The Beatles composing

Composer and singer of the Beatles’ songs

 

From the very beginnings of the Beatles, Paul McCartney and John Lennon decided to publish their songs under both their names. So all their songs have the dual Lennon/McCartney writing credit.
Later, when they wrote separately (and still took co-writer credits as Lennon/McCartney), the one who wrote the song would sing the lead.
Some songs in the second part of their career is actually co-written, usually mixing part of John’s work with part of Paul’s, as in A Day in the Life or I’ve Got a Feeling.
Here’s a list of all songs officially recorded by the Beatles until 1970, where you can see who is the main composer and who sing.

The Beatles composing
Harry Benson, Beatles composing, Paris 1964

Please Please Me

Song Main composer Singer
I Saw Her Standing There McCartney McCartney
Misery Lennon/McCartney Lennon/McCartney
Anna (Go to Him) Alexander Lennon
Chains Goffin/King Harrison
Boys Dixon/Farrell Starr
Ask Me Why Lennon Lennon
Please Please Me Lennon Lennon/McCartney
Love Me Do McCartney Lennon/McCartney
P.S. I Love You McCartney McCartney
Baby It´s You David/Williams/Bacharach Lennon
Do You Want to Know a Secret Lennon Harrison
A Taste of Honey Scott/Marlow McCartney
There´s a Place Lennon Lennon
Twist and Shout Medley/Russel Lennon

With The Beatles

Song Main composer Singer
It Won´t Be Long Lennon Lennon
All I´ve Got to Do Lennon Lennon
All My Loving McCartney McCartney
Don´t Bother Me Harrison Harrison
Little Child Lennon/McCartney Lennon/McCartney
Till There Was You Wilson McCartney
Please Mr Postman Holland/Bateman/Garrett/Dobbins/Gorman Lennon
Roll Over Beethoven Berry Harrison
Hold Me Tight McCartney McCartney
You Really Got a Hold on Me Robinson Lennon/Harrison
I Wanna Be Your Man Lennon/McCartney Starr
Devil in Her Heart Drapkin Harrison
Not a Second Time Lennon Lennon
Money (That´s What I Want) Bradford/Gordy Lennon

A Hard Day’s Night

Song Main composer Singer
A Hard Day´s Night Lennon Lennon/McCartney
I Should Have Known Better Lennon Lennon
If I Fell Lennon Lennon/McCartney
I´m Happy Just to Dance With You Lennon Harrison
And I Love Her McCartney McCartney
Tell Me Why Lennon Lennon
Can´t Buy Me Love McCartney McCartney
Any Time at All Lennon Lennon
I´ll Cry Instead Lennon Lennon
Things We Said Today McCartney McCartney
When I Get Home Lennon Lennon
You Can´t Do That Lennon Lennon
I´ll Be Back Lennon Lennon

Beatles For Sale

Song Main composer Singer
No Reply Lennon Lennon
I´m a Loser Lennon Lennon
Baby´s in Black Lennon/McCartney Lennon/McCartney
Rock and Roll Music Berry Lennon
I´ll Follow the Sun McCartney McCartney
Mr Moonlight Johnson Lennon
Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey Leiber/Stoller/Penniman McCartney
Eight Days a Week McCartney Lennon/McCartney
Words of Love Holly Lennon/McCartney
Honey Don´t Perkins Starr
Every Little Thing McCartney Lennon
I Don´t Want to Spoil the Party Lennon Lennon/Harrison
What You´re Doing McCartney McCartney
Everybody´s Trying to Be My Baby Perkins Harrison

Help!

Song Main composer Singer
Help! Lennon Lennon
The Night Before McCartney McCartney
You´ve Got to Hide Your Love Away Lennon Lennon
I Need You Harrison Harrison
Another Girl McCartney McCartney
You´re Going to Lose That Girl Lennon Lennon
Ticket to Ride Lennon Lennon
Act Naturally Morrison/Russel Starr
It´s Only Love Lennon Lennon
You Like Me Too Much Harrison Harrison
Tell Me What You See McCartney McCartney
I´ve Just Seen a Face McCartney McCartney
Yesterday McCartney McCartney
Dizzy Miss Lizzy Williams Lennon

Rubber Soul

Song Main composer Singer
Drive My Car McCartney Lennon/McCartney
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) Lennon Lennon
You Won´t See Me McCartney McCartney
Nowhere Man Lennon Lennon
Think for Yourself Harrison Harrison
The Word Lennon/McCartney Lennon/McCartney
Michelle McCartney McCartney
What Goes On Lennon/McCartney Starr
Girl Lennon Lennon
I´m Looking Through You McCartney McCartney
In My Life Lennon/McCartney Lennon
Wait Lennon/McCartney Lennon/McCartney
If I Need Someone Harrison Harrison
Run for Your Life Lennon Lennon

Revolver

Song Main composer Singer
Taxman Harrison Harrison
Eleanor Rigby McCartney McCartney
I´m Only Sleeping Lennon Lennon
Love You To Harrison Harrison
Here, There and Everywhere McCartney McCartney
Yellow Submarine McCartney Starr
She Said She Said Lennon Lennon
Good Day Sunshine McCartney McCartney
And Your Bird Can Sing Lennon Lennon
For No One McCartney McCartney
Doctor Robert Lennon Lennon
I Want to Tell You Harrison Harrison
Got to Get You Into My Life McCartney McCartney
Tomorrow Never Knows Lennon Lennon

A Collection of Beatles Oldies

Song Main composer Singer
She Loves You Lennon/McCartney Lennon/McCartney
From Me to You Lennon/McCartney Lennon/McCartney
We Can Work It Out Lennon/McCartney McCartney
Help! Lennon Lennon
Michelle McCartney McCartney
Yesterday McCartney McCartney
I Feel Fine Lennon Lennon
Yellow Submarine McCartney Starr
Can´t Buy Me Love McCartney McCartney
Bad Boy Williams Lennon
Day Tripper Lennon Lennon/McCartney
A Hard Day´s Night Lennon Lennon/McCartney
Ticket to Ride Lennon Lennon
Paperback Writer McCartney McCartney
Eleanor Rigby McCartney McCartney
I Want to Hold Your Hand Lennon/McCartney Lennon/McCartney

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Song Main composer Singer
Sgt. Pepper´s Lonely Hearts Club Band McCartney McCartney
With a Little Help From My Friends McCartney Starr
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds Lennon Lennon
Getting Better McCartney McCartney
Fixing a Hole McCartney McCartney
She´s Leaving Home McCartney McCartney
Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite Lennon Lennon
Within You Without You Harrison Harrison
When I´m 64 McCartney McCartney
Lovely Rita McCartney McCartney
Good Morning Good Morning Lennon Lennon
Sgt. Pepper´s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) McCartney Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starr
A Day in the Life Lennon/McCartney Lennon/McCartney

Magical Mystery Tour

Song Main composer Singer
Magical Mystery Tour McCartney McCartney
The Fool on the Hill McCartney McCartney
Flying Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starr
Blue Jay Way Harrison Harrison
Your Mother Should Know McCartney McCartney
I Am the Walrus Lennon Lennon
Hello, Goodbye McCartney McCartney
Strawberry Fields Forever Lennon Lennon
Penny Lane McCartney McCartney
Baby You’re a Rich Man Lennon/McCartney Lennon/McCartney
All You Need Is Love Lennon Lennon

The Beatles (White Album)

Song Main composer Singer
Back in the USSR McCartney McCartney
Dear Prudence Lennon Lennon
Glass Onion Lennon Lennon
Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da McCartney McCartney
Wild Honey Pie McCartney McCartney
The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill Lennon Lennon
While My Guitar Gently Weeps Harrison Harrison
Happiness is a Warm Gun Lennon Lennon
Martha My Dear McCartney McCartney
I´m So Tired Lennon Lennon
Blackbird McCartney McCartney
Piggies Harrison Harrison
Rocky Raccoon McCartney McCartney
Don´t Pass Me By Starr Starr
Why Don´t We Do It in the Road? McCartney McCartney
I Will McCartney McCartney
Julia Lennon Lennon
Birthday McCartney Lennon/McCartney
Yer Blues Lennon Lennon
Mother Nature´s Son McCartney McCartney
Everybody´s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey Lennon Lennon
Sexy Sadie Lennon Lennon
Helter Skelter McCartney McCartney
Long Long Long Harrison Harrison
Revolution 1 Lennon Lennon
Honey Pie McCartney McCartney
Savoy Truffle Harrison Harrison
Cry Baby Cry Lennon Lennon
Revolution 9 Lennon
Good Night Lennon Starr

Yellow Submarine

Song Main composer Singer
Yellow Submarine McCartney Starr
Only a Nothern Song Harrison Harrison
All Together Now McCartney McCartney
Hey Bulldog Lennon/McCartney Lennon
It´s All Too Much Harrison Harrison
All You Need is Love Lennon Lennon

Abbey Road

Song Main composer Singer
Come Together Lennon Lennon
Something Harrison Harrison
Maxwell´s Silver Hammer McCartney McCartney
Oh! Darling McCartney McCartney
Octopus´s Garden Starr Starr
I Want You (She´s So Heavy) Lennon Lennon
Here Comes the Sun Harrison Harrison
Because Lennon Lennon/McCartney/Harrison
You Never Give Me Your Money McCartney McCartney
Sun King Lennon Lennon
Mean Mr Mustard Lennon Lennon
Polythene Pam Lennon Lennon
She Came in Through the Bathroom Window McCartney McCartney
Golden Slumbers McCartney McCartney
Carry That Weight McCartney McCartney
The End McCartney McCartney
Her Majesty McCartney McCartney

Let It Be

Song Main composer Singer
Two of Us McCartney Lennon/McCartney
Dig a Pony Lennon Lennon
Across the Universe Lennon Lennon
I Me Mine Harrison Harrison
Dig It Lennon Lennon
Let It Be McCartney McCartney
Maggie Mae Trad. Lennon/McCartney
I´ve Got a Feeling Lennon/McCartney Lennon/McCartney
One After 909 Lennon Lennon/McCartney
The Long and Winding Road McCartney McCartney
For You Blue Harrison Harrison
Get Back McCartney McCartney

Songs not released on LP

Song Main composer Singer
Thank You Girl Lennon/McCartney Lennon
I´ll Get You Lennon/McCartney Lennon/McCartney
This Boy Lennon Lennon/McCartney/Harrison
Long Tall Sally Johnson/Penniman/Blackwell McCartney
I Call Your Name Lennon Lennon
Matchbox Perkins Starr
Slow Down Williams Lennon
She´s a Woman McCartney McCartney
Yes it is Lennon Lennon
I´m Down McCartney McCartney
Rain Lennon Lennon
The Inner Light Harrison Harrison
Lady Madonna McCartney McCartney
Revolution Lennon Lennon
Hey Jude McCartney McCartney
Don´t Let Me Down Lennon Lennon
The Ballad of John and Yoko Lennon Lennon
Old Brown Shoe Harrison Harrison
You Know My Name (Look up the Number) Lennon Lennon/McCartney/Starr

54 comments on “Composer and singer of the Beatles’ songs

    1. Not to dis Paul! Everyone says John Lennon didn’t write as many songs as Paul, And his material was below par!!! Poppycock! She so heavy is testament to what he could do! And that alone speaks volumes!! They we’re a great team, and John! With no disrespect to Paul could hold his any time any place

      1. It is not the number of songs which is important.
        In my opinion, the vast majority of the greatest Beatles’ songs were written by McCartney.

      2. You should remember that Paul composed many songs and gave them to other artists to perform, including famous songs such as A World Without Love, Goodbye, It’s For You …

      3. But arguably, most of the greatest Beatles songs where written by Paul. But I agree with you that they were a great team and probably without each other those great song may not have been made at all.

      4. I have to say that Imagine is probably won of the most known and loved songs. Also popularity and ‘greatest’ songs rests with the overall age appeal of the listeners, old and young love a love song. is The long and winding road really better than Across the universe, or Julia? Its like comparing Mozart to Stravinsky, Two different styles.

      5. The most important album that moved them was Hard days Night . John wrote at the most important times in their career what they needed to note forward

  1. If not in the Beatles, Harrison would have been a star with « here comes the sun », « something » or « my guitar gently weeps ». What a team.

      1. Yes, but his best two, While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Something didn’t come easily to him. John and Paul steam rolled their incredible output without giving George much of a chance. Big mistake.

  2. I dispute that McCartney is the main composer of “Every Little Thing”, “Tell Me What You See” and “Eight Days a Week”. Not only does Lennon sing lead on these songs, but they all have Lennon’s songwriting essence about them.

    1. I should ammend my comment with:
      The verses of “Every Little Thing” is pure Lennon, whereas, I admit, the chorus may be McCartney’s.

      1. Thank you Scott ! I do agree that John’s songwriting is somehow present in all of those !
        Tell Me What You See – Paul said, “I seem to remember it as mine. I would claim it as a 60-40 but it might have been totally me.” and John, in his interviews with Playboy said that was written completely by Paul.
        Eight Days a Week is probably a 50/50, based on Paul’s inspiration
        Every Little Thing is by Paul, who is not the lead singer. Strange… but true

      2. Wait a moment! A half of Beatles for Sale (including NoReply, Eight Days a Week and Every Little Thing) is sung by John AND Paul in the unison. Look carefully through a stereo headphone and you will recognise Paul’s timber mimicking John’s. So there is NO exception about the rule composer(s) = singer(s)

  3. hey! trying again to leave a comment here. I just found out that George wrote “I me mine”, which I think is one of the most sensible Beatle’s songs. No wonder he was into the zen deal… it seams that John didn’t even record the track with the band! Well, I’m just trilled to discover some new facts about the greatest band of all times (don’t you all agree??)

    1. In the late work of the Beatles (1969 expecially) John wasn’t always there at the sessions. “I Me Mine” was (re)recorded in 1970 to complete the release of Let It Be (disc) because the song was in the movie. And John did’t took part at the final recordings..

  4. Always liked the Beatles but was not a fan too much. (Radio listener) However, in my re- entry into playing the guitar I have been getting into the Beatles music pretty heavy lately.
    I have been watching old videos of songs.
    Can’t buy me love is listed above as a McCartney song and as McCartney singer but the video shows John singing intro, first verse then Paul singing second verse then both for chorus ending with John singing third verse twice
    So just wanted to give a heads up
    I thank you for the list
    I was looking because my voice fits John better than Paul…..
    My guitar playing matches Ringo

  5. I did not know George wrote Piggies… I thought that was Lennon and surprised about the tunes on Abbey Road – they all flow so well together. A lot of surprises here.

  6. I have been a huge Beatles fan for years and own more than 50 books analyzing Beatles songs. In my opinion, both during The Beatles and after the break-up, Paul has shown himself to be the superior composer and musician. This is easily shown with his 22 No, 1 post-Beatles hits and his 5 No. 1 post-Beatles albums. Parenthetically, Paul has asked Yoko Ono for years to change the credits on songs written primarily by him to “McCartney-Lennon” and she has always refused. That is why you can find many “I Hate Yoko” t-shirts on the web.

    1. Not really a fair comparison. John didn’t have all the extra years that Paul has had. Plus John’s solo work is far more memorable and lasting. Either way, they were better all together. They brought out the best in each other’s musical abilities. Just listen to “free as a bird”, or “real love” if you need any reminder of that fact.

    2. Hi Jon, I just saw your post and found it interesting. Just want to ask and hope you are able to help. Do you know how big a role did The Beatles producer, George Martin played in the Beatles songs. Please Please Me was meant to be a slow ballad but George Martin had it sped up. His work as a arranger, was on a few of Beatles songs. I know the Beatles wrote the songs, and I am assuming the music also, but I am not 100% sure, and would appriciate if you can help out on that one, if you can. I am also not sure what more the producer/arranger actually does. Hope you are able to help.
      Thanks carmen

  7. I hear absolutely zero McCartney writing style in the song “In my life”. That’s a John Lennon song through and through.

  8. In my life was disputed by both of them…. Paul stated in an interview that of all the Lennon/McCartney songs that in my life is the only song with uncertainty of who was the main composer

  9. Well, first of all I should say I’m amazed that “I don’t want to spoil the party” is sung by John and George as I always hear Paul’s voice there with John. And quite clearly actually. And I don’t hear George nowhere in the song. The other thing is the song “Help!”. Paul said in 1973 that John had only one verse when he went to him with the song. And they both finished it, with Paul composing most of the music. I have nothing more to say about “In my life”. It is quite clear the melody is Paul and the words by John.

    1. “we all know Ringo secretly wrote every song”
      OF COURSE he did…. with a little help from his friends.

  10. Beatles were fabulous and meaningful,an important and impression on my life and so any others! Thank you Beatles and each and every member for your contribution to history.

  11. I think to start saying who wrote best songs is up to the listener. Paul wrote nice melodies such as let it Be and his songs appeal to a wider range of ages and listeners. Mull of Kintyre, Frog Song etc. He is a songsmith like lots of writers especially broadway writers, Elton John who wrote Yellow Brick Road in a few weeks, Stevie Wonder and the great Burt Bacharach. john wrote great tunes too, Sexy Sadie, Dear Prudence, Jealous Guy, Julia, Across the Universe, This Boy. If you want different music then Lennon has the edge, She Said, Goodmorning, Happiness is a warm Gun, Shes so Heavy and Yer Blues. Very clever beats and timing. if you want popularity its Paul on the short term but look at best album charts ever and Plastic Ono Band is near the top raw and as fresh as ever. band on the Run is dated and lives in that time. Imagine album is powerful. Lennon needed to be pushed a little but when inspired you get a single written and recorded in days with Instant Karma. Paul hasn’t had a good album for years probably because its a young mans game. Even the other Beatles preferred Johns tracks on albums, like Because. They complemented each other and many songs where improved by the other, Shes Leaving Home question and answer made that song, and Johns part in Getting Better. Pauls help with the more musical elements brought to Lucy and A Day in Life. We will never know after all the turmoil of the middle 70’s for Lennon and the need for a break with just one album and a handful of songs at the end what he might of done, but Watching the Wheels go round, Free as a Bird, Beautiful Boy and I’m loosing you gave us a clue.

  12. Some of the best songs were written by Paul, true. But almost all of the dumb stuff was his too. The Rocky Racoon-type garbage. And the sentimental crap too. I put the drone-like Long And Winding Song, Hey Jude and Let It Be there too. They’re overrated. By contrast, John had the edge and the deeper poetry. Here Comes The Sun is Lovely; Because is profound. And I agree with the George-lovers: He was the soul. And Ringo was the glue.

  13. Couldn’t agree more. Trying say who was the better songwriter between John and Paul is like choosing Mozart or Beethoven as the better composer. Once you reach that level of genius, there’s no better or worse, only different

    I personally prefer more of John’s songs to Paul’s, only because Paul wrote more of the cheesey songs I tend to skip, and John was more of a rocker, which I prefer. But both wrote piles of masterpieces, and to add to the brilliance of the band, they had Harrison as their third songwriter, who also was one of the greatest songwriters of all time

  14. Hmm. I love them all, but Paul’s musicianship was off the scale. He was the only member of the group who could be described as a virtuoso (on bass of course). As a musician myself I can honestly say that his bass playing acts as a lead and changes the composition of so many Beatles songs. On Abbey Road for example, Come Together may have been a Lennon original, but the final version you hear is essentially McCartneys music with Lennon’s lyrics. Also, listen to the bass in Something and She Wants You. Let’s not separate them though, they were a collective. Also, the person who said Band on the Run is dated…you have no idea what you are talking about. Listen to Let me Roll it and say that again.

    1. Listened to George on youtube the other day talking through Abbey Road tracks. Paul did melodies and John the rave up freakier things and then went on to talk about the beautiful melody and his favourite song on LP Beacause. He also mentioned She wants you and John playing lead on his song, also John’s ability to use as George put it ‘ a timing thing’ syncopation which he used on other songs with great chord sequences. Quite musical I think! John also showed his musicanship writing the excellent parents call in She’s Leaving Home.
      George was unhappy with Pauls bass playing on Something as he wanted a subdued simple bass not overpowering. Paul liked his songs played his way but it did not follow for the others on theirs. None of them where strictly musicians being unable to write or read music. Not sure that musicianship is the main requirement for song writing though. People like Freddie Mercury and Elton John where musicians. Elton wrote all melodies for Yellow Brick Road in 2 weeks and all where great. However Clapton, Bowie and Hendrix were not trained but wrote great songs too. One thing with most of these artists listed is they loved Johns music and him. Let me roll it is a good song and interestingly enough is Lennonesque in its sound. Paul says it was not intentional and said there was a lot of commonality between us in the way that we thought and the way that we worked. It is all a matter of taste. Radio Head or Coldplay, Amy Winehouse or Taylor Swift we all have our favourite styles. Anyway its good to talk about things we are passionate about.

  15. Just have to say that John said that Paul were the most talented of the four. George Martin in his last interview for Q magazine said Paul is the most talented musician he as ever worked with, Bob Dylan said that Paul is the only person he is in awe of and he went on to say that Paul as got it all, you will find that Paul’s songs were better structured and he is able to to sing in various vocal styles, his voice is very flexible & supple and had the better octave range of the four Beatles, that’s why one of the reasons he sings the line ” when I’m home everything seems to be right etc” in a Hard day’s night. Paul is not only a great bass player but an all round good musician, not only a songsmith but a tunesmith supreme , you will find that his Beatles song have been covered by more artists than any of the other beatles members songs.The word pop is short for popular, and you will find the best selling music of all time is pop music which is what Paul is extremely good at, it is if he as done a concensus of opinion and found that people want silly love song’s, and what’s wrong with that I like to know. George Martin in the early days of the Beatles were quoted as saying that Paul has the best voice, in an interview on UK TV, just after John Lennon was shot, the TV interviewer said to him, John were the greatest Beatle weren’t he , to which George Martin said no Paul is. With Paul being able to sing in different styles sometimes you think it were someone else singing on the Beatles song’s ,but of course it were him. Paul came up with many ideas for Beatles songs like the backwards tape loops on tomorrow never knows, when John wanted to make the two virgins album’s he when to Paul to set it up and show him how to do it, Paul were mixing with the avant-garde set from the middle sixies, I sometimes think that Paul does not get a fair crack of the whip when it comes to the Beatles as if he were some light weight and sidekick to John, why do you think John let him join the group in the first place, though he were a bit worried because he were very talented and might try and take over the band, sometimes I think is a bit like to friends building a wall together, but only one gets the credit and the other as thought to have only mixed the sand and cement. Paul McCartney could not have got were he is without beings very talented. He is also very knowledgeable business wise he had the right idea not wanting to have Klein handle the Beatles affairs. Some John fans not all, use there love of John as I stick to beat Paul with, I don’t mind people loving or liking John, but don’t use it as a stick to beat Paul with, it’s an insult to Paul and is many fan’s to suggest he is not a very talented musician/artist.

  16. In the Paul vs. John “favorite” debate, I can’t pick one over the other. Paul was certainly the superior musician, but they both wrote an incredible number of great songs.

    I know I’m in the minority on this one: While I like – and own – all of the Beatles albums, my #1 will always be A Hard Day’s Night. It was released at the height of Beatlemania. John wrote the bulk of the songs. Fun, fresh, and the perfect snapshot of the Beatles in 1964. So enjoyable from start to finish.

  17. In regards to John vs Paul, look what at them both in the 1970s. They all had a few hits but they were in no way the hit machine that the Beatles were.
    As far as I can tell, John & Paul are a good definition of symbiosis: the sum being more than the parts. They bounced off each other and made each other’s songs better.

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