Keith Richards and Mick Jagger’s songwriting collaborations, as well as Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s, have had a significant impact on the development of rock music. The Richards-Jagger relationship is still going strong while the Lennon-McCartney partnership finally broke apart. According to Keith Richards, the collaborative aspect of his work with Mick Jagger has greatly contributed to its durability.
Unlike Paul McCartney and John Lennon, who started creating songs together long before The Beatles got together, their partnership grew stale over time. Richards and Jagger, on the other hand, continued to take a more cooperative stance. Richards said in a conversation, “The first things, usually I wrote the melody and Mick wrote the words. It’s not gotten like the Lennon-McCartney thing got where they wrote completely by themselves. Every song we’ve got to have pieces of each other in it.”
The Beatles’ later records, including The White Album, where each band member explored separate creative trajectories, such as the approach to creating songs that were unique to each band member, were evidence of this. Their separation in 1970 was eventually caused by this divide.
Jagger explained his perspective on the dissolution of Lennon-McCartney, contending that competing egos and a desire for independence were to blame. He said, “They both felt they were totally independent. They seemed to be very competitive over the leadership of the band… If there are 10 things, they both wanted to be in charge of nine of them.”
Even though the Lennon-McCartney combination is praised as one of the greatest songwriting partnerships, it is important to note that the majority of their songs were predominantly composed by one member, with sporadic contributions from the other. However, once The Beatles split up, McCartney and Lennon each had prosperous solo careers where they showcased their unique genius.