JOHN 1969: "'Come Together' changed at the session. We
said, 'Let's slow it down. Let's do this to it, let's do that to
it,' and it ends up however it comes out. I just said, 'Look,
I've got no arrangement for you, but you know how I want it.' I
think that's partly because we've played together a long time.
So I said, 'Give me something funky and set up a beat, maybe.'
And they all just joined in."
PAUL 1969: "On the new album I like 'Come Together,'
which is a great one of John's."
JOHN 1980: "'Come Together' is me-- writing obscurely
around an old Chuck Berry thing. I left the line 'Here comes old
flat-top.' It is nothing like the Chuck Berry song, but they
took me to court because I admitted the influence once years
ago. I could have changed it to 'Here comes old iron face,' but
the song remains independent of Chuck Berry or anybody else on
earth. The thing was created in the studio. It's gobbledygook--
'Come Together' was an expression that Tim Leary had come up
with for his attempt at being president or whatever he wanted to
be, and he asked me to write a campaign song. I tried and I
tried, but I couldn't come up with one. But I came up with this,
'Come Together,' which would've been no good to him-- you
couldn't have a campaign song like that, right? Leary attacked
me years later, saying I ripped him off. I didn't rip him off.
It's just that it turned into 'Come Together.' What am I going
to do, give it to him? It was a funky record-- it's one of my
favorite Beatle tracks, or, one of my favorite Lennon tracks,
let's say that. It's funky, it's bluesy, and I'm singing it
pretty well. I like the sound of the record. You can dance to
it. I'll buy it!" (laughs)
JOHN 1969: "I think that's about the best track on the
PAUL 1969: "I like George's song 'Something.' For me I
think it's the best he's written."
GEORGE 1969: "I wrote the song 'Something' for the album
before this one, but I never finished it off until just
recently. I usually get the first few lines of words and music
together, both at once... and then finish the rest of the
melody. Then I have to write the words. It's like another song I
wrote when we were in India. I wrote the whole first verse and
just said everything I wanted to say, and so now I need to write
a couple more verses. I find that much more difficult. But John
gave me a handy tip. He said, 'Once you start to write a song,
try to finish it straight away while you're still in the same
mood.' Sometimes you go back to it and you're in a whole
different state of mind. So now, I do try to finish them
GEORGE 1980: "'Something' was written on the piano while
we were making the White Album. I had a break while Paul was
doing some overdubbing so I went into an empty studio and began
to write. That's really all there is to it, except the middle
took some time to sort out. It didn't go on the White Album
because we'd already finished all the tracks."
MAXWELL'S SILVER HAMMER(Lennon/McCartney)
JOHN 1969: "He (Paul) did quite alot of work on it. I
was ill after the (automobile) accident while they did most of
the track, and I believe he really ground George and RIngo into
the ground recording it. We spent more money on that song than
any of them on the whole album, I think."
GEORGE 1969: "The song 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' is one
of Paul's which we've been trying to record for ages. It's one
of those instant whistle-along tunes which some people hate, and
other people really like. It's a fun song, but it's kinda sick
because Maxwell keeps on killing everyone."
PAUL circa-1994: "'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' is my analogy
for when something goes wrong out of the blue, as it so often
does, as I was beginning to find out at that time in my life. I
wanted something symbolic of that, so to me it was some
fictitious character called Maxwell with a silver hammer. I
don't know why it was silver, it just sounded better than
Maxwell's hammer. It was needed for scanning. We still use that
expression now when something unexpected happens."
JOHN 1980: "'Oh! Darling' was a great one of Paul's
that he didn't sing too well. I always thought that I could've
done it better-- it was more my style than his. He wrote it, so
what the hell, he's going to sing it. If he'd had any sense he
should have let me sing it." (laughs)
PAUL circa-1994: "I mainly remember wanting to get the
vocal right, wanting to get it good, and I ended up trying each
morning as I came into the recording session. I tried it with a
hand mike, and I tried it with a standing mike, I tried it every
which way, and finally got the vocal I was reasonably happy
with. It's a bit of a belter and if it comes off lukewarm then
you've missed the whole point. It was unusual for me-- I would
normally try all the goes at a vocal in one day."
GEORGE 1969: "'Octopus's Garden' is Ringo's song. It's
only the second song Ringo has ever written, mind you, and it's
lovely. Ringo gets bored with just playing drums all the time,
so at home he sometimes plays a bit of piano, but unfortunately
he only knows about three chords. He knows about the same on
guitar too. This song gets very deep into your consciousness,
though because it's so peaceful. I suppose Ringo is writing
cosmic songs these days without even realizing it."
RINGO 1981: "He (a ship captain) told me all about
octopuses-- how they go 'round the sea bed and pick up stones
and shiny objects and build gardens. I thought, 'How fabulous!'
because at the time I just wanted to be under the sea, too. I
wanted to get out of it for a while."
I WANT YOU (SHE'S SO HEAVY)
GEORGE 1969: "It is very heavy. John plays lead guitar
and sings, and it's basically just an old blues riff he's doing,
but again, it's a very original John-type song as well... It's a
very good chord sequence he used on this particular one."
JOHN 1969: "We used a Moog synthesizer on the end. That
machine can do all sounds and all ranges of sound."
JOHN 1971: "Simplicity is evident in 'She So Heavy.' In
fact a reviewer wrote: 'He seems to have lost his talent for
lyrics, it's so simple and boring.' When it gets down to it--
when you're drowning, you don't say 'I would be incredibly
pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me
drowning and come and help me,' you just scream."
JOHN 1980: "That's me, about Yoko."
HERE COMES THE SUN(Harrison)
GEORGE 1980: "...written at a time when Apple was
getting like school, where we had to go and be businessmen-- all
this signing accounts, and 'sign this' and 'sign that.' Anyway,
it seems as if winter in England goes on forever; by the time
spring comes you really deserve it. So one day I decided, 'I'm
going to sag-off Apple,' and I went over to Eric Clapton's
house. I was walking in his garden. The relief of not having to
go and see all those dopey accountants was wonderful. And I was
walking around the garden with one of Eric's acoustic guitars,
and wrote 'Here Comes The Sun.'"
PAUL 1969: "I like John's 'Because' on the second
side. To say, 'Because the world is round it turns me on' is
great. And 'Because the wind is high it blows my mind'"
GEORGE 1969: "I think my favorite one on the album is
'Because.' The lyrics are uncomplicated... but the harmony was
actually pretty difficult to sing. I think it's one of those
tunes that will definitely impress most people."
JOHN 1980: "I was lying on the sofa in our house,
listening to Yoko play Beethoven's 'Moonlight Sonata' on the
piano. Suddenly, I said, 'Can you play those chords backward?'
She did, and I wrote 'Because' around them. The song sounds like
'Moonlight Sonata,' too. The lyrics are clear, no bulls--t, no
imagery, no obscure references."
YOU NEVER GIVE ME YOUR MONEY
GEORGE 1969: "It does two verses of one tune, and then
the bridge is almost like a different song altogether, so it's
PAUL 1988: "We wanted to dabble, and I had a bit of fun
making some of the songs fit together, with key changes (into
the long medley). That was nice. It worked out well."
JOHN 1969: "We just started joking, you know, singing
`quando para mucho.´ So we just made up... Paul knew a few
Spanish words from school, you know. So we just strung any
Spanish words that sounded vaguely like something. And of course
we got `chicka ferdy´ in. That´s a Liverpool expression. Just
like sort of-- it doesn´t mean anything to me but (childish
taunting) `na-na, na-na-na!´ `Cake and eat it´ is another nice
line too, because they have that in Spanish-- 'Que' or something
can eat it. One we missed-- we could have had 'para noya,' but
we forgot all about it."
JOHN 1980: "That's a piece of garbage I had around."
GEORGE 1987: "At the time, 'Albatross' (by Fleetwood Mac)
was out, with all the reverb on guitar. So we said, 'Let's be
Fleetwood Mac doing Albatross, just to get going.' It never
really sounded like Fleetwood Mac... but that was the point of
MEAN MR. MUSTARD(Lennon/McCartney)
JOHN 1980: "I'd read somewhere in the newspaper about
this mean guy who hid his five-pound notes, not up his nose but
'somewhere else.' No, it had nothing to do with cocaine."
PAUL circa-1994: "'Mean Mr Mustard' was very John. I
liked that. A nice quirky song."
JOHN 1980: "That was me, remembering a little event
with a woman in Jersey, and a man who was England's answer to
Allen Ginsberg, who gave us our first exposure... I met him when
we were on tour and he took me back to his apartment, and I had
a girl and he had one he wanted me to meet. He said she dressed
up in polythene, which she did. She didn't wear jackboots, and
kilts, I just sort of elaborated. Perverted sex in a polythene
bag-- Just looking for something to write about."
SHE CAME IN THROUGH THE BATHROOM WINDOW
GEORGE 1969: "A very strange song of Paul's with
terrific lyrics, but it's hard to explain what they're all
JOHN 1980: "He wrote that when we were in New York
announcing Apple and we first met Linda. Maybe she's the one
that came in the window."
GEORGE 1969: "Another very melodic tune of Paul's
which is also quite nice."
JOHN 1969: "It was up to Paul where he went with violins
and what he did with them, and I think he wanted a stright kind
of backing-- nothing freaky."
PAUL 1969: "I was just playing the piano in Liverpool at
my dad's house, and my sister Ruth's piano book... she was
learning piano... and 'Golden Slumbers and your old favorites'
was up on the stand, you know-- it was a little book with all
those words in it. I was just flipping through it and I came to
'Golden Slumbers.' I can't read music so I didn't know the
tune... I can't remember the old tune... so I just started
playing 'my' tune to it. And then, I liked the words so I just
kept that, you know, and then it fitted with another bit of song
I had-- which is the verse in between it. So I just made that
into a song. It just happened 'cuz I was reading her book."
CARRY THAT WEIGHT(Lennon/McCartney)
JOHN 1980: "That's Paul. Apparently he was under
strain at that period."
PAUL circa-1994: "I'm generally quite upbeat, but at
certain times things get to me so much that I just can't be
upbeat anymore and that was one of those times. 'Carry that
weight a long time'-- like forever! That's what I meant... in
this heaviness there was no place to be. It was serious,
paranoid heaviness and it was just very uncomfortable."
JOHN 1980: "That's Paul again, the unfinished song,
right? Just a piece at the end. He had a line in it, (sings)
'And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you
make,' which is a very cosmic, philosophical line-- which again
proves that if he wants to, he can think."
PAUL 1988: "Ringo would never do drum solos. He hated
drummers who did lengthy drum solos. We all did. And when he
joined the Beatles we said, 'Ah, what about drum solos then?'
and he said, 'I hate 'em!' We said, 'Great! We love you!' And so
he would never do them. But because of this medley I said,
'Well, a token solo?' and he really dug his heels in and didn't
want to do it. But after a little bit of gentle persuasion I
said, '...it wouldn't be Buddy Rich gone mad,' because I think
that's what he didn't want to do. ... anyway we came to this
compromise, it was a kind of a solo. I don't think he's done one
PAUL 1994: "We were looking for the end to an album, and
'In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make'
just came into my head. I just recognized that would be a good
end to an album. And it's a good little thing to say-- now and
for all time, I think. I can't think of anything much better as
a philosophy, because all you need IS love. It still is what you
need. There aint nothin' better. So, you know, I'm very proud to
be in the band that did that song, and that thought those
thoughts, and encouraged other people to think them to help them
get through little problems here and there. So uhh... We done
PAUL 1969: "That was just... I don't know. I was in
Scotland, and I was just writing this little tune. I can never
tell, like, how tunes come out. I just wrote it as a joke."
THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO
JOHN 1980: "Well, guess who wrote that? I wrote that
in Paris on our honeymoon. It's a piece of journalism. It's a
folk song. That's why I called it, 'The Ballad Of...'"
PAUL 1988: "John came to me and said, 'I've got this song
about our wedding and it's called The Ballad Of John And Yoko,
Christ They're Gonna Crucify Me, and I said 'Jesus Christ,
you're kidding aren't you? Someone really is going to get upset
about it.' He said, 'Yeah, but let's do it.' I was a little
worried for him because of the lyric but he was going through
alot of terrible things. He came around to my house, wanting to
do it really quick. He said, 'Let's just you and me run over to
the studio.' I said 'Oh alright, I'll play drums, I'll play
bass.' John played guitar. So we did it and stood back to see if
the other guys would hate us for it-- which I'm not sure about.
They probably never forgave us. John was on heat, so to speak.
He needed to record it so we just ran in and did it."
OLD BROWN SHOE(Harrison)
GEORGE 1980: "I started the chord sequences on the
piano, which I don't really play, and then began writing ideas
for the words from various opposites... Again, it's the duality
of things-- yes no, up down, left right, right wrong, etcetera."
REGARDING 'THE MEDLEY' ON ABBEY ROAD
JOHN 1969: "We always have tons of bits and pieces
lying around. I've got stuff I wrote around Pepper, because you
lose interest after you've had it for years. It was a good way
of getting rid of bits of songs. In fact, George and Ringo wrote
bits of it... literally in between bits and breaks. Paul would
say, 'We've got twelve bars here-- fill it in,' and we'd fill it
in on the spot. As far as we're concerned, this album is more 'Beatley'
than the double (White) album."
RINGO 1976: "The second side of Abbey Road is my
favorite. I love it. 'She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,'
and all those bits that weren't songs, I mean, they were just
all the bits that John and Paul had around that we roped
ON THE ALBUM COVER & 'PAUL IS DEAD' CLUES
PAUL 1974: "I had just turned up at a photo session,
and it was a hot day in London, a really nice hot day... and I
think I wore sandals. I only had to walk around the corner to
the crossing because I lived pretty nearby. And for the photo
session I thought, 'I´ll take my sandals off.' You know, so
what? Barefoot, nice warm day-- I didn't feel like wearing
shoes. So I went around to the photo session and showed me bare
feet. Of course, when that comes out and people start looking at
it they say, 'Why has he got no shoes on? He´s never done that
before.' Okay, you´ve never seen me do it before, but in actual
fact it´s just me with my shoes off. Turns out to be some old
Mafia sign of death or something."
ON BRAINSTORMING FOR ALBUM TITLES
RINGO 1969: "We went through weeks of all saying, 'Why
don't we call it Billy's Left Boot,' and things like that. And
then Paul just said, 'Why don't we call it Abbey Road?'"
PAUL 1988: "You see, when you're thinking of album
titles, alot of loose talk goes around. It's what American film
people or advertising people call 'Off the top of my head.' You
have alot of thoughts that are going to be rejected. We were
stuck for an album title and the album didn't appear to have any
obvious concept, except that it had all been done in the studio
and it had been done by us. And (studio engineer) Geoff Emerick
used to have these packets of Everest cigarettes always sitting
by him, and we thought, 'That's good (Everest), it's big and
it's expansive.' ...but we didn't really like it in the end. We
said, 'Nah, come on! You can't name an album after a ciggie