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Bassist Paul McCartney penned the most recorded song in history, the ballad "Yesterday", and also composed the rocker "Helter Skelter" and the blues song "Oh! Darling". Lennon and McCartney often worked on composing and singing songs in each others' style, and often succeeded.


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Studio Style Development

Many observers have noted that understanding the success of The Beatles and their music begins and ends with an appreciation for the diverse ways in which they (especially Lennon and McCartney) blended their voices as instruments.

The role of producer George Martin is often cited as a crucial element in the success of the Beatles. He used his experience to bring out the potential in the group, recognizing and nurturing their creativity rather than imposing his views. His earlier production experience ranged through acts such as Jimmy Shand to the Goons, which is said to have prepared him for the open-minded, sometimes experimental studio approach the group developed as they became more experienced. Martin's connection with the Goons impressed the Beatles, who were fans. He later said he was initially attracted to the group because they were "very charming people."

At the height of their fame, bolstered by the two films Help! and A Hard Day's Night, the band stopped touring in 1966. Performing for thousands of screaming fans who typically made so much noise the music could not be heard had led to disillusionment and they decided to concentrate on making records. Their demands to create new sounds with every recording, personal experiments with psychedelic drugs and the studio techniques of recording engineer Geoff Emerick influenced the albums Revolver (1966) and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), still widely regarded as two of the best albums ever made. Along with studio tricks such as sound processing, unconventional microphone placements and vari-speed recording the Beatles used instruments considered unconventional for pop music at the time, including bowed string and brass elements, Indian instruments like the sitar and the swarmandel, tape loops and early electronic instruments.

The group gradually took charge of their own production and McCartney's growing dominance in this role, especially after the death of Epstein, played a part in the eventual split of the group.

Their unprecedented fame caused its own stresses and the band was already on the verge of splitting up when The Beatles ("The White Album") was released in late 1968. Some songs were recorded by the band members as individual projects with other invited musicians and Starr took a two-week holiday (sometimes reported as a temporary break-up) midway through the sessions. McCartney finished some of the drum tracks on the album, including "Back in the USSR", after Starr had angrily stormed out of the studio. By 1970 the band had split and each Beatle went on to solo careers.


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