This Historic Day In Music: John Lennon

Strawberry Fields, Central Park, New York – September 29, 2019

Like every other obsessed fan of The Beatles that I know, I have accumulated a sizable collection of books about The Beatles.

One of those books is Beatlesongs by William J. Dowlding.

The front cover of this 1989 Fireside paperback proclaims that its pages contain: “Firsthand quotes, little-known facts and details about the production of each song/album, including: where song ideas came from, who contributed how much to each song… and much more!”

The back cover states that “drawing together information from sources that include interviews, insider accounts, magazines, and news wire services,” Beatlesongs has “a complete profile of every Beatles song ever written.” The bibliography, for instance, lists forty books.

Mr. Dowlding then, in each song’s profile, organized the information he gathered under headings: Chart Action, Authorship, Recorded, Instrumentation, Miscellaneous, Comments By Beatles and Comments By Others.

(Under that last heading, I now know that “Albert Gore, politician, and wife Tipper, played ‘All You Need Is Love’ as their wedding recessional.”)

Authorship is the one that has fascinated me the most.

The reason for this heading is the not-so-obvious fact that, even though every song they wrote while they were in The Beatles was published under both of their names, John Lennon and Paul McCartney did not actually co-write all of those songs.

Some Beatles’ songs are “John songs” and some are “Paul songs.”

Mr. Dowlding created a full/partial credit system to estimate the division of songwriting labor for each “Lennon & McCartney” song.

For example…

The Authorship of “Eight Days A Week” is tabulated as: McCartney (.9) and Lennon (.1).

“She Loves You” is Lennon (.5) and McCartney (.5).

“Let It Be” is McCartney (1.00).

From the many hours that I have spent over the years pouring through the pages of Beatlesongs (and other more recently published sources), I have discovered that the vast majority of the Beatles’ songs I have listened to the most often; the songs I have loved so much that I learned to play them, sing them and perform them… have been “John songs” – Authorship: Lennon (1.00).

They have been…

“Nowhere Man”

“You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”

“You Can’t Do That”

“It Won’t Be Long”

“I Call Your Name”

“All You Need Is Love”

“Come Together”

…to name a few.

As clichéd as it may be, it is still so true: my life has been incalculably enriched by the songs of John Lennon.

I therefore could not let this day go by – October 9, 2020: the 80th anniversary of the day that John Winston Lennon was born – without paying tribute to him – without in some small way again saying “Thank you, so very much” – here on sixstrstories.

So, to wrap things up, what “John song” should we listen to?

How about one of the best!

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4 Responses to This Historic Day In Music: John Lennon

  1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    It seems that Paul was known for his melodies and John his lyrics but they could do both well…

    I’m with you…I’m more of a John guy also with the songs I’ve learned. There was something a little rawer with him that touched a nerve. They were so good apart but they were great together…

    I always thought they kept each other in check even on the John only and Paul only songs. Isn’t it amazing we are still talking about them so long after they stopped writing?

    • Yes, it is amazing. But I know Jazz musicians who still talk about Duke Ellington and Classical musicians who still discuss Beethoven and Brahms.
      Did John & Paul keep each other in check? Absolutely! Always having to bring their latest song to the other definitely kept each of them on their game.
      Thanks a lot for your comment, Max! I may not often mention it, but I always enjoy your work. This blogging thing is kind of fun, don’t you think?

      • badfinger20 (Max) says:

        I enjoy your posts as well. You go deeper into the music itself and I appreciate it! I love your selections also…like those blues artists from way back…or the guitar albums you have brought up.

        It’s like having our own little newspaper that can distribute all over the world.

      • Thanks! “Our own little newspaper.” I like that!

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