The song that signalled the end of John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s partnership

John Lennon and Paul McCartney

When it comes to great songwriting duos, John Lennon and Paul McCartney are always at the top of the list. Granted, every member of The Beatles contributed to the band’s success. But Lennon and McCartney’s songwriting collaboration was one of the most important factors in cementing their status as legends.

The reason the two worked so well together was due to their differences rather than their similarities. It wasn’t that they were both yes men who persuaded each other to continue writing whatever their original concept was. Instead, they were able to challenge each other and provide a new perspective on things. They provided a solution to the common problem of writer’s block. It resulted in The Beatles releasing several albums that are regarded as classics for a variety of reasons.

Of course, over time in the spotlight, these differences can become more of a hindrance than a help, as The Beatles experienced. John Lennon and McCartney’s songwriting partnership came to an end near the end of their time with the band. Ironically, the song that signaled the end was about duality. It indirectly emphasizes differences that drove a wedge between the writers.

“‘Hello, Goodbye‘ was one of my songs,” McCartney explained. “There are German influences here, I believe the twins. Duality is such a deep theme in the universe. Man woman, black white, ebony ivory, high low, right wrong, up down, hello goodbye – that it was a breeze to write the song. It’s just a song about duality, with me advocating for the positive. You say goodbye, and I say hello. You say stop, and I say go. I was advocating for the more positive aspect of the duality, and I still do today.”

McCartney wrote the song while showing Alistair Taylor, Brian Epstein’s former personal assistant, how to write a song. “Paul marched me into the dining room. There he displayed a magnificent old hand-carved harmonium.” ‘Come and sit at the opposite end of the harmonium. You can select any note on the keyboard. Simply hit it, and I will do the same. Now, whenever I should say something, you shout the opposite, and I’ll make up a tune. “You watch, it’ll make music.”

The two exchanged opposing concepts such as black and white, yes and no, and, of course, hello, and goodbye. “I wonder whether Paul made up that song as he went along or whether it was running through his head already.”

Alistair enjoyed the songwriting process. The track’s release as an A-side was one of the last straws for Lennon. He thought ‘I Am The Walrus‘ was the superior track of the two. He dismissed ‘Hello, Goodbye’ as “three minutes of contradictions and meaningless juxtapositions“.

Lennon was tired of McCartney’s songwriting, as he admitted that one part of the song was something he hadn’t considered. “That is another McCartney. “It smells a mile away, doesn’t it?” he said, “an attempt to write a single. It wasn’t a great piece. The highlight was the ending. we all improvised in the studio while I played the piano. Like one of my favorite bits on ‘Ticket To Ride’, where we just threw something in at the end.”

The two’s differing perspectives on the song are highlighted in their conversations. McCartney sees a philosophical angle, but John Lennon dismisses it as a silly dribble. Differences can be beneficial at times when engaging with your creativity. But when you consider the amount of pressure the Beatles must have felt, combined with the amount of time the duo spent together, it’s not surprising that ‘Hello, Goodbye’ marked the beginning of the end of their songwriting collaboration.

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