The Beatles: John Lennon described a Paul McCartney song as ‘MEANINGLESS’
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The Beatles released 22 singles over the course of their careers. While not all of them were show stopping hits, the Fab Four managed to sell over 600 million singles in the United Kingdom alone. Across the board, the band broke records, selling unbelievable amounts of records all the way up until they split. Although they had countless fans across the planet, John Lennon and Paul McCartney were happy to explain what they didn’t like about each other’s music.
Shortly after the death of The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, the Fab Four released their first single without him.
The single was Hello, Goodbye, the A-side to Lennon’s I Am The Walrus.
Hello, Goodbye was written and mostly performed by McCartney, who later described the track as the “duality of man”.
Speaking about writing the song years later, McCartney explained: “Hello, Goodbye was one of my songs. There are Geminian influences here I think the twins, It’s such a deep theme in the universe, duality.
“Man woman, black white, ebony ivory, high low, right wrong, up down, hello goodbye – that it was a very easy song to write. It’s just a song of duality, with me advocating the more positive.
“You say goodbye, I say hello. You say stop, I say go. I was advocating the more positive side of the duality, and I still do to this day.”
Lennon didn’t see this simplistic style of songwriting as as much of a triumph as McCartney did, however.
In 1980 Lennon said of Hello, Goodbye: “That’s another McCartney. Smells a mile away, doesn’t it?
“An attempt to write a single. It wasn’t a great piece; the best bit was the end, which we all ad-libbed in the studio, where I played the piano.”
The Imagine singer went on to describe Hello, Goodbye as “three minutes of contradictions and meaningless juxtapositions”.
Ultimately, however, McCartney had the last laugh, as Hello, Goodbye was chosen as the A-side to their single, pushing Lennon’s I Am the Walrus to the B-side.
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It is thought that this decision was made because Hello, Goodbye sounded more “commercial”, and therefore could sell more.
McCartney’s track being chosen over Lennon’s as the frontrunner was later deemed one of the cracks that begun to show the band were ultimately splitting up.
Beatles historian Walter Everett described choosing Hello, Goodbye over I Am the Walrus as “one more nail in the Beatles coffin”.
Lennon hitting out at McCartney’s song wasn’t the only instance of the Fab Four lashing out at one another in jest.
In 1962 George Harrison responded to a super fan’s letter, and in his reply he detailed instructions for her to fill McCartney’s treasured card with dirty water.
Harrison began: “I hope you had a good chrimbo, and have a happy nuclear [peace sign] too. Thank you for giving my mum flowers and chocs. [It was you wasn’t it??]”
He then detailed instructions for the fan to wash her car, before concluding: “Now proceed to [McCartney’s address] 20 Forthlin RD. with about 6 buckets full of dirty muddy greasey water, where a shiney Ford Classic will be seen.
“Spread contents of the buckets evenly, so as to leave a nice film of muck over the car. You can now return home knowing you have done your deed for the day. Thank you!!!”
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