It’s well known that The Beatles are the most successful music artists of all time, even pushing their hero and massive influence Elvis Presley into second place. Yet much of this has to be down to the unsurpassed songwriting partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Of their joint Lennon-McCartney credited work in the 1960s, they published around 180 songs and have since sold over 600 million records worldwide.
Much has been written about the Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership over the years and the two stars’ incredible creative ability.
Occasionally they’ve admitted that they just came up with some of their hits off the top of their heads, but there was a special method they used when getting down to work. Around the re-release of his 1980s solo album Flowers in the Dirt, Macca opened up on this.
Speaking previously with the BBC, the star was asked if he and Lennon wrote The Beatles songs nose to nose, with two acoustics strumming alongside each other.
McCartney revealed: “There’s a million ways to write, but the way I always used to write was with John and it would be across from each other, either in a hotel bedroom on the twin beds, with an acoustic guitar and we’re just looking at each other. He’d make up something, I’d make up something and we’d just spin off each other. The nice thing for me is seeing John there, him being right-handed, me being left-handed, it felt to me like I was looking in a mirror.”
Reflecting on the impact of this method, McCartney said: “Obviously, it was very successful. So that was a way I had learned to write and it was the way I liked to write and Elvis [Costello, his new collaborator] was very happy to work like that. So it was like a repeat of that process, and so he was John, basically, and I was Paul.”
The star went on to work with Michael Jackson, Rihanna and Kanye West, but no one can top John for him.
McCartney added: “I know I can never have a better collaborator than John. That is just a fact. So I don’t try and escape it. I just know there’s no way I can find someone now who’s going to write better stuff with me than I wrote with John.”
Even when working on his latest solo album McCartney III would Macca stop and consider what Lennon’s opinion would be on different parts of his work.