This day’s entry in Mark Lewisohn’s The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions — the only one for November 1969, as the pages dwindle to a precious few — begins with a qualifier:

Strictly speaking, this session belongs in a book about the recordings of the Plastic Ono Band. It was booked for the Plastic Ono Band and its fruits were meant for a Plastic Ono Band single, even though it didn’t come out.

John’s plan was to exhume two of the stranger Beatles recordings still moldering in the vaults — “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” and “What’s the New Mary Jane” — and release them as a Plastic Ono Band 45. To that end, today he edited “You Know My Name” down from 6’08” to 4’19” for the A side, and added some additional overdubs to “Mary Jane” for the flip.

The single was planned for rush release on December 5, perhaps because John knew he was on shaky legal and ethical ground here, and wanted to get it done before word could reach Paul’s secluded Scottish fortress. Lewisohn adds,

Rather cryptically, Apple also announced, in a press release, that the recording featured John and Yoko singing “[with instrumental support from a group] of many of the greatest show business names of today” — taken by the press, quite rightly, as a thinly veiled reference to the Beatles.

The single never saw the light of day, though; someone at some level, perhaps a Beatle or perhaps a suit from the record company, pulled the plug. “Mary Jane” eventually appeared on Anthology 3:

While “You Know My Name” was repurposed as the B-side of “Let It Be,” a strange pairing if ever there was one.

Meanwhile the rain is pouring, the wind is howling, and the lights are flickering… best get this into the queue before it all goes to hell.

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