree.

What do the music buffs here on a2k have to say? Anyone care to weigh in on their solo legacies?
 
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 03:11 am
@Robert Gentel,
I by no means count as a buff, but I'll comment.

I don't think one or the other is more creative....but I do like Lennon's solo musical output more than McCartney's.

I find McCartney's too kind of schmalzy for me. because of that, I actually haven't listened to much of it, except what was played on the radio, while I actively bought and listened to Lennon's stuff...so I may be way too scathing of McCartney.

I do wonder if Paul suffered in critical regard because he didn't get murdered though....Lennon has been made into a sort of silly icon (which I think he would deride and scoff at if he were able) by many, and I wonder if this distorts things a bit?


Your generation may well be more objective than mine anyway, because many people kind of divided into the Lennon or McCartney admires while the Beatles were still together.

I liked Lennon's wit and dryness (though they were all pretty sane and funny) and preferred his stuff during the Beatles era and haven't really changed.

Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 03:53 am
Lennon was a rocker . . . McCartney was and remains a devotee of dance hall music . . .
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 04:42 am
I respect both men. Love Band on the Run in particular from McCartney. But, when I bring a CD along on a trip, it's John Lennon almost every time, if choosing between the two.
0 Replies
 
Woiyo9
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 06:26 am
This is an argument that has gone on far too long.

They are both equally "creative" but in different ways.

Each excelled in solo careers. McCartney's "style" was more diverse and included a wider range of styles while Lennon was more narrowly focused on R&R/Blues.

I feel that "difference in styles" made them unique when they were together. Still to this day, not one other band can come close to the impact they had as a band or as solo performers.

And yet, we still ignore the contributions and skills of George Harrison?
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 06:34 am
@Woiyo9,
I was just thinking that I liked a LOT of George's stuff!
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 07:54 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
Lennon was a rocker . . . McCartney was and remains a devotee of dance hall music . . .


...in a nutshell
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 12:08 pm
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
I do wonder if Paul suffered in critical regard because he didn't get murdered though....Lennon has been made into a sort of silly icon (which I think he would deride and scoff at if he were able) by many, and I wonder if this distorts things a bit?


I used this argument when discussing it with my friend, how Lennon didn't get the chance to suck and tarnish his legacy. But he countered that even if you just compare the solo careers up to the point of his death there's a palpable difference in quality and I'd have to agree with that based on what I've heard from their solo work.


Quote:
Your generation may well be more objective than mine anyway, because many people kind of divided into the Lennon or McCartney admires while the Beatles were still together.


Can't speak for my generation, but I can't stand Lennon the man and out of the Beatles body of work I thought I liked Paul-heavy compositions most (but it's hard to know who really did the bulk of what given that they worked together on just about every composition) but this discussion with my friend made me wonder about who gets how much credit.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 12:10 pm
@Woiyo9,
Woiyo9 wrote:
They are both equally "creative" but in different ways.


I have never heard of a perfect equilibrium anywhere in nature, so I highly doubt that this is going to be the first case.
0 Replies
 
MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 12:33 pm
I think it was the synergy between them that provided the magic. Each provided more of something than the other had, and counteracted some of the other's weaknesses. Paul had a gift for melody--he wrote much better tunes than Lennon, who often tended toward the ponderous on his own--or with Yoko. But John provided a rockier, grittier, German beer dive edge that Paul was lighter in, and he also had more content in what he wrote, but could bludgeon a point. Paul's material can verge on the lightweight. But since I hear the music before I hear the words, I tend to like the stuff that's more Paul-influenced more. The farther they got away from Hamburg and danceable music, (i.e. after "Revolver" and "Rubber Soul") the less I like their stuff.
0 Replies
 
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 08:52 pm
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
Lennon has been made into a sort of silly icon...

I think there's much truth in that, and folks typically do that when someone has died.

Do you remember for a while when there were rumours flying around about the so-called death of Paul (Abbey road era)?

When comparing the musical contributions of both, I think it all boils down to what kind of music you like to listen to. Those in opposite camps will never agree to just agree that Paul and John had strengths in different areas, producing different kinds of music.

When they were collaborating, the synergy produced great music. If they both made the same kind of stuff, what would have been the result?

This is an apples and oranges debate, in my opinion.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 08:57 pm
George.

hands down.

then John.
0 Replies
 
Sglass
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 09:11 pm
I think about John Lennon's talents, he was a atist, writer (A Spanish in the Works) and his music. He was very focused and I don't hear anyone elses' music in his works. Yoko Ono of course believed in his dreams. Too bad he was taken from us so soon. I can't begin to imagine where he eventuallly go with his music.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 09:11 pm
I for one did not make John my favorite after he died. I was buying his albums, to the exclusion of the other three Beatles, from the beginning of his solo career. Not that I did not like the others. I just wasn't ready for them at the time.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 08:00 am
I don't have much to say about their solo careers, but on the question of ability, I think it's a toss up. Lennon is known to be the author of "All I've Got To Do," "Come Together," "Do You Want To Know A Secret," and "You Can't Do That," and McCartney of "I've Just Seen a Face," "P.S. I Love You," and "Yesterday." I can't pick a winner between composers of that caliber.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 08:18 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
Lennon has been made into a sort of silly icon

You'd think that people would have had enough of silly icons.
0 Replies
 
1skelly
 
  2  
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 02:58 pm
@Reyn,
Apples and oranges to describe Lennon and McCartney is a very apt expression, in more ways than one.

If an apple is carefully fermented, it produces a intoxicating, thought-provoking cider. Whereas the best you can do with oranges is make some fizzy pop.
lovejoy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 03:01 am
@1skelly,
Nicely put skelly Very Happy

0 Replies
 
Michael Wilson
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 03:08 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I'm afraid the Lennon devotees on this site are terribly mistaken...I think alot of Lennon's sniping toward McCartney was borne out of jealousy and a sense that he wasen't producing the goods himself...Don't be fooled for one second, Lennon was just as much of an egomaniac as Macca. He wanted the number ones records and he just couldn't manage to get them...He talked the talk, that's for sure. With the exception of 'John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band' album (and that was recorded in the sixties!), I think his solo career is wildly uneven! I would have loved to hear great tracks from Lennon around that time but they just don't exist and I'm afraid his death masks that reality...McCartney's output was patchy to say the least as well, but he still managed to record some great material: Tracks like: Jet, Band on the run, Every Night, Maybe I'm amazed, Long Haired Lady, Live and Let Die and London Town still hold up today. Was McCartney ever the coolest individual?... NO! Were his ability with lyrics comparable to Lennon's?...NO! Has anyone ever matched his grasp of melody? ... NO! Was he a more talented musician than Lennon? ...Yes! In short, they both had extraordinary talents( and it still shocks me that they came from the one city) and they will always be regarded as icons...I just think there is serious baggage with prefering McCartney over Lennon and sadly it will take a new generation of music fans to realise what a talent McCartney was!
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 03:36 pm
@ Michael Wilson,
Paul may have been a better writer - but John was a better singer. Even in terms of the song that I really, really love written and sung by Paul when he was with Wings (Mull of Kintyre) there are three or four other people I'd rather hear it sung by.

Who can sing 'Losin' You' with the same intensity as Lennon (who also wrote it)?
.
Remember this song is thirty years old. It sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday.

I'd almost always rather hear John sing - but I can't deny Paul WAS a great writer (at one time - not anymore - the drek I heard from his last album - I was almost embarrassed for him.) So yes, at one time - Paul was a wonderful writer but John always remained a great singer.
Who knows what he'd have written if he'd lived thirty more years like Paul did?
I think Paul is the silly icon - not John. We have no idea what John would have done.
 

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