Sunday, December 06, 2009

McCartney and the Beatles' Apple Era

Paul really shined during the pre-Apple era of 1966-1967. Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, and Magical Mystery Tour are all dominated by Paul. And he controlled their A-Sides, 2-to-1 over John.

He was writing great stuff. Not only hits like 'Paperback Writer', 'Eleanor Rigby', 'Penny Lane' and 'Hello Goodbye', but strong album cuts, too. I won't list them all here, but just take some of his slower/non-rocker tunes from that time: 'For No One', 'Fool on the Hill', 'She's Leaving Home' and 'Here There and Everywhere' . He had jumped a level from pop-song tune smith to being a legitimate composer.

He even did the award winning symphonic soundtrack for The Family Way. The guy was on fire.

But then Apple happened. The 'White Album' definitely feels more like a 'John album' than a 'Paul album'. And while McCartney shines on the Abbey Road medley (Side Two), his only complete, great number is 'Oh! Darling'. John and George are much stronger on Abbey. Even Yellow Submarine, which is barely an album, boast only one new Paul number, the silly 'All Together Now'.

And it's well documented that two McCartney numbers from the Apple-era, 'Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da' and 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' were intended as singles (or hits) and rejected by the others as being unworthy. And I agree. So why did Paul's work take a step backward during the Apple era?

I think the reason is because other Beatles quickly lost interest in running the company (Ringo never had any interest in the first place) and the bulk of managing Apple Corps fell to our favorite workaholic, Paul. He was too busy being Apple's overseer and promoting the likes of Mary Hopkins and Badfinger.

But that's not the whole story. Apple's first single was Paul's 'Hey Jude', the Beatles' biggest hit ever. A great launch for the label. And when things got especially dicey during the Let it be sessions, guess who rose to the occasion? Yep. Our Paul. 'Let it Be', 'The Long and Winding Road' and 'Get Back' are some of his best Apple-era songs. And his half of 'I Got A Feeling' ain't bad, either.

It kind of proves that, towards the end, Paul really wanted the Beatles to succeed more than the others. He pulled out his biggest hit to kick-off Apple and sacrificed time he should have been spending composing to being the chief-Beatle (essentially doing a lot of the things that both John and Brian Epstein used to do). Then, when the ship was sinking on Let it be, he resurfaced to make an otherwise lackluster album into another success for them.


Blogger nana batcho said...

Paul was not my favorite beatle when I was younger, I love George, unlike all my friends. Your comment is fab, Paul is still standing. He is reaching out to his fans in a new way, and will always be dear to my heart. I enjoyed watching his appearance on the letterman show. He had something to say to the Jackson fans.. He ends up being the Beatle that touched the world and kept their memory alive in a unique way

6:50 AM  
Blogger John Goins said...

I am a big George fan, too. I think his solo albums really hold up. But the Beatles were definitely the 'John and Paul Show'.

8:09 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home