Few creative relationships are as memorable as that of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Without the other neither may have become famous, and there would be no Strawberry Fields to Imagine.

McCartney said in an interview earlier this year in The Atlantic that he and John wrote nearly 300 songs together. “I’d go to his house, or he’d go to mine, and we’d sit down for approximately three hours and try and write a song. And I realized we never came away without a song.” He goes on to explain that they nearly had one bad day, but after toying some lyrics for a few hours after a cup of tea they agreed to change the key line from ‘golden ring’ to ‘drive my car’… The rest is history.

While many might wish to consider John and Paul as two individual creatives in the same team, their relationship disputes the myth of the lone genius. And so do the partnerships of Clarence Clemons and Bruce Springsteen, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, J. R. R. Tolkein and C. S. Lewis. These are relationships that have changed lives, made history and created movements. I don’t doubt there are many real examples that show that individuals in and of themselves are creative powerhouses, but for the most part we have – and need – help.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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