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Lennon-McCartney: Who Wrote What?

Hit Parader
April 1972

t's common knowledge that Paul composed some songs alone and John composed some alone. The royalties might have be shared, but sometimes not the workload on a particular piece.

To find out how much was written by who -- and even who wrote what -- early in 1972 Hit Parader magazine sat John Lennon down and went over the whole list of Lennon-McCartney material, that rich vein that changed the face of rock music almost overnight, going back to the first days of the Merseyliverpool Sound, up through Beatlemania to Sgt. Pepper and the break up.

Paul McCartney saw the list and came up with one correction. He said that John didn't write the music to "In My Life," just the words. Paul contends he worked out the melody on a mellotron in John's house.

LOVE ME DO: Paul wrote the main structure of this when he was about 16, or even earlier. I think I had something to do with the middle.

PS I LOVE YOU: Paul. But I think we helped him a bit. It was meant to be a Shirelles kind of song.

PLEASE PLEASE ME: I wrote all of this one--I was trying to do a Roy Orbison.

FROM ME TO YOU: Paul and me--we wrote this together in a van.

THANK YOU GIRL: Paul and me. This was just a silly song we knocked off.

SHE LOVES YOU: Both of us. We wrote it together on tour.

MISERY: Both of us. This was mainly mine though, I think.

DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET? Me. I wrote this for George.

I CALL YOUR NAME: Me. I started it when I was 15 and finished the middle eight years later, around "Help" or "Hard Day's Night" time.

I'LL BE ON MY WAY: Paul. This was early Paul.

BAD TO ME: Me. I wrote it for Billy J. Kramer.

IT WON'T BE LONG: Me. I wrote this on the second album. It was the song with the so-called Aeolian cadences, the same as in the Mahler symphony, at the end. I don't know what the hell it was about.

ALL MY LOVING: Paul. This was one of his first biggies.

LITTLE CHILD: Both of us. This was a knock-off between Paul and me for Ringo.

HOLD ME TIGHT: Both of us, but mainly Paul.

I WANNA BE YOUR MAN: Both of us, but mainly Paul.

I'LL KEEP YOU SATISFIED: Paul. This was for Billy J. Kramer.

LOVE OF THE LOVED: Paul. One of his very early songs, but I think he changed the words later for Cilla.

I'M IN LOVE: Me. I wrote it for the Fourmost.

HELLO LITTLE GIRL: Me. This was another very early song of mine recorded by the Fourmost.

CAN'T BUY ME LOVE: John and Paul, but mainly Paul.

FROM A WINDOW: Paul...must be Paul's. I can't really remember it.

LIKE DREAMERS DO: A very early one of Paul's.

AND I LOVE HER: Both of us. The first half was Paul's and the middle eight is mine.

I'LL BE BACK: Me. A nice tune though the middle is a bit tatty.

WORLD WITHOUT LOVE: Paul. An early one he wrote when he was about 16 or 17. I think he changed the words later for the record by Peter and Garfunkel or something.

ONE AND ONE IS TWO: Paul. That was a terrible one.

I FEEL FINE: Me. This was the first time feedback was used on a record. It's right at the beginning.

SHE'S A WOMAN: Paul. Though I helped with the middle, I think.

NO REPLY: Me. I remember Dick James coming to me after we did this one and saying, "You're getting much better now -- that was a complete story." Apparently before that he thought my songs tended to sort of, wander off.

I'LL FOLLOW THE SUN: Paul. A nice one--one of his early compositions.

EIGHT DAYS A WEEK: Both of us. I think we wrote this when we were trying to write the title song for Help! because there was at one time the thought of calling the film, Eight Arms To Hold You or something. I think that's the story, I'm not sure.

IT'S ONLY LOVE: Me. That's one song I really hate of mine. Terrible lyric.

YESTERDAY: Paul. Wow, that was a good 'un.

DAY TRIPPER: Me. But I think Paul helped with the verse.

WE CAN WORK IT OUT: Paul but the middle was mine.

NORWEIGAN WOOD: Me but Paul helped me on the lyric.

MICHELLE: Both of us. I wrote the middle with him.

WHAT GOES ON: Me. A very early song of mine. Ringo and Paul wrote a new middle eight together when we recorded it.

IN MY LIFE: Me. I think I was trying to write about "Penny Lane" when I wrote it. It was about places I remembered. A nice song. Jose Feleciano did a nice version of it.

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE: Me. Another one I never liked.

PAPERBACK WRITER: Paul. I think I might have helped with some of the lyrics. Yes, I did. But it was mainly Paul's tune.

ELEANOR RIGBY: Both of us. I wrote a good lot of the lyrics, about 70 percent. Ray Charles did a great version of this. Fantastic.

HERE THERE AND EVERYWHERE: Paul. This was a great one of his.

YELLOW SUBMARINE: Both of us. Paul wrote the catchy chorus. I helped with the blunderbuss bit.

SHE SAID, SHE SAID: I wrote it after meeting Peter Fonda who said he knew what it was like to be dead.

GOOD DAY SUNSHINE: Paul. But I think maybe I helped him with some of the lyric.

FOR NO ONE: Paul. Another of his I really liked.

AND YOUR BIRD CAN SING: Me. Another horror.

DR. ROBERT: Me. I think Paul helped with the middle.

GOT TO GET YOU INTO MY LIFE: Paul. I think George and I helped with some of the lyric, I'm not sure.

TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS: Me. This was my first psychedelic song.

PENNY LANE: Paul. I helped him with the lyric.

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS: Paul. It was Paul's idea. I think I helped with some of the words. In fact, I did. Hunter Davies was there when we did it and mentioned it in the book. "What do you see when you turn out the light, I can't tell you but I know it's mine." That was mine.

LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS: Me. And once again, folks, this was Julian's title. It was nothing to do with LSD. I think Paul helped with the last verse.

GETTING BETTER: Paul. I think I helped with some of the words in the middle.

SHE'S LEAVING HOME: Both of us. Paul had the basic theme. But all those lines like "We sacrificed most of our life...We gave her everything money could buy...Never a thought for ourselves"...Those were the things (Aunt) Mimi used to say. It was easy to write.

BEING FOR THE BENEFIT OF MR. KITE: Me. I got some of the words off an old circus poster. I have it in the billiard room. The story that Henry the Horse meant heroin was rubbish.

WHEN I'M SIXTY FOUR: Paul. I think I helped Paul with some of the words, like "Vera, Chuck and Dave" and "Doing the garden, digging the weeds."

GOOD MORNING, GOOD MORNING: Me. A bit of a gobbledegook one, but nice words.

A DAY IN THE LIFE: Both of us. I wrote the bit up to "woke up fell out of bed" and I think Paul wrote "I'd love to turn you on." I got the idea from a news item in the British Daily Mail about 4000 holes in Blackburn.

BABY YOU'RE A RICH MAN: Both of us. In fact we just stuck two songs together for this one -- same as "A Day In The Life."

I AM THE WALRUS: Me -- I like that one. That was the time when I was putting Hare Krishna and all that down I hadn't taken it up then.

MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR: Paul. I helped with some of the lyric.

HEY JUDE: Paul. That's his best song. It started off as a song about my son Julian because Paul was going to see him. Then he turned it into "Hey Jude." I always thought it was about me and Yoko but he said it was about him and his.

REVOLUTION: Me. I should never have put that in about Chairman Mao. I was just finishing off in the studio when I did that.

BACK IN THE U.S.S.R.: Paul. Maybe I helped a bit, but I don't think so.

HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN: Me. That's another one I like. They all said it was about drugs but it was more about rock and roll than drugs. It's sort of a history of rock and roll. The title came from an American gun magazine. I don't know why people said it was about the needle in heroin. I've only seen somebody do something with a needle once and I don't like to see it at all.

ROCKY RACCOON: Paul. I might have helped with some of the words, I'm not sure.

WHY DON'T WE DO IT IN THE ROAD: Paul -- one of his best.

JULIA: Me. Yoko helped me with this one.

BIRTHDAY: Both of us. We wrote it in the studio.

EVERYBODY'S GOT SOMETHING TO HIDE EXCEPT MY AND MY MONKEY: Me. Fats Domino did a great version of this one.

SEXIE SADIE: Me. That was about the Maharishi.

BECAUSE: Me. This is a terrible arrangement. A bit like Beethoven's Fifth backwards.

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE: Me. One of my best songs. Not one of the best recordings but I like the lyrics.

A list of songs, according to Lennon, written by himself, about which he had no comment:

There's A Place; This Boy; All I've Got To Do; Not A Second Time; You Can't Do That; A Hard Day's Night; I Should Have Known Better; If I Fell; I'm Happy Just To Dance With You; Tell Me Why; Any Time At All; I'll Cry Instead; When I Get Home; I'm A Loser; I Don't Want To Spoil The Party; Ticket To Ride; Yes It Is; Help!; You've Got To Hide Your Love Away; You're Going To Lose That Girl; Nowhere Man; Girl; Rain; I'm Only Sleeping; Strawberry Fields Forever; Dear Prudence; Glass Onion; Bungalow Bill; I'm So Tired; Yer Blues; Cry Baby Cry; Goodnight; The Ballad Of John and Yoko; Come Together; I Want You (She's So Heavy); Mean Mr. Mustard; Polythene Pam; One After 909; Hey Bulldog; Don't Let Me Down; You Know My Name (Look Up The Number); Sun King; Dig A Pony; Dig It.

Songs which Lennon attributed directly to Paul McCartney, again offered with no comment:

I Saw Her Standing There; Tip Of My Tongue; I'll Keep You Satisfied; Nobody I Know; Things We Said Today; Don't Want To See You Again; I'm Down; The Night Before; Another Girl; Tell Me What You See; I've Just Seen A Face; That Means A Lot; You Won't See Me; I'm Looking Through You; Woman; Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; Fixing A Hole; Lovely Rita; Hello Goodbye; Your Mother Should Know; Fool On The Hill; Step Inside Love; Oo Bla Di; Martha My Dear; Blackbird; I Will; Mother Nature's Son; Helter Skelter; Honey Pie; Lady Madonna; All Together Now; Get Back; Let It Be; Maxwell's Silver Hammer; Oh Darling; You Never Give Me Your Money; She Came In Through The Bathroom Window; Golden Slumbers; Carry That Weight; The End; Her Majesty; Two Of Us; The Long and Winding Road.

Songs attributed jointly to McCartney and himself by Lennon and offered again with no comment.

I'll Get You; I Want To Hold Your Hand; Baby's In Black; Every Little Thing; What You're Doing; Drive My Car; The Word; I've Got A Feeling. 

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