Recording of “Your Mother Should Know” continued today at Chappell Studios. This session is notable in Beatles history as the last one attended by Brian Epstein, who — spoiler alert — had only a few more days to live.

The convenient narrative would be to say that Epstein was growing increasingly depressed during this period, and indeed in Mark Lewisohn’s The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Chappell engineer John Timperley is quoted as saying that he “came in to hear the playbacks looking extremely down and in a bad mood. He just stood at the back of the room listening, not saying much.”

But according to Bob Spitz’s The Beatles, he had actually been doing relatively well of late; after the shock of his father’s death six weeks before, his mother had come to stay with him for an extended period.

In the opinion of Brian’s chauffeur, Bryan Barrett: “It was the best damn thing that ever happened to him.” Queenie [his mother] woke him early each morning and they discussed their daily plans over breakfast. Then, Brian dressed in a suit and, for the first time in ages, put in long days at the office. There was no prowling about after sundown, no multidrug highballs.

But Queenie would be gone before the start of the upcoming weekend, leaving Brian free to cut loose once again. This is always a dangerous time, when someone goes back to their old bad habits but with their tolerance lowered by a period of abstention. So as we picture Brian Epstein brooding in the studio while The Beatles listen to a playback of Paul’s latest bouncy number, let there be a few ominous notes on the soundtrack; they won’t tell the whole story, but they’re not inappropriate either.

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