Penn State prof analyzes Paul McCartney’s greatness

June 3, 2010 at 10:24 am 1 comment

I was not at all surprised to read this morning that Paul McCartney received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. That’s because I’d already read and edited an interview with music theory professor Vincent Benitez, who analyzed all of McCartney’s post-Beatles work in the just-published The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years.

The award seems especially appropriate because Benitez said McCartney’s song-writing skills are “in the same league as George Gershwin.”

You’ll be able to read the interview with Benitez in our July/August issue, which we’re finishing now and which should be in your mailboxes in early July. And you can watch the concert, to be broadcast on PBS, on July 28.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

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Entry filed under: Arts & Architecture, Faculty, The Penn Stater magazine. Tags: , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. kevmoore  |  June 3, 2010 at 10:36 am

    I fond it surprising that it’s taken a music theory professor all these years to arrive at a conclusion most of had been familiar with for decades. By the time McCartney had reached 21, his place alongside the likes of Gershwin and Berlin was already assured. Early in his solo career, songs like My love, Maybe I’m amazed, etc proved his talent had not deserted him with the dissolution of The Beatles. I’ve never really been one for dissemination of magic, puncturing the ballon, so to speak, and always found that Times music critic’s article from the 60′s evoking the wonderment of Lennon and Mc Cartney’s writing with phrases such as ‘aeolian cadences’ and ‘pentatonic clusters’. They were just writing pop. It was in their DNA, and they did it better than anybody else. I’m sure sir paul is equally unimpressed with the great and the good trying to analyse his gift. When asked by a tech-minded guitar mag interviewer what type of bass strings he used, he simply replied: “erm, they come out of a little box”. :-)

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