Published Sep 11, 2019A new tape recording revealed by a renowned Beatles historian has uncovered that the iconic band were planning to release another album following 1969's Abbey Road.
In conversation with the Guardian, historian Mark Lewisohn revealed a recorded meeting between John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison at Apple Records headquarters on September 8, 1969.
The meeting was recorded due to the absence of drummer Ringo Starr, who was in hospital undergoing tests for an intestinal illness. Lennon dictates, "Ringo — you can't be here, but this is so you can hear what we're discussing."
The taped meeting features discussions among the three present members about a follow-up to the iconic Abbey Road and to plot a single release around Christmas that year. Abbey Road was the final album the Beatles recorded together, despite Let It Be receiving an official release afterwards.
"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 tape finds Lennon suggesting each member bring in songs as candidates for the aforementioned single release, while also floating a formula for the Abbey Road follow-up: four songs each from McCartney, Harrison and himself, while Starr would have two "if he wants them."
Lennon also addresses "the Lennon-and-McCartney myth," suggesting the songs should be individually credited. McCartney takes issue with the idea, saying, "I thought until this album that George's songs weren't that good." Harrison shoots back, "That's a matter of taste. All down the line, people have liked my songs."
Lennon then tells McCartney that no one in the group "dug" his song "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" and suggests he offer them to outside artists such as Welsh folk singer Mary Hopkin. McCartney replies, "I recorded it because I liked it."
Lewisohn's finds will be chronicled in a new stage show dubbed Hornsey Road, which will see him use tape, film photographs, new audio mixes of the music, memorabilia and his own anecdotes to tell the story of Abbey Road. Dates for the show can be found here.
Abbey Road is set to receive a massive 50th anniversary reissue later this month. The reissue package arrives September 27 through Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe.