Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Welcome! Please read this first.

Good day, and welcome to my blog, called "Paul McCartney is a lazy bastard who can't play the piano." That all didn't fit in the title bar, so I'll just call it PMCPP for short. This opening post will give you an idea of exactly what this whole blog is about, and some of the terms I'll be often using in the course of these times. Enjoy!

Paul McCartney was the main piano player for the Beatles from their beginnings in 1963 until 1971 when they OFFICIALLY broke up. (Semantics are a bitch.) This would be all well and good if he had actually learned to play the piano before doing so. Our premise at PMCPP is to prove that he only really wrote 2 songs for the piano and reused them OVER and OVER again throughout his Beatles career, with nobody taking notice. I'll be presenting evidence in Music Theory and in just plain common sense on pretty much every piano song he wrote, and perhaps even some of the non-piano songs he wrote, all to prove my point. My, that was a long sentence.

Following is a glossery of terms that may come up during our studies.

The Rhythms: Reference to the both of the following two piano rhythms that comprised pretty much every Paul Piano Song.
PPS: Paul Piano Song. Just an abbreviation indicating all/almost all of Pauls Piano based songs at the same time.
Ba-Dum: The first of The Rhythms. Played via smashing 2-4 keys with your right hand on an onbeat, and then 1 on the offbeat with your left hand. A good example of this one is Golden Slumbers.
Chunk: The second of The Rhythms. Played by smashing 2-5 keys at the same time repeatedly. A good example of this one is Maxwell's Silver Hammer.
FCG (on occasion DAE): The 3 main keys that Paul liked to use, rarely straying from his beloved white notes. FCG just indicates all 3 keys are in mention.
Alan W. Pollack: The excellent theorist that wrote theory analysis for every single Beatles song. I may cite examples from him at times.
PMCPP: (Paul McCartney Can't Play Piano) The main series covered in this blog, analysis of songs of bad quality written by Paul McCartney involving piano, etc. Pronounced PIM-CUP.
UMFOTOB: (UZ Makes Fun Of The Other Beatles) A secondary series covered in this blog, where songs from the other Beatles are analyzed in critical fashion similar to PMCPP analysis. Pronounced UM-FOO-TUB.

Thank you and enjoy!

(And yes, this blog is a touch satirical and focuses on way too many semantics. I love the Beatles and Paul.)


Anonymous said...

I do actually agree with much of what you say throughout these posts. As much of a McCartney die-hard I am, I've always been frustrated by his nearly perverse refusal to try and improve himself on any instrument. His piano playing is almost only no more than serviceable comping. Even in the world of pop music, guys like Elton John and Billy Joel can run absolute rings around him on keys. Even throughout his nearly 40 year solo career, examples of his piano playing outside the two categories you named are very rare. It's too bad...I wish that he had continued trying to challenge himself as he did on a song like Martha My Dear - a song he has never played since, likely because it would take too much practice to play live! God knows he's (over)played most of his Beatles catalog in concert - why not break out the relative obscurities. Heck, he even did Please, Please Me - a John song! - on the last tour. Not as a tribute, but because Keith Richards asked him to!! Another subject though...Paul's unadventurous setlists.

UZ said...

This is why I'm considering going into his solo career later on in the series, since there's probably plenty to cover there as well and I'm gonna run out of Beatles eventually.

Have you heard Mr. Bellamy? It's one of his more Martha My Dearesque songs in terms of difficult piano parts.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, reading your posts actually got me thinking about his solo stuff - trying to come up with a few examples worthy of mention that have more interesting keyboard parts. Mr. Bellamy I hadn't thought of - but yeah, that one is different from his standard approach. Good song all around, too, I'd say - from the overall structure to the lyrics as well.

Matthew said...

All I have to say is who is one of the most famous musicians of all time, and who is the little bitch behind the computer who's done nothing but complain about him?

UZ said...

Bach and 4chan's /mu/ board?

Aww, look at the widdle McCartney fan trying desperately to pretend he's a good pianist.

I was going to point out the disclaimer but it's obvious nobody actually reads it in their seething rage.

Eagle Picks My Eye said...

McCartney is proficient enough on multiple instruments. He's never claimed to be a virtuoso pianist. It's just a tool for writing, nothing more. As the composer of such timeless pieces as "Here, There and Everywhere," "Hey Jude," and countless others while a member of the Beatles, and as someone, along with Lennon, who undoubtedly will be studied centuries from now, I believe you're a bit confused.

Cameron said...

I agree that, while McCartney's playing is marginal, it's servicable accompaniment for many classic songs, characterized by Macca's gift for melody. I've heard the term McCartneyesque to describe a tune that feels like it's always been around. His lyrics often faltered, but like John said "When Paul wants to, he can think."

Paul should also be recognized for his terrific, pioneering bass-playing, which is his greatest instrumental contribution to rock.

robbob said...

Look, he's Paul Frikkin McCartney. He wrote Yesterday... in his SLEEP! He can play however the hell he wants.

Ad if he's such a hack, if it's so easy, let's see YOU use your superior abiliyies and write a song that's better than Hey Jude or Martha My Dear or any of about 500 great tunes he's come uop with.

xavier said...

Finally! Somebody's noticed!
McCartney's piano playing on for instance Back in The USSR is crap, and Lady Madonna is probably his most complex piano part, Maybe I'm Amazed is something anyone could do.
But the thing is, that type of simple (and nicely compressed) piano playing is GREAT. It's the sound of the piano, without the unnecessary complexities that spoils Elton John, Queen, Kate Bush, Billy Joel and Joe Jackson for me.

Anonymous said...

wait a second...Paul can't play the piano? really? wow this is a real new to me, is like that occassion in that I discover the secret Generic Viagra of this men, but real this is totally surprising to me.

Mandi said...

Was looking for piano, guitar, and sheet music for some of Paul's solo work and stumbled across your site. I must admit that it did sting a bit to realize just how basic his skills are.

Still a fan, will always be a fan. I don't regret the large chunk of money I laid down to see him in concert in August, either. Damn, Macca can put on a show!

I think, in some ways, I like that he can make so many songs that I adore with such simple elements. I'm never going to be terribly proficient on any instrument at the rate I'm going, so the easier the better for me to copy.

I adore the man no matter the complexity (or lack thereof) in his music or his vague, half-witted answers to questions he's asked. Can't really blame him, I guess.

I'm glad you enjoy him, too. I think it's the mark of a very intelligent person who can point out criticisms (especially severe ones) of someone they like/enjoy/admire/what have you. Most people generally set their idols up on mental pedestals and everyone else at the bottom of a garbage can.

Thanks for the read!

suncleancarpetcare said...

Who cares! Gershwin wrote his songs in one key (F). Mac is a pop songwriter, singer and entertainer of moving songs; not a jazz piano player. Take popular rock music from 1963 and fast forward to 1970 and look at the incredible influence he(and Lennon)had. He wrote Maybe I'm amazed for his wife...simple as that. A heartfelt shot out into the Universe. What songs have you written? Care to share?

iamtherealwus said...

I think it's a little unfair to judge Paul's piano abilities when he's not a pianist and has never claimed to be! He's a bass player, and the best there ever was. But having said that, his "keep it simple" style on the piano is actually very complex, not in terms of technique but in terms of melodic genius. This is why millions of "musically untrained" people in every generation love his music to death. Love ya Paul.

iamtherealwus said...

I think it's a little unfair to judge Paul's piano abilities when he's not a pianist and has never claimed to be! He's a bass player, and the best there ever was. But having said that, his "keep it simple" style on the piano is actually very complex, not in terms of technique but in terms of melodic genius. This is why millions of "musically untrained" people in every generation love his music to death. Love ya Paul.

songboy0011 said...


I get that this is all in fun, {I think}, but I can't help but feel you've missed the point all together.. I can't imagine what my life would be like if my first reaction to every song I heard , was to analyze it's complexity.. Even when I'm learning tunes {hundreds of them}, I'm choosing whether or not to learn them based on three things. :1. Do I LOVE the tune. 2. Can I sing it, REALLY sing it great. 3. Am I a good enough player to learn it..

Seeing as we're dealing with pop music here, the answer to #3 is almost always yes.. But it's the least important part of the equation. 1 and 2 are what matter.

I can't tell you how many times I've sat and listened to people who can play 999,999,999 notes per second, and found myself saying "SO WHAT".

If brother Paul had been an incredible piano player when he was young, we wouldn't have the fab 4 at all..

Name your favorite band{S}, I can rip it apart too.. Moving people over and over again without troubling them with unnecessary complexity is an art.. He's so very good at it.

tiltied said...

Paul can't play the piano..can someone please find a video that shows Paul actually playing the piano? Everything I find is edited and either shows his upper body..or a set if hands playing piano. Rarely does it show Paul playing more than a couple of taps on the keys. Find something that shows Paul playing an entire song
that isn't edited or spliced.

LB Andy Andrews said...

God, what a bunch of crap is this miserable jealousy from non-song writers and pretentious piano playing losers, eh? Well? What else could it be but jealousy? Do any of you have any records so we can castrate your playing? No? I wonder why.
To desecrate Paul McCartney is rude and very hateful. To be slammed as inept by blogging-loser-buddies who can't even write ONE song worthy of the radio is pure criminal.
Some folks just love to fighht and cause hatred. Some just hate the Beatles. To hell with all those folks. Stop listening to McCartney and shut it! Go write something that's TRUE! This sucks.

Moo said...

I get it - virtuoso-ish wanna-be pianists with nothing to hide except themselves and their monkeys (Monkees?) dissing on one of the greatest songwriters who has ever lived because he only "comps" on the piano. How could that possibly be - he doesn't even read written music !! Billy Joel can play circles around him on the piano... yeah yeah yeah. So let's ring up Billy (another one of the greatest songwriters who has ever lived) and see what he has to say about Paul McCartney. I'm guessing it would be something like "I wouldn't do what I do if it weren't for Paul McCartney." As would several hundred thousand other singer-songwriters on planet earth. When Paul could play it -he played it. When he couldn't - he was bright enough to call in the big guns. George Martin played some keys on Beatles recordings. Billy Preston. Studio players. There are also millions of bassists and guitarists who can "shred" when Paul can only.. you know, come up with the bass line to "Something"... or play the incredible guitar solos on "Taxman" They're not technical at all - but they're perfect. PERFECT. That's why saying anything - and I mean *ANYTHING* negative about Paul McCartney's musicality is on par with drawing a billboard of the Prophet Mohammed doing it in a dog's behind. It's a big no-no and you will suffer in fiery eternal damnation for this blog. It should be changed immediately to a place of reverence for Macca. Really - I should not have to tell you this.

Mister Mackum said...

He's not a piano player, he's a song writer who has wrote more hits then any one history. Writing a great song take so much more talent then playing piano. Paul has more talent in his little finger the any piano player that ever lived. All you great piano player out there who don't have a pot to piss in don't deserve to wipe paul's ass.


This series and blog is totally tongue in cheek. I really do love Paul McCartney.