The Beatles Refused to Let John Lennon Release 1 of His Songs With the Plastic Ono Band

In 1968, John Lennon wrote “What’s the New Mary Jane?,” a song that became known as one of The Beatles’ strangest. They had been experimenting more with their music in the second half of the 1960s, but this song seemed to take it too far for Lennon’s bandmates. It did not appear on the White Album, but that didn’t stop Lennon from trying to release it. He decided to put the song out with the Plastic Ono Band, but his Beatles bandmates didn’t let him.

John Lennon wanted to release a Beatles song, but his bandmates refused
In 1968, Lennon wrote the avant-garde song “What’s the New Mary Jane?” He wrote the song with engineer Alex Mardas, who Lennon called “Magic Alex.”

“This was a thing I wrote half with our electronic genius Alex [Mardas],” Lennon said, per Beatles Bible. “It was called ‘What A Shame Mary Jane Had A Pain At The Party’, and it was meant for The Beatles album.”

Lennon and George Harrison recorded the song together at Harrison’s house, and it went into consideration for their next album. Ultimately, though, it didn’t make the cut. The song was lengthy and didn’t fit well with the others. Still, Lennon wanted to release it in whatever way he could.

In 1969, Lennon recorded a new version of the song with new vocals and sound effects. He aimed to release it with the Plastic Ono Band. Ultimately, though, the rest of The Beatles blocked this move. They didn’t allow it to appear on 1985’s Sessions either. Finally, the over-six-minute song appeared on Anthology 3 in 1996.

The Beatles didn’t want to give John Lennon the freedom to put whatever he wanted on albums
Lennon’s growing proclivity toward the avant-garde and experimental became a problem for his bandmates. While they pushed the envelope with their music, they still wanted it to sound like The Beatles. “What’s the New Mary Jane?,” with its perplexing lyrics and disjointed background sounds, wasn’t what they were looking for. It likely didn’t help Lennon’s case that the albums he had released with the Plastic Ono Band were met with confusion and derision by critics and Beatles fans.

The song ‘Revolution 9’ caused similar problems for the band
The Beatles were in a similar situation with Lennon’s song “Revolution 9.” While the band included “Revolution 9” on the White Album, Paul McCartney didn’t like what he heard. He, George Martin, Harrison, and Ringo Starr tried to convince Lennon not to include it on the album. They were unsuccessful, though. Lennon loved the song and had spent more time on it than he had with most.

“I did a few mixes until I got one I liked,” he said in the book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview With John Lennon and Yoko Ono by David Sheff. “Yoko was there for the whole thing, and she made decisions about which loops to use. It was somewhat under her influence, I suppose. Once I heard her stuff – not just the screeching and the howling but her sort of word pieces and talking and breathing and all this strange stuff, I thought, My God, I got intrigued, so I wanted to do one. I spent more time on ‘Revolution 9’ than I did on half the songs I ever wrote. It was a montage.” Somewhat unsurprisingly, the song received mixed reviews.

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