Although side 3 includes songs from everyone, by this point 1970 is turning into a dialogue between George and John — The Beatles’ two seekers, who had once seemed to be on the same path, but since Rishikesh had evolved in radically divergent directions. George had by now practically gone full Krishna, while John was teetering on the edge of nihilism.

On record during this period, they often sounded like two sides of the same coin, using the same producer and many of the same musicians to frame their opposing viewpoints. They would collaborate fairly extensively on Lennon’s 1971 album Imagine, but their relationship soured when George asked that Yoko not participate in The Concert for Bangla Desh and John quit in a huff. That was a long time ago; surely they have made up by now. They’re probably hovering above a cloud somewhere, flapping their wings and strumming their harps, arguing about which of them was more wrong.

Track Listing:

Art of Dying (George)
“When George Harrison learned he had terminal cancer in 2001… he had requested a treatment that would limit his need for mind-impairing painkillers, so that he could maintain alertness, be aware of his dying, and stay mindful of God. He wanted to die in a state of ‘God consciousness’ and attain ‘God realization’ in his dying. While receiving treatment in New York, he was visited by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, come to say farewell. McCartney was moved by how Harrison held his hand as they spoke, consolingly stroking his palm. Harrison’s oncologist noted how, though it was Harrison who was dying, he had ministered to his grief-stricken friends, aware of how sad their vision of death was. But death was something different for him. ‘Death,’ he said, ‘is just where your suit falls off and now you’re in your other suit.’” —“George Harrison & the Art of Dying,” Beliefnet.com

I Found Out (John)
“All of the raw emotions surrounding his own disillusionment with the decade, the band, and the youth that John Lennon was now leaving behind erupt into scalding series of recriminations on ‘I Found Out….’ Here – and on the equally propulsive ‘Gimme Some Truth,’ a Beatles-era demo finished for 1971’s Imagine – Lennon doesn’t simply take parting shots. He lashes out, tearing to shreds everything in which he once placed his faith.” —Nick DeRiso

My Sweet Lord (George)
“In his 1980 Playboy magazine interview, John Lennon doubted that Harrison really had subconsciously plagiarised He’s So Fine. ‘He walked right into it,’ Lennon told David Sheff. ‘He knew what he was doing. He must have known, you know. He’s smarter than that… George could have changed a few bars in that song and nobody could have ever touched him, but he just let it go and paid the price. Maybe he thought God would just sort of let him off.’” —The Beatles Bible

That Would Be Something (Paul)
Rolling Stone groused that “That Would Be Something” has “virtually no verbal or melodic content whatsoever.” And they are not entirely off-base, but in this case less is more; “TWBS’s” simplicity and looping, repetitive structure are the basis of its charm. George Harrison said it was “great,” and generally speaking he didn’t care for anything Paul did during this period. The Grateful Dead liked it enough to cover it regularly in the mid-90s, and Paul revisited it for his MTV Unplugged album. But to be honest, the less you think about it, the better it sounds.

Hold On (John)
Many British people had a hard time figuring out why John randomly yells “Cookie!” in the middle of this song, but those of us who grew up on Sesame Street understand: John, who was getting in touch with his inner child through Primal Scream therapy, found a kindred spirit in Cookie Monster. This was also referenced in “Early 1970”: “Laying in bed, watching TV, Cookie!” sang Ringo in the verse about John.

It Don’t Come Easy (Ringo)
“[George] Harrison had a habit of offering his best tunes to his friends. He originally gave ‘My Sweet Lord’ to Billy Preston. He gave a song called ‘You Gotta Pay Your Dues’ to Badfinger, although they turned it down. So [Ringo] took a crack…. George Martin produced and Stephen Stills was on the piano, but after thirty takes on February 18 and 19, 1970, it still wasn’t coming easy. Thus Harrison sang a demo himself with Badfinger on backing vocals, instructing them to chant ‘Hare Krishna!’ during the instrumental. In the final version of the song you can still hear it, low in the mix. Starr tackled the song again on March 8, this time with Harrison producing.” —Solobeatles.com

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