To all outward appearances, everything was hunky-dory today as The Beatles continued to add to the medley that would occupy most of Side 2 of Abbey Road. At previous sessions they’d recorded a linked pair of Paul songs (“Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight”) and a pair of John songs (“Sun King”/“Mean Mr. Mustard”). Today it was one John (“Polythene Pam”) and one Paul (“She Came in Through the Bathroom Window”), again performed as a single, continuous piece of music.

Working together as a unit — Paul on bass, John on acoustic guitar, George on electric, and Ringo on the skins — they seemed to recapture some of their old camaraderie. Says Geoff Emerick,

Sitting up in the Studio Two control room, I commented to George Martin that it sounded like old-style Beatles, like the four of them playing together as a band circa 1963. “You’re right,” George said sardonically. “You’d never guess that the four of them can’t stand each other.”

And indeed, behind the scenes, things were not so sunny. Emerick explains:

John was unhappy with Ringo’s drumming, commenting acidly at one point that it “sounded like Dave Clark,” which was clearly not meant as as a compliment. He was so impatient at Ringo’s inability to come up with a suitable part that he finally said, “Sod it, let’s just put one down anyway.”

But Ringo was upset that John was unhappy with his drumming, and he spent a good deal of time working on it with Paul even after the backing track was done. Finally, he said to John, “Why don’t we just record the backing track again? I think I’ve got a part you’ll like now,” but Lennon waved him off.

“I’m not playing the bloody song again, Ring. If you want to redo the drums, go ahead and overdub them.”

That night Ringo did just that.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention that ol’ Mr. Peace Sign could be kind of a dick sometimes. But to be mean to Ringo… for shame, for shame.

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