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Author Topic: Did the Beatles not give enough credit in regards to songwriting?  (Read 6197 times)

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Pilzkopf

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Re: Did the Beatles not give enough credit in regards to songwriting?
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2010, 11:54:43 PM »

But if you take away the piccolo from Penny Lane you still have Penny Lane. If you take away the strings from Yesterday you still have Yesterday (as witnessed by Paul performing it solo with a guitar.) Ditto for In My Life.
If you take away the organ melody from Whiter Shade of Pale do you still have Whiter Shade of Pale? Apparently not (or at least not 40% of it.)
I think you need to make a distinction between arrangement and structure.

That's the truth. An instrumental flourish, like the piccolo trumptet in Penny Lane, or any of George's guitar riffs in their other songs, can't be said to be part of the composition unless they materially affect the harmonic structure and direction of the song. Dave Gilmour's solos in Pink Floyd pieces credited to Roger Waters are much longer and more complex than any examples mentioned here, but since they are subordinate to the main structure, and don't modify it, they can't be seen as part of the composition. It's obvious that Matthew Fisher's contribution to AWSOP was critical to the composition, but the problem I see with it is that a lot of the harmonic progression was lifted from Bach. How much of it can really be called Fisher's compositon is debatable.
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peterbell1

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Re: Did the Beatles not give enough credit in regards to songwriting?
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2010, 11:32:18 AM »

I don't think George Martin should get songwriting credit for any of the Beatles songs - his contribution was immense, but as a producer and arranger, not as a songwriter.
Adding strings on top of a song that is already written does not change the structure of the song - it just changes the arrangement.
Same with session musicians - they add to an arrangement rather than contribute to writing the song.
If you follow that train of thought then anyone who does a cover of a Beatles song and adds a new guitar lick or alters the melody line slightly should get a songwriting credit.

I would argue, however, that there were several people who SHOULD have been given songwriting credits on Lennon-McCartney songs. I'm sure George and Ringo, for instance, contributed during the writing process of some songs (as well as their obvious contributions during recording). For example, Ringo came up with the title for A Hard Days Night yet gets no credit for inspiring the song even though the song lyrics are all built around that title. I'm sure there must have been times over the years where those two added lines or musical ideas during the actual writing process of a song but these go uncredited on Lennon-McCartney songs.
And others contributed as well. Was it Eleanor Rigby where Pete Shotton contributed ideas for the story line about the lonely woman and the priest?
And didn't someone's wife come up with the French lyrics in Michelle?
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dcowboys107

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Re: Did the Beatles not give enough credit in regards to songwriting?
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2010, 09:40:50 PM »

Look at the Mike Love and Brian Wilson lawsuit.  It's the same principal in many senses.  In the songs that he claimed that he wasn't credited for, he added or changed the lyric a little bit while the song was still Brian's.  Interesting link on the trial.

http://www.surfermoon.com/
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maywitch

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Re: Did the Beatles not give enough credit in regards to songwriting?
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2010, 07:15:37 PM »

In the case of Penny Lane (and obviously other songs), I seem to remember that Paul hummed the melody of the solo and George Martin wrote it down for the musician to play. No doubt that in such a case the songwriting credits go to McCartney (or Lennon-McCartney).

That was the case with most of the things that McCartney and Martin worked on together.  Paul would explain exactly what he wanted, hum it or play it on another instrument as close as he could and George would write down.  Eleanor Rigby was recognizable as Eleanor Rigby even before her name was chosen, the singer Donovan remembered Paul playing it for him as a new song he had just started working on. 

Martin didn't "make up" the melody of Yesterday, he just wrote out the music so that the strings could play it. Martin didn't come up with Eleanor Rigby, he wrote it down so the musician's could play it on violins, etc.  He did help Paul in terms of, early on in particular, helping to teach him HOW to express what he wanted but there is little that Martin did that I think actually could be considered truly writing the songs.  Neither Martin nor the others who were there seem to feel these are anything BUT Paul's songs - Martin, Emerick, Smith(the engineer before Smith) all said Paul was very involved in these things, right from the start.  

Paul came up with the guitar solo on Taxman, that solo is a fairly striking part of the song, does that mean Harrison should have shared credit on the song?  John came up with a couple of lines for the lyric, what about him?   I don't think so.  It's George's song, they are just using their skill, as an instrumentalist and wordsmith respectively, to help bring it to life.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2010, 07:47:07 PM by maywitch »
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sewi

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Re: Did the Beatles not give enough credit in regards to songwriting?
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2010, 02:50:39 PM »

I would argue, however, that there were several people who SHOULD have been given songwriting credits on Lennon-McCartney songs. I'm sure George and Ringo, for instance, contributed during the writing process of some songs (as well as their obvious contributions during recording). For example, Ringo came up with the title for A Hard Days Night yet gets no credit for inspiring the song even though the song lyrics are all built around that title. I'm sure there must have been times over the years where those two added lines or musical ideas during the actual writing process of a song but these go uncredited on Lennon-McCartney songs.
And others contributed as well. Was it Eleanor Rigby where Pete Shotton contributed ideas for the story line about the lonely woman and the priest?
And didn't someone's wife come up with the French lyrics in Michelle?
Amen.It is very obvious that there were a lot more of "inputs" than just Lennon and/or McCartney.And if when they came from one of they two it was considered a  songwriting collaboration why not to extend it to others as well?
« Last Edit: January 21, 2010, 02:53:11 PM by sewi »
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