Lennon & McCartney - Soul Mates with a complex purpose?

Michael Barker-Caven

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
I have to confess that I’ve been a Beatle maniac all my life - or at least from the age of about 15 when a number of years after their break up they exploded into my fraught childhood with the primal force of instant recognition as being my personal find! Now there's a joke!

I lived and breathed their music for years and even now they reside within me as brightly as then; a transformative life force that not only changed - or brought forth within in me - a life affirming, enriching mindset but also taught me so much about how I was to see the world. I think it was the extraordinary positivity and emotional honesty of their music, their search for harmony (but with an unexpected edge), their eclectic and limitless invention, their obtuse humour and their particularly forceful combination of personalities, that so got under my skin lifting me out of my own self imposed inner exile into a brighter perspective of the horizons of life.

From the get go John Lennon was the one. He was my unabashed hero. Considering the kind of young person I was (no rebel) I suppose it was that ubber-unnatural defiance and perverse oddity that drew me and as I discovered more and more about the fragile, complex, contradictory lost soul the brittle exterior disguised, I felt a juvenile identification with his broken hearted stubbornness.

Since I liked John so much, in typical fashion, Paul was a 'problem'. If you were a Beatle person you tended to fall into the trap of over identification at the expense of the other. Yes I loved much of his music but only if it didn’t overshadow the main man!

Down the years this foolery has mellowed more and more and I’ve come to more deeply admire and love the extraordinary genius of McCartney - his brilliant, overwhelming musicality (where Lennon's was more idiosyncratic and scatter gunned), his utterly endless gift for pure melody, his steel, his complete determination to excel (where as Lennon could so easily have drifted into lazy indolence), his relentless positivity which equally disguised a childhood blighted by profound and painful loss.

I post this now as I recently read Mark Lewisohn's sensational first volume in a planned monster biography:

The Beatles - All These Years: Volume One: Tune In

For anyone who has an interest in the gestation of such epoch changing genius as well as for a forensic examination of contextualisation of time and place, I can’t recommend it warmly enough.

From Amazon:

The Beatles have been at the top for fifty years, their music remains exciting, their influence is still huge, their acclaim and achievements cannot be surpassed. But who really were the Beatles, and how did they and everything else in the 1960s fuse so explosively?

Mark Lewisohn's three-part biography is the first true and accurate account of the Beatles, a contextual history built upon impeccable research and written with energy, style, objectivity and insight. This first volume covers the crucial and less-known early period - the Liverpool and Hamburg years of a hungry rock and roll band, when all the sharp characters and situations take shape.

This is the Beatles like you've never read them before. It isn't just 'another book', it's the book, from the world-acknowledged authority. Forget what you know and discover The Complete Story.
At the same time I came across the following brilliant self made 4 part documentary on YouTube (follow the link below for the other 3 parts). Not a word of commentary to blight the flow, just highly evocative footage, interview material and oodles of fascinating and revealing quotes. Highly atmospheric and evocative with a far deeper eye on the complexity of personality and psychic pitch than the usual take on the masters at the heart of the Fab 4

Understanding Lennon/McCartney Vol 1: Together

The key for me of both these works is the dawning realisation of how astonishingly symbiotic these two young men were; how ridiculous it was that they should ever find each other; how unique their chemistry and need for each other; how much deeper than normal went their bond - a true ying and yang union.

Their relationship has been described as the greatest love story of the 20th century and after reading and watching the above I don’t see that as a wild overstatement. There was something utterly primal hidden under those cheeky-chappy smiles, something absolutely desperate, unfulfilled and unfullfilible for them personally in their male guises yet still of earth changing proportion.

It goes way deeper than the mere fact they were united in unspoken tragedy (for those who don’t know both lost their mothers at a pivotal moment in their teenage development – now there’s a coincidence!), a secret shared knowledge that rooted these two seemingly opposite personalities in a perpetual union of sorrow - for though they handled it differently (Lennon by continual melt down, McCartney by ever increasing steely resolve), they lived out their momentous fame forever in its shadow.

I therefore wonder if they were that apparently very rare thing - true soul mates, or rather two halves of the same soul aspect who sought each other out in an absolute need to reunite in this time and forge something that would be truly transformative for them and the world.

For of course the whole Beatle phenomenon is hugely contradictory. On the one hand so much brilliance, so much revolutionary force, that our world is simply not the same after their coming. On the other, the whole underbelly of the 1960s, its usefulness to STS forces as a means of eventual control and destabilization, and of course so much death and deformity. And The Beatles were at the centre of both aspects.

One of the things that comes out of the documentaries, particularly the later episodes, was the fact that John and Paul were very close to healing their divisions at the time Lennon was mind-control murdered. In fact I learned that they planed to start writing together again - sadder and wiser, more mature and richer for the experience of the cost of the loss of their 'divorce'. The potential is obvious.

And what stopped them? Not just that hail of bullets but Yoko Ono.

The more you look into her the darker she gets. Her mind control of Lennon was highly suspect as was her manipulation of him from day one to get her away from Paul/The Beatles. When for a period he escaped her clutches (at her own behest - real game theory in play here) and actually began to enjoy a real relationship of love with May Pang (perversely engineered by Ono), she micromanaged their relationship from a distance to such a point where she could control his absolute return to her domain like a desperate broken child returning to the clutches of an abusive parent. Talk about spider or what!

It was with great interest therefore that I recently listen to an interview with May Pang when she described in great detail the UFO sighting they both shared from their New York balcony window.

May Pang on John Lennon, UFOs, Yoko Ono & hypnotism

Listening to what she innocently imparts you get the distinct impression that the sustained visitation was deliberately aimed at them. And soon after John was tricked into returning to Yoko’s arms, despite claiming he was drugged or bewitched (literally) or both. When you add to this the fact that just prior to this John and Paul were once more getting closer and closer to reigniting their partnership and when you realise it was she who engineered it so a planned get together in a studio the very day of his murder was deliberately postponed… it makes you wonder what forces both of and not of this earth were driving her.

So many of their songs and so many of McCartney’s later works can be seen as being about each other and the hidden depths of their feelings for one another. Yes Lennon in particular had a capacity for vindictive cruelty and lashed out at Paul via song but he always claimed and owned it as symptom both of his love for him and his own BS. Come what may, I’m still left with a deeper sense of sadness and a deeper sense of wonder than before. Two astonishing humans who lived right on the edge of life’s abyss.

I’ll finish with two of McCartney’s in particular. One obvious and one not so – for this second song captures in so many ways what I think was driving them from a soul level. Hints of unconscious 4th or 5thD longing and being reunited? Maybe I over reach.

Paul McCartney/John Lennon - Here Today

Paul McCartney - Tug of War

Just some thoughts.

How do you all see the Beatles legacy, for good and ill?


Jedi Master
Fellow Beatles lover here. I got into them in about 1995, had been a Stones fan about a year before. That was the time when music began to make sense to me as a way of conveying ideas and emotions, all locked into a 3 minute gem. The contemporary music (Blur, Suede, Oasis), whilst good, didn't really hit me the same way, I went digging for the roots of UK music.

The Beatles redefined what was possible for musicians back in 63/4. Dylan, too. An abandonment of cliche, a search for direct emotional truth, dramatically conveyed. Whilst combining genre influences. It's just amazing, looking back just how groundbreaking Dylan and The Beatles were back then. Pithy lyrics with ridiculously catchy riffs. Everyone making music looked on them with awe back then. They even copied their haircuts for chrissakes! Check out The Byrds in 1965 for example. They fused Dylan and the Beatles to immediate effect.

I've got two periods of Beatles music in my mind. First the catchy, mop top era, then the post mystic, LSD era. Both are fascinating to behold. The level of creativity was incredible, the combination of emotional/musical cadences, they could move without overdoing it. Overall I like the later music more, but they are really two different bands spanning those two periods.

Plus you also have to factor in that they were people who continually "chemically enhanced" themselves, going back to their tours of Germany. With a tight gang mentality. they pretty much invented the band ethos, although Blues musicians were living that lifestyle for 30 years or more. Really there's nothing new under the sun, just different interpretations of sensations. Early on they were an amphetamine fuelled force, then they became more acid/weed influenced. It was extremely controversial at the time to be open about these things, but they were honest about how they lived their lives, and learned as they went along, as we all do.

Interesting looking back that The Stones were targeted by the cops for hash possession, but The Beatles (who were doing the same) pretty much got away with it. The creative force that was McCartney/Lennon didn't rub people up the wrong way, unlike Jagger/Richards.

I think their legacy is assured. The honesty of their work, and the skill of the song craft will live on. They've almost become standards for how you approach the craft. I feel like putting The White Album on now!
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