A new and interactive app based on several pieces of music from The Beatles archives features the darkest chapter in the band’s history.
Released this month, the app will give fans an early-1970s front row seat to the Beatles split.
Paul McCartney recorded a song with John Lennon on July 30, 1971 that featured the rousing “Let It Be” vocal. But the recording was never released because Lennon wanted it to be a live demo with none of the overdubs.
Related Image Expand / Contract John Lennon (left) and Paul McCartney (right) are featured in “Get Back: Three Tracks From 1977 Are Finally Made Available to the Public After Almost 50 Years.” (Epic Records)
“It’s pretty straightforward,” McCartney said in an interview with Fox News Radio. “He’s playing (vocals) on one side and my bass and guitar are playing on the other side. There’s not a very fancy drum machine or anything (added) when he plays.
“The guitar used to be a Gibson, the bass was a notepads and everything has always been exactly the same,” he continued. “I can’t remember what it’s sounding like, it sounds pretty plain.
“And there’s very simple guitar parts we’re doing which make you kind of think ‘Oh, he’s probably doing this in the studio.’ We’ve had different people all the time [do] the instrumentation and the parts.”
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was never released as a live demo, but the Beatles always intended it as a demo and that version is included in the “Get Back” app. Lennon also recorded a rousing version of “Here Comes the Sun” in that July 31 incident and is featured on the “Rocking the Album” version of “Get Back.”
“When he went and did his version of ‘Hey Jude,’ I said ‘It sounds a bit kind of stilted. Can you go off and really have a look and think about it,’” McCartney said. “He was already over there with his guitar and he said ‘Okay.’ And then he comes back and re-cut it and he went back and added a sort of solo line [to it] and it sounds much more like a real singer would do.
“But he obviously was totally frustrated with the way we were talking to each other. But yeah, it was one of the not very pleasant moments in the band.”
Given the Beatles’ iconic status, the families of the three band members – George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Yoko Ono – declined to participate in the app. “So unless John is going to sign it, I can’t imagine anyone else wanting to do it,” McCartney said.
“There was always a tendency for somebody to sort of go, ‘No, no, no. That’s a little bit weird,’ because they’re too risk averse,” he continued. “I don’t think there’s an attitude of mistrust between anybody.”
McCartney said Apple Records sent out several emails to have the families sign off, but that was simply not happening.
“John would never sign it, which is okay,” he said. “If I were John I would never sign it, I would want it released exactly the way it is.”
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“Getting back to the original recordings is fantastic, but the performance, to me, of the album itself, is really the ultimate Lennon-McCartney album. Everything about it, from the production through to the songwriting to the way they write music, the rhythm section they created, it’s amazing. I’m a Beatles guy. I’m a Lennon-McCartney guy. I think it’s always a great idea to get people as close to that experience as possible. That’s the reason I do this sort of stuff.”
A recently reissued 2007 reissue of “Let It Be” offers an alternative to “Get Back” in stereo, but users can search for the original version of the song. “There’s an E-flat piano performance,” McCartney said, “and you can listen to it too, but it’s not really what I think it is.”
“I don’t play it that much