We are on the Amalfi Coast today, having down time. We are meeting our daughter for dinner later this evening, and the town of Almalfi is just wall-to-wall shops and tourists, so inside is better than outside. So I have been laying here on the bed looking at old photos of the Beatles, trying to figure out the Paul/Mike dynamic.
It isn’t as hard as I imagined it to be. The song above, Till There Was You, is sung by the original Paul. Notice several things about him – he cannot sing without moving his head, and his eyes dart about too. He was good, but not self-confident. Mike was the better performer of the two.
I think the switch from Paul to Mike happened early on, so that by the time they made the movie Help! in 1965 it had all but been decided that Mike was the guy. And, to his credit, he apparently has learned in the intervening years to play guitar and bass left-handed. He also has a better vocal range than original Paul. If you doubt that, listen to the song above, and then to the song Lady Madonna … the crooner above could no way sing in the deep baritone notes that the song exhibits. That was Mike.
To settle the matter, there is the question of relative height. Below are the Beatles after their original 1964 Ed Sullivan appearance.
Paul, original Paul, on the left, has very dark hair, is the same height as George, and just a shade shorter than John.
Here they are again:
This is after they received their MBE (Members of the British Empire) medals from the Queen in 1965. “Paul” is now two inches taller than George, one inch more than John. He’s had a growth spurt.
I chose these photos because they are all standing next to each other on a level floor, and without those silly high-heel pumps they had to wear in the beginning. (It is very hard to find photos of them for comparison.)
Since they had two Paul’s to work with, the managers of this group had some fun with it. They moved the two boys in and out of the same role in Hard Day’s Night, and put Mike behind mustache and beard in that movie as concealment.
The hair, thought just to be a gimmick, actually served to conceal the eyebrows, which are quite different on the two, original Paul’s wrapping around more than Mike’s.
Later still, more fun and games, came the album clues and the Paul is Dead project. That is, to my knowledge, still going on.
I have to say that behind these four boys was some genuine creative talent. Kudos to all involved, and thanks for the entertainment.