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Author Topic: Beatles 1971 Album  (Read 1339 times)


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Beatles 1971 Album
« on: March 24, 2013, 05:52:54 PM »

Most all of you here have read this...this is an imagination of what might have transpired had the Beatles taken a break after "Let It Be" was released, then decided they didn't want to be broken up anymore. It was posted at another Beatles site and a link was posted to it here, but the web page is now gone. So.....I just wanna put it somewhere it won't disappear again. I shall again inflict it upon you:


By- Nigel St. John-Smith                                                                                 October 28, 1971

            London, England- The music world was stunned today by the announcement by EMI Chairman Sir Joseph Lockwood of the impending release of a new Beatles album, now slated to hit stores on November 1st. This record will be the Beatles first since “Let It Be”, thought by many to be the group’s last. The previous 16 months have been rife with internal squabbling within the group, due to disagreements over management and creative direction. When asked about these differences, Lockwood said, “You’ll have to ask the lads about that. As for us at EMI, we’re just pleased to have the group back together and making music again. The boys have scheduled a news conference for noon, Nov. 1st, and I’m sure they will explain the particulars for you gentlemen.”

The Beatles Get Back…Again!

By- Nigel St. John Smith                                                                               November 1st, 1971

            London, England- The Beatles, all four of them, were present today at a press conference announcing the release of their new album, titled “Maybe Utopia…Maybe”. The following is the text of that press conference.

John Lennon- First off, we’d all like to thank you all for being here. We’re sure you have a lot of questions, so lets get on with it straightaway.

Rep.- Yes, John, David Nickles of the New Musical Express. Everyone wants to know…How did you all solve the problems that tore this group apart not 16 months ago?

J.L.- Paul?

Paul McCartney- Yeah, well, business pressures can cause a lot of issues to kind of get blown out of proportion…we all had different ideas about management and stuff and it really started to get in the way of what we always did best, which is write and record songs. With Klein and Eastman pulling us in opposite directions, we kind of lost sight of that.

J.L.- Yeah, right, and when you start gettin’ older and gettin’ married, you can forget about a lot of stuff, like how much fun I had with these guys. So I just came to the realization if I wanted to be happy as a person and as a musician, I had to keep the two separate, so as not to get squeezed betwixt them.

Nickles- What started the process toward the reconciliation?

George Harrison- I guess from a purely factual standpoint, it all started in early 1970. “Let It Be” hadn’t been released yet, but we all knew we were kaput…but nobody outside the group knew yet. Ringo asked me to play guitar for him on a record he was making. He’d had a hard time getting his own songs on Beatles albums…I could certainly identify where he was on that! He had a song called “Early 1970” that he played for me and as I listened to the words, I could feel the abandonment he was feeling…his best friends were leaving him and he couldn’t do a thing about it

Ringo Starr- I was just wanting all the lads together again! You fellas can all play all your own drums…but me, I was just not ready to give up on having us all together.

G.H.- Right, Ringo, and I suspected the other lads weren’t either. So I rang up Paul and John and asked for a meeting. Turns out none of us really wanted out for good.

J.L.- Yeah, so we thought about a way we could play together again without all the business crap. So it was “Paul Is Dead” all over again. We figured if we let everyone think we hated each other, we could quietly….sounds like we were having a secret four-way, guys!

P.M.- So we’ve been meeting kind of secretly, skulking about so you fellas wouldn’t know. Sorry!
Rep.- Um, boys, Roy Titlebaum, New York Times. How did you manage to keep this a secret for so long?

J.L.- Some things are just unknown…accept that it’s unknown and it’s clear sailing.

P.M.- Actually, we were all four working on solo albums at the time and a lot of the stuff on the album is from those sessions. John and George were working with Phil Spector and I wasn’t too keen to work with him, so I asked them if it was alright if on my songs if I would just do that. Produce, that is, and they were cool about it and said okay. I think Ringo was with Richard Perry, right?

R.S.- Right. So we pulled together all this stuff from all of the sessions and got each other to play some of the parts over, so it really IS a Beatles album. When we listened on the playback, we realized there were some differences in the way the tracks sounded. We fretted about it for a while.

J.L.- Finally we just decided, screw it! We’re the damn Beatles! That’s what we wanted and that’s that. Let them figure it out.

G.H.- Seriously, we just decided that those differences just represented where we were at the time and as such were a valid artistic statement. Our differences will make us stronger, if we are aware of it.

Titlebaum- What about Allen Klein?

J.L.- As far as we’re concerned, he no longer represents any of us. What that means legally, don’t have any idea. EMI will figure all the money out. We don’t care if we make a dime off this. I’m pretty damn comfortable, right Paul?

P.L.- Spot on, John. We all are. How about you, Roy?

Titlebaum- Fine.

Nickels- So are there any plans for a tour?

G.H.- Nope.

P.M.- It’s too early in the process to rule that out, but as for now, no.

Rep.- Hey, guys, Anthony DeCurtis with Rolling Stone. How about plans for the future? I’ve heard the new album and it’s great. This isn’t a one-off, is it?

J.L- We don’t know what we’re gonna have for dinner tonight, much less what we’ll be doing ten years from now. Hell, Tony, you could get run over leaving this press conference! Honestly, we are just playing by ear, as we always do. Plans…that’s what you’re doing while life’s happening.

R.S.- You got to write that one down, John!

J.L.- Any of you blokes got any paper?

P.M.- Tony, I’m just really enjoying these lads’ company and have been amazed at the material they brought in. I mean, George has a couple of tunes on this record that are among the best this group, not just him, but this group have ever done, I think. And Ringo…just listen to “It Don’t Come Easy” and tell me he can’t write a good one! That’s the new single, in fact.

DeCurtis- What about John’s “How Do You Sleep”? It was recorded for the most part before you all were speaking again. There will be a lot of folks saying that was John trying to get at you.

P.M.- That’s part of the dirty little secret. You see, John and I actually wrote the words to that one together.

J.L.- That’s true. I had the music and some of the words…it WAS a little of me trying to take him down a peg. But soon as I’d written it, I realized it was about me…again. Every time I’m knockin’ the stuffing out of someone, I find out it’s me!

P.M.- Yeah, that line about “the only thing you done was yesterday”? That’s mine. And it’s about me. Gee, John, let’s beat up someone outside the group for a change? How about Anthony? Hehheh! Just kidding, man.

G.H.- I think it’s cool that Ringo gets to open both sides of the album. After all, “Early 1970” is the song that got this thing rolling. (all agree)

Titlebaum- Hey, George, how about that song “Art of Dying”?

G.H.- Well Paul and I were at a resort in the south of France…in disguise, of course, and they were playing this song that had a really heavy dance vibe to it. Just a really heavy beat and no real lyrics or anything. I just thought, “What if we made a song with some real lyrics AND you could dance to it?” So that’s where that one came from.

J.L.- Well, fellas, it’s time to dash. It’s been so lovely to talk to you again, heheh! No, really. We’ve got to run. Tell all yer mates to buy “Maybe Utopia…Maybe”!

New Musical Express                                                                November 1, 1971


New Beatles Album: Utopia? Absolutely!


          By- John Mendelsohn


            It was reported in this very space not 17 months ago that the Beatles’ album “Let It Be” was “a cardboard tombstone, a cheapskate epitaph” and “a sad and tatty end to a musical fusion which wiped clean and drew again the face of pop music”. I stand by that opinion, with this exception: I thought they were finished. They most certainly were not.

            “Maybe Utopia…Maybe” is an unexpected triumph, in an unexpected way. The story is that all four Beatles were working on solo projects when they hit upon an idea: Let’s get back together and, for a lark, don’t tell anyone. They pulled it off through a series of clever press releases that made it sound as though they couldn’t stand one another and would sooner play with snakes as each other. Each Beatle had several tracks nearly completed when the reconciliation took place, so all that remained to be done was to record the other’s contributions. All this cloak & dagger would be for naught if the music wasn’t up to standard. Fortunately, it is.

            “M.U.M” opens with Ringo’s “Early 1970”, an affecting tune that is a disarmingly open letter to McCartney, Lennon and Harrison, stating that “when I go to town, I want to see all three”. Starr played his demo of this tune to Harrison, who was there to help with recording. Harrison was moved to the point of calling Lennon and McCartney with the idea of hashing things out for the sake of the group. A series of meetings ensued and “Early 1970” proved they could all work together in the studio again.

            Next comes Lennon’s “Crippled Inside”, a rollicking country-esque tune whose jolly music belies the biting content of the lyrics, such as “you can live a life till you die, one thing you can’t hide is when you’re crippled inside”. This sentiment is no doubt an outgrowth of Lennon’s recent experience with Dr. Arthur Janov’s primal scream therapy, which also informed his most recent LP “Plastic Ono Band”. George Harrison’s dobro is featured to great effect throughout.

            “Uncle Albert, Admiral Halsey” is McCartney’s first contribution to “M.U.M” and was recorded largely apart from the others. However, Lennon’s suggestions of sound effects such as thunder and a ringing phone add a touch of whimsy. All four chime in on the song’s rousing “hands across the water” chorus. In true McCartney fashion, “Uncle Albert, Admiral Halsey’ segues into the next tune, “Smile Away”, as rocking a number as McCartney has written since “Back in the U.S.S.R.”. Lennon’s rhythm guitar is in fine form and the tightness of the group makes up for the slightness of the lyric.

            George Harrison continues to develop as a songwriter and is now on a par with Lennon & McCartney, as evidenced by “What Is Life”, an existential musing about our ultimate purpose. He doesn’t claim to have the answer, but asks ”who am I without You?” Harrison says the words are about God, so it would appear he is as spiritually questing as ever.

            There are bound to be questions aplenty about Lennon’s “How Do You Sleep?” When asked if the song is an attempt to give anyone in particular a verbal slap, Lennon admitted the words were originally about McCartney, but, “ As usual, I was writing about meself. Paul wrote a couple of lines in it about himself, so it’s just a bit of self-flagellation.” The tune is rife with references to his Beatle history with a nod to the future, “A pretty face may last a year or two, but pretty soon we’ll see what you can do.”

            The mood is lightened next by Harrison’s “Apple Scruffs”, a song that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Bob Dylan record. Instrumentation is kept simple and to the point with just Harrison’s acoustic guitar and dubbed lead alongside Lennon’s harmonica. The lyrics are an ode to the dedicated female fans who kept watch outside Abbey Road studio whenever the group were in.

            Side one closes with Lennon’s stunning ballad “Imagine”. Over a very simple piano and bass line, Lennon paints a picture of a world in which there is no heaven or hell, a world where all people live only for today and each other. “Imagine all the people, living life in peace” certainly might be the utopia mentioned in the album title, or perhaps it’s just one of Lennon’s pipe dreams, but one could “Imagine” being taken up as an anthem for peace marchers the world over.

            Side two begins in a similar vein to side one: with a Ringo Starr song. “It Don’t Come Easy” was recorded during the same sessions as “Early 1970”, but was the subject of many overdubs. Ringo enlisted the aid of producer Richard Perry for the snappy horns and string arrangement. So catchy is this tune, it was selected unanimously by the group as the leadoff single from “M.U.M.”

            McCartney returns with “Back Seat of My Car”, again without many of the Beatles on their familiar instruments, but singing harmony. One gets the impression that McCartney still hasn’t gotten over his distrust of Phil Spector, who produced both Lennon and Harrison’s tracks for “M.U.M”. It does show that while the Beatles are getting on okay with each other, they do still have some other issues to confront. The Spector tracks sound slicker than the McCartney produced tracks, and I suppose that is a matter of personal taste. McCartney was obviously was going for a less produced feel, but the difference can be quite noticeable.

            Lennon tells a story of meeting Bobby Keys thru Phil Spector, “Phil told me there was this bloke he wanted me to meet. We walked into the studio and there’s this guy, wearing an orange turtleneck and he smelt of brandy. ‘Hi, I’m Kobby Bees’. Couldn’t even stand…I liked him right off.” “It’s So Hard” features Keys on tenor sax throughout and finds Lennon in a jovial mood, singing about universal hardships: work, sleep and growing up.

            Harrison again stretches his musical muscles in the highly danceable “Art of Dying”. When asked about this tune, Harrison said, “Paul and I were at a resort in the south of France…they were playing something in the club that had a really heavy beat, but no real lyrics, just that beat. So I thought, ‘What if we did a song like that but put some good words in it, something cosmic?’ So that’s where that came from.”

            “Oh, My Love” seems to be a sort of companion piece to “Imagine”, only even more personal. Not since “Julia” has Lennon sounded so honest AND tender, giving one the impression that he has found a peaceful utopia of his own with Yoko.

            Next comes McCartney’s “Too Many People”, which strays into what had been Lennon stock-in-trade: protest songs. Behind a purposely sloppy rhythm section, McCartney decries a world where there are “too many people preaching practices” and “going underground” and “paying parking fines”. The masterstroke here was McCartney’s choice of John Lennon for lead guitar, which gives the listener an aural thrashing unlike anything ever heard on a Beatles record.

            The set closes on a somber but uplifting note with Harrison’s “Isn’t It a Pity”. Like “Hey Jude”, which it strongly resembles, “Isn’t It a Pity” is a work of towering simplicity with a few basic chord changes and an endlessly repetitive fade-out that somehow manages to be hypnotic instead of numbing. It even clocks in at 7 minutes and ten seconds, one second shorter than “Hey Jude”.

            Like “Abbey Road” before it, “M.U.M.” punctures the solemn and pretentious final song with a short burst of McCartney, this time with the trifle “Ram On”. This kind of tactic either works for you or it doesn’t, and for me, it doesn’t. “Ram On” does have some fine ukulele, an instrument Harrison has become enamored with recently.

            In short, “M.U.M.” is chock full of the very things people have loved them for in the past, but points to what could be a bright future for the Beatles. For their part, the lads issued no guarantees about that, stating they were going to “play it by ear, like we always do”. I must say that if the Beatles asked me, (they haven’t) I would advise them to ring up George Martin or someone like him, with a gift for solid musical understatement, to produce the next album, if there is to be one. The shifting production styles are the only major issue on “M.U.M.”. I look forward to never having to write another review like that for “Let It Be”. Let this be a shining new beginning for that musical fusion which wiped clean and drew yet again the face of pop music.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2015, 01:13:11 PM by Mervap »
If love is blind, how will it ever find a way?


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Re: Beatles 1971 Album
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2013, 08:27:54 PM »

if only...
I want to tell her that I love her a lot, but I've got to get a belly full of wine...

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Re: Beatles 1971 Album
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2013, 10:11:52 PM »

Where's Maybe I'm Amazed and My Sweet Lord?  ;D


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Re: Beatles 1971 Album
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2013, 05:40:10 PM »

I've had this discussion several times through the years. would the band have the same songs to choose from had they stayed together? it sure seems like they would, doesn't it? they may have slightly different mixes...but the band would have continued to release hugely popular and successful albums...

at least the way I see it.
I want to tell her that I love her a lot, but I've got to get a belly full of wine...


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Re: Beatles 1971 Album
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2013, 06:11:52 PM »

Where's Maybe I'm Amazed and My Sweet Lord?

Obviously, the individual Beatles would have had to release some singles to maintain the ruse of them hating each other....
If love is blind, how will it ever find a way?