John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote a majority of The Beatles’ songs. The two admired each other’s songwriting talents, and they could be envious of one another when one wrote a great track. Lennon revealed one song McCartney wrote that he believes he “should have written.”
John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote most of The Beatles’ songs
The Lennon-McCartney songwriting duo is credited with many of The Beatles’ greatest hits. The two artists collaborated on many iconic songs, including “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Eight Days a Week,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Paperback Writer,” and “Yellow Submarine.” However, the credit could often be misleading as it makes it seem that both contributed equally to the song.
For many songs, Lennon would write the majority of the lyrics and melody, and vice versa for others. Songs like “Yesterday” or “In My Life” featured little contribution from either Lennon or McCartney, despite them being credited as writers. This often led to Lennon and McCartney having to clear up who deserved more credit.
John Lennon shares which Beatles song he wishes he had written
In a 1972 interview with Hit Parader, John Lennon discussed the many Beatles songs of the Lennon-McCartney duo and cleared up who did what. Lennon listed off a few of his favorites by McCartney, which included “Yesterday,” “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road,” “All My Loving,” and “Here There and Everywhere.”
When Lennon got to the song “Oh! Darling,” he said it was a great track but something more his style, saying, “I should have written that song; it sounds like a song I’d written.” In the 1980 Playboy interview, Lennon doubled down on this sentiment, saying, “’Oh! Darling’ was a great one of Paul’s that he didn’t sing too well. I always thought I could have done it better – it was more my style than his. He wrote it, so what the hell, he’s going to sing it.”
“Oh! Darling” debuted on 1969’s Abbey Road, the final album The Beatles ever recorded together. Paul wrote the lyrics and composed the music, with Lennon and George Harrison providing backing vocals.
Lennon believed ‘Hey Jude’ was written about him
Lennon selected “Hey Jude” as another one of his McCartney favorites. McCartney wrote the song as a message to John’s son, Julian, as John and his then-wife, Cynthia, were getting divorced. Paul wanted to give Julian a source of comfort as he went through this challenging separation. However, Lennon later said he thought “Hey Jude” was addressed to him and was McCartney’s way of encouraging him to be with Yoko Ono.
“That’s his best song,” Lennon told Hit Parader. “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.”
McCartney has confirmed that the song was written for Julian, even though Lennon may have interpreted it differently.