In the decade after the Beatles broke up, John Lennon gave two extended interviews, one in 1972 and the other shortly before his death in 1980, in which he provided background info and offered commentary on nearly every Lennon/McCartney composition ever released. A recurring theme during these conversations was his desire to distance himself from his former songwriting partner’s contributions, with his hatred for “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” (Paul “did everything to make it into a single, and it never was and it never could have been”) and writing off “When I’m Sixty-Four” with a curt “I would never even dream of writing a song like that” as two of the more egregious examples. Even when he liked a song of Paul’s, he seemed content in complimenting it and moving on.
Whereas when I like a Beatles song, I have to write 400 words about it and shoehorn unnecessary references to celebrity sex offenders. Your turn, Roman Polanski!
One telling remark slipped out, though, when he discussed a certain track from the Beatles’ second album. “‘All My Loving’ is Paul, I regret to say. Because it’s a damn good piece of work.” Can you blame John for being jealous here? He’s spot-on. “All My Loving” is a damn good piece of work. That the band could afford to reserve it for an album track when it’s obviously single material is an incredible testament to both their talents and their cockiness.
Thankfully, its presence as the sole With the Beatles representative on the 1962-66 compilation–and again, the fact that it’s a damn good piece of work–has ensured that it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of Beatlemania era songs. Witness some of George’s best early guitar work, the music’s delayed start, Paul’s excellent double-tracked vocals, and its pretty much perfect lyrics. Yeah, John, I wish I’d written it too. At least you still got half the royalties.