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(Credit: Alamy)


The Beatles song that left John Lennon exasperated


John Lennon not liking some of the material put out by The Beatles is nothing new. Lennon saved some vitriolic comments for the likes of ‘Good Morning Good Morning’ and ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’, with dismissive comments becoming a common occurrence when Lennon analysed some of his band’s best-loved songs. Usually, Lennon would save his harsher views for his own material, but occasionally he also took potshots at songs written by Paul McCartney as well.

Lennon and McCartney always had a friendly rivalry going within the group. As The Beatles’ main two songwriters, Lennon and McCartney were collaborators but also competitors, especially when it came to singles. As the band jumped into their next project following Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the ‘All You Need Is Love’ single, Lennon pushed for his psychedelic and experimental composition ‘I Am the Walrus’ to be the band’s next single. But another song was standing in his way: McCartney’s jaunty and poppy ‘Hello, Goodbye’.

“That’s another McCartney. Smells a mile away, doesn’t it?” Lennon dismissively told David Sheff in 1980. “An attempt to write a single. It wasn’t a great piece; the best bit was the end, which we all ad-libbed in the studio, where I played the piano. Like one of my favourite bits on ‘Ticket To Ride’, where we just threw something in at the end.”

McCartney actually agreed with this particular point. “From the recording aspect, I remember the end bit where there’s the pause and it goes ‘Heba, heba hello’. We had those words and we had this whole thing recorded but it didn’t sound quite right, and I remember asking Geoff Emerick if we could really whack up the echo on the tom-toms,” McCartney said in the book Many Years From Now. “And we put this echo full up on the tom-toms and it just came alive. We Phil Spector’d it. And I noticed that this morning and I said to Linda, ‘Wait! Full echo on the toms, here we go!’ And they came in quite deep, like a precursor to Adam and the Ants.”

Lennon was disheartened with his bandmates’ decision to push for ‘Hello, Goodbye’ as the A-side while ‘I Am the Walrus’ was relegated to the single’s B-side. In the book Meet the Beatles: A Cultural History of the Band That Shook Youth, Gender, and the World, author steven Stark quotes Lennon as saying, “‘Hello, Goodbye’ beat out ‘I Am the Walrus’ … Can you believe that? I began to submerge.”

Check out ‘Hello, Goodbye’ down below.