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Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 9, 1969

It's not considered one of the Beatles' most notable tunes. It even came close to making our list of their worst songs. "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" is nonetheless important for other reasons.

On July 9, 1969, they began recording the track with one of the most famous stories in Beatles lore -- and a memorably old-fashioned sound to boot. The Beatles were rock n' rollers, but except for the Kinks, no other major British rock band was as influenced by British music hall as they were. The style -- not dissimilar from American vaudeville -- infused their wit, and several other late-period songs: "Penny Lane," "Honey Pie" and "Your Mother Should Know" owe a debt to the genre.

Those tracks, as with "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," were all written by Paul McCartney, whose perfectionist and domineering ways had alienated the other three members throughout attempts earlier in the year to record the LP that would become Let It Be. The story of this song, in fact, stretches across two albums: A clip of them rehearsing it -- complete with Paul calling out the chords -- is in the documentary from those prior sessions. And while most of the recording for Abbey Road went far more smoothly, the other Beatles were none too happy when McCartney returned to this jaunty little ditty about a man who seduces and kills women.

Source: ultimateclassicrock.com

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 8, 1969

The Beatles in the recording studio (Studio Two, EMI Studios, London). Recording overdubs for Here Comes the Sun. John Lennon is absent.

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 7, 1969

US release of the John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band single Give Peace a Chance / Remember Love (Apple). 9 weeks on Billboard chart; highest position #14.

The Beatles were in the recording studio (Studio Two, EMI Studios, London). Recording Here Comes the Sun (13 takes and an overdub). John Lennon is still absent due to his automobile accident in Scotland.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 6, 1969

No recording sessions today

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 5, 1969

Nothing Much happening today

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 4, 1969

The Beatles in the recording studio (Studio Two, EMI Studios, London). Recording overdubs for Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight. The Beatles (Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr) take some time off to listen to the BBC radio broadcast of the ladies' Wimbledon tennis championship. John Lennon has not yet recovered from injuries sustained on July 1 in an auto accident in Scotland.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 3, 1969

The Beatles in the recording studio (Studio Two, EMI Studios, London). Recording overdubs for Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight. Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr are in the studio, but John Lennon is still in the hospital in Scotland, recovering from injuries sustained in an auto accident.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 2, 1969

Paul McCartney arrived at the studio to tape Her Majesty. The song had been written in October 1968, and was premiered during the Get Back/Let It Be sessions on 9 and 24 January.

McCartney recorded three takes of the song, the first two of which were incomplete, with just vocals and acoustic guitar. At the end of the third attempt McCartney listened to a playback, and Her Majesty became a contender for the Abbey Road medley.

John Lennon didn't attend this session as he was recuperating from a car crash in Scotland. Once George Harrison and Ringo Starr arrived, however, they began work on Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight, which at this stage had the working title Golden Slumbers.

The Beatles recorded 15 takes of the backing track, which consisted of Starr's drums, Harrison's bass guitar, and McCartney's piano and lead vocals. The session ended at 8.30pm, and the best of the takes were edited together the following day to create the final backing track.

Three new Abbey Road songs were recorded on this day, although two of those were taped as one.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 1, 1969

While holidaying in Scotland with Yoko Ono, her daughter Kyoko and his son Julian, John Lennon crashed his white British Leyland Austin Maxi car near Durness in the Highlands.

John had rarely been behind the wheel since passing his test in 1965 and he was poor at navigating roads and often failed to notice other traffic. Since the roads were narrow, the weather was poor, John panicked after spotting a foreign tourist driving towards him. He lost control of his Austin Maxi, and drove into a roadside ditch. John, Yoko and Kyoko sustained cuts to the face and Ono's back was injured. They were taken to Golspie's Lawson Memorial Hospital where Lennon was given 17 facial stitches, Ono 14 in her forehead, and Kyoko four.

Julian Lennon was treated for shock but was otherwise unhurt. He was taken to stay with Lennon's Aunt Mater in Durness, around 50 miles away, before his mother Cynthia took him back to London the following day. When she arrived at the hospital to demand an explanation from Lennon he refused to see her.

Lennon remained in hospital for five days. He later told reporters, "If you're going to have a car crash, try to arrange for it to happen in the Highlands. The hospital there was just great." The crashed Austin Maxi was later transported to the couple's Tittenhurst Park estate where it was sited in the gardens.

July 1st was the first official day of recording for what became the Abbey Road album. The crash further delayed his return to London, and after being discharged from hospital he spent three days at home before finally rejoining The Beatles on July 9th.

Yoko Ono suffered worse injuries in the crash than Lennon, and was pregnant at the time. John arranged for Harrods to deliver a double bed to the studio, and had a microphone suspended above it for her to add her thoughts during the sessions that followed.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: June 30, 1969

John and Yoko vacationing in Scotland....