When Lennon and McCartney skipped school to write songs as teenagers, they envisioned themselves becoming a great composing team like Leiber and Stoller or Rodgers and Hammerstein. In 1963 and 1964, they gave their best shot at it, not only writing songs for the Beatles but giving away 16 compositions to other artists, including the Rolling Stones. Half were originally written for themselves, and half they wrote for other artists under Brian Epstein’s management—such as Billy J. Kramer and Cilla Black—or for the pop duo Peter and Gordon.
In the U.K. two of the songs were No. 1s and ten more made it to the Top 40, while in the U.S. one hit the top spot and five more made the Top 40—an impressive record for any songwriting team. It’s true that they abound in puppy love clichés, but they also reveal the composers’ growing sophistication.
Please click here to continue to the article, complete with videos and Spotify playlist:
(Cilla Black pictured with Lennon and McCartney in home page photo)