Had there been one more Beatles album, what songs would have been included?
June 16, 2011 9:32 PM   Subscribe

Assuming that the Beatles had released one more album, what would it have included based on the best songs that they released immediately after the band broke up?
posted by notcostello to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
There's a ton of speculation about this on the google. This is the first one that came up.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:38 PM on June 16, 2011

The search I used.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:39 PM on June 16, 2011

I came up with two albums in this thread (under a different username):

My general assumption has been that the first solo album from each of them would correspond to the first "lost Beatles album," and so on, but I've strayed from this when it's useful. After all, this is all counterfactual -- we don't know how their songwriting progress would have been affected if they had stayed together, so there's no reason to stick to a rigid timeline.

I haven't included any Ringo songs since I don't know many of his solo songs, but I've noted some non-Ringo songs that they could have had him sing.

Lost Beatles album #1
1. Give Peace a Chance (John)**
2. Maybe I’m Amazed (Paul)
3. What Is Life (George)
4. Working Class Hero (John)
5. Dear Boy (Paul)*
6. Isolation (John)
7. I’d Have You Anytime (George)
8. Every Night (Paul) (could be sung by Ringo)
9. Cold Turkey (John)**
10. Junk (Paul)
11. I Found Out (John)
12. All Things Must Pass (George)

(Sources: Paul McCartney - McCartney and *Ram. John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band and **singles. George Harrison - All Things Must Pass.)

Notes: "Teddy Boy" would not likely have been included; the Beatles recorded it, and John was apparently unenthusiastic about it based on his performance in the Anthology. "Mother" and "God" are too confessional/personal and John-oriented to have fit with the Beatles (even if you fixed the lyrics to "God"). I've arbitrarily taken one song from Paul's next album to compensate for the dearth of strong songs on his first album. (You could use "That Would Be Something," but I don't think it would have made the Beatles' cut.) This album is heavy on George, but not more so than Revolver. I'm not using "My Sweet Lord" because John said in an interview that George should have known it would get him in legal trouble due to plagiarizing "He's So Fine."

Lost Beatles album #2
1. Too Many People (Paul)
2. Imagine (John)
3. Living in a Material World (George)
4. Ram On (Paul)
5. Crippled Inside (John)
6. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey (Paul) (could be sung by Ringo)
7. Remember (John)*
8. Wah-Wah (George)**
9. 3 Legs (Paul)
10. Monkberry Moon Delight (Paul)
11. Isn’t it a Pity (George)**
12. Jealous Guy (John)

(Sources: Paul McCartney - Ram. John Lennon - Imagine and *Plastic Ono Band. George Harrison - Living in the Material World and **All Things Must Pass.)

Notes: They definitely would have used "3 Legs" because John said in an interview it was one of the few Paul solo songs that he liked. This list shows that I'm not much of a fan of the Imagine album aside from the title track and "Jealous Guy." I compensated for this by carrying over "Remember" from his first album (which would have also made the previous album too John-heavy). You could add "Oh! Yoko" from Imagine but I don't think the Beatles would have used something that was so focused on one of their wives by name. The Beatles obviously wouldn't have used "How Do You Sleep?," John's vicious attack on Paul. I've been pretty free in saving up George's songs because I figure he was more willing to keep things stored up in his backlog (as the world found out when he released All Things Must Pass as a triple album). This album is, again, heavier on George than most Beatles albums, but his solo output is just too strong not to take advantage of.
posted by John Cohen at 9:48 PM on June 16, 2011 [8 favorites]

You could add "Oh! Yoko" from Imagine but I don't think the Beatles would have used something that was so focused on one of their wives by name.

The Beatles released "The Ballad of John and Yoko" as a single, credited to Lennon/McCartney.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:57 PM on June 16, 2011

One characteristic I think the album would have: few George songs. He talked frequently and bitterly about how his songs would be barely humored while they had work on every Maxwell's Silver Hammer that came out of Paul. It's one of the reasons he released such a huge album, right after they split up.
posted by Ashley801 at 10:21 PM on June 16, 2011

There's a tribute band called the "Fab Faux", and they did some performances back in '07 (and maybe since, I can't tell), based on the same premise you ask about, and tried to keep in the tone of a Beatles-era production. I don't know if there's any audio or video recordings of the shows.

They're more of a tribute band that focuses on musical replication, rather than just impressionists, and their most well-known member is Will Lee, bassist for David Letterman's Late Show band.

The Fab Faux's set will include the John Lennon songs "Jealous Guy," "Instant Karma," "Mother," "Remember" and "Gimme Some Truth." From Paul McCartney comes "Maybe I'm Amazed," "Every Night," "Another Day," "Hot as Sun/Glasses" and "Oo You." They'll also perform George Harrison's tunes "All Things Must Pass" and his solo hit "My Sweet Lord" and "What is Life."

And no late Beatles album would be complete without a Ringo Starr song, in this case, "It Don't Come Easy."

posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:39 AM on June 17, 2011

Mark Hertsgaard's book A Day in the Life quotes Paul as saying that they'd agreed that the next album would consist of "four Paul songs, four John songs, four George songs, four Ringo songs, which wasn't gonna be right, it wasn't the right balance."

That said, anything from Paul's first solo album, which was actually released before Let It Be, would fit the bill, and we have Beatle-era demos for some of George's best All Things Must Pass material (notable exceptions: "What Is Life," "My Sweet Lord," and "Wah Wah," the last of which should probably be disqualified on the grounds that the point of the song is that being a Beatle was giving him a headache). How many of those Plastic Ono Band songs would John have written without the backdrop of the breakup, though? "Too Many People" and "Crippled Inside" couldn't have been recorded with those lyrics: they were both attack songs. And I'm under the impression that George specifically wrote "It Don't Come Easy" for Ringo in an effort to ensure that Ringo would be able to maintain the lifestyle to which he had become accustomed.
posted by Adventurer at 1:16 AM on June 17, 2011

The first Beatle to have solo success after the Break-up of the band was Harrison. He is the one that had the back-log of un-recorded songs. He released his great triple album, "All Things Must Pass", in 1970. Very quickly after the break-up.

In 1971, Harrison did the Concert for Bangladesh, which marks the height of his post Beatle popularity.
posted by Flood at 4:20 AM on June 17, 2011

Imagine was released in 1980, so probably would have been kept for their middle-aged record.
posted by mippy at 4:45 AM on June 17, 2011

I am not, by any means, a Beatles fan. However, I think the problem here is that their break-up allowed for them to go their different ways and produce things that they wanted to, but that their group, as a whole, was not conducive to. That is to say, I don't think the next album would be what people would hope, and the songs they did produce might not have ever been if they did stay together
posted by zombieApoc at 5:55 AM on June 17, 2011

Stephen Baxter wrote a short story, "The Twelfth Album," which was pretty much an excuse to publish his own speculative track list:

Side 1
"Give Me Some Truth", actually released on John Lennon's Imagine album.
"It Don't Come Easy", from Ringo Starr's album Ringo's Best (Apple, 1971)
"Every Night", from Paul McCartney's album McCartney
"All Things Must Pass", from George Harrison's album All Things Must Pass.
"Child of Nature", a Lennon song auditioned for The White Album that later had its lyrics rewritten to become "Jealous Guy" from Imagine.
"Back Seat of my Car", a McCartney duet with Linda McCartney from their album Ram. On the God album, the song is a traditional Beatles three part harmony.

Side 2
"Instant Karma!", the famous Lennon single.
"Isn't It A Pity", a Harrison song, auditioned during the Get Back/Let It Be sessions, later two versions were recorded and released on All Things Must Pass.
"Junk", a McCartney song auditioned during the Get Back/Let It Be sessions, later recorded for McCartney.
"Wah Wah", a Harrison solo song intended for Let It Be but released on All Things Must Pass.
"God", a Lennon song from Plastic Ono Band.
"Maybe I'm Amazed", a McCartney song from McCartney. This version, in the story, is a full Beatles recording, with Lennon providing vocals.
posted by Iridic at 7:31 AM on June 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

Imagine was released in 1980

September 1971, actually.
posted by Rash at 8:00 AM on June 17, 2011

Ah, you're quite right. It was rereleased in Jan 81.
posted by mippy at 8:47 AM on June 17, 2011

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