Bit by bit, the band was coming back together. For the first time since July of last year, this current run of Beatles sessions had the benefit of the studio A-team of producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick. (Also in the studio was a young assistant engineer whose name, Alan Parsons, will be familiar to fans of Seventies soft rock. He would also go on to engineer Dark Side of the Moon.) Emerick, who was no longer an EMI employee, had been allowed to return only after a delicate series of negotiations; but in this as in most things, The Beatles eventually got what they wanted.

The session began with Paul by himself on acoustic guitar, recording three takes of the brief “Her Majesty,” one of which would end up being the last song on the last Beatles album.

Later Paul was joined in the studio by George and Ringo, and the three of them recorded 15 takes of the combined “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight.” Unlike the other parts of the medley on Side 2 of Abbey Road, which were edited together later, these two were actually recorded as one piece.

“Golden Slumbers” — stop me if you’ve heard this one before — was based on a 1603 poem by Thomas Dekker, which went like this:

Golden slumbers kiss your eyes,
Smiles awake you when you rise;
Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby,
Rock them, rock them, lullaby.

Explained Paul,

I was playing the piano in Liverpool in my dad’s house, and my stepsister Ruth’s piano book was up on the stand. I was flicking through it and I came to Golden Slumbers. I can’t read music and I couldn’t remember the old tune, so I just started playing my own tune to it. I liked the words so I kept them, and it fitted with another bit of song I had.

Paul at least was smart enough to steal from someone who was long dead and couldn’t sue him — unlike John Lennon and George Harrison, who would both have problems in that area in the next couple years. Speaking of which, what about John? Well, he was still in Lawson Memorial Hospital in Scotland recuperating from his car accident.

He probably should have stayed there longer than he did, especially given that Yoko — who had to be by his side always and forever — was dealing with a pregnancy complicated by her injuries. But as word began to filter back that the others were recording without him, John started to get itchy. Even though he had one foot out the Beatle door, he could not tolerate the idea of being left out.

He ended up having to go to quite ridiculous lengths to get back into the studio, with Yoko of course in tow. More on that at the appropriate time.

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