Sir Paul to turn 64

April 4, 2006

Sir Paul on cover of AARP

“I saw the photograph…”
Former Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney is featured on the cover of this month’s AARP (above). He will turn 64 on June 18, 2006. The rather unflattering photo that somewhat graces the cover, is taken from below — a no-no for photographers, that is unless you are after capturing wrinkles, which evidently they were.

In the article, Paul confesses a post-Beatle thorn in his side: his comparison with John Lennon. Paul admits to being profoundly hurt by the many comments made in the press calling John “the Mozart” and Paul “the Salieri.” Wow, life can be challenging, even for nice people who happen to be billionaires.

“I just had to laugh…”
I roared with laughter when I read that Paul walked out of a recording session for his latest album “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard” when his producer (Nigel Godrich, recommended by George Martin with bands like Radiohead and Travis under his belt) called one of his songs “crap.” You’re lucky you’ve got someone who can speak honestly with you Paul.

To me, an important difference between the three writers in the Beatles was in their approach to harmony. McCartney has a brilliant sense of melody, and was the only one who truly understood functional harmony (“When I’m 64” is a perfect example). Lennon also had a rich sense of melodic design, and his sense of harmony was blues/rock/folk based. This is not to demean his handling of harmony: Lennon transcends all three genres but shares genetic lineage with all three. Harrison’s understanding of harmony comes from a core aesthetic question: can’t we do something different? He loved “shock chords” or chords that you just didn’t expect. He love to accentuate diminished chords: diminished chords? No one used diminished chords in those days!

Harrison was the Debussy of the three. Lennon, the Mussorgsky, and McCartney, the Schubert.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

JoeGreen April 4, 2006 at 2:27 pm

Gosh what a ghastly photo! My 70-year-old father looks much younger.

“Harrison was the Debussy of the three. Lennon, the Mussorgsky, and McCartney, the Schubert.”

Dangerous territory, making such comparisons… not that I disagree. But if we’re going for the Mighty Five from St Petersburg lets say McCartney was Rimsky-Korsakov and Harrison was Borodin. 🙂

George Harrison was always my favourite Beatle, or rather post-Beatle, on the strength of his 70’s work and, I guess, as a person too.

dysonation April 5, 2006 at 3:55 am

I had noticed that about George. He had all these nasty major seventh chords around the time of Abbey Road. Unfortunately, all his Beatles-era songs were ruined in production. If you listen to the original solo demos, you can really appreciate the beauty and his genius.

As for Paul: “Give it up!!!!!!!!!!!”

Roger Bourland April 14, 2006 at 9:52 am

JoeG: I wouldn’t fight you on this one for the record. Just a passing whimsical remark. But I DO think of George as the Debussy. He didn’t concern him self with proper voice leading (as Paul usually had). I likened Paul to Schubert in that melodies come out of each artist with remarkable facility.

dys: I never thought about George’s heavy handed productions on the Beatle’s album, but now that I think of it, you’re right. I would love to have heard a completely different take on “Something.” I did hear his original for voice and guitar, but would personally like a bit more than that. Ah well, we’ll leave it for future speculation.

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