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09 Sep 2019

BY CHRIS JOHNSON

The Beatles’ Abbey Road was unleashed on the world 50 years ago this month. It became an instant record-breaking hit and is still regarded today as one of the greatest albums ever recorded. The recording sessions in the Abbey Road Studios, however, were fraught with artistic differences and rising tensions as the Fab Four reached the end of their journey as a band. It was the last time John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr would record together as a unit.

Making sure tensions remained at their peak, John insisted that his new wife Yoko Ono was present in the recording studio to observe the sessions. When Yoko sustained back injuries in a car crash midway through the sessions, a doctor told her she had to remain in bed to recover. So, John got a bed installed for Yoko inside the studio. But here are ten things you didn’t know about the recording of Abbey Road. Seriously, you won’t find these facts anywhere else. 

  • The last song on the first side of the album I Want You (She’s So Heavy) ends suddenly when it abruptly stops mid riff and jolts into an unexpected silence. That’s because Yoko stepped out to go to the bathroom and John didn’t know what to do anymore and so, looking lost and confused, he just stopped playing.
  • Yoko didn’t like Ringo’s drumming on the album’s side two medley and so snuck into the studio late one night to record over it with her own playing. She came in through the bathroom window.
  • After Paul recorded Oh! Darling, Yoko told John it was way better than the sappy Oh Yoko he was working on at the time.
  • Yoko wanted George to change the name of his Here Comes the Sun to Here Comes the Son. She was pregnant at the time. George refused.
  • On the album cover, everyone except George is wearing a suit while walking across the road. George is wearing all denim. That’s because Yoko issued the dress code invitations for the photo shoot and decided to mess with George over his refusal to change the name of Here Comes the Sun.
  • Paul isn’t wearing any shoes on the album cover because he couldn’t find them. Yoko remained poker-faced the whole time he was frantically searching for them before the photo shoot.
  • After George’s Something was released as a single from the album, Frank Sinatra described it as the greatest love song ever written. Yoko called a press conference to say she agreed with Sinatra – and to stress that it was far superior to Paul’s Oh! Darling.
  • Yoko used the same press conference to remind everyone that the single was actually a double-A side. She did this by singing an a cappella version of John’s Come Together. She invited Linda McCartney to step out from the crowd and join her at the microphone for a duet. Linda wasn’t there. There was no crowd.
  • Tension and arguments during the recording sessions of Abbey Road resulted in numerous threats from Yoko that she would quit the band.
  • Yoko told Ringo that his Octopus’s Garden was by far the best song on the whole album.

Published: 09 Sep 2019