The big item today was 67 takes of Paul’s ballad “I Will.” According to Steve Turner’s A Hard Day’s Write, this “was the first of Paul’s songs to be written about Linda and he was still adding and changing lines as it was being recorded,” although the melody had been kicking around for six months or so. Apparently Paul’s transatlantic romance with Linda had been progressing, and she was scheduled to arrive with her daughter for a visit the following week. Details are sketchy; if only The Beatles’ romantic lives had been chronicled with the same scrupulousness as their recording sessions.

As far as that goes, we have quite a few pieces of audio from today’s session, during which Paul played acoustic guitar and sang, with John and Ringo on either side of him playing percussion. George was not around.

Here’s take 1 of “I Will”:

And it doesn’t really sound all that different, though certainly less confident than the album version, which was take 65 (with overdubs). In between takes of “I Will” the three Beatles played around with a few other things, including a little ditty whose entire lyric was “Can you take me back where I came from/Can you take me back?” This ended up being slotted into the White Album, unlisted on the sleeve, between “Cry Baby Cry” and “Revolution 9”:

There are several longer versions in circulation, but trust me, 37 seconds is the exact right length for this song.

At one point Paul decided to have a go at “Step Inside Love,” which he had written for Cilla Black to use as the theme song for her TV show. This segued into a goofy number called “Los Paranoias,” which sounds off-the-cuff, but also together enough that one suspects they had fooled around with it before. The resulting medley appears on Anthology 3:

I’m always pleasantly surprised when, after bracing myself for a year or more of writing about The Beatles bickering, I run across an instance of them having fun together. Maybe there was bickering too; but from what I can hear this session was both harmonious and productive. It was capped off with Paul adding a very short recorder overdub to “Glass Onion.”

I wonder, in fact, if this brief thaw in Beatle relations might have had something to do with “Glass Onion,” in which John made reference to several of Paul’s songs and paid him the supreme compliment of naming him the Walrus. (Did you know: When The Beatles got into animal costumes for Magical Mystery Tour, Paul wore the walrus outfit, simply because it fit him best. So in this very literal sense, Paul was in fact the walrus.) Says John:

At that time I was still in my love cloud with Yoko. I thought “Well, I’ll just say something nice to Paul, that it’s all right and you did a good job over these few years, holding us together.” He was trying to organize the group and all that, so I wanted to say something to him. I thought, “Well, he can have it, I’ve got Yoko. And thank you, you can have the credit.”

And soon Paul would have Linda. And they would all live happily ever after. Right?

 

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