Many accounts exist of this strange day at EMI Studios on Abbey Road, but my favorite is the one from Geoff Emerick’s Here, There and Everywhere, which I am presenting here with commentary. It’s a bit on the long side, but I find it terribly amusing; if you feel differently, by all means take the day off with my blessing.

We’d been receiving daily reports on John and Yoko’s progress as they slowly recuperated at home…

In fact, I believe that they had been in Lawson Memorial Hospital in Scotland most, if not all, of this time. Carry on, Geoff.

Early in the morning of July 9, George Martin had gotten a call from Mal Evans saying that Mr. and Mrs. Lennon were at long last on their way into the recording studio. As the afternoon wore on, there was a great deal of anticipation as to what kind of shape John would be in and what his mood would be.

The afternoon in question had been devoted to recording Paul’s composition “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” an inauspicious choice for John’s first day back. Few Beatles songs are as polarizing, both to fans and to The Beatles themselves, as this rooty-tooty McCartney number. George and John both hated it, and while Ringo’s opinion is not recorded, he probably didn’t enjoy being asked to play an anvil. (In the end it was too much for him, and beefy Mal Evans was recruited for the task.)

Everyone was concerned about his well-being… but there was also an unspoken worry about how John and Yoko’s presence would alter the relatively good vibe of the sessions so far.

As previously stated, despite being theoretically on the outs after the Allen Klein controversy, Paul, George, and Ringo had been working well as a trio up to this point. As it turned out, Emerick was absolutely right to be worried.

Suddenly, without warning, John and Yoko materialized in the studio doorway, like two apparitions dressed in black. After a moment’s hesitation, we all rushed over to see if he was all right.

“Yes, I’m okay,” Lennon reassured us softly. As everyone gathered around anxiously, he appeared to brighten. “I’ve brought the car with me too,” he blurted out… he’d arranged for the [Austin Maxi] in which he’d had the accident to be crushed into a block and towed down from Scotland.

The wreckage, as we have seen, was to serve as a talisman and a reminder that John shouldn’t drive anymore.

The tow company had been instructed to bring it to the Abbey Road parking lot first so we could all have a look at it before it would be taken to John’s mansion in Tittenhurst Park…. Talking animatedly with his fellow Beatles, Lennon appeared to forget about Yoko for a moment. Clearly annoyed, she tugged at his sleeve and let out a small moan, gaining his attention.

A cynic might say that Yoko was using the circumstances of the accident to consolidate her hold over John. But that may not even have been necessary… he was already pretty far gone.

“I’m afraid that Mother is still not too well, though,” he said, suitably chastened. Even during the White Album sessions John had started to referring to Yoko that way, which I always found a bit creepy.

To be fair, John hardly invented this, and she was in fact currently pregnant with his child. But it’s also abundantly clear that John himself viewed Yoko as a mother figure — which is also hardly novel, but could perhaps be characterized as creepy.

Yoko started to say something, but before she could get a word out, the door burst open again and four men in brown coats began wheeling in a large, heavy object. For a moment, I thought it was a piano coming in from one of the other studios, but it soon dawned on me that these were proper deliverymen: the brown coats they were wearing had the word “Harrods” inscribed on the back.

Harrods, of course, is London’s most famous department store, which has counted among its customers Charlie Chaplin, Noël Coward, Sigmund Freud, Lillie Langtry, Vivien Leigh, A. A. Milne, Laurence Olivier, Oscar Wilde, and many members of the British Royal Family. As these things go, this most British of institutions is now owned by the government of Qatar.

The object being delivered was, in fact, a bed.

Jaws dropping, we all watched as it was brought into the studio and carefully positioned by the stairs, across from the tea-and-toast setup. More brown coats appeared with sheets and pillows and somebody made the bed up. Then, without saying a word, Yoko climbed in, carefully arranging the covers around her.

I’d spent nearly seven years of my life in recording studios, and I thought I’d seen it all… but this took the cake. George Martin, John Kurlander, Phil and I exchanged wary looks; out of the corner of my eye I could see that Paul, Ringo, and George Harrison were as gobsmacked as we were. Lennon walked over to the bed.

“Are you okay?” he asked solicitously.

Yoko mumbled an affirmative. Lennon turned to us.

“Can you put a microphone up over here so we can hear her on the headphones?”

And so it came to pass that during the subsequent weeks of Beatles sessions, Yoko lay abed in the studio, receiving a steady stream of visitors and occasionally offering commentary on the recordings. Is it any wonder this was the last Beatles album?

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