Paul McCartney has recently talked about the approach he and John Lennon took to chords and harmony in their early days. Neither had much in the way of formal music training, but both, and McCartney in particular, had an exceptionally good ear for music and were often able to pick out complex harmonies without fully understanding the technical aspects of what they were doing.
Even the earliest Beatles music used some complex chords more familiar to jazz musicians than to most rock and rollers and it was often a judiciously placed augmented or diminished chord or an added 9th that gave a Beatles tune that little extra harmonic flavour and made it stand out from the rest. McCartney identifies a tune like Michelle as an example of an interesting chord progression, even if he wasn’t quite sure what the chords were called. He recalls being shown “a chord that was F, but it had a couple of notes added. We called it F demented!”
John in particular disliked jazz music, but probably didn’t realise how much he and Paul owed to the same great American songwriters that also inspired the greatest jazz musicians of the era. And there is an obvious artistic parallel between the relentlessly inventive work of The Beatles and that of their jazz contemporaries, including the likes of Miles Davis and John Coltrane.
In fact, Lennon and McCartney were musical magpies who plucked ideas from anywhere and everywhere, from Bach to Dylan via every genre of music in between. It was this that made their canon so remarkable and so endlessly interesting to all ears, trained or untrained.
To remind yourself of the wonderful diversity of The Beatles’ music, why not book the Ultimate Beatles tribute band for your party or event?”