In their early days, The Beatles loved harmonizing in their music. Paul McCartney went high, John Lennon went low, and George Harrison found them somewhere in the middle. It was part of their repertoire, and their influences inspired them to do it. However, like everything the Fab Four did, they put their own spin on harmonizing.
Paul McCartney said The Beach Boys and The Everly Brothers inspired The Beatles to harmonize
In his book The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, Paul wrote that The Beach Boys were "an immediate influence" on the sound of The Beatles' "Paperback Writer." He said that he and the band were particularly intrigued by the California band's harmonies.
However, years before The Beach Boys influenced the Fab Four, Paul's dad taught him and his brother, Michael, the basics of harmony. Then, The Everly Brothers became famous for their harmonies and inspired the brothers to perform the duo's "Bye Bye Love" at a Butlin's holiday camp talent competition. They didn't win, though.
Paul said The Beatles made their harmonizing 'naughty'
Later, Paul recollected that The Beatles "may have taken a leaf or two" from The Beach Boys' harmony book and always had The Everly Brothers' work at the back of their minds. However, he confessed that The Beatles would "change things up like the naughty schoolboys we were."
"We would tell people we were singing 'dit, dit, dit, dit,' but our little smirks should have given away the fact that we were singing 'tit, tit, tit, tit,'" Paul explained. "We loved puns above all forms of wordplay. We loved the absurd."
Paul also added eroticism was "very much a driving force" behind everything he and The Beatles did in their early days. "It's a very strong thing," he said. "And, you know, that was what lay behind a lot of these love songs. 'I want to hold your hand,' open brackets, [and probably do a lot more!]."
It's no surprise that The Beatles made their lyrics and harmonizing risqué. They were young boys with girls on their brains writing some of the most famous rock 'n' roll love songs in music history.
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