If you had a number one hit song, you would probably remember writing it. John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote over 200 songs together over 50 years ago. So it’s no surprise that memories have gotten a little fuzzy when it comes to who wrote which Beatles song.
Take for example, the song “In My Life.” John claimed to have written that track, but Paul remembers it differently.
The two Beatles agreed to disagree. But die-hard fans remained curious—was there a way to get closer to the truth? True Beatles fans will tell you they’re more partial to songs written by Paul or John.
Mark Glickman, senior lecturer in statistics at Harvard University, was one such curious fan. He developed an algorithm to determine the authorship of “In My Life” and several other contested Beatles songs, by identifying what makes a song a John song or a Paul song. He joins Ira to discuss solving the mysteries of musical authorship with statistics.