Top 10 Beatles Songs Without John Lennon

The Beatles‘ ’90s-era Anthology sessions weren’t the first time they recorded without John Lennon. More like the 20th. In fact, over the years, Lennon increasingly drifted in and out of songs being created by the others.

For instance, he regularly vanished whenever George Harrison dabbled in Indian music, with the notable exception of “The Inner Light,” the B-side to 1968’s “Lady Madonna.” He skipped sessions where Ringo Starr took the lead, including “Don’t Pass Me By” and “Good Night,” both from 1968’s The Beatles. The same guy who openly complained about Paul McCartney‘s “granny-music shit” was also predictably absent for “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.”

To be fair, it wasn’t always his fault: McCartney occasionally preferred to work separately, as with “I Will,” “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” or “Her Majesty.” Then there was the time when Lennon got in a car crash.

And he wasn’t alone in missing Beatles dates. “She Said She Said” from 1966’s Revolver didn’t include McCartney, Starr wasn’t there for “Back in the U.S.S.R.” and neither Harrison nor Starr took part in the session for “The Ballad of John and Yoko.”

Still, Lennon ended up sitting out on a remarkable number of their songs, some of which are quite famous. The following list of Top 10 Beatles Songs Without John Lennon includes a gold-selling No. 1 smash, one of the most recognizable tracks from 1969’s Abbey Road and the group’s very last classic-era session.

10. “Love You To”
From: Revolver (1966)

The Beatles’ first full-fledged use of Indian instrumentation followed Harrison’s turn on the sitar for 1965’s Lennon-sung “Norwegian Wood.” Harrison created “Love You To” with tabla player Anil Bhagwat and others from London’s Asian Music Circle. According to Ian MacDonald and Kenneth Womack, the rest of the Beatles had minimal input. Starr added a tambourine and McCartney sang a backing vocal, without Lennon.

9. “Mother Nature’s Son”
From: The Beatles (1968)

The first of four songs on this list from the group’s eponymous 1968 album brings home the irony of that title. No other Beatles project found them practicing so much social distancing. In fact, McCartney recorded this one alone, with only brass-arranging help from producer George Martin. “Mother Nature’s Son” was inspired by a lecture given by the Maharishi during the group’s failed India trip; the same talk inspired Lennon’s “Child of Nature,” which evolved into the 1971 solo song “Jealous Guy.”

8. “Golden Slumbers”
From: Abbey Road (1969)

This McCartney track might have ranked higher, were it not such an abbreviated snippet. “Golden Slumbers” was connected from the first to the track that follows it, “Carry That Weight,” and, unfortunately, feels incomplete all alone. Lennon didn’t initially appear on either song, since he was still recovering from a car crash, but he later overdubbed chorus vocals onto “Carry That Weight.” Harrison switched to bass for “Golden Slumbers,” Starr played drums and Martin once again scored the strings and brass.

7. “Martha My Dear”
From: The Beatles (1968)

A solo song that set an early template for McCartney’s ’70s-era music with Wings, with its silly inspiration (a lovable new sheepdog) and bright instrumentation (music hall-inspired piano with a jaunty brass section). He completed “Martha My Dear” in a manner of days, recording piano, drums and vocals on Oct. 4, 1968, then adding more vocals, hand claps, bass and guitar on Oct. 5. Martin’s brass and string arrangements were overdubbed in between.

6. “Savoy Truffle”
From: The Beatles (1968)

Harrison’s horn-driven “Savoy Truffle, meant as a lighthearted ribbing of friend Eric Clapton‘s sweet tooth, didn’t feature any contributions from Lennon either. Starr was on drums, while McCartney handled harmony vocals, bass and additional rhythm elements during a completing session held after Starr left on vacation. Recording assistant Chris Thomas played keyboards alongside Harrison’s lead vocals and guitar.

5. “For No One”
From: Revolver (1966)

McCartney recorded this poignant ballad with Starr, playing off an argument with his then-girlfriend Jane Asher on a rented clavichord from Martin’s Associated Independent Recording studios. Alan Civil added the soaring French horn solo, then settled into a touching counterpoint. McCartney also played bass and piano, while Starr contributed drums, tambourine and maracas. Lennon and Harrison were elsewhere, according to writer Mark Lewisohn.

4. “I Me Mine”
From: Let It Be (1970)

Phil Spector often gets dinged for his missteps on the troubled Let It Be, but he got one thing absolutely right: “I Me Mine.” Harrison’s snippet of a song was initially completed in a trio format on Jan. 3, 1970, during the Beatles’ final session. A couple of months later, Spector took those tapes and repeated a few segments to get the song to 2:25, adding orchestral elements that neatly presupposed their work together on Harrison’s All Things Must Pass.

3. “Blackbird”
From: The Beatles (1968)

Thought credited, as usual, to Lennon-McCartney, “Blackbird” began and ended as a solo performance by McCartney. Composed not long after their stay in Rishikesh, India, the song was meant as an uplifting message directed toward the civil rights movement in the U.S. He recorded it on June 11, 1968, while Lennon worked next door on “Revolution 9.” McCartney said his unusual approach on the guitar was inspired by Bach’s “Bouree in E minor,” which he and Harrison learned to play as kids.

2. “Here Comes the Sun”
From: Abbey Road (1969)

Written in Clapton’s garden at Hurtwood Edge while Harrison was playing hooky from a Beatles corporate meeting, “Here Comes the Sun” was initially tracked by Harrison, McCartney and Starr while Lennon continued to recuperate from a car crash. He and McCartney later overdubbed their backing vocals twice to bolster the song; Harrison completed things with a turn on the then-new Moog synthesizer. An August 1969 mixing session was the last time all four Beatles were together in same studio.

1. “Yesterday”
From: Help! (1965)

As with “Blackbird,” McCartney’s despairing “Yesterday” was designed as a solo performance – the first by a member of the Beatles. He tracked it with an Epiphone Texan steel-string acoustic guitar, backed by a Martin-arranged string quartet. The session was held June 15, 1965, days before McCartney turned 23. In keeping, “Yesterday” wasn’t always so serious. Its working title was “Scrambled Eggs” and, at one point, the second line was “Oh my, baby, how I love your legs.”

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Mick Jagger Responds to Paul McCartney’s ‘Beatles Were Better’ Claim – Rolling Stone

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards went on Zane Lowe’s Apple Music show this week to promote the new Rolling Stones single, “Living in a Ghost Town,” which also gave them an opportunity to respond to Paul McCartney’s recent claim that the Beatles were a better band than the Stones.

“[The Stones] are rooted in the blues,” McCartney recently told Howard Stern. “When they are writing stuff, it has to do with the blues. We had a little more influences. There’s a lot of differences, and I love the Stones, but I’m with you. The Beatles were better.”

This is part of a friendly rivalry that goes back nearly 60 years, and Jagger laughed when it came up. “That’s so funny,” he said. “He’s a sweetheart. There’s obviously no competition.”

But he did elaborate on what he saw as the big difference between the two bands. “The Rolling Stones is a big concert band in other decades and other areas, when the Beatles never even did an arena tour, Madison Square Garden with a decent sound system,” he said. “They broke up before that business started, the touring business for real.”

“We started doing stadium gigs in the Seventies and [are] still doing them now,” he continued. “That’s the real big difference between these two bands. One band is unbelievably luckily still playing in stadiums, and then the other band doesn’t exist.”

He didn’t address McCartney’s claim that the Stones copied Sgt. Pepper when they released Their Satanic Majesties Request. “We started to notice that whatever we did, the Stones sort of did it shortly thereafter,” McCartney said. “We went to America and we had huge success. Then the Stones went to America. We did Sgt. Pepper, the Stones did a psychedelic album. There’s a lot of that.”

The Stones were supposed to launch another North American leg of their No Filter Tour this summer, but they’ve had to indefinitely postpone the dates because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They did perform “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” on the recent One World: Together At Home broadcast. And their new single, “Living in a Ghost Town,” is their first original song since 2012.

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Beatles in London Blog

How America fell for the Fab Four: The Beatles arrived in the U.S. like a tidal wave (with half a ton of mop-top wigs) – and with 12 hits in the top 100, they really were here, there and everywhere…

One day in mid-October 1963, John Lennon had dropped by at the house in Wimpole Street, London, where Paul was living with the family of his girlfriend, Jane Asher.

The two of them went down to a little room in the basement and sat together on Mrs Asher’s piano stool.

Their manager Brian Epstein had told them that their next, most important task was to compose a song to crack the elusive American market.

Up to now, their hit singles in Britain — From Me To You, She Loves You, Please Please Me — had all flopped over there.

After an hour or so of doodling about, Paul went upstairs to the bedroom of Jane’s brother, and put his head around the door.

‘Do you want to come and hear something we’ve just written?’ he asked. Peter Asher accompanied him back downstairs, and together Paul and John played him their new song, I Want To Hold Your Hand.

‘What do you think?’ asked Paul. ‘Oh, my God! Can you play that again?’ said Peter. As he listened to it for a second time, he thought: ‘Am I losing my mind, or is this the greatest song I ever heard in my life?’

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Peter Jackson’s Beatles Documentary Gets a Release Date – Rolling Stone

Peter Jackson’s eagerly awaited The Beatles: Get Back, a new documentary on the band during its final year, will be released in theaters by Disney on September 4.

Culled from 55 hours of footage shot in early 1969, as the Beatles were recording what would become Let It Be, the film includes never-before-seen footage and audio from those sessions, including behind-the-scenes clips from the band’s legendary 1969 rooftop concert in London. The movie is, Jackson said last year, “the ultimate ‘fly on the wall’ experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about — it’s like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together.”

Get Back also aims to elaborate on the original Let It Be movie, released in 1970 and taken from the same recording sessions. That film amounted to a cinéma vérité document of the Beatles’ fragmentation. Ringo Starr is said to be pleased with the new movie, recently telling a friend that he appreciated that it didn’t make it seem as if the band was fighting all the time during that period. “He said, ‘It was just not true,’” says a source.

“There were hours and hours of us just laughing and playing music, not at all like the version that came out,” he said in a release. “There was a lot of joy and I think Peter will show that. I think this version will be a lot more peace and loving, like we really were.”

Speaking with Rolling Stone last week, Dhani Harrison, George’s son, said he had recently attended a screening of the movie and was overwhelmed, comparing it to the way Jackson treated vintage World War I footage in his film They Shall Not Grow Old. “It’s so ridiculously amazing looking — I could see John Lennon’s fillings,” Harrison said. “I emailed Peter yesterday and said, ‘This is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.’”

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