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The Only Beatle To…

February 7, 2014

Fifty years ago, The Beatles landed in the United States and their fame has never left. The Beatles were the first, the best, or the most at a lot of things, but even within the band, there were singular achievements.

600px-The_FabsBe the only Beatle on a Beatles song.

A music publishing agreement dictated that any song John Lennon or Paul McCartney wrote alone or together be credited to “Lennon-McCartney.” McCartney reportedly wrote more than 100 Beatles songs by himself, including “Yesterday.” The version that appears on the Beatles’ 1965 album Help! features McCartney singing and accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, and backed with a string quartet. No other Beatle is present on the track.

…Have a child who had a top 10 hit.

All of the Fab Four have children who became musicians. McCartney’s son James is a singer-songwriter, Ringo Starr’s son Zak Starkey has been the drummer for Oasis and the Who, and George Harrison’s son Dhani is a producer and multi-instrumentalist. Lennon’s son Sean has released several solo albums and was a member of the ‘90s alternative rock group Cibo Matto. But only Lennon’s oldest son, Julian, has had successful pop singles. In 1984, Julian Lennon released Valotte, which yielded the #9 hit “Valotte” and the #5 “Too Late For Goodbyes.”

…Write their memoirs.

In 1980, Harrison published I Me Mine, an appropriate title taken from a song he wrote for the Beatles. It’s so far the first and only time a Beatle has published an autobiography.

…Be knighted.

In 1965, each of the four Beatles were named a Member of the Order of the British Empire. In 1969, Lennon returned his MBE in protest. But in 1997, McCartney was promoted from MBE to knight.

…Win the Album of the Year award at the Grammys for a solo album.

In 1982, Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy won the Grammy for Album of the Year, a little over a year after Lennon’s death.

…Record a Christmas album.

In 1999, Ringo Starr released I Wanna Be Santa Claus.

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February 7, 2014 3:47 pm

There are actually several tracks on which only one Beatle appeared. The list includes songs like Good Night from the White Album (only Ringo), Within You Without You from Sgt. Pepper (only George) and Julia from the White Album (only John).

February 15, 2014 8:36 pm
Reply to  Tim

The other Beatles played instruments on those songs.

February 19, 2014 2:09 pm
Reply to  Adrian

No they didn’t.

On Good Night, Ringo is accompanied by an orchestra, George Martin on celesta, and the Mike Sammes Singers. John actually wrote the song, but he did not appear on the recording.

Julia is just John on acoustic and vocals. He just double-tracked himself in order to fill out the sound.

And although Within You Without You has a number of musicians playing on it and George Harrison himself played several different instruments (including acoustic guitar, tambura, and sitar), no other Beatle participated in the recording.

April 8, 2014 5:14 pm

And one of my favorites: “Blackbird”.

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