The Beatles: Case Study

1. Songwriter’s Tips – The Beatles – A Case Study

Pareto’s Law, or the 80/20 Rule, states that for the first 80% of effort, only 20% of the rewards will be achieved, and it is only in the last 20% of the journey that 80% of the rewards will be achieved. There is another old adage that if you wish to be an expert in any field, that is, in the top one percent of the top one percent, you should be prepared to invest a minimum of ten thousand hours of personal time and effort achieving this goal. This is better known as the 10,000 Hour Rule. In his book ‘Outliers – The story of Success’, Malcolm Gladwell (2008, pg.49-50) gives a detailed account of the 10,000 hours The Beatles would have easily clocked up between 1960 and 1962, long before stepping off the ‘BEA’-tles plane to conquer America in 1964. His research makes the following conservative estimates:
• Hamburg Trip One – 106 nights at 5+ hrs per night = minimum 530 hours
• Hamburg Trip two – 92 nights at 5+ hrs per night = minimum 460 hours
• Hamburg Trip three – 48 nights – 172 hours recorded onstage.
• Hamburg trips four and five – ?? nights – 90 hours onstage.

This tallies at a minimum of 1,252 hours onstage alone in a one-and-a-half year period. By the time of America in 1964, The Beatles had amassed over a total of 1,200 gigs, often playing seven nights a week, and up to eight hours a night. Considering that Lennon and McCartney met in 1957, and allowing that they practised for a low average four hours a day, including songwriting, rehearsals, and performances; they would still easily have accumulated the necessary 10,000 hours by 1964. On page 150 of ‘Outliers’, Gladwell states, ‘Hard work is a prison sentence only if it doesn’t have meaning.’

2. Why They Were Fab – Melodies and Memories of ‘The Beatles’.
An alphabetically listed investigation into the top #1 selling songwriting partnership of all time’s usage of the song title and the first person perspective at the commencement of their songs, followed by a timeline look at how this applies to each album release from their collaborative career.

EXAMPLE FIRST LINES OF BEATLES SONGS:- WRITTEN FROM THE ‘FIRST PERSON’ PERSPECTIVE/VIEWPOINT

A Day In The Life – I read the news today, Oh boy!
A Hard Day’s Night – It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been working like a dog
All I’ve Got To Do – Whenever I want you around
And I Love Her – I give her all my love, that’s all I do
Do You Want To Know A Secret? – You’ll never know how much I really love you
Eight Days A Week – Ooh I need your love babe, guess you know it’s true.
Glass Onion – I told you about Strawberry Fields, you know the place where nothing is real?
Help – Help! I need somebody.
Helter Skelter – When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
Here There And Everywhere – To lead a better life I need my love to be here
I Am The Walrus – I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together
I Want To Hold your Hand – Oh yeah, I’ll tell you something I think you’ll understand.
In My Life – There are places I remember all my life
I’ll Follow The Sun – One day you’ll look to see I’ve gone
I’m Down – You tell lies thinking I can’t see
I’m Only Sleeping – When I wake up early in the morning
It’s All Too Much – It’s all too much for me to take
Julia – Half of what I say is meaningless
Let It Be – When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me.
Long Tall Sally – I’m gonna tell Aunt Mary ’bout Uncle John
Love Me Do – Love, love me do, you know I love you…
No Reply – This happened once before when I came to your door
Norwegian Wood – I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me.
Octopus’s Garden – I’d like to be, under the sea.
Please Please Me – Last night I said these words to my girl
Real Love – All my little plans and schemes, lost like some forgotten dreams
Run For Your Life – I’d rather see you dead little girl than to be with another man
She’s A Woman – My love don’t give me presents, I know that she’s no peasant
Strawberry Fields Forever – Let me take you down
Taxman – Let me tell you how it will be
Think for Yourself – I’ve got a word or two to say about the things you do
Ticket To Ride – I think I’m gonna be sad, I think it’s today, yeah.
Wait – It’s been a long time, now I’m coming back home
We Can Work It Out – Try to see it my way
When I’m Sixty-Four – When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now.
Yellow Submarine – In the town where I was born
You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away – Here I stand with head in hand, turn my face to the wall.

THE BEATLES – SONGS RECORDED WITH TITLES IN THE FIRST LINE OF THE SONG:

Any Time at all
Blackbird
Can’t Buy Me Love
Dear Prudence
Don’t Let Me Down
For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite
Free As a Bird
Good Day Sunshine
Good Morning Good Morning
Help!
Her Majesty
Here Comes The Sun
Hey Jude
Hold Me Tight
I call your name
I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party
I should have known better
I want you (she’s so heavy)
In Spite Of All The Danger (Paul’s song from 1950′s performed by early Beatles – Quarrymen)
If I Fell
It Won’t Be Long
I’m A Loser
I’m looking through you
I’m So Tired
I’ve Got A Feeling
I’ve just seen a face
Lady Madonna
Little child
Love me do
Martha My Dear
Mean Mr Mustard
Michelle
Oh Darling
Penny Lane
She came in through the bathroom window
She loves you
She Said She Said
Something
Tell Me Why
The long and winding road
There’s a place
What Goes On
Why don’t we do it in the road?
Yesterday
You never give me your money
You’re going to lose that girl

BEATLES SONGS IN WHICH THE OPENING LYRICS ARE ALSO THE TITLE.

A Hard Day’s Night (It’s been)
Any Time at all
Because
Blackbird
Can’t Buy Me Love
Cry Baby Cry
Dear Prudence
Free As a Bird
Good day Sunshine
Hello Little Girl
Help!
Her Majesty
Here Comes The Sun
Hey Jude
Hold Me Tight
I call your name
I don’t want to spoil the party
I should have known better
I want you (she’s so heavy)
I want to tell you
If I fell
If You’ve Got Trouble
In Spite of All The Danger
It won’t be long
It’s All Too Much
I’m a loser
I’m looking through you
I’m so tired
I’ve got a feeling
I’ve just seen a face
Lady Madonna
Little child
Love me do
Lovely Rita
Martha My Dear
Mean Mr Mustard
Michelle
Not Guilty
Oh Darling
Penny Lane
She came in through the bathroom window
She loves you
She said, she said
Something
Step Inside Love/Los Paranoias
The long and winding road
There’s a place
Two of Us
Why don’t we do it in the road?
Yesterday
You never give me your money
You’re going to lose that girl

AND A FEW FURTHER EXAMPLES FROM THE SOLO YEARS
Imagine
Mull of Kintyre
Maybe I’m Amazed
Ram On
Mother

THE BEATLES – SONGS RECORDED (ORIGINALS AND COVERS) WITH TITLES WRITTEN IN ‘FIRST PERSON’
PLEASE PLEASE ME 1963
I Saw Her Standing There
Ask Me Why
Please Please Me
Love Me Do
P.S. I Love You

WITH THE BEATLES 1963
All I’ve Got To Do
All My Loving
Don’t Bother Me
Hold Me Tight
You Really Got A Hold On Me
I Wanna Be Your Man
Money (That’s What I Want)

A HARD DAY’S NIGHT 1964
I Should Have Known Better
If I Fell
I’m Happy Just To Dance With You
And I Love Her
Tell Me Why
Can’t Buy Me Love
I’ll Cry Instead
When I Get Home
I’ll Be Back

BEATLES FOR SALE 1964
I’m A Loser
I’ll Follow The Sun
I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party
Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby

HELP! 1965
I Need You
You Like Me Too Much
Tell Me What You See
I’ve Just Seen A Face

RUBBER SOUL 1965
Drive My Car
You Won’t See Me
I’m Looking Through You
In My Life
If I Needed Someone

REVOLVER 1966
I’m Only Sleeping
I Want To Tell You
Got To Get You Into My Life

SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND 1967
With A Little Help From My Friends
When I’m Sixty-Four

MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR 1967
I Am The Walrus

THE BEATLES (THE WHITE ALBUM) 1968
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
I’m So Tired
Martha My Dear
Don’t Pass Me By
I Will
Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey

YELLOW SUBMARINE 1969
N/A – No tracks

ABBEY ROAD 1969
I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
You Never Give Me Your Money

LET IT BE 1970
I Me Mine
I’ve Got A Feeling

PAST MASTERS VOLUME 1
From Me To You
I Call Your Name
I Feel Fine
I Want To Hold Your Hand
I’ll Get You
I’m Down

PAST MASTERS VOLUME 2
Don’t Let Me Down
You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)

LIVE AT THE BBC
I Forgot To Remember To Forget
I Got A Woman
I Got To Find My Baby
I Just Don’t Understand
I’ll Be On My Way
I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)
Keep Your Hands Off My Baby
Lonesome Tears In My Eyes
Ooh! My Soul
So How Come (No-One Loves Me)

THE COMPLETE SILVER BEATLES
Take Good Care Of My Baby

LIVE AT THE STAR-CLUB, HAMBURG
Hallelujah, I Love Her So
I Remember You
I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate
Where Have You Been All My Life

ANTHOLOGY 1
Leave My Kitten Alone
Lend Me Your Comb
My Bonnie
You’ll Be Mine

ANTHOLOGY 3
Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues

THE BEATLES WITH TONY SHERIDAN
Why (Can’t You Love Me Again)

It can be seen that the album at the height of the Beatles popularity as a ‘pop’ band, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, contains no fewer than nine songs written from the first person perspective. This is the year (July 1964) that the Beatles broke America and had an astonishing five songs on the Billboard chart in positions #1 through to #5 concurrently. In total, fifty of the song tracks from the albums above are written from a first person perspective, including a concluding song from their career stating this perspective in every which way: ‘I Me Mine’.

In addition to personal analysis and research, David Brogan gratefully acknowledges the additional research conducted by Dominic Pedler in his book ‘The Songwriting Secrets of The Beatles’ (2003).
A draft version of all the Beatles information first appeared on David Brogan’s blog on 13th March 2012 at: http://successfulhitsongwriting.com/2012/03/13/the-beatles-melodies-and-memories-why-they-were-fab/

(c) David Brogan 2012. http://www.DavidBroganMusic.com All Rights Reserved. If you wish to copy or duplicate this article in whole or in part, David Brogan only wishes that you acknowledge him as the author. Thank you, and good luck with writing the next big hit!

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