The songs rejected from The Beatles ‘White Album’

The inside story regarding the sessions for The White Album didn’t sound like they were any fun at all. Despite The Beatles having some time to take a break from the studio to practice transcendental meditation, their massive inventory of new songs meant that no one wanted to give up their spot on the album, leading to it ballooning into a double album experience. While there are some songs that fans loathe from the project, there were more than a few left on the cutting room floor.

As the demos began circling at George Harrison’s Kinfaus estate, a handful of initial jams never got past the final cut. While some of these would eventually turn up on future Beatles albums, mini-versions of songs like ‘Polythene Pam’ and ‘She Came In Through the Bathroom Window’ were started at these sessions, only to be dropped at the last minute.

Of all the demos left over, Harrison ended up getting the raw deal. Since he was blossoming as a songwriter, some of his greatest attempts at hits ended up getting either rejected or ignored by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, leading to him giving songs like ‘Sour Milk Sea’ to Jackie Lomax to sing instead.

There are still a handful of songs that Harrison would save for future solo outings, like ‘Not Guilty’ appearing on his eponymous solo album and ‘Circles’ appearing on the ‘80s album Gone Troppo. Both had undergone a transformation over the years, with ‘Not Guilty’ transforming from a ramshackle rocker to a plaintive acoustic ballad and ‘Circles’ getting more theatrical while still having a slightly sinister demeanour.

Not even Lennon and McCartney were safe from the occasional track that didn’t make the cut. Inspired by a seminar that the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi gave about nature, Lennon wrote ‘Child of Nature’ for the album before transforming the lyrics into ‘Jealous Guy’ on Imagine. Even during the Get Back sessions, the band could be seen working on the song, with McCartney adding in whatever lyrics might work for the section.

Despite McCartney seemingly creating one amazing melody after the next, his acoustic ditty ‘Junk’ was also tried during the session only to be reserved for his first solo album. Around this time, McCartney also wrote the sure-fire hit ‘Come and Get It’, which he gave to recent Apple signing Badfinger after telling them not to change anything about the demo he made.

Across the demos from the sessions, it’s also easy to hear the tension between the band members as they slowly try to pull the songs in their unique directions before being stifled by the rest of their bandmates. It wasn’t all bad, though, with the Anthology farce ‘What’s the New Mary Jane’ showing that the lads still had a sense of humour between their creative sparring sessions.

Even with the disagreements, that didn’t stop each member from writing their masterpieces. During the Get Back documentary, McCartney is fiddling with songs that would become staples of his solo catalogue, such as ‘Another Day’ and ‘The Back Seat of My Car’ while Harrison tests the waters with ‘All Things Must Pass’.

The White Album might not be the smoothest listening experience in The Beatles’ catalogue, but history would have been a lot different had they gone with any of the forgotten songs during the session.

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