Sir Paul McCartney 'misremembers' writing 'In My Life': Scientists solve the decades-old debate around who wrote the hit Beatles song, as new analysis reveals it had to be John Lennon
Sir Paul McCartney has long claimed he played a key role in writing The Beatles hit song ‘In My Life’, despite the track being attributed to bandmate John Lennon.
Since Lennon's murder in 1980, the mystery around the track, which was included on the 1965 album Rubber Soul, has gone unsolved.
However, scientists who used statistical analysis to single-out the musical signatures of each of the songwriters now claim to have a definitive answer.
According to the research, which highlights 149 different metrics to determine the musical fingerprints of each songwriter, it is overwhelmingly likely 'In My Life' was penned by Lennon and that McCartney simply 'misremembers' writing the song.
Sir Paul McCartney has always maintained that he put John Lennon's lyrics to music, while Lennon insisted his fellow band member had minimal input in the creation.
However, the latest findings reveal that stylistically, there is a less than one in 50 chance of McCartney having written the music to ‘In My Life', which is listed as number 23 on Rolling Stone's list of greatest songs ever made.
Mark Glickman, senior lecturer in statistics at Harvard University, and Jason Brown, Professor of Mathematics at Dalhousie University, used computer analysis to break down the musical styles of The Beatles.
The researchers found a clear difference in how the two musical icons use pitch.
McCartney's tracks had a tendency to be complex and varied, while the pitch in Lennon's rarely changed, the study revealed.
'It basically goes, "When I was younger, so much younger than today," where the pitch doesn't change very much.
'It stays at the same note repeatedly, and only changes in short steps.
They 'decomposed' Beatles songs from between 1962 and 1966 and looked at 149 different metrics to determine the musical fingerprints of each songwriter.
This allowed the researchers to develop an auditory signature for the artist based on frequency of chords, chord transitions, melodic notes, as well as pitch.
'The basic idea is to convert a song into a set of different data structures that are amenable for establishing a signature of a song using a quantitative approach.
'Think of decomposing a colour into its constituent components of red, green and blue with different weights attached.
According to McCartney, he set the lyrics to music after finding inspiration from Smokey Robinson and The Miracles.
John Lennon always disputed this fact and said only the 'middle-eight' and harmonies came from his bandmate.
The research also threw a curveball into the mix – after revealing that a track long thought to be penned by Mr Lennon was actually created by McCartney.
'The Word', also from Rubber Soul, has always been attributed to Lennon, but the researchers claim it is almost certainly by Sir Paul.
Sir Paul McCartney will not be responding to the study, a spokesperson for the singer said.