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Pop is awash with nepo babies – Lennon and McCartney are just the latest. But why aren’t they better at it? | Simon Price

Other fields are plagued with famous people’s offspring too, yet musical genius seems particularly difficult to pass down the generations

Talent, sang Russell Mael of the band Sparks, is an asset. And that asset can be handed down from generation to generation. However, there is almost invariably an almighty inheritance tax at play, depleting the genius of the parent so that by the time it reaches the offspring it is, at best, mere competence.

In music, it is vanishingly rare for the heir to outshine the ancestor. To use a football analogy, for every Erling Haaland or Frank Lampard Jr there are a dozen Paul Dalglishes and Jordi Cruyffs. Which brings me to Primrose Hill, which James McCartney released in collaboration with Sean Ono Lennon last week. An instantly forgettable pastoral number about a pleasant day spent at a London beauty spot, it only received its moderate flurry of interest because it revives the songwriting credit Lennon-McCartney. (It’s marginally better than the Beatles’ own AI-enhanced dirge Now and Then, but that’s a low bar.) It isn’t outright awful, but it’s three minutes of your life you’re never getting back.

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