A new academic study has claimed that Paul McCartney "makes a mistake" in saying that he wrote the Beatles song "In My Life," and the analysis concluded that it was actually John Lennon's work.
The song in question appears on the 1965 album "Rubber Soul", where it was initially credited to John Lennon. However, ownership of the song has been debated for years, and a decade later Paul McCartney told Paul Gambaccini: "That was the lyrics that John wrote, and I wrote the melody. That was great".
"As I remember, he did not have any melody, " McCartney said in the autobiography "Many Years From Now," written by Buddy Miles. "I said: 'Well, you do not have a melody, let me go and work on that.' And I went down to the basement, where John had a mellotron, and I sat there and put together a song ... I remember writing the whole melody. And it really sounds a lot like me, if you analyze it."
Before his death in 1980, Lennon claimed that his composition partner only wrote the bridge and the harmonies of "In My Life". That bridge includes the solo piano of the producer George Martin , that many confuse with a harpsichord.
That debate on "In My Life" has been addressed by the results of a new study led by Mark Glickman , a Harvard statistics professor, and Jason Brown , a mathematics professor at Dalhousie University.
The joint study has concluded that it is very likely that McCartney "makes a mistake" by saying that he wrote "In My Life", since it looks much more stylistically to one of Lennon's musical creations.
The analysis found that the chances of McCartney having written the music for "In My Life" are less than 1 in 50.
"We asked ourselves if we could use data analysis techniques to try to discover what was happening in the song to distinguish if it was written by one or the other," Glickman said about the purpose of the study, which analyzed features such as chord frequency, transitions of chords and melodic notes of the Beatles songs, which were written between 1962 and 1966.
"The basic idea is to convert a song into a set of different data structures that are susceptible to establishing a signature of a song using a quantitative approach. Think of decomposing a color into its constituent components of red, green and blue with different weights attached," he explained.
"The probability that 'In My Life' was written by McCartney is 0.018%. Which basically means that it's quite convincingly a Lennon song. McCartney makes a mistake remembering," he said.
The scholars came to their conclusion after noting that the tone of the Beatles' songs written by McCartney was often more complex and varied, while those of Lennon hardly changed.
"Let's consider Lennon's song 'Help!'", Continued Glickman. "Basically he says: 'When I was younger, much younger than today', where the field does not change much."
"It stays on the same note repeatedly, and it only changes in short steps. While with Paul McCartney, you take a song like 'Michelle'. In terms of variations, there are them everywhere."
However, although McCartney has lost the attribution of this song, everything indicates that he has won another. The song "The World", which is part of the same album and was awarded to Lennon, is almost certainly McCartney, the two researchers concluded.
A spokesman for McCartney said he will not respond to the results of the poll.
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