The following article was inspired by the crazed almost childish bickering that has broken out on various Beatle related websites between Lennon fanatics and likewise McCartneyites, where both sides claim their hero WAS The Beatles. One of them had all the talent, the other one had none etc.
So from a neutral standpoint, I would like to offer my own personal view on the subject.
To begin with, I find the whole argument rather strange, as other bands are viewed purely by the groups recordings as opposed to who wrote or sang what. For instance I don't hear much talk about whether Keith Richards is a better member than Mick Jagger or Pete Townsend is more important than Roger Daltrey etc. But for some reason everybody dissects the whole Beatles subject down to the finest detail.
Surely a recording by any group should be heard as just a band making music, and yet with the Beatles it appears you have to take sides for one member or the other. Anyway, I'll try and give a fair, unbiased point of view on the whole thing.
So to start off,I do support the John Lennon was the Beatles supporters, in respect to the early to mid sixties Beatles period.
The Beatles first hit the pop charts in the days of the 7 inch singles market,where every group was judged on the strength of their latest single record, as opposed to an Album release. So in that respect,John Lennon was the centre of attention during the first few years,you only need to look at the releases. Okay Paul sang lead on the first single Love Me Do then we get Please Please Me,From Me To You,She Loves You,I Want To Hold Your Hand. All John.
Paul gets Cant Buy Me Love then its I Feel Fine,Ticket To Ride,Help! Again all John.So undoubtedly John Lennon was the main voice and indeed main sound in the early Beatles career. John also had the big moments on the early Albums as well,in fact The Hard Days Night Album is almost his first solo Album ! Thats how dominant he was in this period.
Of course Paul had some great songs like All My Loving,And I Love Her,Yesterday etc,but Im sure even the most ardent Macca fan would have to admit that The Beatles were Johns band, and he was always the leader right up to 1965. Then Paul begins to emerge much stronger ,firstly on the Revolver Album,then on the Sgt Peppers lonely Hearts Club Band Album,which as well as being Pauls idea was the beginning of his leadership in the band.
From this album on, right through to the break up of the Beatles,Paul was undoubtedly the Leader of the group.
Thats not to say John didnt have any great moments,of course he did ,some of his greatest songs were written here,Strawberry Fields Forever,Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,I am The walrus,theres plenty of great material from him,but it was Paul who was definitely driving the band.Take a look at the late sixties singles,Paperback Writer,Penny Lane,Lady Madonna,Hey Jude,Get Back,Let It Be.- all major Macca works.
So there you have it,in my opinion The Beatles werent lead by either John or Paul but over the full lifespan of the band by both!!
If they had continued into the seventies,maybe George would have taken the leadership ?
As I have already previously stated elsewhere, Georges songwriting and vocal performances really blossomed in the seventies and he could easily have reshaped the bands direction with his religious beliefs and his philosophical thinking.