Website to tell McCartney vs Lennon

Anyone know of a website which breaks down every Beatles song as to who sings lead? Some songs I can’t be sure if its Lennon or McCartney…

Try Alan W. Pollock’s site. It’ll tell you everything you ever wanted to know, and more, about any Beatles song. I’m not sure if there’s a list of who sings lead on what, but you can choose the individual songs.

Joint lead vocals by John and Paul:

Baby, You’re a Rich Man
Baby’s in Black
Because (with George)
Carry That Weight (with George and Ringo)
Chains (with George)
A Day in the Life
Day Tripper
Dr. Robert
Drive My Car
From Me to You
I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party
I Feel Fine
I Want to Hold Your Hand
I’ll Cry Instead
I’ll Get You
I’ve Got a Feeling
Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand
Little Child
Love Me Do
Magical Mystery Tour
One After 909
P.S. I Love You
Please Please Me
She Loves You
Sie Liebt Dich
Sun King (with George)
Tell Me What You See
Tell Me Why
Thank You Girl
There’s a Place
This Boy
Two of Us
The Word (with George)
Words of Love (with George)

There are many more songs on which John or Paul sings backup vocals for the other.

Easy guide:

  1. Is it Eleanor Rigby?

If Yes, it’s Paul. If No, go to 2.

  1. Does it suck?

If Yes, it’s Paul. If No, it’s John.

I’m not going to comment on this…suffice it to say, there are people who would take such a statement as no less than a declaration of war.

Hi Hail. I’m sure that more than a few around here could also help you with that.
Have ya got a list of the songs in question?

When I’m 64?
Hey Jude?
The Long And Winding Road?

A declaration of war?


I found it from your link, but not easily.

Better link

More like a declaration of ignorance compounded by tone-deafness.

this site has always been my source for info like that.

btw, Argent Towers, you and I will throw down later in the parking lot!

Odd. I clicked the link on the right side of the screen (it’s right there under “Alan W. Pollock’s Notes On”), but the URL didn’t change. Ah well.

While not a website, this book is a fascinating look into every Beatles song (minus ‘Real Love’ and ‘Free as a Bird.’) It lists authorship (often in percentages), instrumentation and vocals, recording info, etc.

It’s like a reference book, but doesn’t read like one. When I first bought it, I actually found it to be quite the page-turner. dork


They do sound remarkably alike. I’ve been a Beatles fan for as long as I can remember, and I still have a little trouble telling John, Paul, and George apart.

John: thinner, reedier voice, with a bit of a raspy edge to it; usually sings in a higher pitch than Paul. Example: Come Together

Paul: fuller, more mellow voice; usually sings at a lower pitch than John; Example: Hey Jude.

George: Sounds quite like Paul to me, although his voice is a softer and a bit more effeminate. Example: Something

Ringo: The most distintive (and unpolished) voice of the four. Kind of deep and comical. Example: Octopus’s Garden

In almost every case, the writer of the song is also the one who sings it. So if you have an idea of what a John song or a Paul song sounds like, that can also be a big clue.

A person could somehow distinguish what a Lennon or McCartney song “sounds like” yet not be able to distinguish how Lennon or McCartney sounds?

Sure, it’s trippy/heavier songs vs. poppy/lighter songs.

“When I’m 64,” “Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da” and “Honey Pie” vs. “I am the Walrus,” “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Come Together.”

Granted Paul had some heavier sounding stuff (“Helter Skelter” and “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road”) and John had some poppier stuff (“Mean Mr. Mustard” and “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”), but basically if you hear a certain type of Beatles song, you could sort of determine who’s singing it, even if you can’t tell by the voice.

Now you toss George into the mix, and things can get trickier. Personally, I think he sounded more like John early on, and after a while he began to sound more like Paul. He doesn’t really have a distinctive song “type” though, unless you call bitching and moaning about things a “type.”

What he said. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said ‘sound,’ but they have different writing styles. John had a flair for ambiguous lyrics, or undercutting things that sound happy on a first listen but turn out to be more complex. Paul could write a very sad song or a very happy song, but he usually didn’t play with you that way.

I understood what you’re saying. But I think by the time I person has developed a sophisticated enough ear to distinguish between the songwriting styles of Lennon and McCartney, he or she will have already accomplished the easier task of telling their voices apart.

Not to mention that they (or at least Paul and John, in that order) were very versatile singers and adopted different styles and vocal personas for different songs; and that their vocals were sometimes altered by “special effects” (e.g. playing at different speeds, double tracking) on Beatles recordings.

Probably if you listened a lot to their post-Beatle solo works, it would help you learn to tell them apart.

I suppose the real experts are those who can tell, just by hearing, not only who’s singing but also who’s playing what instrument.

I’ve got “BeatleSongs”, and I have to second the recommendation. It’s a song-by-song history of the beatles, using quotes from the Beatles, George Martin, and other people involved with the music to explain in detail the motivation behind the songs, who wrote what, how it was produced, and any other background information that would be interesting.

It’s a very good read, and I agree that it’s a page turner. I read the whole thing in two evenings, and enjoyed every bit of it.