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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 7, 1966

A previously unreleased letter that George Harrison wrote to Atlanta DJ Paul Drew in May of 1966 reveals that the Beatles seriously contemplated recording at Stax in Memphis with producer Jim Stewart before the plan was derailed by financial issues. "We would all like it a lot," Harrison wrote by hand, "but too many people get insane with money ideas at the mention of the word 'Beatles,' and so it fell through!"

Word of the proposed Stax sessions has circulated before, but it was always said they pulled out due to security issues. It was also never known they contemplated working with Jim Stewart as opposed to George Martin, the only producer they'd ever worked with until the end of their career three years later. 

The letter, which was postmarked May 7th, 1966, was written when the Beatles were in the early stages of recording Revolver. "The album we are making now should be out around October," Harrison wrote. "But I hear Capitol will make an intermediate album with unused tracks from Rubber Soul, a few old singles and about two or three of the new tracks we have just cut…Well I am off to the studio any minute, as soon as John and Ringo arrive." That "intermediate" album would eventually be released as Yesterday and Today.

"The general assessment is that Capitol did pretty much whatever they wanted with Beatles records," Gold says. "To see that George had a very specific understanding of what Yesterday and Today was going to be before it came out was kind of a revelation too. It surprised me."


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