In the course of this one minute and thirty-three seconds you can hear all three takes of “Her Majesty” that Paul recorded on July 2, 1969:

Take 3 is the one that appears on the album, with two important differences:

  • The album version starts out coming completely from the right channel and over the course of the song migrates all the way to the left. This was done when it was still part of the medley to make it match up with the songs before and after it, “Mean Mr. Mustard” and “Polythene Pam.” When it was deleted from the medley and tacked on to the end of the album, the stereo panning was left in place.
  • All three takes here include the resolving final chord, which is musically correct but sounds jarring to an ear accustomed to the truncated version. Just can’t get used to it.

It’s always seemed weird to me that Paul apparently had a little thing for Queen Elizabeth. But over the last couple weeks I’ve been watching the first season of The Crown and — thanks to the toothsome Claire Foy — getting used to the idea. The actual Queen is plain in comparison, but why shouldn’t young Paul McCartney have had a crush on the dynamic new monarch? According to the Super Deluxe Liner Notes,

Paul had written about Queen Elizabeth II… when he was a school boy. As part of the celebrations for the 1953 coronation, he entered a Liverpool Public Libraries competition to write an essay looking forward to the pomp and circumstance at Westminster Abbey on 2 June…. Writing about “our lovely young queen,” the 10-year-old Paul concluded that “present day royalty rules with affection rather than force.”

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then… almost 70 years’ worth, in fact. When Paul played at QEII’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, he did not neglect to perform “Her Majesty.” “I had to do it,” he said, probably with a smirk.

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