Considering the sheer pace that The Beatles churned through recording material, it’s understandable that they didn’t care equally for everything they produced. John Lennon and George Harrison may have become known for their somewhat bitter take on Beatles work but even Paul McCartney disregarded two tracks as simply “work” and nothing more.
Following the split of The Beatles, John Lennon was ruthless in his assessment of their material. He was brutally honest in analysing their songs and the output they produced — anything he presumed to be “throwaway” or “phoney” was given a good kicking in the press. However, McCartney has always been more guarded.
Even if it was a track Macca didn’t entirely love, his media-trained brain usually answers diplomatically. However, there were a couple of occasions when he let that guise slip and showed his true feelings.
In Barry Miles’ Many Years From Now, McCartney opened up about the laborious exercise it was creating ‘Little Child’. He said the track “was a work job. Certain songs were inspirational and you just followed that. Certain other songs were, ‘Right, come on, two hours, song for Ringo for the album’.”
Writing for Ringo was a thankless task that McCartney saw as a chore, and the drummer’s limited vocal range dampened his creativity. Macca revealed, “They had to be fairly simple. [Ringo] didn’t have a large vocal range but he could handle things with good con brio and spirito if they were nice and simple. It had to be something he could get behind. If he couldn’t picture it, you were in trouble.”
Meanwhile, McCartney wasn’t any kinder about ‘Hold Me Tight’, which appeared on the same album, With The Beatles. He noted, “I can’t remember much about that one. Certain songs were just ‘work’ songs, you haven’t got much memory of them. That’s one of them.”
On another occasion, he was even less kind, saying, “When we first started it was all singles and we were always trying to write singles, That’s why you get lots of these two-minute 30-second songs; they all came out the same length. ‘Hold Me Tight’ was a failed attempt at a single which then became an acceptable album filler.”
It’s no coincidence that the tracks which McCartney is the least sentimental towards are those from the early days of The Beatles. They were yet to develop their sound and reach their potential.
While they still produced marvellous tracks, ‘The Fab Four’ were still in their infancy, and not everything they released was pop perfection. Neither of the tracks that McCartney derides are Beatles classics, and they are the sound of a band yet to arrive at their zenith.