As word spread today that there had been a second set of murders in L.A. over the weekend, people began to freak out in earnest. It was widely assumed that Sharon Tate and company had been killed because she was a celebrity, or because her husband made weird movies, or because she and her friends were Hollywood druggie freaks. But the Sunday victims were an ordinary middle-aged couple. They may have been fairly well-off, but they hadn’t been robbed or anything; they had been savagely murdered for no discernible reason at all. If it could happen to them, it could happen to anyone.

At this point no one knew about the Beatles connection or that, to all outward appearances, the killers were a bunch of hippies. In time, as these things became known, the localized L.A. paranoia would begin to ripple out into the culture at large. But there are months of police blundering between now and then. We’ll check in on the investigation from time to time, but there’s no point in dwelling on it too much.

In the meantime, today marked a milestone in Beatle history: the last recorded performances of John Lennon as a Beatle. In a nine-hour session starting at 2:30 in the afternoon, John worked with Paul and George to lay down backing vocals for “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and “Oh! Darling.” At this point both songs were complete, though “I Want You” existed in two versions, with and without the subtitle and backing vocals; only later would John decide which version he wanted to use.

John would turn up at Abbey Road a couple more times for mixing sessions and whatnot, but never again pick up a guitar or approach a microphone. The dream was over.

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