The Beatles’ Final, “Painful” Photo Shoot: A Gallery of Bittersweet Images


Well, this is bittersweet. The photo above comes from The Beatles’ final photo shoot together at John Lennon’s newly purchased estate in Sunninghill Berkshire: clearly not a welcome event for at least one Beatle. The band had just completed their final two album releases, Let it Be and Abbey Road—famously contentious recording sessions in which George Harrison walked out for a few days with a flippant “See you ‘round the clubs,” prompting John Lennon to snap (according to director Michael Lindsay-Hogg), “Let’s get in Eric [Clapton]. He’s just as good and not such a headache.”

George later recalled the circumstances of the shoot:

They were filming us having a row. It never came to blows, but I thought, ‘What’s the point of this? I’m quite capable of being relatively happy on my own and I’m not able to be happy in this situation. I’m getting out of here.’

Everybody had gone through that. Ringo had left at one point. I know John wanted out. It was a very, very difficult, stressful time, and being filmed having a row as well was terrible. I got up and I thought, ‘I’m not doing this any more. I’m out of here.’ So I got my guitar and went home and that afternoon wrote Wah-Wah.

It became stifling, so that although this new album was supposed to break away from that type of recording (we were going back to playing live) it was still very much that kind of situation where he already had in his mind what he wanted. Paul wanted nobody to play on his songs until he decided how it should go. For me it was like: ‘What am I doing here? This is painful!’

See many more photos from the shoot and read more painful details about the sessions and, yes, Yoko, over at Messy Nessy Chic.

via Mefi

Related Content:

The 10-Minute, Never-Released, Experimental Demo of The Beatles’ “Revolution” (1968)

A Short Film on the Famous Crosswalk From the Beatles’ Abbey Road Album Cover

Eric Clapton’s Isolated Guitar Track From the Classic Beatles Song, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ (1968)

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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  • Dave J says:

    …oh my….where to begin?…..lots of crossed wires going here. The Beatles rehearsed/recorded “Let It Be” in January 1969 and, yes, those sessions were often unhappy. The “filming us having a row” quote refers to the film crew (movie) filming the Beatles during those January ’69 sessions as George and Paul have a tense “discussion”. George briefly left the band shortly after.
    “Abbey Road” was recorded in August of 1969 and was, by most accounts, a happy affair. The still photos are from their final photo shoot on August 22.

  • Barb says:

    John Lennon considered Eric Clapton as “just as good” a guitarist as George Harrison. That’s hilarious! Clapton was a way better musician than all of them put together and most other guitarists of his time.

  • Bob says:

    What Dave J said except the Abbey Road sessions occupied most of that summer and indeed parts of the spring. The main article here, by Mr. Josh Jones of North Carolina, is quite ridiculously inaccurate.

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