When it comes to the Beatles’ landmark Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, most people think of 1967. After all, the album hit record stores in June of that year, and you could hear the sounds of “A Day in the Life” coming through open windows all summer long.
But work on the record began much earlier. Following the Beatles’ final tour in the summer of ’66, the band took a much-needed break and met up in the studio with plans to try something completely different.
For starters, it meant creating music they could only play in a studio (as opposed to a stage). And they’d spend as much time as it took to get it right. If that meant going for two weeks on a single song, that didn’t faze them.
However, Beatles manager Brian Epstein wanted to keep the cash flowing as it had in previous years. When John Lennon and Paul McCartney produced masterpieces early in the Sgt. Pepper sessions, saving them for the album seemed pointless. So Epstein sent them out together as an epic single.
Linda McCartney left this world more than 20 years ago, and yet for many she’s—at best—a harmless rock ‘n’ roll footnote. At worst, she’s the hated woman who had the damnable gumption to marry Beatle Paul. In the annals of Beatles history, only Yoko Ono has suffered a more dismal fate.
As the recent rerelease of Linda’s posthumous solo album "Wide Prairie" powerfully reminds us, her legacy was none of those things. Anyone who’s familiar with her backstory knows that she was so much more: a gifted photographer with an eye for finding the everyday nuance in her subjects; a devoted wife and mother — she and Paul were married for 29 years — an eternity in the entertainment business and a goodly number, quite frankly, for any couple; and a musician and singer who struggled to hone her craft in spite of the avalanche of critics she faced whenever she had the gall to perform with her husband, which amounted to several hundred times.
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“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is one of The Beatles most famous songs and arguably one of George Harrison’s masterpieces, amongst a host of increidble songs. It was recorded in 1968 as part of the White Album sessions. The song was written as an exercise in randomness where he consulted the Chinese I Ching or the Classic of Changes book.
Whilst the sessions went ahead for the White Album, Harrison, McCartney, Lennon and Ringo’s relationship was beginning to really swell. Arguments were rife and Harrison felt his song was getting overshadowed from the main songwriting of Lennon & McCartney, he looked elsewhere for inspiration after struggling with inspiration for his guitar parts for over a month.
Harrison, instead of turning to his bandmates, asked close friend Eric Clapton for help. On the 6th September Clapton turned up at Abbey Road Studio to do just that. In a 1987 interview with Guitar Player magazine, Harrison was asked whether it had bruised his ego to ask Clapton to play on the song.
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Over the years, George Harrison built up quite a following as “the quiet Beatle.” Fans loved his style as the Beatles’ lead guitar player and his occasional songwriting effort, starting with “Don’t Bother Me,” which he penned in 1963.
That track appeared on the second album by the Fab Four. By the mid-’60s, George’s skills as a songwriter had grown to the point that one of his tunes (“Taxman”) led off the classic Revolver album (1966). Beatles producer George Martin had definitely begun to believe in him by then.
Though George still struggled with technical aspects of his guitar playing, there was no questioning the maturity of his songwriting by ’66. Meanwhile, his explorations of Indian music and meditation expanded the band’s musical palette and made the Beatles stronger for it.
While Revolver was a great showing for George, his song-count fell off a cliff with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. On that landmark album, George only had one track. But he roared back the following year, posting his highest song total on any Beatles album.
And they say legends don't do signings
Paul McCartney is going to be signing copies of his new picture book Hey Grandude! in London, it has been revealed.
Read more: The wisdom of Macca: what Paul McCartney told students at the college he founded
The Beatle will take part in a rare signing at the Piccadilly branch of London’s Waterstones alongside illustrator Kathryn Durst to celebrate his new children’s book on September 6.
During the special appearance, McCartney will read the story of ‘Grandude’ – “a super-cool Grandad who takes his grandchildren on a whirlwind magical mystery tour, from tropical seas to Alpine mountains, all before bedtime!”
The news was shared from McCartney’s official Twitter account today (August 8), on the same day as the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ iconic ‘Abbey Road’ photoshoot.
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‘Something’ was the one and only time The Beatles ever allocated George an A-Side. When I spoke to George in 1994 he told me that as a songwriter it frustrated him that be was given a lower priority than Paul and George. “It wasn’t so much the “A” side of a single but it was frustrating at times when we had to wade through millions of “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’s” before we could get to one of mine. You know because I think now that when you look retrospectively that there were a couple of my tunes that were good enough, or better, than one’s that Paul or John had written occasionally. But you know, that’s just how it was. It doesn’t bother me really. I was just on hold for a while”.
George also confirmed that ‘Something’ was not written about his then wife Patti. He was thinking of Ray Charles when he wrote it. “I just wrote it and then somebody put together a video and what they did, was they went out and got some footage of me and Patti, Paul and Linda, Ringo and Maureen, it was at that time, and John and Yoko and they just made up a little video to go with it, so then everybody presumed I wrote it about Patti, but act details
On the morning of Friday August 8th, 50 years ago, The Beatles were photographed walking across a pedestrian crossing in London.
The image of George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and John Lennon striding across the road outside EMI studios in St John's Wood became the cover shot of their Abbey Road album and probably the most iconic photo of the Fab Four.
It was taken by the late Scottish photographer Iain Macmillan who stood on a ladder in the middle of the street while a policeman blocked the traffic. The whole thing was done in roughly 10 minutes.
Glasgow-based author Ken McNab, author of And in the End: The Last Days of the Beatles, told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that relations between the band members were strained at the time and it was just weeks before they split up entirely.
He said: "They were professionally and personally exhausted".
Mr McNab said Macmillan, who died in 2006, was very modest about the picture.
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Photographer Iain Macmillan fired off just six snaps of John, Paul, George and Ringo — The Beatles — striding single-file across a zebra crossing while a police officer stopped traffic on Abbey Road.
Fifty years on from that moment on August 8, 1969, it is estimated the suburban crossing in London, England, is photographed at least six times every hour, as thousands of fans seek to imitate what became one of the most enduring images in pop culture.
That count surged yesterday as fans gathered, some travelling from across the globe, to celebrate the milestone anniversary.
The Beatles detailed expanded 50th anniversary editions of their classic 1969 album, Abbey Road. The new editions will be available on September 27 and feature a remixed version of the LP along with previously unreleased outtakes and demos from the recording sessions.
Each of the new Abbey Road 50th anniversary editions come with the updated album remixed from the original eight-track session tapes. The Super Deluxe Edition comes with 23 outtake and demo tracks, including “The Long One” rehearsal of the Abbey Road side two medley, and a Blu-ray disc containing a Dolby Atmos mix of the record, a 5.1 surround mix of the album and a hi-res stereo mix of the album. Also included is a 100-page hardback book containing never-before-seen photos, track-by-track analysis and session notes, a foreword by Paul McCartney and more.
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The Beatles' upcoming expanded box set of 1969's Abbey Road promises another treasure trove of previously unheard music. But with no track listing available yet, eager fans are left to guess about just what will be included on the reissue.
Will we finally get an officially released version of the medley in its intended order? George Harrison's lost guitar solo on "Here Comes the Sun"? The extended version of "Carry That Weight"? "Her Majesty" with John Lennon on slide?
Until the official news arrives, it's all conjecture. But here's a deeper look at some of the most intriguing leftovers from the sessions that produced Abbey Road.
First, note that many of these songs began their lives well before the album's main recording dates in the summer of 1969. The Beatles' initial run-throughs of "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam" actually date back to the White Album demo sessions on May 29, 1968, at George Harrison's Kinfauns estate in Esher.