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Dr. Michael Levittan Breaks Down the Beatles John and Paul: Musical Genius vs. Generational Prophet

Dr. Michael Levittan

Statue of the Beatles. Photo provided by Dr. Michael Levittan.

LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES, March 28, 2024 / -- John Lennon and Paul McCartney, two of the four iconic Beatles, are universally recognized as transcendent musicians, says Dr. Michael Levittan, esteemed psychotherapist, media consultant, and commentator on social issues. Their musical partnership attained unparalleled proficiency and success. The differences between them go to the heart of the question: What is the purpose of music?

Fortunately, and pleasurably, there are two songs - one written by Paul and one by John – that illustrate the differences, says Dr. Levittan. They each composed a meaningful song about their childhood. Paul wrote “Penny Lane,” a street by St. Barnabas Church, where he sang in the choir as a child. As teenagers, once John and Paul started writing together, they would change buses on the way to each other’s house at Penny Lane. The song is musically brilliant and is a child-like romp through the neighborhood. The characters - the barber, the banker, and the fireman – are vividly drawn. The places - the barbershop, the roundabout, and the blue skies – evoke fairy-tale images of childhood. The melody of the song is typical of Paul – clever, inventive, funny, and so pleasant-sounding. His lovely voice is supplemented by trumpets, flutes, and oboes. Ultimately, "Penny Lane" is a unique piece of pure genius, explains Dr. Levittan.

According to Dr. Levittan, John is also a brilliant lyricist and melodist. But when it comes to musicality alone, he was not at the level of Paul. However, Dr. Levittan prefers John, and here is why. John wrote “Strawberry Fields Forever” about his childhood. His Aunt Mimi raised him, who would often take him to the nearby Salvation Army Home at Strawberry Field. As a little boy, John would get quite excited to get to this old gothic mansion to play with his friends, climb trees, and imagine that he was in an Alice in Wonderland magic world.

If "Penny Lane" were given a one-word descriptor, it would be “pleasing” to the ear, argues Dr. Levittan. "Strawberry Fields" comes off as “disturbing” to the ear. Disturbing in the sense that it is not an easy listen. "Strawberry Fields" is thought-provoking and mind-expanding. John takes the listener - “Let me take you down” - on a journey into uncharted territory that seems to stimulate the soul. John pilots the song - through lyrics and music – and the listener is locked into their seats, awaiting the next line or chord. For Paul, music was basically the point of the song. For John, music was a vehicle to transport listeners across mental, emotional, and spiritual boundaries. As cute as "Penny Lane" is, it does not conjure the profundity of lines such as: “Living is easy with eyes closed. Misunderstanding all you see” and “Nothing is real, And nothing to get hung about.”

Dr. Levittan concludes that, interestingly enough, John and Paul had one of their frequent conflicts over the two songs. They each wanted their childhood song to be on the “A” side of the record. It was settled when they made the exception to tag each song as an “A.” John Lennon was an A+ in terms of fearlessly attempting to transform the world into a peace-loving place through his music and his very being. Imagine.

To learn more about Dr. Michael Levittan and his many outstanding accomplishments, click here:

Amanda Kent
Boundless Media USA
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