OK, here’s the thing with this. People have totally fucked up with these Beatles attributions to Myers-Briggs types.
I see Lennon listed as an INFP a lot and that is just so far off. You know what a mean and dirty bastard Lennon was? Lennon is not an INFP because INFPs are nice people, some of the nicest around. Lennon was not nice. If you can’t see that, you need to readjust your perceptual faculties.
Lennon was the Beatles more or less. He was the vision and the cutting-edge of the band. The Beatles wouldn’t have been the Beatles without Mccartney, but between the two, Lennon is decisively The Beatles. Paul may have wrote the brunt of The Beatles Sergeant Peppers album but he wouldn’t have done it without John as a muse. Lennon was the muse of the Beatles. In the final analysis, it was really all about him.
Importance of interplay between John and Paul:
OK, let’s skip all the bullshit. It was Paul and John that were at the heart of the Beatles. If you want to find answers and know things then you have to be able to bottom-line things. This is the fundamental bottom-line. And this interplay is actually interesting from a personality perspective once we know the true types of these two guys because it wasn’t an easy relationship they had. But, it is this relationship that made the Beatles so varied and interesting.
In Socionics, the Russian equivalent of Myers-Briggs, they had what you would call a Relationship of Superego. This type of relationship is like having someone always sitting on your shoulder to correct you, to prevent your natural tendencies from going too far into excess (or from going anywhere preferably. These type’s natural modes grate on each other something awful).
Superego relations are normally incredibly straining and taxing. John and Paul didn’t get along but for some reason there was a magic when they wrote music together. Where Lennon was dour, bleak, cynical, biting, and dry, Mccartney was optimistic, lush, soothing, and wet. It was this primary interplay that made The Beatles so interesting. These two probably learned a lot from each other but it wasn’t easy as is well-documented. Remember that song Paul wrote where he said the movement you need is on your shoulder? Well, that’s superego relations for you. Without Lennon, Paul could have easily drifted into schmaltz, and without Mccartney, Lennon could have ridden too long on a monotonic and skeletal groove. Mccartney gave color to what could have been a grey rainbow if left to Lennon. But, what Lennon had was the psychology. Lennon had the relevance, the sincerity, the grit, the depth.
Lennon’s psychic pain and his mental questioning are what The Beatles spirit revolved around. And Lennon’s pain was a mirror for the pain of his generation. It was he who took the Beatles into uncharted territory, at least indirectly, by his presence in the pairing. In short, he was the prime mover of the band and of the coupling. Mccartney’s most important role was in fleshing out and adding pleasantness and exuberance to this pain.
It was John’s themes that were the heavy stuff. His wordplay. His soaking up what was in the air of his times and focusing it through his fractured psyche. John Lennon was fucked up. Paul was not. Fucked up people always make the most moving art.
Paul was a relatively well-adjusted and ambitious guy.
Paul was the primary melodic talent of the band. He gave the Beatles that incredible melodic diversity. If you listen to Lennon’s solo stuff you will see that he was more of a blues guy at heart. He was also an avante-gardist. But, Paul was a big band guy, a popular music guy. He liked to entertain and basically give people a good time.
John was his foil in this respect. He didn’t want to give people a good time. Contrarily, he liked to challenge people. John was always searching for himself, introspective, experimenting with many different modes of living. He was a searcher.
Paul was a traditionalist. He constantly references and extols the virtues of yesteryear, not in a moralistic way, but in a wistful and happy way. He even has a song called Yesterday. The Lennon corollary to this is his song, Help! Paul was at home on earth, Lennon was not. I have seen Paul listed as an intuitive type of person but there are simply no grounds for that (ha-ha, get it).
The Beatles as a totality were an intuitive type. Definitely. Wouldn’t have been so groundbreaking otherwise.
Paul pretty much kept the band together. Lennon could have easily flown out of the band many times. Paul was glue. Paul was an introverted sensation dominant type. Got that? Not an intuitive type. The reason many people probably think he was an intuitive type is because he seemed so imaginative and thoughtful. Well, that my friends is a little something called auxiliary extraverted feeling. Nothing more imaginative than that. But, Paul was pulling from an introverted sensation base.
The best way to illustrate the difference between these two guys is Strawberry Fields vs. Penny Lane which were released as singles on two sides of the same record. These two songs were released at the height of the Beatles (1967 was the peak of all 60s music and The Beatles were at the top of that, the “toppermost of the poppermost” as the four lads used to like to say).
These two songs illustrate beautifully the differences between the twin heart of The Beatles. Lennon wrote Strawberry Fields and Paul wrote Penny Lane.
Strawberry Fields is a song about the experience of darkness and despair. In addition to the lyrics (which are great) this is also evident from the melancholic feel of the music. It doesn’t sound happy. It sounds ambivalent, confused, searching, alighting on one place to only seconds later find it uninhabitable.
It’s the tone of a depressed existentialist who can’t make up their mind about their position in life, who they are, what they’re supposed to be doing or going towards. Well, to give you a clue folks, there is only one thing that can be responsible for that type of vibe, and it is called introverted intuition. Existential, alienated, unsure, not at home here, those type of things. Wistful and sad remembrance. Identity conflicts. Who am I?
Some other songs that Lennon wrote that confirm this vibe: Nowhere Man, I’m a Loser, A Day in The Life (arguably, the defining Beatles song from an identity point-of-view)
So, if Lennon is a dominant introverted intuitive type (which he most certainly motherfucking is because if he ain’t then who the fuck is?) couldn’t he then be an INFJ too as they are the other type that has introverted intuition as dominant.
Well, that at least is a more reasonable assertion than him being an INFP. There is no way an INFP would question the basic grounds of reality to the extent that Lennon did. Ni is the only thing that does this. INFPs are not existentialists. Ever. Write it down if you have to.
No, he isn’t an INFJ because there is simply no evidence of Lennon displaying any auxiliary Fe behaviors in the lack of the presence of Paul (which was always there in the Beatles). Watch Lennon in an interview sometime. He is biting, caustic, witty, acerbic, and basically an unfriendly prick. He is the revolutionary member of the Beatles, the poker of the comfort of the status quo. He could be an outright prick when he wasn’t restrained by his Beatles member role (a role which he often hated). No, Paul was the one responsible for giving The Beatles that mellifluous public image, that friendliness, cutesiness, and tactfulness. That is because Paul had an extraverted feeling auxiliary.
So, together they equaled an INFJ, because INTJ + ISFJ = INFJ. Yes, it does.
In the case of adding personality types, order of operations is important, whereas, it usually isn’t in normal addition. So, you have to determine which type comes first, and as I have already said it is Lennon. Paul comes second, which in no way diminishes his incredible importance to the Beatles sound, but The Beatles are primarily interesting because of Lennon’s psyche. It is here that the transcendent magic of the Beatles resides.
Plus it doesn’t work the other way around: ISFJ + INTJ = ISTJ. Yeah, the Beatles heart was ISTJ. If that makes sense to you, then you have perceptual problems beyond the scope of this article. You can read what I have to say about ISTJs and their poetic predilections here.
Ok, fuck it, Lennon was an INTJ. If you don’t believe me then you need to learn some more stuff about Myers-Briggs. Shit, Myers-Briggs needs to learn some more stuff about Myers-Briggs. There is so much misinformation on the internet, it is unbelievable.
Now Penny Lane:
Well, look at this here little charmer, written by none other than Paul Mccartney.
OK, did you listen to it? You see what a different vibe we are getting from this song. Notice the charming little descriptions of events from the life of Paul’s childhood. Feel the effusiveness of the music. Hear the happiness and the joy. Notice the wonderful craft of the lines. It is friendly and welcoming. You know, all that shit. In other words, it’s a world of difference between being taken down and nothing being real. It relishes the reality of that time. And it shows a solid sense of reality and taking pleasure in it.
Ready for the math: solid sense of reality + taking pleasure in it = ISFJ.
Yes, it could equal ESFJ, or even, ESFP or ESTP, however, it really doesn’t in Paul’s case. ESFJs are pleasure-loving pigs with little sense of continence or reserve and ESFP and ESTP have much more aggressive vibes than Paul did. Paul was essentially a content and reserved guy. No existential problems. Plugging away at his craft. A genius melodist. Business savvy. Somewhat sentimental but not a deep-feeling guy. Or at least he didn’t show this in his songs. He opted and erred on the side of “La-La! It’s a celebration!” The light and floaty feelings of teenage love.
Much of the genius of the Beatles sound and its wonderful lightness and giddiness was Paul’s doing, more or less. That unconcern with getting to the bottom of things, a simple celebration and exuberance about the nature of things. The sense of all the possibilities of mundane life (listen to the refrain in the song A Day in The Life that demonstrates so quintessentially the striking contrast between Paul and John).
As for the other two Beatles, George and Ringo, I love ‘em, but they are minor players in the saga of the Beatles. The Beatles, by a far margin, were John and Paul, the Lennon/Mccartney songwriting team.
That being said, I would type George Harrison as an ISFP because of his quiet, bucolic, and god-loving vibe. He is not an INFP because INFPs are inevitably quirkier and less serious than he was. Harrison was like a quiet, hippy saint, a searcher like Lennon but a much more minor and muted one then him.
Ringo, the goofball and comic relief of the band, and in many ways, a sort of muse of the band, though in an absolutely opposite way than John was, was an ESFJ. Humble, unambitious, content, going along for the ride.
Neither Harrison nor Ringo had close to the amount of ambition or ego that Lennon and Mccartney had. Ringo had basically no ambition and George had a quiet ambition that was clear on where he stood in relation to the top two. He etched out a nice spot for himself in The Beatles and was no doubt influenced by the immense talents of Lennon and Mccartney but he was in no way a major player. That being said, some of the most beautiful and tender aching moments of The Beatles are attributable to Harrison. He also adds that moral quality of dominant introverted feeling which can be seen in his crowning moment in The Beatles with the epic, While My Guitar Gently Weeps.
This song in a nutshell: I don’t know how you got so fucked up that you would be such a heartless and irresponsible person. O, how I weep for you. Or rather my guitar does.
Ringo can be summed up in his only contribution to The Beatles with his song, Octopus Garden. Sums up an ESFJ steeped in a Beatles context rather well.
Summation of this song: I don’t care about any of the heavy shit. I just want to be under the sea in a groovy and cozy place with my honey bunny. Very charming and childish song. Similar to ISFJ but without the savviness, craft and intelligence (ISFJ has the tertiary introverted thinking after all). It is more clumsy and doglike. That is ESFJ for you.
And so there you have it folks. That is my estimation of The Beatles Myers-Briggs types.
If you disagree with any of the foregoing, you can feel free to kiss my black ass.
No, just kidding. I’m not black.