The Beatles - 1971 Lost Album, Part Three
Updated: Oct 30, 2020
By Jesse Draeger
The following blog post is the third of three as a critique of Vinyl Rewind’s “The Lost Beatles Album 1971” YouTube video. I HIGHLY recommend checking out Eric (the Vinyl Geek) Callero’s in-depth video BEFORE reading my blog series. These writings are meant as a fun, respectful and geeky historical analysis of and response to the possibility of a 1971 Beatles album.
In part one, we laid out Eric Callero’s parameters to make a 1971 Beatles’ album. In part two, we reviewed and critiqued Eric’s album. Now, this is where the fun begins! I make my 1971 Beatles album. I hope you can feel my excitement and geekdom flowing out of me! And yes, I am currently single.
I stuck with Eric’s parameters of creating the album. I did not sneak in any of my own rules. The only thing I did was evaluate the likelihood of songs which would appear on this album. A lot of these decisions dealt with the songs were about, when they were written, and if The Beatles rehearsed these songs at all during their tenure.
I did not load this album with all my favorite solo Beatles’ songs or just the "hits" (although a few do show up). I gave it the true puncher’s chance with a historical view and embraced a producer’s mindset.
Also, I watched the time. As Eric pointed out, this is for a VINYL record, so side timing is important (A standard 12-inch vinyl of 33 RPM can fit about 22 minutes of music per side). Where both of Eric’s sides fell under 20 minutes, mine barely stretched over 20 minutes as you will see. I stayed within the lines…this time.
Let’s dive in! If you want to listen along to OTRM’s 1971 Beatles album while you read, I have made a Spotify playlist of our version. Please listen along!
A1: Instant Karma!
As stated in review of Eric’s album, The Beatles always started their albums with a rocker. Considering my song selections for the album, John Lennon’s “Instant Karma!” is the best choice.
This one is a little slower than the other rockers to begin an album. However, the striking piano chords and heavy drums drive this song. It really builds into a song you can sing along with.
Plus, I love the countdown. McCartney started their album career with a resounding “One, two, three, FAW!” with “I Saw Her Standing There” leading off their first album Please Please Me. I figured John would get the closing countdown.
A2: Behind That Locked Door
The second song is George Harrison’s endearing “Behind that Locked Door.” Much like how “Something” follows John’s rocker “Come Together,” I think the sweetness of this song is a welcoming call following an uplifting song such as “Instant Karma!”
While it is a slower song, it is a full song. There is a lot that goes on here from the slow trotting acoustic guitar to George’s amazing slide work. The drum work is reminiscent to the work of Levon Helm from The Band. And don’t forget about those delicious backing vocals.
Historically, this song was written in August of 1969 when George was visiting Bob Dylan in New York. This song was within the first batches of songs worked on for the All Things Must Pass album, so George could have brought this to the table with The Beatles. I think this song as a Beatles’ redux would be amazing!
A3: Every Night
Next up, Paul McCartney’s “Every Night” off his first solo effort, McCartney. I love the driving acoustic guitar Paul brings with this song and having that single drum hit to back it gives it a slight Rock feel. Lyrically, it is one of Paul’s best love songs especially when sung with the sincerity that he does.
I will admit, this is one of my favorite solo tracks, so there is a bias with this selection. However, this song was first brought to The Beatles’ table during the Get Back sessions in January 1969. I think if The Beatles were going for an album, this would have been brought back out to polish up.
It is a great follow to George’s “Behind that Locked Door.” I don’t mind the slow start since following “Instant Karma!” These are three solid songs that pretty much show a great growth throughout The Beatles.
A4: It Don’t Come Easy
Next up is Ringo’s “It Don’t Come Easy.” Honestly, there isn’t much to say here. Ringo’s first two solo albums were jammed with covers (like all of the songs). So, it’s difficult to pick out a Ringo song for this album.
This is the default one mainly because George helped write this. Also, this is very Beatles-esque in its performance as is. Just imagine John, Paul and George adding their backing vocals. It would basically be a Beatles song. But this is nice and catchy to drive some more energy.
The only other song we could consider for Ringo is “I’m the Greatest” which was written by John in 1970. John claims he couldn’t sing it, but Ringo could. Maybe the boys looked at that one for Ringo's contribution.
A5: Look at Me
Song number five on Side One is John’s “Look at Me.” A little slow following Ringo’s number, I know.
Honestly, I had a hard time finding material from John’s discography that I truly see going onto a 1971 Beatles album. This is one he released onto the Plastic Ono Band album which did not stem from his therapy.
In fact, he was writing this deep into The Beatles’ India retreat in 1968. The picking pattern of John's guitar is the same he uses for "Dear Prudence" and "Julia." It's hard to say, but I think this could have been one of a couple songs you could take away from John’s first solo album and claim to be a Beatles’ number.
A6: Monkberry Moon Delight
Finally, to end Side one, Paul’s “Monkberry Moon Delight.” LOVE this song for the creativeness, crazy lyrics, Paul’s vocal, the backing vocals, the piano. Perfect song to end Side One, very much like how Magical Mystery Tour Side One ends with “I am the Walrus.”
This song was written in late-summer 1970, so that’s the only way it could have made the album. I think a Beatles redux would be dope, especially with the backing harmonies. Also, in my delirious utopian vision, I see all four Beatles having a blast recording this one, ala “Hey Bulldog.”
Side One total time: 20 minutes, 11 seconds
Time to flip the album!
B1: What Is Life?
I need a good rocker to follow “Monkberry” for sure (and start Side Two), so I go with George Harrison’s “What is Life.” I don’t know what it is about this song, but it gives me goosebumps almost every time I listen to it. I like the soul this song brings and the sexy guitar riff; it feels so simple.
A Beatles’ redux would be great considering the sing along aspect throughout this song. It’s catchy and those backing vocals are heavenly. The drive is also great. The energy this song brings is immense.
Historically, George had this written near the end of 1969, so it is conceivable he would have brought this to The Beatles table. It’s hard to gauge what George could have put on this album as John and Paul were songwriting bullies…
B2: Oh Woman, Oh Why
After the great energy of “What is Life,” I wanted to bring in a different kind of energy (which the long fade of the previous number allots us). So, I chose Paul’s “Oh Woman, Oh Why.”
Not a widely known McCartney hit as it was the B-Side to “Another Day.” However, I think this song makes perfect sense for The Beatles’ 1971 album as McCartney loved challenging himself and his vocals with The Beatles.
The drums could use a little Ringo behind them for style, George’s slide would be dynamite in there, and John providing his vocals would really be interesting to think of.
For song three on Side Two, I went with one last Lennon number, one with a little more beef, and I present you “Isolation.”
Again the long fade allows me to bring a different vibe without jolting the listener. Here, we start with a soft piano piece, but John builds this up so well with that chorus. Could you imagine Paul singing a high screaming harmony above John’s in that chorus? Fuck!!!
Again, this is the only other song I could see John pulling from his catalog to give to the band. But I like it even when I questioned whether I should have it on the album. Its placement and sound makes me comfortable with this selection.
Plus, the piano is a trend going into the final two songs.
B4: The Backseat of My Car
With the penultimate song of Side Two (and the album), I went with the ever-dramatic “Backseat of My Car.” This is a number Paul had during the Get Back and Abbey Road sessions. I would think Paul would at least try this with The Beatles.
But when you listen to this, listen to the crawling piano to start the song, Paul’s lead vocal and dropped backing vocals. The slight incorporation of the horns and light piano strikes throughout take a back seat but are important moments to the song. This song builds and builds all the way to the raucous ending.
I LOVE this song! I think this is the greatest Beatle solo song ever created. The emotion and energy is real. This is the absolute best way to end a Beatles 1971 album, right?
B5: All Things Must Pass
We end the album with George’s “All Things Must Pass.” Cheesy? I think not! I warned you the piano theme was strong in the end.
All around, this song is sweet and sincere. The horns help make it angelic and final. Plus, having George’s voice be the voice of reason for The Beatles’ end would have been better.
The history behind this song dictates The Beatles could have given this one last shot. A Beatles redux would have been great with this one. Like the ending vocals for “The End,” this could have had their backing vocals harmonize out into the needle lift.
Side One total time: 20 minutes, four seconds
And there we have it! I really felt confined by my OCD approach, but I think I brought forth a realistic 1971 Beatles’ album based on the history and likeliness of songs appearing on such an album. I loved the challenge and it brought about my geekiness for this shit.
So what say you? Do you like this version of a 1971 Beatles’ album. How did you like Eric Callero’s version? What songs would you include? Take the time to enjoy the music around you!
"Nothing pleases me more than to go into a room and come out with a piece of music” ~Paul McCartney