There was an important session today at which The Beatles laid down 36 new takes of George’s “Something” (previously assayed on April 16), with the last one being the keeper. This is the version of the song that we know — except that George’s vocal and Billy Preston’s organ were added later — but at this point it included a lengthy instrumental coda that padded the song out to 7 minutes and 48 seconds.

Attempts to locate the full track were only quasi-successful. This clip that I found on YouTube purports to be take 37 and runs only 5:44, but sounds very much like how the long version is described. You may notice that the piano chords at the end were the same ones later used by John for his song “Remember,” which appeared on Plastic Ono Band.

Even at <6 minutes this drags a bit, and certainly almost 8 minutes’ worth would have been excessive. I’m not sure at what point the decision was taken to lop off the song at 3 minutes, but this was the right call, I think. Although it might have been a good idea to make the single version short and let the album version run long, omitting “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” to make room.

Oh, “Maxwell’s”; even to think of it is to sigh. According to Ian McDonald’s Revolution in the Head, “If any single recording shows why The Beatles broke up, it is ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.’” We shall have occasion to consider “MSH” at all too great a length at a later date; for now, let us conserve our energy.