A newly discovered tape rewrites Beatles history
Renowned rock historian Mark Lewisohn gave The Guardian access to a tape of a meeting held 50 years ago this week between John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison at Apple HQ in London’s Savile Row. The meeting was recorded by Lennon for the benefit of drummer Ringo Starr – who was undergoing hospital tests for an intestinal complaint.
In the recording, it’s revealed that the band were planning to record another album after ‘Abbey Road’. Lennon can then be heard suggesting that he, McCartney and Harrison each bring four songs as potential candidates for inclusion on the album, and Ringo two, putting aside “the Lennon-and-McCartney myth” with each individually crediting individuals on the album.
In response, McCartney says: “I thought until this album that George’s songs weren’t that good.” Later, Harrison can be heard retorting: “That’s a matter of taste. All down the line, people have liked my songs.”
Early on the tape, Lennon discusses the prospect of their next album after ‘Abbey Road’ at length with plans for a single to be released in time for Christmas. Although their last album recorded together as a band (although ‘Let It Be’ was the last to be released), it was previously considered that Lennon played a major role in the band’s split.
“It’s a revelation,” Lewisohn told The Guardian. “The books have always told us that they knew ‘Abbey Road’ was their last album and they wanted to go out on an artistic high.
“But no – they’re discussing the next album. And you think that John is the one who wanted to break them up but, when you hear this, he isn’t. Doesn’t that rewrite pretty much everything we thought we knew?”
The revelations feature in Hornsey Road – a new musical from Lewisohn which tracks the creation of Abbey Road and its place as the final farewell from The Beatles.
The 50th anniversary of ‘Abbey Road’ will take place on September 26. Check out the new Giles Martin remix of ‘Oh! Darling’ here.