Answering your Beatles questions around Liverpool

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As a long-lasting Beatles fan I've constantly wished to check out Liverpool and see the numerous noteworthy websites like , and The Cavern. So when I was up in Manchester recently for a video shoot, I decided to take the train west and lastly total my really own Beatles trip.

Check out the video I made with @Reason Studios and @Bryn Bliska:.

The outro music is my track "All The World's A Stage" which I made for this video:.

And, an extra special thanks goes to Douglas Lind, Vidad Flowers, Ivan Pang, Waylon Fairbanks, Jon Dye, Austin Russell, Christopher Ryan, Toot & Paul Peijzel, the channel's Patreon saints!.

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0:00 Introduction.
0:31 Is the still there?
1:41 What is Paul's many beautiful bassline?
3:10 John and Paul's youth homes.
3:51 George Martin's greatest contributions to Beatles songs.
5:30 What's your preferred Beatles song?
6:20 Finest non-Beatles song that seems like The Beatles?
7:10 Eleanor Rigby's gravestone.
8:55 Flowkey.
9:26 Was fortunate to be a Beatle?
10:19 John or Paul and why?
11:20 Will The Beatles still matter in 50 years time?
12:47 George Harrison slags off Oasis.
14:05 Which Beatle's solo profession was best?
15:20 What's the best Beatles riff?
15:29 What tune made you fall in love with The Beatles?
15:38 Which covers of Beatles tunes are better than the originals?
16:06 What was the Beatles' finest chord development?

Answering your Beatles questions around Liverpool

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52 Comments

  1. I love that you called Paul’s solo work after the 70s “Paul McCartney’s cheese land” because it sounds so funny to me idk why.

    1. It’s something John Lennon could’ve said, like he mockingly talked about Paul’s “Granny music”. It’s totally in spirit with their band, and yes the music is cheesy so why hide the fact?

    2. @Ingvar Hallström How are albums like McCartney II, Flaming Pie, Chaos and Creation, and Electric Arguments cheesy

  2. Thanks so much for the amazing travelogue, David. Now I need to go to Liverpool!

  3. Great video. My first visit to Penny Lane was years ago, when on a business visit I was taken to have a curry there! That curry house is sadly no longer there.

    The extraordinary thing about Paul’s solo career is the sheer quantity of it, and while most doesn’t match up to his best Beatle songs, a lot of them are still very good. It’s the same work ethic which drove The Beatles on in the late 60s. And definitely the best solo Beatle live performer too, doing 2 1/2 hour sets at Glastonbury at the age of 80 is ridiculous. I would recommend his live concert “Rockshow” from 1976, when Wings were probably the biggest band in the world.

    Lennon produced 2 great solo albums after the split, but the rest of his output I find patchy.

    I did the walk from Lennon’s house to Strawberry Field last year, it’s easy if you stick the main road 😁

  4. I think your answer to the Ringo questin is selling him a bit short. Yes, he wasn’t a technical virtuoso on his instrument but frankly, neither were any of the rest of them. What he was able to do was create very musical and creative drum parts that perfectly fit the songs he was writing for and, in that, he was easily the musical equal of John, Paul and George.

    1. True none of them were virtuosi but Ringo was the least talented of the bunch. David’s assessment of him is perfect. Who’s the one Beatle that George Martin brought in a studio musician to replace him? Ringo (Love Me Do single). The Beatles last #1 hit (Ballad of John and Yoko) has Paul on drums, not Ringo. Quicy Jones tells a story of having to bring in a studio drummer to get a little 4 bar part done that Ringo couldn’t handle on a project he worked with Ringo on. The reason there’s a fade out and then fade in on Strawberry Fields is that Ringo kept messing up the drum part of the outro. I’m not bashing Ringo, he usually got the job done and was a solid timekeeper but no, he was not their equal as a musician….and so the great Ringo debate rages on.

    2. @Maurice Di Bert Actually yes. Swap Charlie Watts and Ringo and both the Beatles and the Stones have the exact same success as they historically did.

    3. ha ha…David’s probably like: “I’m never mentioning Ringo’s name every again!”

    4. Agree! Well said. There’s an expression among professional musicians that “you give a song what it needs, no more, no less” and Ringo did just that.

  5. I will say, the idea that John Lennon provided the Beatles’ brute rawness and that Paul was the sentimental melody-man always seems like an oversimplification to me, one that seems designed to downgrade Paul McCartney. Yes, both elements were necessary, but when you break John and Paul up like this, it makes it seem like Paul was a great musician, whereas John was a true artist. I agree that John’s lyrics tended to be emotionally rawer, or at least more personal, but that doesn’t make him more of a visionary. Art doesn’t have to be confessional to be art. Additionally, Paul McCartney can write extremely emotionally poignant songs. I just always have to voice disagreement when the idea that Paul McCartney is merely a melody-maker arises. He is a visionary, adventurous artist just as much as Lennon was.

    1. Paul had tunes, and some of my favorites of his are actually the bittersweet ballads like For no one, I’m looking through you and yesterday. But I’m #TeamJohn all the way. Lyrics are more important to me, and the rawness of his vocal delivery sometimes reminds me of Kurt Cobain

    2. @Swanson Joe Yeah if you prefer lyrics, I definitely understand why you’d prefer John. Personally, I think the music of the song is more important than the lyrics. The most beautiful lyrics in the world are not a beautiful song in and of themself, but a piece of music devoid of words still can be a beautiful song. Still, to each their own! But objectively, breaking Paul McCartney down to a sentimental melody man seems like a mistake.

    3. Agree. Like so many famous songwriting duos, they fed off each other during the creative process.

    4. Hello again. As far as lyrics, McCartney is a lightweight, contrast wonderful Christmas. Time with Lennons Merry Xmas. I could contrast more songs. Not that McCartney couldn’t right great lyrics, Eleanor Rigby. She’s leaving home, but his lyrics were very ordinary in general.

  6. I think your statement on Ringo doesn’t give him quite enough credit. It wasn’t just that he fit with the other Beatles personality-wise. He also fit with them musically! His drumming enhanced the Beatles’ songs and gave them a distinctive groove. He wasn’t technically spectacular, as you said, but he didn’t need to be. He didn’t show off, but he gave the songs exactly what they needed. As John Lennon once said, “Ringo is a damn good drummer. He is not technically good, but I think Ringo’s drumming is underrated the same way Paul’s bass playing is underrated.”

    1. Ringo was a very good drummer. He was as good a drummer as Paul was a BBAss player or John was a guitariust Just as I think Eric Clapton’s greatness, isnt his p;aying, its his total package.He was a great songwriter! John and Paul were great harmonizers, songwriters,. Ringo came up with many of the lines that we remember, like “Eight days a week. He had an uncanny mind. I thought Pete got screwed, but I have a feeling that this was Epsteins genius to replace him. Unfair? Yes. Life is unfair Ringo had one of the fastest bass pedals in th business. Ask any drummer.

  7. In terms of Paul McCartney’s solo work, I would say it’s not quite as much ‘cheeseland’ as you might think. I never used to know much about his post-Beatles work, and I just assumed it wasn’t for me, but when I started to properly delve into it, I discovered that there are many, many gems scattered throughout his career. Aimee Nolte started me on the journey when she made a video about Paul’s singing a few years ago, and there’s an excellent youtube video by Elliot Roberts where he goes through and ranks all of Paul’s post-Beatles work – I recommend this video to anyone curious to learn more about Paul’s solo career – I’ve found it invaluable in helping me navigate my way around Paul’s extensive discography. There really are some very good albums in every decade of Paul’s career.

    1. Totally agree. I feel like the “cheesland” feeling is really directed towards his 80’s output, since 80’s pop does tend to sound cheesy to some modern ears. Howver, that shouldn’t overshadow Paul’s late career creative peak in the 90’s and early 00’s. “Flaming Pie” and “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard” are two of my favorite albums he’s ever done, I think they stack up to his other great work from the 70’s.

    2. Absolutely agree! There are soooo many great songs he’s put out post 70s and even recently, hate to see people labelling his work without giving it a proper listen first.

    3. Agreed! A lot of my favourite Paul stuff is actually from the last few decades and some of it is really creative and interesting! He could have easily kept making the same old stuff (he’s Paul McCartney, so people are still going to buy the albums) but I really like how he’s still experimenting and trying out new things after all this time.

  8. I think that no other drummer could have done the Beatles justice. In just about every Beatles song, Ringo came up with a totally different & original part. No other drummer in the 60s did this.
    I like your list of Lennon faves. Mine is almost identical. “Tomorrow Never Knows” is the one i’d leave out.

  9. Reminds me of the best Carpool Karaoke ever, Paul McCartney going back to Liverpool. Crazy that the guy is still going strong in 2022 – he played for nearly three hours at Glastonbury.

    1. I saw him in concert around a month ago. Two days before his 80th birthday and he played for two and a half hours. He played guitar, bass, ukelele, piano, and sang every song in its original key. Unreal.

  10. Ringo was solid with his tempo and had very tasteful short fills that fit perfectly. Also you can’t compare him to modern drummers that have built their complicated techniques on the backs of people like ringo.

  11. For me, the “non-Beatles song that sounds like the Beatles” that I liked was Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman. I can even relate to you in a similar situation. When I was young, my grandpa played that song in a stereo and because of the Beatlesque aspects in the song, I always thought that it is a song by the Beatles. Turns out, I was wrong. However, I do know the fact that Roy is a good friend of George Harrison and they even collaborated together within their one-off supergroup, the Traveling Wilburys.

  12. I think it’s neat you find the Hey Bulldog piano riff your favorite. I prefer Lady Madonna. Though it’s insanely cool that they fit so well together on the Love album.

  13. Interesting to note that Paul and Ringo’s houses were modest terraced abodes. John grew up in a semi detached house with his Aunt Mimi which the others considered very middle class and posh. So much for his gritty working class image!
    Paul often comments on it in interviews.

    1. Paul, George and Ringo all lived in what would now be classed as subsidised housing, government built estates (equivalent of the projects in the USA) for the lowest socio economic classes. None of their parents owned their own homes.
      John on the other hand, although he did not live for the majority of his upbringing with either of his biological parents, was raised by his maternal aunt, Mary Elizabeth Stanley Smith (known as Mimi) and her husband George Smith. John’s mother Julia Stanley came from a well to do family that looked down upon the lower classes. Indeed Julia’s own family looked down upon her because she became pregnant out of wedlock, gave birth to at least one other child that was given up for adoption before John (a daughter), and to emphasise the point Julia’s own older sister Mimi made sure that the state took John’s custody out of of Julia’s hands by reporting her to Social Services, twice, and then being named as John’s legal guardian. The Stanley family had always been Middle Class. John’s maternal relatives in Scotland included teachers, doctors and dentists. Mimi’s house has in Woolton, a middle class district in Liverpool, and their house was semi- detached and they had their own back yard. John said in interviews that in the social class pecking order, he was about a head above the other 3 Beatles.

    2. His song Working Class Hero is totally ironic. He was saying that he himself the he saw the incongruity of being celebrated at a working class hero. It was an image and stereotypes foisted upon the Beatles by the London press who were trying to show them as Northerners who’d done well. The media loves stereotypes.

    3. @El Diablo nice comprehensive response. Have you written a book on them?! Impressed.

    4. @nickdryad he did mean it ironically but at the same time he was astute enough to know that it would feed into his legend.
      Mick Jagger is a better example of a very middle class boy which he would hide so he could slum it to feed his heroic rebel status.

    5. @Danny Kuperberg many thanks. No I haven’t written a book on the subject, just read a lot of books on the subject. As any good referencer knows- always cite your sources, which was the only thing I did not do.

  14. Flaming Pie is one the most spectacular albums I have ever heard and it was released by Paul in the mid-1990s. Absolutely not cheesy. Lennon’s solo albums are rather dull to me whereas McCartney’s are fun, full of life, and creative. Ram is literally the greatest album of all time. 😬

    1. Ram is too fucking good. Paul McCartney literally invented indie pop before indie pop was a thing. The fact that critics hated it made me lose all trust in music critics.

  15. Ringo was vital because he always played the most appropriate drum line for each song. He never tried to take over and he never tried to overpower anything. Simple sometimes, but each one fits great.

  16. Paul was the most avant- garde of the two despite the image. He was far more progressive and experimental than John and really embraced the 60s arts scene in London.

    George didn’t criticise Oasis, he criticised Liam.

    1. @Maya Gardos You are correct, Paul did add Elements and ideas to John songs as John added many things to Paul songs. The meltron intro to Strawberry feels was nice but hardly groundbreaking. And tape loops on tomorrow never knows was Paul’s idea but Paul John and George contributed to the tap loops. Have you heard tomorrow never knows on the anthology album, I was far more radical and experimental than the final product. As far as Sergeant Pepper, it was Paul’s idea to play a fictitious band but John songs were the most experimental and psychedelic and that was the signature sound of that album. Lucy and the skies, Mr. kite and A day in the life. I go back to my final question what McCartney song is experimental as the songs I mentioned? Why didn’t the experimentation end up in his songs? McCartney was a fantastic songwriter but he’s very traditional and conventional songwriting.

    2. @jwt I mean if you look into his solo career I could give you a bunch (McCartney II, his work with the Fireman), but I expect that’s not what you’re looking for. First and foremost, you seem to be conflating avante-garde and psychedelic. I think it’s been well documented that many of the avant-garde recording ideas come from Paul, so I guess you’re looking for specific songs that have a psychedelic feel rather than technical avant-garde elements. In that case, you’re largely right. John has more psychedelic songs than Paul. I guess I think songs like Fixing a Hole are just as experimental sounding as some of the songs you mentioned, like Rain and I’m Only Sleeping. Additionally, you mention the initial take of Tomorrow Never Knows. Why do you think that Paul wasn’t contributing to that one? He still would’ve been the one adding the experimental sounds. Again though, what makes a song psychedelic or avant-garde? Is John’s initial melody for Day in the Life really avant-garde? I wouldn’t say so. The part of that song that is really out there is the bit with the orchestra, which was equal parts Paul and John. Additionally, we can’t ignore the fact that many things that seem conventional now were completely new and revolutionary then. Paul McCartney (along with others such as James Jamerson) revolutionized the role of the bass guitar, but it doesn’t sound quite as revolutionary to us now because his influence was so great. In terms of who wrote more psychedelic songs, I agree with you. I’m not that invested in the question of whether or not Paul or John was more experimental. But I am invested in the question of whether or not Paul was experimental at all. When people say that John Lennon was a visionary artist (which is true), they have a tendency to minimize Paul’s contributions But to label Paul McCartney as conventional and traditional is false. Paul McCartney has always been an adventurous musician.

    3. @Maya Gardos Thank you for your gracious response, I’m enjoying the dialogue.
      My initial response was to funky monks comments about Paul being more experiment than John.
      Guess my definition of avant-garde and experimental is a new sound, a groundbreaking song technique, something when we hear it we say “what is this”. Please remember when the psychedelic sound came out that was radically new of any music of the past. And my point about John is that he seem to be one the first to include backwards vocals, backwards guitar, Esoteric lyrics, One note drone melody,
      Sitar on Norwegian Wood ( George was in the Indian music but John asked him to do a sitar intro and it was John’s melody).
      If Paul does some experimental sounds with the fireman in the 80s that’s hardly groundbreaking, it’s been done many times before. As far as Paul’s bass playing the fact that he drew inspiration and or copied Jamerson‘s bass playing means that he was not original to that bass playing technique. Paul’s melodic bass playing added so much to the Beatles sound what is very ironic that I rarely people rave about his bass playing on his solo career. I guess the bottom line is I’m trying to defend John‘s legacy because it seems to be taking a lot of hits now as if he was just session musician to Paul’s musical genius. A little sarcasm there.

    4. @jwt I’m enjoying the conversation too! I think we’re honestly both getting a little defensive because we want to preserve their legacies as musical geniuses. But the truth is we can acknowledge that both John and Paul were revolutionary musicians without have to belittle the other. The freshness of the Beatles sound was dependent on both of them. The only things I want to say specifically in response to your comment are about the one note drone melody and the bass playing. I don’t think it’s fair to credit the one note drone element to John when George Harrison was so responsible for the Indian influence on the Beatles. That one note drone is a staple of Indian classical music and I don’t think John would’ve come up with it on his own. Still I partially concede, since ideas don’t appear in a vacuum, which brings me to my next point. In terms of bass playing, I don’t think it’s fair to say that Paul wasn’t original as a bassist. I mentioned James Jamerson because I hate when people paint a musician as THE sole pioneer of something when a lot of time they’re creating in a larger atmosphere, being influenced and influencing simultaneously. So I wanted to preserve that larger context. But I still believe Paul McCartney was a revolutionary, original bass player with a knack for composing uniquely melodic bass parts. It’s like how Pet Sounds greatly influenced Sgt. Pepper, but Sgt. Pepper was still a revolutionary and original album. So yeah in sum, I agree insofar that I don’t think it’s fair to say that Paul was THE avant-garde Beatle. But I think Paul should be acknowledged as the adventurous musician he is.

    5. @Maya Gardos Thanks for including John as equal contributor to the Beatles success. Just a couple points before we end our conversation, which I’ve enjoyed.
      The one no drone melody on tomorrow never knows. Everything I’ve read about this the song no one has ever said that George or Paul has anything to do with creating The original demo. Even though George was the most Indian influenced of the Beatles John also was very influenced by the Indian sound, he love different sounds.
      As far as Paul’s base playing, i’m sorry but I can’t let you off on this one. Paul said that Jamerson was a huge influence in his bass. Paul may have brought it to a new level but he wasn’t original to the melodic bass playing. Much like Bob Dylan didn’t invent folk songs but he brought to a new level.

  17. Number one priority for a drummer is to keep time, especially in the days before drum machines and quantisation. That is why most drummers were replaced by session men in the studio at that time . Ringo could do this naturally without a click while also providing interesting rhythm patterns and unusual fills that were as much a part of the Beatles sound as any other element. I could go on, but you are seriously underestimating Ringo’s contribution to the Beatles.

  18. Just on Ringo’s ability I can’t think of another drummer who plays for the song as well as Ringo did, his drum parts are so creative and just like the other three it was his growth as a musician throughout the Beatles that makes him stand out – it’s also worth noting the reason he joined the band was that he was the best drummer around Liverpool at the time and significantly better than Pete Best. Paul has also said the first time Ringo played with them they sounded much tighter.

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