The end is near. At this point we’re less than a month away from the last time all four Beatles would be in a recording studio together.

It was with foreknowledge of this, perhaps, that the Fab Four began work today on the song that would become “The End.” Initially given the working title “Ending,” it would be the subject of many overdubs in the weeks to come. But, says The Beatles Bible, “the basic structure of the song was in place from take one, suggesting the group had spent time rehearsing before recording began.”

That structure included a drum solo by Ringo, who took some convincing before he could be talked into the idea. Says Geoff Emerick,

“You know how much I hate solos!” Ringo kept saying, same as he did when we were working on “A Day in the Life.”

“Well, just do a token solo then,” Paul said half jokingly.

Ringo looked to Lennon and Harrison for support, but, for once, they were siding with Paul. Eventually Ringo capitulated and performed the only drum solo – if you discount his little fills at the end of “Thank You Girl” – ever to appear on a Beatles record….

We had to do a lot of takes, and each take was quite different. The final solo he played was considerably longer than what eventually made it onto the album – with input from Paul and George Martin, I edited it down significantly, using only the best bits.

One of the benefits of working in eight-track was that we were able to record Ringo’s solo in stereo, spread over two tracks, allowing the listener to hear different tom-toms and cymbals in each speaker. This was very unusual for a Beatles song: drums were almost always recorded in mono.

This was also the day that Paul finally got the lead vocal he wanted for “Oh! Darling,” or at least one close enough that he was willing to stop redoing it every day. “Oh! Darling” turned out pretty well, though John might have been right when he said he could have done it better. It’s both melodic and kind of heavy. I would have put it after “Octopus’s Garden” and before “I Want You/She’s So Heavy.” (“Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” could go; it would have felt right at home on any number of McCartney solo albums.)

The fruits of this productive session also included some additional vocals for “Come Together.” When it was over, Emerick says, “the four Beatles trooped upstairs to listen to some playbacks. Yoko stayed behind, stretched out languorously in [her] bed, wearing the usual flimsy nightgown and tiara.”

The incident that followed was both hilarious and sad, indicative of the mutual suspicion and pettiness that prevailed in the Beatles camp at the time, even though they were in the process of making a great album. Take it away, Geoff.

As we were listening, I noticed that something down in the studio had caught George Harrison’s attention. After a moment or two he began staring bug-eyed out the control room window. Curious, I looked over his shoulder. Yoko had gotten out of bed and was slowly padding across the studio floor, finally coming to a stop at Harrison’s Leslie cabinet, which had a packet of McVitae’s Digestive Biscuits on top. Idly, she began opening the packed and delicately removed a single biscuit. Just as the morsel reached her mouth, Harrison could contain himself no longer.

“THAT BITCH!!!”

Everyone looked aghast, but we all knew exactly who he was talking about.

“She’s just taken one of my biscuits!”

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