Top 10 Beatles Post-Breakup Fight Songs
Following the breakup of the Beatles in early 1970, George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr did what anyone finally freed from an occasionally stifling decade-long relationship would do: They wrote a bunch of bitchy songs about each other. The scars hadn’t even started to heal when most of the cuts on our list of the Top 10 Beatles Post-Breakup Fight Songs were written. Eventually, they all got around to penning nostalgic odes to one another. But they’re not nearly as much fun as these bitter swipes composed during less fab times.
‘Run of the Mill’
‘Run of the Mill’ was one of the first songs written about the Beatles by a Beatle. George Harrison wrote it shortly after the band’s disastrous ‘Get Back’ sessions in 1969, detailing the group’s falling apart. Specifically, Apple Records was in shambles, John Lennon was pretty much finished with the band and Paul McCartney was becoming Mr. Bossypants (also see No. 6 on our list of the Top 10 Post-Beatles Breakup Songs). The song ended up on Harrison’s first real solo album.
The shuffling, bluesy ‘3 Legs’ from Paul McCartney’s second post-Beatles album was recorded as the former bandmates were in court to officially dissolve the group. So it’s no surprise that a few of the album’s songs address the situation (also see No. 4 on our list of the Top 10 Post-Beatles Breakup Songs). ‘3 Legs’ is a general, all-purpose attack on the other former Beatles by McCartney.
Four years after claiming the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, John Lennon again dragged out a religious icon to comment on his place in the world. After a bit of universal and controversial button-pushing (“God is a concept by which we measure our pain,” he sings), Lennon gets personal in ‘God,’ dismissing his political and pop-culture idols — the Kennedys, Elvis, Dylan — as no substitute for belief in oneself. He saves the final blow for the end, when he basically walks away from the Beatles, their myth and his association with them.
Recorded during 1971’s ‘Ram’ sessions, but not released until later that year on Wings’ debut album ‘Wild Life,’ ‘Dear Friend’ was another attempt by Paul McCartney to collect his thoughts on the Beatles breakup. The song isn’t as bitchy as most of the other cuts inspired by the group’s fallout, but McCartney’s reaching out to old pal John Lennon has its share of veiled digs regarding their fractured relationship.
Like ‘Run of the Mill’ (see No. 10 on our list of the Top 10 Beatles Post-Breakup Fight Songs), ‘Wah-Wah’ was written by George Harrison after he temporarily left the Beatles during their tumultuous ‘Get Back’ sessions, but didn’t surface until 1970’s ‘All Things Must Pass.’ Tired of living under the shadows of John Lennon and (especially) Paul McCartney, Harrison vents his frustration throughout ‘Wah-Wah,’ essentially setting it up as his declaration of independence, singing, “I know how sweet life can be if I keep myself free.”
Buried on the flip side of Ringo Starr’s ‘It Don’t Come Easy’ single, ‘Early 1970′ divides its verses among the four Beatles, as Starr rolls through each of their personal lives, even taking time out to address his own limitations. While it’s somewhat of a plea for peace for the former bandmates, ‘Early 1970′ leaves plenty of blood in its path (but not all of it’s bad: That’s George Harrison on guitar).
‘Too Many People’
Paul McCartney’s bitchiest kissoff to his ex-bandmates, like many cuts on our list of the Top 10 Beatles Post-Breakup Fight Songs, was written shortly after the group split, when the scars were still fresh. Specifically, McCartney tears into John Lennon, whose political involvement didn’t suit too well with his former writing partner. Lines like “That was your first mistake / You took your lucky break and broke it in two” dig at Lennon’s relationship with Yoko Ono.
‘Back Off Boogaloo’
Ringo Starr’s 1972 glam-leaning single was musically influenced by pal Marc Bolan‘s adventures in the genre. But lyrically, it’s mostly about the drummer’s widespread distaste for Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles music. “Get yourself together now and give me something tasty / Everything you try to do / You know it sure sounds wasted,” he sings. Starr also calls his former bandmate a “meathead.” Once again, George Harrison provides searing guitar work.
‘Sue Me, Sue You Blues’
Following the Beatles’ breakup, Paul McCartney did everything he could to distance himself from the group and its legal obligations, going as far as to sue his former bandmates. After McCartney won his lawsuit, George Harrison wrote ‘Sue Me, Sue You Blues’ in response, taking shots at the litiguous ex Beatle: “Now all that’s left is to find yourself a new band.”
‘How Do You Sleep?’
Most of the tracks on our list of the Top 10 Beatles Post-Breakup Fight Songs offer a modicum of subtlety. Not John Lennon’s ‘How Do You Sleep?,’ an answer to Paul McCartney’s ‘Too Many People’ and a direct attack on his old friend. “The only thing you done was ‘Yesterday’ / And since you’ve gone, you’re just ‘Another Day” references a pair of McCartney-penned hits, one for the Beatles, one solo. But Lennon fires his most savage blow in the very first verse: “Those freaks was right when they said you was dead” — a reference to the Paul Is Dead rumors that surfaced in 1969. Ouch.