Keith Richards Reveals Songwriting Dynamic with Mick Jagger, Setting Them Apart from McCartney-Lennon Duo
via The Rolling Stones / Youtube
The songwriting partnerships of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, as well as Paul McCartney and John Lennon, have been pivotal in the history of rock music. While the Lennon-McCartney duo eventually dissolved, the Richards-Jagger partnership continues to thrive. Keith Richards believes that the collaborative nature of his work with Mick Jagger has played a significant role in its longevity.
Unlike McCartney and Lennon, who began writing songs together even before The Beatles formed, their collaboration became less collaborative as time went on. In contrast, Richards and Jagger maintained a more collaborative approach. Richards stated in an interview, “The first things, usually I wrote the melody and Mick wrote the words. It’s not gotten like the Lennon-McCartney thing got where they wrote completely by themselves. Every song we’ve got to have pieces of each other in it.”
The individualized songwriting approach became evident in The Beatles’ later albums, such as The White Album, as each band member ventured in different creative directions. This divergence ultimately led to their breakup in 1970.
Jagger shared his theory on why Lennon-McCartney fell apart, suggesting that conflicting personalities and a desire for independence played a role. He noted, “They both felt they were totally independent. They seemed to be very competitive over the leadership of the band… If there are 10 things, they both wanted to be in charge of nine of them.”
Although the Lennon-McCartney partnership is hailed as one of the most successful songwriting duos, it is worth acknowledging that most of their songs were primarily written by one member, with occasional contributions from the other. Nevertheless, both McCartney and Lennon demonstrated their individual brilliance through successful solo careers after The Beatles disbanded.