Of course, no discussion of songwriting teams would be complete without talking about one of the best-known teams in rock, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. They wrote most of their hits for The Beatles, of course, but at one time they wanted to be a songwriting team like Gerry Goffin and Carole King or Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller and write songs for other artists.
While the songs were credited to Lennon-McCartney, it was common knowledge that they wrote separately, then solicited the opinion of the other. Most of the songs they wrote for The Beatles were recorded and released by the band, but there were also songs that the band recorded but didn’t release, songs they decided weren’t worth recording and offered to other artists, and songs they wrote specifically for other artists. It’s the songs in the last two categories we’ll focus on today.
EMI, their record label in the UK, compiled an album of Lennon-McCartney compositions and called it The Songs Lennon and McCartney Gave Away. It was released in 1971 and reissued in 1979 with the addition of one song, “I’m The Greatest,” written by John and performed by Ringo Starr on his 1973 album, Ringo. All of the other tracks on the album were released as singles by artists including Cilla Black, Peter & Gordon, Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas, and others. These two tracks come from that album, and were the first hits in the US for Lennon and McCartney not performed by The Beatles.
First is “World Without Love,” written by Paul and recorded by Peter & Gordon in 1964. It reached #1 in both the US and UK that year.
Second is “Bad To Me,” written by John for Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas. Billy took the song to #1 in the UK in 1966 and #9 in the US a year later.
The album is out-of-print; I found a vinyl copy on Amazon for over $100, a little rich for my blood (and besides, I don’t have a turntable). The songs are generally available on YouTube, so it might be possible to build a reasonable facsimile there. I haven’t tried it yet…
John Lennon and Paul McCartney, your Two for Tuesday, October 6, 2015.