I’ve had a many of cost-free time on my hands lately; or to be an ext exact, a many time through a newborn in mine hands. For this reason what execute you do with a the majority of time once you have actually no hands? listen to the Beatles! What much better introduction to the people of music for a baby 보다 the the best band ever?


Paul and John: from BFFs come (Fr)enemies

Youtube’s referral systems quickly locked on come me, mirroring me endless quantities of facts and gossip about the Beatles. No story is much more intriguing 보다 the intricate relationship in between John and Paul. They began out together teenage BFFs, skipping college to play tunes in Paul’s dad’s house. True to your BFF pledge, they decided they will share credit for every tune they will ever before write, thus the official Lennon/McCartney attribution of many Beatles songs. Next, they spend years resting in the very same rooms, from outline apartments in Hamburg, playing Rock n’ role covers in German nightclubs, as much as Beatlemania and also finally becoming, well, an ext famous than Jesus. What started as a teenage friendship, increasingly became a contentious ego driven rivalry which eventually imploded in a bitterness divorce-like breakup. Jae won disputes, backstabbing accusations, the whole shebang. It breaks one’s heart to view such true love die…



As with any type of divorce, Paul was no saint, but I discovered myself particularly resenting John’s eventual public comments post-breakup. He was pretty much all over the place. Part highlights: speak “Paul passed away musically”, describing Paul’s wedding together a funeral, claiming Paul’s music was an excellent for elevators, and deriding Paul in songs such together “How perform you sleep at night?”. Ouch! among the 80’s interviews with Paul had actually him admitting just how hurtful this was, especially due to the fact that he knew John’s criticism would stick. If John states he was the real genius the the Beatles, who is anyone come argue? and also stick that did — come this day, many fans see John as the imaginative force behind the Beatles and also Paul as just a kitschy tune writer. Just how frustrating the must have actually been to require to protect your own contribution to the undisputed greatest band of every times, and especially against the accusations of her ex-BFF.

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But what if john was right? What if john really was by much the greatest Beatle? and where does George to the right in in this competition?

Let’s look at the data!

A silver- lining in the Beatles bitter breakup was the both John and Paul felt totally free to take as much credit as possible for every song and also in significance disentangling the Lennon/McCartney attribution; I offered this data source which mentions the main composer as a reference, even for song on which they collaborated top top (which is usually all their songs). I separated tracks sung through Ringo right into their very own category, as both John and also Paul usually wrote an easy songs for Ringo, the fit his to sing abilities and happy-go-lucky persona, however were uncharacteristic that their ideal material.



Let’s begin by feather at song counts: the end of 208 songs tape-recorded by the Beatles, 71 were created mostly by John, 68 mostly by Paul, 22 by George, 21 to be cover song from their early days, 16 John+Paul songs (songs in i m sorry they contributed equally), and also 10 that were sung by Ringo, the end of i m sorry 2 he created himself (Don’t happen Me By and also Octopus’s Garden). John and also Paul were pretty lot equally prolific in terms of their tune writing contribution, means ahead that George who just started contributing significantly in their later on albums.

So who wrote far better songs?

One of the “downsides” of art is that is that it is not objectively measurable. Who is to say if one song is better than another? In order come get roughly this difficult situation, let’s start by analysing the objective measure of popularity, prior to we go on to the most subjective that quantifying my own preferences! (perks of gift the author of the blog post…)

Spotify to the rescue!

Spotify is awesome, right? The following evaluation relies top top Spotify present counts come gouge popularity. Stop dive right into it:

Top left: most streamed Beatles songs. Bottom left: log in normal distribution of currently counts for all Beatles songs. Right: typical stream counting per Beatle

Out the the height 10 most streamed Beatle’s songs, 5 were written by Paul, 2 through John and 1 through George. It is exciting to keep in mind that the circulation of stream counts is an almost perfect log-normal distribution. Why is that? Log typical distributions take place when there are many factors that have actually a multiplicative result stacked top top one another. One feasible hypothesis the might reason this is a network effect; if friend really like a song, you’ll most likely play it many more times the a track you like only mildly. This will certainly make this song much more likely come be recommended (by either you or Spotify’s algorithm), bring about an exponential phenomena.

An evaluation of the median number of song counts shows some amazing facts:

Paul was the most popular Beatle! His mean stream counting is almost twin that that John’s. Come me this was quite an unforeseen result.Ringo’s songs are the the very least streamed. He was a funny guy. And also a really great drummer. Us love you Ringo! as a person, but less so together a singer/song writer.

Woot for Paul! yet is popularity yes, really the ideal indicator that quality? If Spotify stream counts would qualify together a measure of quality, Drake and also Ariana Grande must be the ideal musicians in the background of popular music. And if that doesn’t sound off to you, 보다 you’re certainly reading the not correct blog post…

Going beyond Popularity: a spatu Analysis

I listened come every among the 208 Beatles songs (that’s 14 hours of pat time, walk I already mention the moment I had with a child on my hands?) and rated each track on a range of 0 to 10. You can see the dataset here. This is clear a very subjective rating! Beautiful melodies, exciting harmonies and intimate feeling provoking lyrics are what get high scores in my book. Let’s very first examine exactly how my very own preferences correlate with Spotify popularity:

There is a strong Pearson correlation that 0.59 between song awesomeness (as rated by me) and also Spotify present counts. Of keep in mind are a couple of songs i m sorry differed substantially from this correlation: George’s cute Indian influenced the inside Light and John’s Yes that Is with that is gripping harmonies both over-performed when John’s boring avant-garde Revolution 9 (thanks Yoko!) to be the best under-performer. Pauls also cute Ob-la-di Ob-la-da, and Let It be both scored fairly high, however much lower than your popularity ~ above Spotify.

Next, the time because that the main course. Let’s look at awesomeness by Beatle:

Digging a bit deeper right into the john vs. Paul rivalry, we have the right to see that john actually had an ext truly awe inspiring songs, however he additionally had more Meh-ish songs. Paul to be a bit more consistent, with most of his songs in the Looove it! category, yet slightly much less songs that gained to pure genius rating.

Conclusion: Paul to be The greatest Beatle

There merely is no clean winner, yet if pressed, I would certainly say this evaluation shows Paul together the slightly better song writer. One thing that deserve to be safely said is that john was not the lone imaginative driving force behind the Beatles together he sometime tried to portray himself post-Beatles, and Paul have the right to confidently case his location as one of the two finest songwriters that ever before existed. One essential thing to remember is the they never ever truly composed songs by themselves, and nearly always took part in the record sessions of each other’s songs, even in the late bitter infused days prior to they damaged up. What would John’s I desire You (She’s therefore Heavy) be without Paul’s impressive bass line? Or Paul’s can’t Buy Me Love without John’s harmonizing and also rhythm guitar? Or so countless Beatles songs without George’s beautiful guitar solos for the matter?

John help Paul with his tune in a picture taken by Linda McCartney

On a much less data moved note, after hearing all their songs that is rather clear the each had his very own talents: Paul to be a musician in the purer feeling of the word, consistently producing beautiful melodies (Yesterday, Michelle to name a few), managing even to do that through his melodic basic playing. John at the same time was the an ext complete artist, who is in some means was only incidentally using music to express himself. He to be a good musician, but one might argue that his text were simply as an excellent as the music, if not far better (Across the Universe, nowhere Man, Because). His emotionally spectrum was lot darker, which in part sense aided him develop Rock n’ roll songs with a bigger beat to them.

Thank girlfriend John and also Paul! While your love because that each various other did not last as long as their musical legacy, the human being would no be the same location without the special relationship between these once-in-a-lifetime geniuses.

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Bonus Track: Comparing between Beatles Albums

Let’s rank all the Beatles albums based upon to the mean of manually-rated track awesomeness:

It transforms out the Abbey road is the Beatle’s ideal album with Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s follow very closely behind. This is specifically amazing feat, provided that at the moment of record Abbey road the Beatles were currently hardly on speaking terms, your communication virtually solely minimal to a musical one in the studio. Ns feel this evaluation does not do justice come the White Album, as it actually has actually the most songs v the “genius” rating. This is indicative the the inconsistency of this twin album — had the Beatles scaled down the White Album album to a single album v the 2 albums’ finest songs, it would certainly jump to the height on the mean rating as well. I likewise felt the Rubber spirit is contempt underrated here; while the lacks plenty of songs in the genius level, ns feel the is a instance where the sum is bigger than that parts, which is no reflected in this solitary song based statistics.