The only time Paul McCartney walked out of a Beatles session

For most of their career, The Beatles felt like one cohesive unit. Although there would be turmoil to come later when the band started making their own creative decisions, the Fab Four’s golden age in the mid-1960s felt like musical brothers getting together to play for the hell of it. On the rare occasion, though, The Beatles experienced creative tension.

Then again, there was always a bit of a rivalry going on between John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Regardless of the magic they made together, the songwriting duo always saw their work as a bit of competition, with one person writing a fragment or a completed song and the other trying to outdo him by making something even better.

Although every song was based on traditional disposable love songs, the band took a quantum leap forward with the album Revolver. Having expanded their horizon on the previous album Rubber Soul, The Beatles turned the studio into its own unique instrument, playing some of the strangest music ever conceived at the time on tracks like ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ and ‘Eleanor Rigby’.

When the band were cutting the final tracks, they realised they were one song short, leading to Lennon offering up the song ‘She Said She Said’. Inspired by an uncomfortable conversation with Peter Fonda while on an acid trip, the song fit right into the mentality of the record, featuring sizzling guitar performances by George Harrison.

Completed on one of the final days of recording, the lion’s share of the work was a collaboration between Lennon and Harrison. Though Lennon had each section of the song completed, it took Harrison to turn it into a completed work, arranging each piece so it flowed like a natural melody rather than sounding forced-in.

After a few disagreements in the studio, though, McCartney decided he had enough of the rest of The Fab Four, storming out of the studio and leaving the rest of the group to complete the song without him. As Macca remembers: “I think we had a barney or something, and I said, ‘Oh, fuck you!,’ And they said, ‘Well, we’ll do it.’ I think George played bass”.

Of course, McCartney had been known to step on a few toes here and there. While recording albums like Rubber Soul and Help!, McCartney would assume lead guitar duties, leaving Harrison with nothing to do when the tape started rolling. Lennon even claimed that he was hurt by how McCartney worked, thinking that he would knock out different tunes without the rest of the band on The White Album.

While he left the studio on that occasion, McCartney would be one of the few Beatles who would turn the studio into his new home. Although the rest of the band was a bit cautious of working now and again, McCartney’s need to create music whenever he could help advance the process, with Ringo Starr recalling in Living in the Material World, “I have to thank Paul that we made as many records as we did. Because me and John would be sitting in the garden and the phone would ring. ‘HE WANTS US TO WORK’”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Mick Jagger John & Yoko’s Elvis Presley & Priscilla Presley