Paul McCartney and the Fake Name on His 1966 Hit, ‘Woman’

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McCartney discusses song from the Beatles and recals when the idea that anything they wrote would automatically be a hit began to bother him.

So when folk-rock duo Peter and Gordon went to record the composition “Woman,” Paul asked to put another writer’s name on it. And it became a top-20 hit anyway.

When Asher formed a band with Gordon Waller, he used an early song Paul had written called “World Without Love.” That track, with Lennon-McCartney credited as the songwriters, hit No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic.(cheatsheet.com)

The following year, when Peter and Gordon went to record “Woman,” another track written by Paul (and thus credited as Lennon-McCartney), Paul decided to try something different. So he put the name “Bernard Webb” on the record to see if people weren’t just responding to a brand.

At a press conference during The Beatles’ final tour, Paul explained his thought process. “People say [to Peter and Gordon], ‘Ah, we see your just getting in on the Lennon/McCartney bandwagon.’ That’s why they did that one with our names not on it: because everyone sort of thinks that’s the reason that they get hits. It’s not true, really.”

‘Woman’ became a hit before anyone discovered it was Paul’s

“But, you know, you get that thing when something is just so successful… people often don’t want to do ‘the big one’ that everyone wants them to do. They kind of shy away from it,”

 

“Why i spent so many years without singing Beatles’s songs? Well, that was very specifically the period after The Beatles when I was trying to establish Wings and I had to say to myself, “Yeah, you’re an ex-Beatle but you’re trying to do something new so you’ve got to leave that alone.” It’s a risky business because the promoters didn’t like that. They said, “Can’t you just do ‘Yesterday’ at the end of the show?” “No!”

In his London office, McCartney is surrounded by his roots and history – there is Beatles and Wings memorabilia, and a vintage jukebox loaded with 78s by Fats Domino, Wanda Jackson and Elvis Presley – but he mostly speaks of his songwriting and the stage in the present tense.

It was round about 1976 when Wings had a big successful American tour that I thought, “You know what? It’s OK now.” I felt that I’d succeeded in having a life after The Beatles. And then I was able to think what I’d known all along and you touched on there. Which is, “If I’m in an audience I wanna hear the hits. I don’t want to see the Stones do their new album. I want ‘Satisfaction’, ‘Honky Tonk Women’, ‘Ruby Tuesday’.”

When we were kids we were looking for what to call our songs. We had a meeting with Brian Epstein, John and me. I arrived late. John and Brian had been talking. “We were thinking we ought to call the songs, Lennon and McCartney.” I said, “That’s OK, but what about McCartney and Lennon? If I write it, what about that? It sounds good, too.” They said, “OK, what we’ll do is we’ll alternate it: Lennon and McCartney, McCartney and Lennon.” Well, that didn’t happen. And I didn’t mind. It’s a good logo, like Rogers and Hammerstein. Hammerstein and Rogers doesn’t work.

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