Paul McCartney and John Lennon Never Saw George Martin as an Equal, Claimed a Beatles Engineer

Paul McCartney and John Lennon held a great deal of respect for one another. This didn’t extend to everyone else who worked with The Beatles.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon worked closely together for years. While they had two other bandmates, multiple sound engineers, a manager, and a producer to assist them, they primarily relied on one another. While producer George Martin had a say over how their albums sounded, they reportedly never treated him with the same respect they showed one another. According to a Beatles audio engineer, Lennon and McCartney didn’t see Martin as an equal.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon didn’t treat George Martin with the respect they gave each other

In the early 1960s, Lennon and McCartney had a close working relationship. As the decade wore on, they wrote songs separately, but they were one another’s primary ally for years.

“During playbacks, John and Paul would often huddle together and discuss whether a take was good enough; they’d talk about what they were hearing and what they wanted to fix or do differently,” engineer Geoff Emerick recalled in his book Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles. “John wasn’t casual about making records, not in the early years, anyway. Still, it was Paul who was always striving to get things the best that they could possibly be.”

While Lennon might not have shared McCartney’s perfectionism, he respected and went along with it. He may not have had the same attitude toward Martin, though.

“Certainly George Martin couldn’t get away with that,” Emerick wrote. “If he dared try, they would bite his head off. There was never any doubt in my mind that Paul and John viewed George Martin as a helpmate, not as their equal.”

Paul McCartney once snapped at George Martin when John Lennon was being rude

While recording “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” a song McCartney wrote, Lennon made his dislike of the song clear.

“I saw the grimaces flicker across the faces of George Harrison and Ringo, and I’m quite sure that none of us missed the sheer look of disgust on John’s — this was a McCartney composition that Lennon openly and vocally detested,” Emerick wrote.

Lennon stormed out of the studio and returned hours later, high, to condescendingly show McCartney how to play the opening chords. McCartney accepted his advice. When Martin asked McCartney to reword a line, though, the musician snapped.

“If you think you can do it better, why don’t you f***ing come down here and sing it yourself?” McCartney said.

He proved he was more willing to listen to Martin’s suggestions than Lennon’s.

The Beatles producer has criticized both of them

McCartney and Lennon might not have shown Martin an adequate amount of respect, but he had his problems with them too. He believed that McCartney was a bit corny as a writer.

“Paul was always the down-to-earth one,” he told Rolling Stone. “Paul was a strange mixture — he’s proved to be the most successful of the lot, but he was a strange mixture of corny show-biz kind of music and also a desire for rock & roll.”

While he gently critiqued McCartney’s writing, he wasn’t sure Lennon would have made it as a musician under different circumstances.

“Paul needs an audience, but John doesn’t,” he explained in The Beatles: The Authorized Biography by Hunter Davies. “John is very lazy, unlike Paul. Without Paul he would often give up. John writes for his own amusement. He would be content to play his tunes to [his wife, Cynthia].”

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