The final Beatles song recorded by all four members

The Beatles

The Beatles were ready to call it quits after their 1960s tenure. After going through the worst sessions they’d ever worked on while producing The White Album, their attempt to return to their roots with the Get Back project, subsequently turned into the album Let It Be, failed horribly. After both of those traumatic experiences, the band thought it was only right to send their fans on a positive note if this was the end of the road.

When it came time to make Abbey Road, producer George Martin remembers a lot of enthusiasm in the studio, telling Rolling Stone, “It was very happy.” I believe it was cheerful because everyone knew it might be the last.” As the rest of the Beatles began to venture outside of their comfort zone, they always returned to serve the song.

When John Lennon was working on the initial set of songs, he had the beginnings of a song called ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy),’ which was an exercise in minimalism. Taking inspiration from Yoko Ono’s poetry, Lennon decided to express his sentiments in the shortest possible way, just stating 12 words throughout the song, not counting the shouts of passion.

Despite being one of the first songs written for Abbey Road, it would be one of the last tracks to include all four members. Lennon had already begun working on his solo material with Yoko Ono on tunes like ‘Give Peace a Chance‘ by the time the song’s production was completed.

Even in its ultimate version, ‘I Want You‘ exemplifies what each member of the band is capable of. Because this is John Lennon’s material, his blues-infused lead playing serves as the appropriate backdrop throughout the song, following his primary vocal line. Ringo Starr’s drumming generates a waterfall of noise in the headphones as the song transitions to the swirling outro theme, all while Paul McCartney lays down the wildest bass slides of his career.

Regardless of John Lennon’s contribution to the song, George Harrison adds the frosting on the cake with his avant-garde taste. Harrison, who had been working with various Moog synthesizers for several years, was the one who recommended incorporating a wind machine into the mix, generating a veil of white noise. Given how hypnotic the final recording is, the white noise nearly seems to convey the sensation of the tape breaking.

Even though the song would appear at the end of side one of Abbey Road, Lennon would not take part in any subsequent The Beatles sessions. While touch-ups were needed to convert Let It Be into something salvageable, only McCartney, Harrison, and Starr stepped up at the studio to record bits and pieces of the song ‘I Me Mine’. Although the song was daring for its day, it’s difficult not to associate the abrupt pause at the end of ‘I Want You’ with the Fab Four’s demise.

Leave a Reply

You May Also Like