In response, McCartney challenges the idea that Harrison carries equal songwriting weight. “I thought until this album that George’s songs weren’t that good,” he says on the recording. Harrison — who contributed two of his most iconic tracks, “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun,” to Abbey Road — fires back, “That’s a matter of taste. All down the line, people have liked my songs.”
Lennon notes that no one else in the band “dug” McCartney’s quirky Abbey Road track “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” and argues that his bandmate should donate material in a similar vein to outside performers, including the Welsh folk artist Mary Hopkin. McCartney maintains that he recorded the song “because [he] liked it.”
Lewisohn — who has written multiple Beatles books, including the acclaimed 1988 tome The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years — utilizes the audio in his upcoming stage show Hornsey Road, which traces the band’s final run using tape, film, photographs, memorabilia and new audio mixes.
As the author told The Guardian, the recording bucks the traditional view that the Beatles recorded Abbey Road as their resilient swan-song after the notoriously fraught Let It Be sessions. “It’s a revelation,” he said. “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?”
A Super Deluxe 50th anniversary Abbey Road reissue featuring unreleased takes and demos is out September 27th via Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe.