The Beatles broke up officially in 1970 and while Let It Be was released in 1970 as The Beatles final studio album, it was actually recorded prior to Abbey Road in early 1969.
What if The Beatles had not broken up and they had stuck together for one final album? What songs from their 1970 solo albums (Paul McCartney’s McCartney, George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, & John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band) would have made it onto such a Beatles album?
What follows is the track listing of the theoretical 1970 Beatles album I would have made out of these three solo albums if I was The Beatles producer. It would have been released in December of 1970 as that’s when the last of these three albums (Plastic Ono Band) was released.
Track Listing Of Imaginary 1970 Beatles Album
#1 “My Sweet Lord” – Harrison.
This is a pretty uptempo uplifting catchy song that would have made a nice opener. I think it could have sounded real nice as a Beatles song. It’s a great tune as is, but a great McCartney bass line could spice it up. I think this would have been a hit single for The Beatles just as it was for Harrison. I would have cut the running time a bit. And that goes for many of the songs on this theretical Beatles album.
#2 “Hold On” – Lennon.
This is a great little tune that I think would work nicely as the second track.
#3 “Every Night” – McCartney.
As you can see this album is shaping up to be quite a groovy chilled out acoustic album. Sort of like a second Rubber Soul.
#4 “What Is Life” – Harrison.
This would help pick up the pace a bit but it still has a pretty groovy Rubber Soul part II feeling. I’m not sure how Lennon & McCartney would feel about having two singles from the album as Harrison songs but if the shoe fits.
#5 “Glasses” – McCartney.
I think this little experimental piece would fit nicely as a segue between the upbeat “What Is Life” to the more somber “Isnt It A Pity.” The “Hot As Sun” bit that precedes it is nice enough but I think it would work better if “What Is Life” just went directly into “Glasses.” This would be about 20 to 30 seconds long.
#6 “Isn’t It A Pity” – Harrison.
I can imagine this is a pretty grand Beatles song (as it’s already a pretty grand George Harrison song.) A sort of more weepy take on the “Hey Jude” approach. I’m not sure if it would need to be the full 7 minutes if on a Beatles album though. In fact it probably wouldn’t fit on this side one at that length. I’m thinking it would work as a 4 or 5 minute song in this context.
#7 “Junk” – McCartney.
This is the sadder side of that groovy laid back acoustic feeling. It seems like it would follow up “Isn’t It A Pity” real nicely.
#8 “Working Class Hero” – Lennon.
Lennon would close off side one with this rather dark tune. This album is shaping up to be a bit serious isn’t it? Yes. I think it would actually fit nicely ast he final Beatles album as it has that sort of feeling to it. There’s a sense of seriousness about these songs and it’s amplified by putting them one after the other like this.
#9 “Mother” – Lennon.
This would probably have sounded quite a bit different as a Beatles song but I think it could have kept it’s darkness while possibly adding a little more interest to it musically (again I’m thinking of McCartney on bass.)
#10 “I Found Out” – Lennon.
This song rocks pretty hard on Plastic Ono Band but I think it could have been more musically interesting as a Beatles song with Paul’s bass and George’s lead guitar licks.
#11 “All Things Must Pass” – Harrison.
I’ve always thought this was a brilliant song. I prefer the more stripped down Anthology version over the more orchestrated version on the album that’s name after it.
#12 “Teddy Boy” – McCartney. (Ringo on Vocals.)
I don’t know if this would really work, but you know Ringo would have to take vocals on a song and it seems like maybe he could pull this off, maybe with plenty of help from Paul.
#13 “I’d Have You Anytime” Harrison.
Would a song co-written by Bob Dylan really end up on a Beatles album? Well I think this is a lovely song so it would if I were the producer.
#14 “Maybe I’m Amazed” – McCartney.
I don’t think this selection needs to be explained too much. It’s probably McCartney’s most timeless song as a solo artist and it would be a great album closer for the final Beatles album.
I know I’m missing a lot of great songs. It’s hard to cut three solo albums down to a single album, especially when one of those albums is a triple album (Harrison’s All Things Must Pass.) Some of Lennon’s solo songs just don’t work in the context of a Beatles album. “Mother” is a stretch. “God” ? I don’t think it would work.
It’s also impossible to imagine Paul being OK with only singing 3 songs on this album. I just don’t think he’d go for that, even though I think it’s quite clear that George was writing more good songs during this period, or at least he had a lot more built up. Thinking about this, it starts to become clear why The Beatles did break up when they did. I guess maybe it was for the best.
That’s not to say I don’t think this album I’ve just described wouldn’t have been an excellent album (although probably not as good as Abbey Road for instance) just that they (John, Paul, & George) were writing too many songs and going in too many different directions to really be restrained by being in a band any longer.