Paul McCartney said one of the greatest things about The Beatles was their “aversion to repeating” themselves. Even though a majority of their earlier songs were love tunes, they still knew how to change it up and give their fans a different story every time.
Paul McCartney and John Lennon aimed their songs at their fans in The Beatles’ early days
In his book The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, Paul explained that “eroticism” was a driving force in everything he did, including The Beatles’ early songs.
Songs like “I Want to Hold Your Hand” did have a certain amount of eroticism. However, Paul doesn’t think any of those early love songs were about a specific person, including his then-girlfriend, Jane Asher. Paul and John Lennon aimed many songs at their fans in The Beatles’ early days.
“We were just trying to get more and more people to like us,” Paul wrote. “It was still a thrill that people liked us and would go to great lengths to show us that, like writing letters to us.” Paul and John reached out to Beatles fans most noticeably in one of their early songs, “Thank You Girl.”
Most of those early songs had personal pronouns in the titles. They were reaching whoever was listening, the general audience. However, just because The Beatles’ early songs were romantic and spoke to the general masses doesn’t mean the band was repeating themselves.
Paul liked that The Beatles didn’t repeat themselves
There were many things to love about The Beatles, even during their early days. It might’ve seemed like all the group did was romantic love songs. However, they told a different story every time. That’s what Paul loved about The Beatles.
Even though the band was open to many different influencers, Paul said one of the great things about The Beatles was their “aversion to repeating” themselves. Paul explained that he and the band were “intelligent young lads; we didn’t like being bored.” That was the case since their early days.
The “Yesterday” singer explained that when The Beatles had their residency in Hamburg, Germany, they sometimes played extremely long sets. They had to stretch eight hours. To combat that, they learned enough songs so they didn’t have to repeat them. They tried to vary their performances as much as possible.
When they returned to England, The Beatles were seasoned performers with an extensive repertoire. When they started making records, that idea “persisted.” Paul wrote, “Why repeat ourselves? Why make the same record twice?”
The group’s early songs weren’t formulaic
Paul argued that The Beatles weren’t formulaic even though they had many songs that seemed to tell the same story.
He wrote, “It’s true that, as I’ve said, there was a certain formula to some of the early songs -the recurrence of the pronouns “I,” “you,” “me,” “him,” “her,” “my,” “she” – but that was because we wanted to be in contact with the fans. To engage with them.
“But they weren’t formulaic. What made The Beatles such a great band was that no two tracks are the same. It’s pretty amazing when you think of that output. The other thing is that John and I wrote close to three hundred songs in sessions lasting just a few hours or a single day.”
After about 1965, The Beatles completely changed their songwriting style and brought even more variety. There are very few love songs past Revolver as they created different, more complex stories and lyrics.
Paul McCartney Said 1 of the Great Things About The Beatles Was Their ‘Aversion to Repeating’ Themselves
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