Saturday, April 25, 2009
Paul vs. John
there are many questions that a fan of rock music must ask themselves as they delve deeper in into the ever expanding catalog that is rock n' roll. what is the greatest rock band of all time? what is the greatest album of all time? what is the greatest song of all time? these questions can solicit an infinite array of responses. while these are all good questions that must be addressed sooner or later, there is another that leaves only two possible answers: who's better...paul or john?
i used to always be a john fan. every time i would catch the VH1 special about the last 5 years of his life, i would stop and weep openly. i didn't even really know why. perhaps it is because i, and the rest of the world to an extent, knew how many future songs were lost on that day.
for years, i only had the beatles hits on cd. even though i had a fairly vast knowledge of their music, it was limited to the red and blue albums. a few years ago, i was fortunate enough to have purchased for the first time--and on the same day mind you--rubber soul, revolver, sgt. pepper, and abbey road (somehow i got into the white album years earlier). i sat and listened to those four albums in their entirety and was so amazed. i was amazed at how wonderfully beautiful yet distinctly different each album was from the one before. i was amazed that all four albums were released during a period of only 4 years. i was amazed that for 28 years, this music had somehow evaded me. where had it been hiding, and why could i not find it? (it's funny how we sometimes come into things later in life than others. don't even get me started on Dylan.)
but mostly i was amazed at paul. i had always liked john the best...until i heard these albums that is. i play in a beatles cover band (if i were a beatle, i would be paul). we currently can do about 150 beatle tunes. nevermind that i still can't figure out how in the world he could play bass and sing like he did. for me, it comes down to which songs give me that "feeling". 9 times out of 10 it's paul. fuckin' paul! his chord progressions, his melodies--they are just better. lord only knows why his solo career tanked (tanked in terms of credibility and critical acclaim. in terms of sales, he's tops for sure).
all of this, however, is pointless drivel, right? wrong. it is time paul got his fair share of both respect and credit. a few years ago, when the debate sprang up between "lennon/mccartney vs. mccartney/lennon" i was amazed at how few people came to paul's defense (although i guess it is no surprise). in the later years especially, it was obvious who wrote what songs, and i think the time had come to set the record straight. once again, in comes yoko to stir up needless drama. i don't blame him for wanting what was rightfully his (although doesn't micheal jackson own the rights to all beatles songs anyway? wtf!!!)
i think if john were alive today, the race would be a little closer. history shows us that dying young is the best career move a young artist can make. in fact, there are many artists that have only come into the public eye after their demise. as i said earlier, i have always been a john fan. but in the end, when one really examines the two artists side by side, paul looks better and better.
"you've got to admit it's getting better--it's getting better all the time...."-paul
out of curiosity, what is the best beatles album? well, that is the 64 dollar question i suppose. it depends on the day, and it depends on the person. for me, its usually revolver--although i hate the song yellow submarine. currently, it is abbey road--its more like a symphony than a pop album. it's rarely sgt. pepper--although lovely rita is one of my top 10 favorite songs. i suppose you could sooner ask your parents, "which child do you love the best?". you would probably get a more definitive answer.