A Beatles Journey: Paul McCartney
It’s true. I admit it. After blogging about The Beatles for almost two years it’s time to man up and tell the world where I stand. There’s just no two ways about it, Paul McCartney is my favorite (or should I say favourite) Beatle.
There, I just said it.
The irony is, that Paul McCartney has always been my favorite Beatle, but just to be certain – because I’m sure the world hinges on my opinion – I’ve spent the past two years listening to The Beatles, reading about The Beatles, independently researching the work of The Beatles and the post-Beatles Fab Four, and after everything I come back to the same place every time. I love Paul McCartney best.
To be clear, I’m not saying that Sir Paul was the ‘best’ Beatle. And I’m certainly not suggesting that he was greater than the other three in any way. I am merely saying that he is my personal favorite. And I’m not afraid to say it – not any more.
The Beatles, as the saying goes, were as great as the sum of their parts. And I truly believe that each of the four parts was wholly necessary to achieve the magic that The Beatles achieved. I love them all – really, I do… but admittedly, I just love Paul a little bit more.
Several months ago I had a very deep and heated discussion with two close friends of mine who are also well versed in Beatle lore and history. My friends made a very valid argument and admirably presented the case for John Lennon being the greatest Beatle. I huffed and I puffed, but it was two versus one and they would not budge. And when the debate was through, instead of sulking and licking my wounds, I just listened to some Paul tunes (at this point I am fairly proficient at isolating the McCartney – or the Lennon – despite the famous Lennon/McCartney joint writing credit) and it made everything better.
I would never deny John Lennon’s significance as a Beatle; as a musician; as a person. And I’m well aware that John made invaluable contributions to any number of Paul’s songs. But for me, it’s still Paul. It’s always been Paul – and that’s alright.
And then there’s George. Like his band mates John Lennon and Paul McCartney, George Harrison was a musical genius. Though he had relatively few writing credits in The Beatles library (more likely due to his being thwarted by John and Paul than any lack of song-writing ability) any doubts about George’s genius were completely put to rest by his post-Beatles release of ‘All Things Must Pass’ which swiftly went to #1 on the charts.
As for Ringo… well, poor Ringo may be the least glorified Beatle, but the fact remains he was chosen by the other three. John allowed Paul to join his group. Then George, the baby of the bunch, eventually won over Lennon to be accepted into the band. But it was the unanimous decision of three great minds (John, Paul and George) – after The Beatles were signed – that Ringo Starr would be their drummer. Ringo Starr was no accident, he was on purpose, and I think they chose wisely. Ringo truly was “The Chosen One” of The Beatles.
So what is it that makes Paul McCartney my favorite Beatle? To be honest, it’s hard to put my finger on it precisely. Trying to articulate what it is about McCartney that makes him my favorite, is sort of like putting into words why I like sushi more than I like porterhouse steak. I love them both. I just like sushi more.
I think it’s because Paul McCartney – and particularly his music – is simply better suited to my tastes. Album after album, with few exceptions, it’s the Paul tune that I gravitate toward:
- From ‘Help’ it’s ‘I’ve Just Seen A Face’;
- From ‘Rubber Soul’ it’s ‘Drive My Car’;
- And from ‘Abbey Road’ it’s ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ (an absolute fav of mine since childhood)
Most recently, ‘Martha My Dear’ from the White Album has captured my fancy. It almost seems to serve as a prelude of the ‘Wings’ sound soon to come.
Speaking of Paul McCartney and Wings, they just totally rock. Of all the post-breakup work – in my opinion – Wings was better than anything by the other three.
Now, I don’t care about all the gobbledygook regarding Paul’s personal life, that’s his business. It’s Paul, and his love for / reverence of music (e.g. buying Bill Black’s old string bass… look it up), his tireless touring for the love of performing, and his all out charming “Paulness” that makes him my favorite.
Author Peter Ames Carlin wrote in his book, Paul McCartney: A Life, “Paul was the most Beatley Beatle”… I would have to agree 100%. Paul McCartney has always embodied – and still does to this day – all the joy and goodness, and happy wonderful feelings the world has had about The Beatles (while perhaps being the most melodious bass player of all time).
Yes, I do lean pretty strongly towards the pop side of The Beatles – and music in general – but that’s what The Beatles really were all about, isn’t it?
Oh sure, they were a lot of things, “the first to do this, the first to do that, blah, blah, blah”, but at the end of the day they were the epitome of – the definition of – pop music, with Paul McCartney being the poppiest of them all… perhaps even the true “King of Pop”.
I ♥ Paul.
For other thoughts and suggested reading on The Beatles, click here
Illustration of Paul McCartney by Sean Gallo
same here. paul it is for me!
I love the way you wrote this! Paul is amazing.
But my favorite/favourite Beatle has always been and will always remain John Lennon. To me, he’s just untouchable. But believe me I have Paul’s back and could never slight ANY of them in favor/favour of John. I just happen to think John was probably one of the most fascinating men who has EVER lived, and his music+art has me entranced, since the first second I heard him sing at age 3. Cool, cool post!!!!
Paul is my favorite Beatle as well. I have a number of reasons: Paul’s brilliance as a bassist/polyinstrumentalist, his direct approach to songwriting, and his willingness to embrace the softer and fanciful side of pop music (of note, For No One is my favorite mid-Beatles song).
However, what I like best about Paul is that he had fun. He loved being a Beatle, and he let that love show. I love John (as much as one can) and George, but it seems to me that their work as Beatles was a pained labor of love. Ringo, of course, looked like he was having fun by putting on a facade as the lightweight Beatle – he was anything but.
Lastly, the Paul songs seemed to get a little extra sparkle due to Paul’s mutually admiring relationship with George Martin. The Martin touches (minus the Yellow Sub incidental music) were often Paul’s secret sauce.
Thanks for reposting this. A couple of favorite Paul songs: “Your Mother Should Know” (side 1 of MMT), “Oh Darling” (the Abbey Road song right after “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”, and “Let it Be”. By the way, my daughter Evelyn’s favorite Beatles song is “Good Day Sunshine” – she would be happy to listen to it every sunny day.
Jon, I’ll probably post this for Paul’s birthday every year. 🙂
Thanks for the comment(s)