Tales of Rock – Turns out Abbey Road and Let It Be weren’t meant to be the last albums the Beatles recorded

Anyone who’s watched Let It Be, the documentary made from video of the Beatles recording (and arguing about) their final songs together as a four-person group, would assume there was never any way John, Paul, Ringo, and George would be willing—or able—to release another album together. Fans of the band have long assumed that Abbey Road, which was mainly recorded and originally intended to be released after 1970’s Let It Be, was the last proper Beatles album the group had planned to make before their break-up.

As detailed by The Guardian’s Richard Williams, in a profile of Beatles expert Mark Lewisohn, this isn’t the case. A taped meeting from September 8th, 1969 shows that The Beatles had planned to record another album, with its lead single timed for a Christmas release of that year.

The meeting described by Lewisohn and Williams occurred just before Abbey Road’s release. In it, the band (aside from Ringo, who’s in the hospital) talk about the unrecorded album’s format. John “proposes a new formula” that would’ve seen “four songs apiece from Paul, George, and himself, and two from Ringo.” He also “refers to ‘the Lennon-and-McCartney myth,’” hinting his and Paul’s previously shared song attributions “should at last be individually credited.”

This being late Beatles, there’s a good amount of sniping in the recording, too. When Paul (who Williams describes as “sounding, shall we say, relaxed”) hears that George would get “equal standing as a composer with John and himself,” he says: “I thought until this album [Abbey Road] that George’s songs weren’t that good.”

“That’s a matter of taste,” George replies. “All down the line, people have liked my songs.” The tape continues with John “telling Paul that nobody else in the group ‘dug’ his ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’” and that he should instead sell those kind of songs to other artists. “I recorded it because I liked it,” Paul says.

While the passive aggressive dynamic of this period is well-documented already, the really interesting part is the idea that the Beatles may have had at least one more properly recorded LP in them before their break-up. Lewisohn notes that, while recording Abbey Road, “they were in an almost entirely positive frame of mind,” despite what’s shown in films like Let It Be or the hindsight vindictiveness of John and George recording “How Do You Sleep At Night?”

“They had this uncanny ability to leave their problems at the studio door,” he continues. “Not entirely, but almost.” Read the entire piece for more on Lewisohn’s work, the Beatles’ final years, and more.

 

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Tales of Rock – Rush frontman Geddy Lee lists his 13 favorite albums of all time

Geddy Lee, the Canadian musician best known as the lead vocalist and bass player of famed rock band Rush, has created a list of his favorite albums.

Lee, who joined the band in 1968, has triumphed a unique technique and bass playing style which has inspired a string of musicians from Cliff Burton of Metallica to Tim Commerford of Rage Against the Machine.

Since releasing their eponymous debut album in 1974, Lee and Rush have gone on to achieve 24 gold records and 14 platinum records with astronomical album sales statistics which place them only third behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. When sitting down with The Quietus to detail some of the bands that have inspired him through the years.

Opening up with The Who and their iconic 1971 album Who’s Next?, Lee said: “Many of these records happened to be during the period when I was just beginning to find my way, not just as a musician but beginning to discover what music was all about. Pete Townsend, for me, is arguably the ultimate rock musician.”

He added: “Who’s Next was one of those albums that never left my turntable for years. For me it is the album that shows four great musicians touching their creative peak.”

Including some more predictable great such as Led Zeppelin, Cream, Genesis, Pink Floyd and Joni Mitchell, Lee did discuss some more recent musicians with Fleet Foxes, Jethro Tull and Radiohead all being name checked. “I love the very approach of Fleet Foxes. They seem to have no desire whatsoever to appear trendy,” he told Quietus. “They are simply natural, organic and are so well rooted in folk and rock that they can take both these extremes anywhere they want.”

See the full list, below.

Geddy Lee’s favorite albums of all time:

  • The Who – Who’s Next?
  • Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin
  • Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
  • Genesis – Nursery Crime
  • Jethro Tull – Thick As A Brick
  • Cream – Disraeli Gears
  • Pink Floyd – Meddle
  • Joni Mitchell – Blue
  • Jefferson Airplane – Bless Its Pointed Little Head (Live)
  • Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced?
  • Bjork – Post
  • Yes – The Yes Album
  • Radiohead – OK Computer

Detailing further, Lee said: “To me, Radiohead carried on the tradition of bands like Yes. They are always adventurous and challenging and yet they have remained ahead of the game, really.

“I love the way they blend old and new…including contemporary beats and instrumentation.”

 

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Tales of Rock – Led Zeppelin And Yes Almost Became A Supergroup Out Of Survivor’s Guilt

Will Zep and Yes form a Frankensteinian Supergroup?

I love music. I love all music. I love rock and metal especially. I have always loved the power and fury of that music as a musician and as a fan. I love talking about bands, music and trivia, and my stories with everyone I know. So I’ve decided to add a little Friday edition of a pet project I’ve been working on. I haven’t discussed it with anyone. I just want to do it. So it you show up on a Friday, you’ll get a short little twisted tale about the music industry.  I was in it a long time ago, and I welcome your likes, hates, comments and follows. I’d like to try this and keep it going with as many stories as I can remember. I will also pepper this series with people I have met in the industry. Right now I’m too busy building phicklephilly to do my personal rock and roll tales, but I assure you they will come. And they will come hard! But in the interim, please enjoy these stories as I provide them. I’ll do my very best to come up with a new tale each week!

I want to kick off your weekend with an obscure nugget that no one really knows about!

Most rock bands have a higher member turnover rate than your local McDonald’s. Sometimes they hire new members and soldier on, but other times they break up, either out of respect or because they can’t find enough warm bodies to shove into the back of a van. When both Yes and Led Zeppelin suffered this problem at about the same time, band members from both sides decided to do something radical: take the remaining members of both bands and form a new Frankensteinian supergroup.

Though a seminal band in the ’70s, Yes had fallen apart by the ’80s, mainly due to the departures of frontman Jon Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman. One day, Yes bassist Chris Squire bumped into the legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page at a Christmas party. Squire quickly found himself consoling a grieving Page over the death of his drummer John Bonham. Both of them missed the glory days, so he suggested that the remaining members of the two bands ought to come together and write an album. Page not only agreed, but went one step further and proposed that the collaboration would spawn a whole new band, called XYZ — which is short for Ex-Yes/Zeppelin, and a terrible name.

The band did actually get as far as writing and jamming out to a few songs, and even got a few demos under their belt, but as so frequently happens with young musicians, reality got in the way of their dream. First, Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant backed out of the collaboration because he thought the music was too “complicated.” Then, the managers of the respective groups started bickering over who should become head honcho of the new band. With that, the whole project simply petered out. Eventually, Squire did reunite with some of his former Yes bandmates (not Wakeman or Anderson, though) in a new band called Cinema, but nobody cared.

 

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