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Paul McCartney felt some of The Beatles‘ songs were deeper than others. Despite this, he felt writing The Beatles’ “Please Please Me” was essentially the same as writing “The Long and Winding Road.” Notably, the American public had significantly different reactions to the two songs.

The Beatles' Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and John Lennon playing songs on a stage
The Beatles’ Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and John Lennon | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Paul McCartney felt he was writing mature songs in his 20s

During a 2020 interview with The New York Times Magazine, Paul was asked if his more recent songs represented his artistic growth. He said he liked the idea that he would mature as he aged. Despite this, he felt songs he wrote in his 20s like “Yesterday” and “Eleanor Rigby” had a certain “wisdom” to them.

Paul discussed aging. “You would naturally think, ‘OK, as I get older I’m going to get deeper,’ but I’m not sure that’s true,” Paul said. “I think it’s a fact of life that personalities don’t change much. Throughout your life, there you are.”

Paul McCartney compared ‘Please Please Me’ to other Beatles songs

Subsequently, Paul was asked if his musical gifts had changed at all over the decades. “It’s the story that you’re telling,” he replied. “That changes. When I first said to John, “I’ve written a few songs,” they were simple. My first song was called ‘I Lost My Little Girl’ — four chords. 

“Then we went into the next phase of songwriting, which was talking to our fans,” Paul added. “Those were songs like ‘Thank You Girl,’ ‘Love Me Do,’ ‘Please Please Me.’ Then came a rich vein as we got more mature, with things like ‘Let It Be,’ ‘The Long and Winding Road.’ But basically, I think it’s all the same, and you get lucky sometimes.”

Paul discussed some of the times he got lucky. “Like, ‘Let It Be’ came from a dream where my mother had said that phrase,” Paul recalled. “‘Yesterday’ came from a dream of a melody.”


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How The Beatles’ ‘Please Please Me’ and ‘The Long and Winding Road’ performed on the charts in the United States

“Please Please Me” became a hit. It reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 13 weeks. The Beatles released the song on the compilation album 1962-1966. The compilation peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for 175 weeks.

“The Long and Winding Road” was even more popular in the United States, becoming The Beatles’ final No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100. It was No. 1 for two of its 10 weeks on the chart. The Beatles released “The Long and Winding Road” on the album Let It Be. The album was No. 1 for four of its 79 weeks on the chart.

“Please Please Me” and “The Long and Winding Road” might sound distinct but Paul felt the process of writing the two songs was very similar.