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The Beatles

A New Tape Recording Sheds Light On he Final Days Of The Beatles

Eric Koch / Anefo [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
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LONDON (CelebrityAccess) — A new tape recording has shed light into the final days of The Beatles, suggesting that the generally accepted history of the iconic band’s dissolution may not be accurate.

Most Beatles fans point the finger at Yoko Ono for helping to break the band up, with her close relationship with John Lennon contributing to his alienation with his former bandmates and exacerbating already existing creative differences within the group.

The common wisdom also suggests the Beatles knew that Abbey Road was to be their final album before Lennon announced his plan to exit from the band, allowing the Beatles to sail off into the sunset on a high note.

Mark Lewisohn. Credit: Eddie Janssens

However, an audio recording discovered by Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn sheds new light onto that tumultuous period in the band’s history and appears to cast the common wisdom into question.

The tape, which captures a meeting between John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison on September 8th, 1969 following the final recording session for Abbey Road, was recorded for Ringo Starr, who was in the hospital undergoing tests that day. On the recording John can be heard saying: “Ringo – you can’t be here, but this is so you can hear what we’re discussing.”

According to The Guardian, the tape captures the Beatles discussing plans for their next album, including the potential of releasing a single in time for Christmas.

“It’s a revelation. 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,” Lewisohn told The Guardian.

The tape also suggests the Beatles were rethinking the basics of how the band worked, with Lennon suggesting that each member of the group submit songs for possible inclusion on the next album and that the album include four songs each from John, Paul, and George, and two from Ringo.

The tape also hints at some of the friction within the group. According to the Guardian, a section of the tape includes McCartney snarking on George Harrison when he says “I thought until this album that George’s songs weren’t that good,” to which Harrison replies, “That’s a matter of taste. All down the line, people have liked my songs.”

Lennon then takes McCartney to task for “Maxwell’s Hammer” suggesting that no one in the group “dug” the song and the group should have given it to another artist, such as Mary Hopkin, the Welsh folk singer, to record.

Sir Paul wasn’t having it though and noted that “I recorded it because I liked it.”

Lewisohn, who has written several magisterial compendiums on different aspects of the history of the Beatles, is marking the 50th anniversary of Abbey Road with Hornsey Road, a live theatrical tour presentation covering the history of the seminal album and the final days of the band.

The tour kicks off on Sept. 18th at Theatre Royal, Northampton with additional dates through the Autumn before the tour concludes at HOME in Manchester on Dec. 4th.

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