Paul McCartney thought Beatles bandmate George Harrison’s songs before ‘Abbey Road’ “weren’t that good”
The news comes courtesy of Beatles expert Mark Lewisohn, who unearthed a tape from a meeting the Beatles held on Sept. 8, 1969, at Apple headquarters on London’s Savile Row. The recording was made while Starr was hospitalized with stomach problems. “Ringo – you can’t be here, but this is so you can hear what we’re discussing,” Lennon says at the beginning of the tape.Mark Lewisohn gave The Guardian access to a tape of a meeting
The Beatles were discussing making another album together after ‘Abbey Road’.
In the recording, it’s revealed that the band were planning to record another album after ‘Abbey Road’. Lennon can then be heard suggesting that he, McCartney and Harrison each bring four songs as potential candidates for inclusion on the album, and Ringo two, putting aside “the Lennon-and-McCartney myth” with each individually crediting individuals on the album.
They’ve wrapped up the recording of Abbey Road, which would turn out to be their last studio album, and are awaiting its release in two weeks’ time. Ringo Starr is in hospital, undergoing tests for an intestinal complaint. In his absence, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison convene at Apple’s HQ in Savile Row. John has brought a portable tape recorder. He puts it on the table, switches it on and says: “Ringo – you can’t be here, but this is so you can hear what we’re discussing.”
We hear John suggesting that each of them should bring in songs as candidates for the single. He also proposes a new formula for assembling their next album: four songs apiece from Paul, George and himself, and two from Ringo – “If he wants them.” John refers to “the Lennon-and-McCartney myth”, clearly indicating that the authorship of their songs, hitherto presented to the public as a sacrosanct partnership, should at last be individually credited.
In response, McCartney says: “I thought until this album that George’s songs weren’t that good.” Later, Harrison can be heard retorting: “That’s a matter of taste. All down the line, people have liked my songs.”
McCartney still seems taken aback by Harrison’s recent songwriting successes, which included the chart-topping “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun,” a key album track. “I thought until this album that George’s songs weren’t that good,” McCartney said on the tape, despite the fact that Harrison’s “Taxman” opened the Beatles’ 1966 masterpiece Revolver.