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  • Elvis Costello said The Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There” said something about Paul McCartney.
  • He discussed the way Paul and John Lennon were seen by the public.
  • Paul reacted to people who felt his songs were too “soppy.”
The Beatles in suits during the "I Saw Her Standing There" era
The Beatles | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Elvis Costello said The Beatles‘ “I Saw Her Standing There” contradicted a “cliche” about Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Subsequently, he said the cliche was not actually true. Notably, one of Paul’s most famous songs was a response to a persistent criticism of him.

What Elvis Costello thought about The Beatles’ ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and ‘Helter Skelter’

Paul was the primary creative force behind some of The Beatles’ most famous ballads, such as “And I Love Her,” “The Long and Winding Road,” and “Yesterday.” Meanwhile, John was the main songwriter behind avant-garde tracks like “Revolution 9” and “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

In a 2022 article from Stereogum, 80 different artists spoke about Paul. In the article, Costello discussed the perception of John and Paul. “The cliche for Lennon and McCartney is that Paul is the sweet one and John is the edgy one,” Costello said. 

“It’s not so true, is it?” he added. “Paul wrote ‘I Saw Her Standing There,’ ‘I’m Down,’ ‘She’s a Woman,’ ‘Helter Skelter.’ Come on. There are whole swathes of music that follow that that couldn’t exist. It’s true, they are very influential and different periods are influential on different music that followed.” Costello initially felt Paul only wrote happy songs, but the darkness of “For No One” from Revolver proved him wrong.

Elvis Costello felt ‘The White Album’ inspired a band that was far from Paul McCartney’s ‘sweet’ image

Costello elaborated, saying The Beatles inspired another famous band that wasn’t exactly “sweet.” “I remember thinking, in the ’90s, that The White Album had obviously become the blueprint,” he said. “I’m talking the pre-experimental Radiohead, the OK Computer Radiohead. That couldn’t exist without The White Album. And I’m sure Thom [Yorke] would admit that.

“They went such an interesting way with almost compressing their melodies under all this experimentation, almost to the point of disguising how beautiful some of those melodies are,” he continued. “The Beatles did the same thing a generation earlier.”

Paul McCartney said one of his-post Beatles songs was a response to the idea he was ‘soppy’

During a 2001 interview with Billboard, Paul discussed the perception of him being a “soppy” musician. The singer noted he wrote love songs for Linda McCartney such as “My Love” and “Maybe I’m Amazed.” He said he wrote Wings’ “Silly Love Songs” as a response to criticisms of his sentimentality. He felt listeners might think love songs are cheesy, but they’ve been around forever and there’s nothing wrong with writing love songs.

Paul said his style was vindicated. He said people have come up to him to say they once thought he was soppy but they later came to appreciate his music.

“I Saw Her Standing There” is an awesome song whether Paul was sentimental or not.