Beatles Didn't Intend Abbey Road as Final Album


The meeting, caught on Lennon’s tape recorder, opens with him saying “Ringo, you can’t be here, but this is so you can hear what we’re discussing.” The band’s future looks promising as Lennon suggests splitting up the songwriting pies into more equal slices for subsequent albums. Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison would get four songs each, and Starr would get two “if he wants them.” McCartney balks at giving Harrison an equal share of the vinyl.

“I thought until this album that George’s songs weren’t that good,” McCartney is heard critiquing. “That’s a matter of taste,” Harrison responds. “All down the line, people have liked my songs.” During the Let It Be sessions, McCartney vetoed Lennon’s idea of adding Billy Preston to the band full-time because “four Beatles were enough.” Those sessions, which were filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg for the band’s final film, caught the Beatles disintegrating into separate parts. Lewisohn says the band “were in an almost entirely positive frame of mind” while recording Abbey Road. “They had this uncanny ability to leave their problems at the studio door – not entirely, but almost.”

On the tape, Lennon says “silly” songs like “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” which no one in the band “dug,” should be given to other performers, like Welsh folk singer Mary Hopkins, who’d recently recorded McCartney’s song “Goodbye.” Lennon asks whether McCartney even liked “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” “I recorded it because I liked it,” Paul says.

Lennon also suggests breaking up the “Lennon/McCartney” songwriting credit, which he calls “the Lennon-and-McCartney myth.”

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The tape is a part of Lewisohn’s upcoming stage show Hornsey Road. Early recording sessions for Abbey Road were held at Olympic in Barnes and Trident on Hornsey Road in London’s Soho district. The show will tell the story of the album using tape, film, photos, new audio mixes of the music, anecdotes and memorabilia. “It’s a story of the people, the art, the people around them, the lives they were leading, and the break-up,” Lewisohn told the Guardian. The stage show was inspired his appearance as the keynote speaker at a three-day symposium on the Beatles’ White Album at a university in New Jersey.

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