Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Beatles Daydream

Growing up in one of the vast suburbs of Los Angeles, I never really paid much attention to music.  My parents were not musicians, nor did they listen to much music in their daily lives.  My mother's temporary infatuation with Barry Manilow in the late seventies, sadly, did nothing to inspire me.  Instead, I continued my quest to read every book in the school library, ride my bike, and play baseball.

But then on December 8, 1980, Howard Cosell announced during the end of the New England Patriots / Miami Dolpins Monday Night Football game I was watching that someone I'd never heard of before, John Lennon, "the most famous perhaps of all of the Beatles," had been shot and killed.

If I didn't know who John Lennon was before December 8, 1980, I surely did after it.  For the next two months, John Lennon and The Beatles were inescapable.  The newspaper, the radio stations, every magazine by the checkout at Stater Brothers, the tv news, and even the weekly fictional tv programs were inundated with stories and the music of John and the Beatles.  I was mesmerized by what I was hearing, and soon I was hooked.

I spent the next few decades hunting down and enjoying all of the Beatles and John/Paul/George/Ringo material I could find.  When this undertaking was nearly finished, my mind hungered for another Beatles puzzle to solve, and I kept focusing on this -- what if The Beatles did not break up in 1970.  What would their subsequent albums have sounded like?  I created a first draft, but I was never really satisfied with it. And then through the wonder of the internet, I found, bought, and read The Beatles After the Break-Up 1970 -2000 by Keith Badman.  And with the information taken from there, I created a second draft that feels to me, given the existing recorded music created by John/Paul/George/Ringo, exactly what those lost albums would have sounded like.

The 1970 Beatles Album

In my daydream, the four Beatles had a heart to heart in the spring of 1970 and sorted out their differences. I mean, if The Beatles can't get it together, then what hope is there for peace in the Middle East?  (All you need is love, indeed!)

Track Listing:

1.  My Sweet Lord
2.  Hold On
3.  Hot as Sun / Glasses
4.  Teddy Boy
5.  Instant Karma (We All Shine On)
6.  Beaucoups of Blues
7.  Junk
8.  Mother
9.  Working Class Hero
10.  Maybe I'm Amazed
11.  All Things Must Pass

"My Sweet Lord" -- Obviously a favorite track of George's.  He released it as a single and performed it at the Concert for Bangla Desh.

"Hold On" -- One of the self-reflective songs that John was fond of writing.  Its position as the second track on this record mimics The Beatles's inclination to pair loud, fast tracks with slow, quiet ones on their albums's track sequencing.

"Hot as Sun / Glasses" -- This was a track that Paul had written years ago.  He played it often during the Get Back sessions and didn't hesitate to include it on his McCartney album.  John would have appreciated the avant-garde ending where Paul rubs his finger around the rims of crystal glasses making them hum, and Paul would have also pushed for this track as it gives him a chance to do something with his song 'Suicide," a snippet of which is tacked on to the end of this track.  I also think John would have appreciated the pun in the title.

"Teddy Boy" -- I imagine that this 1970 album would be a place for several of the "Get Back" songs to find a home, and this is another of those.

"Instant Karma" -- This was a single that John released, so it was one that he was proud of.

"Beaucoups of Blues" -- Ringo was a fan of American country and western music and in 1970 traveled to Tennessee to record with C&W musicians.  "Beaucoups" was a single and the title track of his second solo album.

"Junk" -- Another "Get Back" sessions song that Paul included on his McCartney record.  He also records a version of this song to be the final track of his Unplugged album he released in 1991.

"Mother" -- A deeply personal track of John's, inspired by Arthur Janov's primal scream therapy sessions he and Yoko had attended in 1970.  John released this as a single in 1970.  He also performed it at his 1972 Madison Square concert to benefit mentally handicapped children.  He clearly felt strongly about this track.

"Working Class Hero" -- I included this track from John's Plastic Ono Band album rather than "God" because if The Beatles hadn't broken up, he wouldn't have written that song.

"Maybe I'm Amazed" -- One of Paul's favorite tracks.  It would have easily been included here.

"All Things Must Pass" -- The final "Get Back" session song to find a home here.  It was the title track of his huge 1970 solo album, and it dramatically ends the Beatles '70 album.

1970 Non-album Single:

"Cold Turkey" backed with "Apple Scruffs"

John's track about kicking his heroin addiction is the A-side.  As George has many songs ready for release, he gets the B-side, a song about the Beatles fans who hang out at Abbey Road studios and the Apple offices hoping for an encounter with one of their heroes.  The sweet, up-beat B-side contrasts nicely with the harsh A-side.

The 1971 Beatles Album

Three members of The Beatles were busy fellows in 1971.  George was getting his Concert for Bangla Desh organised.  John was making films with Yoko and performing in concert for various causes.  Ringo was filming Blindman.  But that wouldn't stop them from putting out a stellar album.

Track Listing:

1.  Too Many People
2.  It Don't Come Easy
3.  Crippled Inside
4.  Jealous Guy
5.  Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey
6.  If Not for You
7.  Imagine
8.  Gimme Some Truth
9.  Heart of the Country
10.  Deep Blue
11.  The Back Seat of my Car

"Too Many People" -- From the tracks off of Paul's 1971 album Ram, you can't choose any of the songs where Paul takes a dig at John, so this album will start off with the socially conscious "TMP," as George and John's activist spirit rubs off on Paul.

"It Don't Come Easy" -- A single from 1971 that Ringo wrote himself.

"Crippled Inside" -- A song off of John's 1971 Imagine album.  George plays guitar on this track.

"Jealous Guy" -- This was originally a song called "Child of Nature" written when The Beatles went to India and then recorded the "White Album," but since they chose Paul's "Mother Nature's Son" to be on the album, John decided to shelve his song.  He later rewrote the lyrics and included it on Imagine.

"Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey" -- Paul's hit single from his 1971 Ram album.

"If Not for You" -- The other Beatles were Dylan fans, and would probably have been excited for it's inclusion.  George did not release an album of new songs in 1971, but he would've had this 1970 song ready.

"Imagine" -- This was a hit single and the title track of his 1971 solo album.

"Gimme Some Truth" -- John would've pushed to include this Imagine song about his frustration over being harassed by the US government over his immigration status.  George plays guitar on this track.  John said that the guitar solo on this track was one of the best he'd ever heard from George.

"Heart of the Country" -- John wasn't the only one who wrote songs about his personal life, as this song from Ram shows how happy Paul is with his life on his farm in the country.

"Deep Blue" -- George had a lot of All Things Must Pass songs stocked up, but I passed them up as I think George would have included this 1971 song instead.  It was the B-side added to his single "Bangla Desh," written after the death of his mother.

"The Backseat of my Car" -- This track from Paul's Ram gives this Beatles '71 album a big, dramatic ending.

1971 Non-album Singles:

"Power to the People" backed with "Early 1970"
"Bangla Desh" backed with "Wah-Wah"
and "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" backed with "Oh Yoko!"

"Power to the People" was a 1971 song John released as a single before he started the Imagine sessions. "Early 1970" was the B-side of Ringo's 1971 "It Don't Come Easy," a song about the people in his Beatles family.

"Bangla Desh" was a song George released in the summer of 1971 that announced the campaign to help the refugees of Bangla Desh.  The B-Side "Wah-Wah" is a song that George performed at the Concert for the People of Bangla Desh.

"Happy Xmas" in a way continues The Beatles's tradition of releasing a Christmas song during the holidays.  This was a single John released in 1971.  The B-side is one of the love songs for Yoko on Imagine.  Gotta have one of those somewhere.

The 1972 Beatles Album

In 1972, Paul and his newly formed band Wings went on a small tour of British universities.  They would drive up and find the student unions to ask if they could play.  After that, Wings went on a more ambitious tour of Europe.  On the European tour, Paul recorded their shows as he was keen on Wings's next album being a double album, consisting of one studio and one live album.  After listening to the concert recordings, Paul reconsidered, and released Red Rose Speedway as a single studio album.  John however actually did release a double album in 1972 called Some Time in New York City that was one studio album and one live album.  The live album included a recording of a UNICEF benefit concert and a show with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.  Therefore, I imagine that if the Beatles were still together at this time, they would have released a double album.

Studio Album Track Listing:

1.  New York City
2.  I Am Your Singer
3.  Hi, Hi, Hi
4.  C Moon
5.  What Is Life
6.  Woman Is the Nigger of the World
7.  Awaiting on You All
8.  John Sinclair
9.  Little Woman Love
10.  Back Off Boogaloo
11.  Isn't It a Pity

Live Album Track Listing:

1.  Best Friend
2.  Here Comes the Sun
3.  Come Together
4.  Imagine
5.  The Mess
6.  Maybe I'm Amazed
7.  My Sweet Lord
8.  It Don't Come Easy
9.  Long Tall Sally
10.  Hound Dog
11.  Give Peace a Chance

"New York City" -- John would have insisted on this track from 1972's Some Time in New York City about his new love, NYC.

"I Am Your Singer" -- Paul liked this track so much, he put it on his 1972 album Wild Life, and he performed it during his tours of England and Europe.

"Hi, Hi, Hi" -- This song got a loud response from his concert audiences, so he released this as a single in 1972.  It was still a favorite of Paul's during his 1975/76 Wings World Tour.

"C Moon" -- This was the B-side of the "Hi, Hi, Hi" single, and to this day it remains a favorite of Paul's to play live.

"What Is Life" -- George did not release an album in 1972, so what songs lying around would he have put on this record?  George released this as a single in 1970, so I think this was one he was especially proud of and wanted people to hear, so I chose this.

"Woman Is the Nigger of the World" -- John was proud of his stand as a feminist, so he put this song out in the public as much as he could in 1972.  It was a single.  He also performed it at the One to One benefit concert in 1972.

"Awaiting on You All" -- With all of the political posturing going on, I think George, being his mischievous self, would have insisted that this song be included on this album.

"John Sinclair" -- John Sinclair was one of John's causes.  He was a counter-culture political activist who got caught giving two marijuana cigarettes to undercover police officers and was sentenced to ten years in prison.  John wrote and performed this song for a free John Sinclair concert.

"Little Woman Love" -- This was the B-side to Paul's 1972 single "Mary Had a Little Lamb."  He included this song on his 1973 project One Hand Clapping.

"Back Off Boogaloo" -- This was a hit single for Ringo in 1972.  George produced it and plays guitar on it.  Ringo wrote this song on night when laying down to go to sleep.  Ringo was making a movie with Marc Bolan, who mumbled nonsense phrases like "boogaloo" often.

"Isn't It a Pity" -- I chose version two of this song as it appears on George's album All Things Must Pass as this version is shorter, so it would fit on the album.  George chose this to be the B-side of his "My Sweet Lord" single.  It gives this album a dramatic ending.

"Best Friend"-- This song opened many of the concerts on Paul's 1972 tour.

"Here Comes the Sun" -- This was one of the tracks that George selected to play at the Concert for Bangla Desh.

"Come Together" -- John played this at his 1972 One to One concert.

"Imagine" -- John also played this at his 1972 One to One concert.

"The Mess" -- This song was regularly played during Paul's 1972 tour.  Paul liked this track so much that it was the only song recorded during this tour that Paul has officially released.  It was the B-side to the 1973 single "My Love."

"Maybe I'm Amazed" -- This is the only "old" song of his that Paul regularly played live during his 1972 tours.

"My Sweet Lord" -- George played this at the Concert for Bangla Desh.

"It Don't Come Easy" -- Ringo played this at the Concert for Bangla Desh

"Long Tall Sally" -- Paul played this frequently during his 1972 tours.

"Hound Dog" and "Give Peace a Chance" both performed at the end of John's One to One concert at Madison Square Garden.

1972 Non-album Single:

"Give Ireland Back to the Irish" backed with "Mary Had a Little Lamb"

"Give Ireland back to the Irish" was a song Paul wrote in response to the violence of Bloody Sunday when 26 unarmed civil rights protesters were shot by the British army in Northern Ireland.  If the Beatles were still together, I don't think Paul would have wanted to wait until The Beatles were ready to record an album to release this single.  "Mary Had a Little Lamb" is a nicely juxtaposed B-side.  It was originally a single in its own right.  Paul played it on the Top of the Pops tv show.  And he even said in 1972 that it must be a good song as it had sold as many copies as "Tumbling Dice" had!

The 1973 Beatles Album

This was a prolific and profitable year for John/Paul/George/Ringo.  John recorded and released the Mind Games album as well as recorded the first batch of his Rock 'n' Roll songs with Phil Spector.  Paul released two albums, Red Rose Speedway and Band on the Run, he produced a TV special James Paul McCartney, he wrote the theme song to a James Bond movie, and he had three singles reach the top ten.  Ringo reached the pinnacle of his solo career in 1973 with his album Ringo that featured a "Beatles reunion" of sorts as John, George, and Paul all contributed songs.  He also sported two number one singles that year.  George released his popular Living in the Material World, which also yielded a number one single.

Track Listing:

1.  Band on the Run
2.  Photograph
3.  Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)
4.  Out the Blue
5.  Don't Let Me Wait Too Long
6.  Let Me Roll It
7.  You Are Here
8.  Mind Games
9.  Jet
10.  Bring on the Lucie (Freda People)
11.  Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-five

"Band on the Run" -- A no brainer from Paul's 1973 album of the same name, and a great lead off song.

"Photograph" -- Ringo and George wrote this 1973 song from the Ringo album, and George plays guitar on it.  Perennial Ringo.

"Give Me Love" -- Number one single for George off of his 1973 Living in the Material World.  It was in his set list for his 1974 tour.

"Out the Blue" -- From John's 1973 album Mind Games.  I don't have any rationale for including it except that I need four John songs for this album, and it is one of my favorites from Mind Games.

"Don't Let Me Wait Too Long" --  Another hit single taken from George's Living in the Material World.

"Let Me Roll It" -- It's hard to chop up Paul's Band on the Run, as it is a nearly perfect album, but I chose this track as it is a favorite of Paul's and has been showcased on numerous tours.

"You Are Here" -- Another one of my favorites from John's Mind Games.

"Mind Games" -- A song that John seemed to favor, as it was a single and the title track of his album.  Is this song about his immigration problems, his problems with Yoko at the time, crazy Phil Spector who disappeared with the Rock 'n' Roll tapes, or all of the above?

"Jet" -- Another of Paul's favorites from Band on the Run.  It features prominently in all of his tours.  The lyrics to this track flummox me though.  I know this song is supposed to be about his dog, but why am I supposed to be worried that the major is a suffragette?

"Bring on the Lucy (Freda People)" -- Another song from John's Mind Games.  Perhaps he would have picked this track to be on the Beatles' 1973 album as it's not as pretty as the others and has that lyrical bite that he embraced.

"Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-five" -- This was the B-Side to Paul's "Band on the Run" single.  It perfectly ends the album with a fade out of "Band on the Run" tacked onto the end.

1973 Non-album Singles:

"My Love" backed with "Big Barn Bed"
"Live and Let Die" backed with "Country Dreamer"
"I'm the Greatest" backed with "Sunshine Life for Me (Sail Away Raymond)"

"My Love" was a track from Red Rose Speedway that preceeded Band on the Run by half a year.  Paul wouldn't have waited for the Beatles 1973 album which would have been released late in the year.  I love Henry McCullough's solo on this track, but I would love to hear what George would have come up with.  Paul originally B-sided this mellow track with a rocker, "The Mess."  As I've already used "The Mess" on the 1972 album, I thought Paul might pick "Big Barn Bed" which featured in his 1972 tours and the James Paul McCartney TV special.

"Live and Let Die" also needed to be released on its own schedule, as it was part of the James Bond film of the same name.  I thought Paul would like to juxtapose this rockin' A-side with a country song.  Knowing about Ringo's affinity for country music, I think he would have approved.

"I'm the Greatest" is a track from the Ringo album.  As Ringo was generally allotted only one track per album, and there were a lot of great tracks on the Ringo record, The Beatles would have had to release at least one of them as a single.  "I'm the Greatest" was written by John who also plays piano and sings harmony.  George plays guitar, and Billy Preston plays organ.  The B-side, "Sunshine Life for Me" also comes from the Ringo record.  This is a track that George wrote for Ringo.  George plays guitar and sings backup.

The 1974 Beatles Album

Another busy year in Beatledom.  John goes on his lost weekend, scores a number one single, and has to perform in concert with Elton John to settle a bet.  Paul's ride atop Band on the Run carries him through the first half of the year.  He also puts together the very excellent One Hand Clapping project.  George tours Canada and The United States and releases an album.  And our friend Ringo does very well in the charts with a solid Goodnight Vienna.

Track Listing:

1.  Goodnight Vienna
2.  Dark Horse
3.  Helen Wheels
4.  Junior's Farm
5.  #9 Dream
6.  Whatever Gets You Through the Night
7.  Bluebird
8.  Maya Love
9.  What You Got
10.  Nobody Loves You (When You're Down and Out)
11.  One Hand Clapping

"Goodnight Vienna"-- This is a track John wrote for Ringo's 1974 album Goodnight Vienna.  John also plays piano.

"Dark Horse" -- In addition to being a single, this George track is also the title track of his 1974 album and the name of his record company.  He also played this song during his 1974 tour, so it seems like an important track to him.  He had a lingering case of laryngitis during the tour and recording of the album, so his voice sounds harsh.  You can find a bootleg version of this song with just George on his acoustic guitar and in fine voice before his larynx became inflamed.

"Helen Wheels" -- Paul did not release an LP during this year, so I had to go back to the Band on the Run tracks, and I chose "Helen Wheels" because he liked it enough to choose it as a single.  Also, originally it was just a single and not on the LP, but then he later included it on the BOTR record.  So this seems like a track that Paul favored.

"Junior's Farm" -- This was a single from Paul from 1974 that reached number three on the singles chart.  It was a new song that Paul would have been excited enough about to want to put on the new Beatles record.

"#9 Dream" -- This was a single from John's 1974 album Walls and Bridges.  He also included this on the only greatest hits package that he would oversee, Shaved Fish.

"Whatever Gets You thru the Night" -- Elton John sings harmony and plays piano on this Walls and Bridges track.  Elton made John promise that if he released this as a single and it hit number one, that he would join Elton on stage at one of his concerts.  It and he both did.

"Bluebird" -- This is a Paul track from BOTR, and was featured during his 1975/6 Wings over the World tour and has made numerous appearances with Paul in other places through the years.  Clearly a favorite of his.

"Maya Love" -- This track from 1974's Dark Horse was a current favorite of George's as he played it regularly during his 1974 tour.

"What You Got" -- The perfect soundtrack to John's "Lost Weekend" from Walls and Bridges.

"Nobody Loves You (When You're Down and Out)" -- Unless this Walls and Bridges track is the perfect soundtrack to John's "Lost Weekend."

"One Hand Clapping" -- So what would Paul have picked for his fourth contribution to the Beatles '74 album?  There are several good BOTR tracks that could have been chosen.  He could have chosen "Sally G," the B-side to the '74 single "Junior's Farm," but this is a country song, and I had him release a country song as the B-side to a '73 Beatles single, so instead I had Paul choose a new composition that was the theme to a project he was working on in '74.  It also fits nicely at the end of the album, as it slowly builds, layer upon layer, until it really gets going and then fades away.

1974 Non-album Singles:

"Ding Dong, Ding Dong" backed with "We're Gonna Move"
"No No Song" backed with "Only You"

"Ding Dong Ding Dong" by George from his 1974 Dark Horse album is another 'Christmas' single, although this track is a celebration of New Year's Eve.  The B-side is from a recording from 1974 that Paul made called The Backyard Tape.  "We're Gonna Move" is a song Elvis sang in his movie Love Me Tender.

"No No Song" is a single from 1974 from Ringo's Goodnight Vienna.  There was so much good Ringo material from 1974, that some of it would have made it out to the public in the form of a single.  The flip side is the John version of "Only You" instead of Ringo's version.  John had recorded this song for Ringo who then substituted his own vocals on the instrumental track.  But I think that if the Beatles were still together, and Ringo didn't have an album of his own to release, John would have kept this song for himself.

The 1975 Beatles Album

The 1975 Beatles album would be the last one they would release for the next five years as John took a sabbatical to be a father and househusband.  The other three would have released solo albums during this time.  During 1975, John performed live for the last time for the Salute to Lew Grade TV special.  John finally got the Rock 'n' Roll tapes back from Phil Spector and was able to complete that project.  Paul and George released albums of new material, while Ringo and John released greatest hits packages.  And for the last part of the year, Paul took his Wings on the first part of their tour around the world.

Track Listing:

1.  Venus and Mars / Rock Show
2.  Oo-Wee
3.  Move over Ms. L
4.  You Gave Me the Answer
5.  Magnito and Titanium Man
6.  Be-Bop-A-Lula
7.  This Guitar (Can't Keep from Crying)
8.  Do You Want to Dance
9.  You
10.  Stand by Me
11.  Listen to What the Man Said

"Venus and Mars / Rock Show" -- These two tracks that bleed into each other lead off Paul's 1975 Venus and Mars album and were featured in his 75/76 world tour.

"Oo-Wee" -- Ringo did not release an album of new material in 1975, so his track would have to come from last year's Goodnight Vienna.  "Oo-Wee" was released in early 1975, however, as the B-side to the "Snookeroo" single.

"Move over Ms. L" -- John released an album of all new tracks in 1975, Rock 'n' Roll, but this Beatles '75 album just did not sound right with four oldies from this record mixed in with the others's 1975 tracks.  That's why I think John would have chosen this track instead to be on the album -- it was a new composition, and he was satisfied enough with it that he released it in 1975 as the B-side to "Stand by Me."

"You Gave Me the Answer" --  From Paul's Venus and Mars.  Released as the B-side to "Letting Go" and a concert favorite.

"Magnito and Titanium Man" -- Another V&M song from Paul.  This track about the Marvel Comic X-Men was the B-side to the "Venus and Mars / Rock Show" single and a constant in the 75 /76 tour set list.  His "Dit-da-doo, Dit-da-doo, Dit-da-doo, Doo-doo-doo-doo" in this song is one of my favorite moments in recorded pop music history.

"Be-Bop-A Lula" -- This is a track from John's Rock 'n' Roll album.  On the British show Desert Island Discs Paul picked this Gene Vincent track as one he would take with him to the hypothetical island.  He also recorded a version of this song for his Unplugged album.  John said that this was his favorite song of all time, so it's gotta be included here.

"This Guitar (Can't Keep from Crying)" -- A single from George's 1975 album Extra Texture (Read All about It).  This was the first John/Paul/George/Ringo single not to sell enough to make the charts, although it's a pleasant enough song.

"Do You Want to Dance" -- This Bobby Freeman hit (I know it as a Beach Boys song) from John's RnR album was not a single, but the other Beatles were big reggae fans and would have liked the arrangement.  This track doesn't feel like an oldie at all, so it fits in seamlessly with the 1975 tracks contributed by Paul/George/Ringo for this album.

"You" -- George's hit song from the Extra Texture album that he originally wrote for Ronnie Spector.

"Stand by Me" -- The classic hit song from John's RnR album.  He performed this song during his performance at the 1975 Salute to Lew Grade TV special.

"Listen to What the Man Said" -- The album closes with this Paul track from V&M that was also a number one single.

1975 Non-album Single:

"Slippin' and Slidin'" backed with "You Can't Catch Me"

These two tracks needed to be released in order to satisfy The Beatles's end of a lawsuit.  When John borrowed some lyrics from his hero Chuck Berry to use on "Come Together," Chuck Berry's publisher sued.  The agreement John made was that he would record some of the songs that the publisher owned the rights to so that the publisher could get the royalties.  "Slippin' and Slidin'" was a Little Richard hit that John performed on the Lew Grade TV show, so it seemed like John liked it enough to use it as this Beatles '75 single.  The B-side here is "You Can't Catch Me," the Chuck Berry song that John pinched the lyrics from in the first place.  So he might as well use the whole song this time, right?

The 1981 Beatles Album

So The Beatles had been on a lengthy break, and during this break, Paul/George/Ringo were free to release solo music.  Paul released moderately successful albums and smash hit singles like "Silly Love Songs," "Let 'Em In," "Mull of Kintyre," "With a Little Luck," "Goodnight Tonight," and "Coming Up."  George released two moderately successful albums and had a minor hit with "Blow Away."  Ringo's albums released during this time tanked completely.  His career was in a freefall.  He even released an entire disco album (although I do enjoy a couple tracks off of it).  But never fear.  Our heroes were gearing up to be shining at the fullest of their powers with their 1981 comeback album!

After taking a five year hiatus to take care of his personal life, John goes on a sailing adventure in the middle of 1980 to the Caribbean that reignites his desire to make music again.  On June 22 starting with the song "Welcome to the Bahamas," John begins writing and recording songs for a new album.  During the last half of 1980, George and Ringo are finishing up their set of songs.  In early 1981, Paul was set to write his songs for a Beatles album to be released early in 1981.  However, the horrible death of John Lennon delayed the release of the album until much later in the year.  And this is the album that comforted a grieving Beatles universe.

Track Listing:

1.  (Just Like) Starting Over
2.  The Pound Is Sinking
3.  Life Itself
4.  Woman
5.  Tug of War
6.  Take It Away
7.  Watching the Wheels
8.  Wrack My Brain
9.  Wanderlust
10.  Lay His Head
11.  Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)

"(Just Like) Starting Over" -- The perfect song to start off an album after a five year break.  This was John's first single off of the 1980 Double Fantasy album.

"The Pound Is Sinking" -- I have no justification for this song's inclusion besides the facts that I like this song a lot and I think it sounds great in between tracks 1 and 3 of this album.  From Paul's 1981 Tug of War album.

"Life Itself" -- A track off George's Somewhere in England.  This track was included on both versions he submitted to the record company.  A beautiful summation of his spiritual state of mind, I think the four would have voted for its inclusion.

"Woman" -- A number two single from John and Yoko's Double Fantasy.

"Tug of War" -- The title track of Paul's 1981 album.  If it's the title track, the argument is that this song embodies the main idea of the album, and so it is an important song to the artist, which is why I include title tracks on these Beatles albums.

"Take it Away" -- A number ten single from Paul's Tug of War.  I was flipping through the channels one day when I was in junior high school, and I stopped on this channel called MTV.  It was the radio all come to life on the TV.  I had reached Nirvana.  I spent the whole day watching it.  I saw the video for this song several times that day.

"Watching the Wheels" -- Another hit single from Double Fantasy.  This song about John's five years away from the music biz easily finds its way to this album.

"Wrack My Brain" -- George wrote this song for Ringo's 1981 album Stop and Smell the Roses.  George also plays guitar on this track.  It reached number 38 on the singles chart.

"Wanderlust" -- I have no justification for this song's inclusion either besides the facts that I like this song a lot and I think it sounds great in between tracks 8 and 10 of this album.  From Paul's 1981 Tug of War album.

"Lay His Head" -- This is a George track that was included on the first version of 1981's Somewhere in England that the record company rejected.  George took this and a couple other tracks off of the record and replaced them with new songs, most notably "Blood from a Clone" which ripped the oblivious record company executives.  George really liked "Lay His Head" and couldn't just throw it away, so later he brought it out to include it as the B-side of the number one single "Got My Mind Set on You."

"Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" -- This album ends on the dreamy notes of this John Lennon track he wrote for his son Sean from the Double Fantasy album.  Years later, in an interview, Paul stated that he would like to record some John songs, and this track was one of the songs he mentioned.

1981 Non-album Single:

"Ebony and Ivory" backed with "What's That You're Doing?"

The Beatles have had other famous instrumentalists play on their albums, like Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, and for this project, Elton John, but they had never had a famous singer sing lead vocals on a Beatles album.  Therefore I didn't want to include this number one single on the album, so I decided to have The Beatles release it as a single.  The B-side is the hot funk of "What's That You're Doing?" from Paul's Tug of War that features Stevie Wonder as well.   I wonder if they shared a toot and a snore when they were jamming.