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Music

The Beatles song George Harrison hated recording

@josephtaysom

Tempers were often fraught during the process of The Beatles recording their eleventh studio album Abbey Road, and one track, in particular, brought guitarist George Harrison to the end of his tether.

It was a difficult time for the band, and through no fault of their own, they were left to record a chunk of the record as a three-piece. John Lennon had been injured in a car crash in Scotland, and when he did finally return to the studio, he and Yoko Ono largely stayed in the double bed they’d had installed in the studio.

After missing eight days of sessions, when Lennon finally did make his return, he found an unsettled atmosphere among his bandmates. Harrison was incredibly frustrated at the situation, and Ringo Starr felt the same, albeit to a lesser degree.

Paul McCartney had taken the reigns of the operation and wanted to record ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’. He’d begun writing the track almost 18 months prior, and even if nobody else in the group liked it, it was of personal significance to Macca.

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However, none of McCartney’s bandmates were interested in contributing anything to his creation and, in truth, he wouldn’t allow them to get involved either. It took far longer for them to meet McCartney’s standards than they could have wished the envisage, and Harrison found the experience hellish.

“Sometimes Paul would make us do these really fruity songs,” Harrison later recalled. “I mean, my God, ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ was so fruity. After a while, we did a good job on it, but when Paul got an idea or an arrangement in his head…”

Harrison didn’t need to finish his sentence to get his point over, and we are all capable f filling in the blanks. While this perfectionist trait in McCartney made him brilliant, it also made him an insufferable colleague during the recording process of ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’.

Starr also loathed recording the track and told Rolling Stone in 2008 it was the “worst session ever”. Detailing further, the drummer continued: “It was the worst track we ever had to record. It went on for fucking weeks. I thought it was mad.”

Despite his bandmates’ discontent towards the track, McCartney remains defensive of his baby. He explained: “The only arguments were about things like me spending three days on ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.’ I remember George saying, ‘You’ve taken three days, it’s only a song.’ – ‘Yeah, but I want to get it right. I’ve got some thoughts on this one.'”

McCartney had every right to see through his vision to the end and make sure that it wasn’t diluted. However, Harrison was equally justified to let Macca aware that he wasn’t digging ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’, and allowing these feelings to be known is an integral part of the democratic process, which is part and parcel of being in a band.

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