As a kid, I remember waking up to loud music on Saturday mornings. It was cleaning day, according to my mom. Most of my music knowledge of obscure songs come from those traumatizing yet melancholic Saturday mornings. This was my childhood in Mexico.
My mom had a very eclectic collection of music. She would blast everything from jazz to orchestral, from Spanish music to English music, from boleros to pop music, from bossa nova to the Beatles. You name it. Like I said, the Beatles were always in the Saturday cleaning bops playlist that my mom somehow curated over the years. However, I didn’t know who any of these artists were or what the songs were called. It was just music that influenced me and defined my music taste over the years without me even noticing. Now that I’m an adult, I realized its influence on me.
I remember when I was in sixth grade, a kid mentioned that they liked the Beatles a lot and I laughed, and I said, “Why? They’re old people music.” All I knew about the Beatles was that they were from the 60’s and that older people tend to listen to them. One day, I was home and noticed my brother’s iPod classic and started listening to music since we have similar music tastes. I noticed he had the Beatles in his iPod so out of curiosity I started to check them out. I was astonished. I was blown away for two reasons. One, the music was amazing, definitely didn’t sound like old people music, and two, they all sounded very familiar and that was because I had been listening to these songs all along on those cleaning days from when I was even younger.
I started to listen to the Beatles obsessively from there on and they quickly became my favorite band. They are so original. I always had the perception that they only played the cheesy love songs from their early career, which don’t get me wrong, they’re great but it definitely sounded dated and similar to other bands. The second half of their career is what I’m really interested in. Complete fearless experimentation that pushed every boundary possible. That’s why I became obsessed with them. That’s why they are one of the most influential bands in history. I can guarantee you have heard multiple songs from them even if you didn’t even realize that you did. Like I did when I was younger.
Maybe you can recognize this from somewhere in your past.
From here on as a musician I always tried to learn Beatles songs. Paul’s songs always stood out to me. I always gravitated towards his songs over John’s and George’s songs and definitely over Ringo’s songs. All of them are super talented but there was always somethings about Paul’s vocals and songwriting. Also, I started to play to bass and realizing how different from a guitar it was since it had always been a joke among guitar friends. We would say that bass was just a guitar with 4 strings. Unfortunately, bass gets a bad rep because most song’s bass usually follows exactly what the guitar is doing and it feels more like an add-on to the guitar, rather than its own instrument. That’s were Sir Paul McCartney comes in. When I listened to the Beatles the bass WAS its own instrument. Playing something completely different from the guitar. It was very melodic with a lot of attitude and personality. I have homework for you. Listen to your favorite Beatles song and pay attention to the bass. You’ll soon realize that it is way more intricate than you might have thought of and I can probably guarantee you had never noticed this. Paul McCartney is a bass god. I feel like his bass skills are underappreciated.
I Saw Her Standing There – The Beatles (This is from their first album, already on the first album Paul was killing it on the bass)
So, here we go, let’s now focus on Paul McCartney. Recently Hulu released a great series on Paul McCartney called ‘McCartney 3, 2, 1.’ I recommend it, it’s very interesting and Paul goes over little anecdotes that I’ve never heard before. Paul gives great insight into the early Beatles in terms of what it was like to be on the other side of the coin. Everybody only focuses on the Beatlemania and the fame, but rarely do we get insight into the Beatles themselves. This is where we need to take notes and learn from him. It’s school time!
'McCartney 3, 2, 1'
Lesson 1, Paul and John didn’t really know how to write songs but regardless they just went for it and got better overtime. It was very useful to have a friend there to get instant feedback and I feel that’s why they both got very good at songwriting quickly. So, if you want to try something out just do it, nobody is born knowing. You must learn and get better over time. It gets easier with likeminded friends. Lesson 2 is collaboration. Most of us are going through our journeys on our own but the journey gets easier when you have someone there supporting you, especially if their goal is the same or similar to yours. Don’t be afraid to collaborate with new people in your field, you might learn a thing or two. Another thing that interested me about the series was that Paul mentions that back when he started there wasn’t a way to record a song he just came up with so he had to just memorize it and he thinks that’s why they got better at writing catchier songs, because writing catchier songs would make it easier for them to remember. Lesson 3 is going back to basics every now and then. Limitations help creativity. When you are limited, you have to find clever ways to overcome obstacles and sometimes this leads to a spark of genius. Don’t be afraid to challenge your brain a little harder than usual.
The greatest songwriting duo of all time.
In conclusion, Paul McCartney gives us some great tips from his early Beatle days which we can apply to our own lives. The Beatles did have a lot of help from their producer and genius marketing but to get there they needed to do their part, and that they did. Each one of them was extremely talented and made everyone else’s job easier. Let’s go do our part and let others help us to rise to success. Here’s some of Paul McCartney’s solo career songs to end this piece.