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Beatles fans know that the Fab Four recorded Abbey Road with the understanding that it would be the group’s final studio effort. Except…that may not be true. A recently discovered recording of a September 1969 meeting between most of the band members calls that assumption into question.
The tape, which acclaimed Beatles author Mark Lewisohn played for U.K. newspaper The Guardian, features John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison discussing plans for a new Fab Four album shortly before Abbey Road‘s release.
“It’s a revelation,” Lewisohn tells the paper. “The books have always told us that they knew Abbey Road was their last album and they wanted to go out on an artistic high. But no — they’re discussing the next album.”
The author also points out that the tape indicates that, contrary to popular belief, Lennon didn’t necessarily want to split from the band at that time.
“Doesn’t that rewrite pretty much everything we thought we knew?” Lewisohn posits.
On the tape, Lennon also is heard suggesting a new songwriting split for the proposed next album: four tunes each by him, McCartney and Harrison, as well as two from Ringo Starr…”if he wants them.”
McCartney follows the suggestions with a backhanded compliment to Harrison, saying, “I thought until this album that George’s songs weren’t that good.”
In response, George says, “That’s a matter of taste. All down the line, people have liked my songs.”
Lewisohn will launch a new touring stage presentation called The Beatles — Hornsey Road on September 18 at the Theatre Royal in Northampton, U.K. It’ll feature him discussing the making of Abbey Road and providing insight into what was happening with The Beatles in 1969. The U.K. trek runs through a December 4 presentation in Manchester.
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