Tag Archives: Stardust

Jan. 13: The Lunchroom Tape (Pt. 2)

The lunchroom discussion on January 13, 1969, winds and turns, overlaps and often overwhelms. It’s sincerely impossible to give a linear rundown of this 30-minute discussion, as it isn’t a linear discussion. So here’s another disclaimer: You may have already read some of the bits below in previous posts, and if you haven’t, you may eventually read some of it again. This isn’t a straight recap — instead I’m trying to follow themes as they developed at different points in the conversation.

Also, please read Part 1 first, if you haven’t already. It’s there I lay out the background of the lunchroom conversation and the key differences between the Nagra tapes and the Get Back docuseries’ portrayal of events. It’s not insignificant.

***

John, Paul, George and Ringo.

From 1962 to this very moment, it’s how we break down the Beatles. It’s the quintessential ordinal.

Open up your eyes now, tell me what you see: From the closing credits to A Hard Day’s Night

At once, it’s a simple accounting of tenure in the Beatles dating back to the Quarrymen days, but also a power ranking, a long-term hierarchy openly affirmed during the January 13, 1969, lunchroom tape. Yet at its most elemental, it’s a listing of four ostensibly separate co-workers assigned to the same group project. They’re still individuals with their own names and agendas.

After all, “we have egos,” to quote John Lennon in the opening moments of this recorded conversation.

The full half-hour of audio from the lunchroom reveals periodic contention between John and Paul McCartney, but it’s based in candor not animosity. You can hear it in their spoken tones.

Still, John is constantly raising the subject of ego and individual and collective self to Paul. At this point early in the tapes, it’s in the specific context of wanting the departed George Harrison to return to the band. From around two minutes into the recording, following John’s “ego” declaration and in a sequence omitted from the Get Back docuseries:

Do I want him back, Paul? … [D]o I want it back, whatever it is? The myth? Then if it is, you know, I’ve had to smother my ego for you, and I’ve had to smother me jealousy for you to carry on, for whatever reasons there is.

It’s a strong statement, but Paul likely knew as much all along — he didn’t reply. John said he couldn’t be his real self, or who he wanted to be, to partake in the Beatles “myth.” He didn’t bury Paul; he’s saying he buried himself for the sake of Paul. John’s jealousy could be rooted in a lot of things — later in the lunchroom we hear John and Paul seriously discussing John’s feelings of submission at Paul’s musical direction. We’ll get to that another time.

John continued to unload in a sequence that’s complicated to follow, speaking at times to Yoko Ono and at others directly to Paul. He may even be speaking just to get his thoughts gathered out loud. Part of John’s argument is that Paul only “this year” came to recognize his own shortcomings and took responsibility not just for Paul’s treatment of George but his relationship with John, too. But he also gets into Paul’s interpersonal approach, too.

There’s plenty to unravel. John’s liberal use of pronouns instead of given names and constant shifting from first to third person is dizzying. I want to get this right, but I’m not sure this can be gotten right entirely. (I covered some of this territory earlier, in the recap of the band meeting the day before.)

John: It’s only this year that you’ve suddenly realized, like, who I am, or who he is or anything like that. But the thing is … you realize that like you were saying like George was some other part. But up till then, you had your thing that carried you forward. … I know, I’d deduced it before you … that would make me hipper than you, but I know that I’d deduced it to you before that for selfish reasons and for good reasons, not knowing what I was to do, and for all these reasons I’d adjusted to all these, and allowed you to, if you wanted to let me be that guy, whatever it is.

But this year, you’ve seen what you’ve been doing and what everybody’s been doing, and not only felt guilty about it, the way we all feel guilty about our relationship to each other, is we could do more.

I’m not putting any blame on you for only suddenly realizing it, see. Because this was my game, you know. It might have been masochistic, but me goal was still the same — self-preservation, you know. And I knew what I liked. I know where, even though I didn’t know where I was at, you know, the table’s there, and just let him do what he wants, and George too, you know? …

But this year, see, it’s all happening to you. And you’re taking the blame suddenly as if he’ll say, “Oh yeah, you know I’m a mean guy” as if I’ve never known it. And then I thought, “Fucking hell, I know what he’s like. I know he used to kick people. I know how he connived with Len, Ivan, and I now know, you know? Fuck him.” And then, “Oh, but right, I’ve done such things.” All that.

So you’ve taken the five years … of trouble, this year. So half of me says, “All right, you know I’d do anything so save you, to help you.” And the other half of me goes, “Well, serves him fucking right. I chewed through fucking shit because of him for five years and he’d only just realized what he was doing to me.”

This is a lot, spoken rapidly and emotionally in a little under three minutes. Some takeaways, from John’s perspective, via my own perspective and listening of the discussion:

• Without visuals to help clarify who John is talking to or any body language we can decode, no amount of AI and crisp audio will get us to  understand this sequence satisfactorily, much as we’d like to. It’s in the ear of the beholder whether John was talking about George’s relationship with John and Paul or John is talking about his own dealings with Paul. Or maybe John was projecting! With every repeated listen, I try to convince myself John is complaining about Paul, but if he is, Paul’s reaction (none) is so stark and tame, it forces me to reconsider that it must instead be about George’s relationship with the others after all.

Not guilty? On the contrary! Not only John, but all the Beatles feel guilty about their treatment of each other, and he believes they can improve. This certainly makes sense. George’s departure from the group, the second by a Beatle in 4 1/2 months over real or perceived treatment from the others, could represent a tipping point to John.

• It’s not just guilt, though. Saying it “might have been masochistic,” John admitted to probably finding pleasure in the treatment of George — and in Paul bearing the recent brunt of the conflict with George.

• John’s explicit goal is” self-preservation,” without any elaboration.

• While he said he didn’t want to put any blame on Paul, that’s exactly what he did throughout.

I’m open to the description of George as “some other part” having  a further meaning beyond him simply existing as a separate entity outside the Lennon-McCartney songwriting and social circle. George is literally another part of the Beatles, and wasn’t previously treated as earning that full share.

Connivin’ with Ivan: Paul and Ivan Vaughan at Cavendish in 1968 — the year Paul suddenly realized it.

And then there are the remarks about “this year,” when Paul finally started figuring things out. Not yet a fortnight into 1969, “this year” certainly must refer to part, if not all, of 1968. That’s the year of India, the launch of Apple and the recording of the White Album. And personally for Paul, the end of his relationship with Jane Asher and the start of his life with Linda Eastman. In other words, a transitional, emotional year for Paul.

This was, in large part, a few moments of John speaking openly and directly about Paul (which viewers of Get Back were led to believe were the discussion’s only two participants).

That was enough for Yoko to interrupt at one point and plead for John to shift the conversation, without a spoken explanation. Was she uncomfortable by the discussion? Did she just want John to focus? (Why not both?)

“Go back to … talking about George.”

Moments later, she interrupted again to ask, “What about George?”

I’ve written about this next sequence over several other posts. But it’s worth a revisit and recontextualization. (When I eventually ask you all to buy They May Be Parted: The Two-Ton Tome, this will be a more orderly read.)

Paul was an optimist. He didn’t view George’s absence as a problem quite yet. (This moment comes about 5 1/2 minutes into the full recorded conversation, but it in the closing seconds of the Get Back cut).

Paul: See, I’m just assuming he’s coming back, you know? I’ll tell you, I’m just assuming he’s coming back.

John: What if he isn’t?

Paul: If he isn’t, then it’s a new problem.

It’s at this point — when he suggests that “as a policy” they should retain George in the band — ostensible Beatle boss John pitched a corporate reorg that would essentially result in the Plastic Beatles Band (or is it the Plastic Ono Beatles?).

“The Beatles, to me, isn’t just the four of us,” John said with the implicit suggestion Yoko could be a Beatle if the others acquiesced.

“I think that I alone could be a Beatle. I think [Paul] could. I’m not sure whether [Ringo] could. … I’m just telling you what I think. I don’t think the Beatles revolve around the four people.

“It’s like [Ringo] joining instead of Pete [Best]. To me, it is like that.”

Of course, it’s not really like that. (As I wrote previously, going from Pete to Ringo was a crafty personnel decision and musical upgrade, not part of a disruptive strategy or to keep the band fresh by employing a rotating lineup.)

“You have always been boss,” Paul continued, about 6 1/2 minutes into the near 30-minute sequence on the Nagra tapes and about halfway through the four-minutes dedicated to the lunchroom sequence in the Get Back documentary. “Now I’ve been sort of secondary boss. George has been the third boss.” (Previously, I wrote that it sounded like “third rung” — I even found a picture of George on a ladder to highlight the point! — but on fresh listen prompted by the cleaned-up audio in Get Back, I do think it’s “boss.” Regardless of exact wording, the point is the same.)

In a grand comic concession, Ringo admitted, “I’ve been the rabbit.”

The documentary doesn’t include the reference of George’s ranking, much less Ringo’s joke. Instead it ends with Paul’s placement as “sort of, secondary boss.”

John, Paul, George and Ringo. That’s what the Beatles became when Pete was sacked, and that’s the order they had in place at the beginning of these sessions in January 1969. And that’s probably why Paul was pushing for John to step up.

(Interestingly in a 1971 interview that went unpublished until 1984, John explicitly said, “What I think about the Beatles is that even if there had been Paul and John and two other people, we’d never have been the Beatles. It had to take that combination of Paul, John, George and Ringo to make the Beatles.”)

Paul had been very conscious of this concept of band leadership. Just a week earlier, he gave a vague statement about this very point.

I’m scared of that, ‘You be the boss.’ I have been for a couple years. We all have, you know?

It’s unclear if in that January 6 quote Paul meant “for a couple years, he was scared” of taking on a leadership role or if he was acknowledging he had felt he “acted as boss, for a couple years.” If on the lunchroom tape he’s explicitly recognizing John at the alpha, then it sounds like the former.

Later during the lunchroom Nagras — about 18 minutes in and in a sequence ignored in Get Back — Paul evoked cinema’s rebellious, anti-hero “King of Cool,” Steve McQueen.  It didn’t sound like Paul was attempting to fill any power vacuum himself, but instead was giving John the space to fill it again in some fashion.

Here’s a separate mini-post snuck inside a caption. I can’t track down the exact source of this photo, although I’ve seen some say it’s one of Linda McCartney’s Polaroids. Anyway, if legit, it’s Paul and Steve McQueen, probably in the LA area around April 1974. Everybody’s hair in his era checks out. John, meanwhile, attended a benefit for actor James Stacy a few weeks earlier in 1974, and seems to to have at least met McQueen there. In 1973, when Paul was vacationing in Jamaica, McQueen and Dustin Hoffman were filming Papillon. That’s when Hoffman challenged Paul to write a song that resulted in “Picasso’s Last Words.”

Rattle the cage. Make a scene. And make a splash — on your own if that’s what it takes.

“You’re unsure because you’re not sure whether to go left or right on an issue,” Paul said to John. “You’ve noticed the two ways open to us. You know the way we all want to go. And you know the way you want to go. Which is positive! … So your positive thing might actually be to kick that telephone box in. It might occasionally be to do that.”

The metaphorical phone booth could be inspired by something in the room, outside the window or simply from thin air.

“Everybody would want to see that, actually,” said Yoko, the first to reply.

“But you don’t want to actually look like you’re kicking the telephone box in,” Paul accused John in this scenario. “So you have to sort of say to everyone, ‘Look at that over there, everyone!’ And while they’re looking, you’ll kick the telephone box in, and sort of [Paul whistles innocently like somebody who’s guilty].”

John laughed and said that wasn’t a fair representation of him.

“But I think the answer is that while you’ve got us all looking at nothing over there, and you’ve thrown us for a minute, we would actually all have dug to see you kick that telephone box in,” Paul said. “Because we wanna see you do it! … We would actually want to watch the Steve McQueen film where he kicks the telephone box in. We all want to see that.”

John: But it must be our own faults that we’ve built it up that I can’t kick the telephone box, apart from it being my fault.

Paul: You can. You could.

In preparing this post, I watched Steve McQueen’s filmography through the beginning of 1969 and asked around to more educated fans of his, and there doesn’t seem to be a scene where he explicitly kicks a phone booth. There are similar moments, like one in Bullitt (which was playing at the very hour of this discussion at the Warner West End theater, just a 10 minute walk from the Beatles’ Savile Row headquarters). McQueen doesn’t quite kick in a telephone box with no one watching, but he does get a little aggressive with a newspaper box.

McQueen was a metaphor. John’s directionless — or is it multi-directional? — impression was a reality. As Paul put it, John was “unsure if he wants to go left or right on an issue.” That included the issue of George, but really the group as a whole. But the solution — John showing some leadership, even if it’s not necessarily something directly leading the Beatles in a specific direction — was all they needed. It feels like Paul just wanted to believe in John and inspire John to believe in himself. An adjacent Plastic Ono Band, in this scenario, was a greater solution to Paul than some kind of expanded Plastic Beatles Band.

A solo career may have even been the better consequence than a compromised Beatles, and would solve the ego problem. Paul made his case by laying out an imaginary scenario in which at the end of the night, he was drunk and got on the piano just because he felt like it and he would be “singing because I don’t particularly want to show off.” In turn “everyone in that room will dig it, because it’s me really doing it.”

By contrast, when he “half-means” — a complaint that had been leveled already during these sessions, like Paul saying “sometimes [we] blow one of your songs cause we come in in the wrong mood”  — that’s when the problems emerge.

“What I’d like to do is for the four of us … I see it as you go one way, you go one way, George goes one way, and me another.”  Paul worked to continue his point but the conversation veered into a more specific discussion about musical arrangement on recent songs. We’ll get back to that digression in another post.

Sandwiching the invocation of McQueen, Paul and John sounded off on a potential solo project by Ringo, and took opposite points of view in using the LP as a representation for a larger ideal.

“Just you talking about the Stardust album … it isn’t as daft as you sort of find that it might sound,” Paul said.

Still more than a year out from being released, Ringo’s debut solo project was purely in the conceptual phase. (Eventually titled “Sentimental Journey,” the LP wouldn’t begin its recording sessions for nearly 11 months, and ultimately it came out at the end of March 1970, a few weeks before Let It Be.)

“But the great thing is that you singing like you really sing will be it. It will be!”

Ringo: Yes, but the only way is to do it on your own.

Paul:  …Until then … you’ll half-sing. … And it’s probably when we’re all very old, we’ll all sing together.  And we’ll all really sing, and we’ll all show each other … fucking die then, I don’t know.”

Singing how you really sing is a solitary endeavor. And the reunion of John, Paul, George and Ringo — once the solo careers are have concluded and in their twilight when they reassemble in the departure lounge — that is the epilogue.

Paul’s advice emerged in Get Back in condensed form, with another mis-transcription and served outside of this context as the final statement of the lunchroom sequence (emphasis is mine):

And probably when we’re all very old, we’ll all agree with each other, and we’ll all sing together.

Needless to say there’s a significant difference in saying an eventual reunion would come after “we’ll all show each other” and “we’ll all agree with each other.”  Paul very clearly predicated his concept on the Beatles requiring a controlled implosion before the individuals operated apart to some degree to reach their full potential, and then — for the sake of their egos, in part — they would prove their strength to each other. Reuniting wasn’t, as the Get Back transcription asserts, something they would simply do based on unanimous consent.

This is all consistent with Paul’s contemporary statements, like the one before the lunchroom gathering when he went as far as suggesting staging the group’s breakup. (And that’s not inconsistent with various statements the four Beatles made in the breakup period regarding solo projects and an eventual reunion).

Still John echoed Ringo’s insecurities, explaining on the heels of the Steve McQueen thread that it must be “our own faults” he couldn’t kick the metaphorical phone box.

“But the feeling that I …” John stammered, “like Ringo said about his album, that what was it, ‘I won’t do it, ’cause I’m gonna let us down or look a fool.'”

This wasn’t a self-centered approach. Letting the group down. Making them look a fool. This was about the Beatles.

Earlier John made his goal explicit: “Me goal was still the same — self-preservation”

That self wasn’t just John Winston Lennon alone. It was John, Paul, George and Ringo, too.

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Jan. 12: The final bulletin

Here’s that disclaimer again. For this series of posts recounting the Beatles’ private January 12, 1969, board meeting, I’m going to jump between various parts of the January 13 Nagra tapes that directly (and indirectly) address January 12, for the sake of the overall narrative.  Specific quotes and certain discussion topics conspicuously absent here will soon be tied back into the story.  I swear!

****

The Beatles were facing a rupture; at best they were simply in another crisis. George Harrison first walked out on the group January 10, 1969, and then from an Apple Corps board meeting at Ringo Starr’s house two days later.

Through — and despite — the tumult, Paul McCartney continued to consider the big show that would serve as the finale of Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s documentary TV show, the grand closing statement. Paul conceived the grandest statement of all, and he shared it with Apple head Neil Aspinall the evening of the 12th. It’s not clear if he told him at Ringo’s or after at a different location, but it was Neil himself who “really finished the idea off, which made it sensational,” per Paul on the Nagra tapes recorded the morning of January 13.

While we were rehearsing the show ourselves, we should have alongside us someone sort of near, so that we’re getting the same kind of buzz but completely independent. We should get, say, the editor of the Daily Mirror. You’d have to get someone as good as him, a real hard news nut, rehearsing a team of really hard, incredible newsmen. With films, writing … so that on the night of the show, in between all our songs is news. But the fastest and hottest, from every corner of the earth.

Paul continued, attempting to sound like a serious news anchor in a breaking news environment, gravity in his voice and mimicking contemporary newsroom sounds, like a reporter tearing copy off a teletype machine.

‘We just heard there’s been an earthquake and so-and-so [makes exploding noise]’. You know, just like incredible news in between each thing, so it’s like a red-hot news program.

And at the end, the final bulletin is:

The Beatles have broken up.

So much for centering a show around 2,000 torch-lit Arabs or a boat ride. Michael is impressed by Paul’s pitch, presumably for its dramatic effect, calling it “nice” after a moment of reflection.

“Nice, but who wants to hear that?” asked Paul’s girlfriend Linda Eastman, who was present both at the meeting the day before and the recap at Twickenham.

This photo captures around the time Paul was discussing the breakup show concept, on January 13, 1969. (Photo by Ethan Russell from the new Get Back book)

“But, I mean, it would be an incredible show,” Paul said.

Cover all the earthquakes and explosions you want. It was the final implosion that would inflict the most harm to this audience. Immediately before Paul’s pitch, Michael called it “dispiriting” if the Beatles couldn’t find a way to save themselves from a breakup.

“God, it’s an event when a Beatles album comes out,” an exasperated Linda replied to Michael. “Or even a single. People listen more to that than when [President Lyndon] Johnson gives a speech.”

It was the better halves who cared more to see the the group whole.

“It’s like Maureen [Starkey] was saying [presumably at Saturday’s meeting]: We’re fans. The Beatles are it. Musically, I still think that way.”

It continued to be the problem, for at least half the group. During lunch, in a discussion secretly recorded shortly after this conversation on January 13, John decried the Beatles’ “myth” in an echo of George, who said something along those lines a few days earlier.

A mythological concept to John, the sincere fans did believe in Beatles.

Paul’s suggestion of the surprise farewell in the wake of the meeting at Ringo’s came off more for shock than true consumption — it wasn’t discussed on the tapes again, and may never have reached the ears of John or George. But Paul did show a sincere willingness for the group to stand solo in the sun, saying that he himself wasn’t completely satisfied as just a Beatle only.  He wasn’t busting any myths, only suggesting there were even more opportunities for them, and not by simply growing the number of Beatles, as John had previously suggested.

Ringo was already contemplating what would eventually become his Sentimental Journey LP a year later, and Paul pressed him to move forward with the idea of this “Stardust” album, despite the drummer’s fear of singing on a record by himself.

From the lunchroom tape on the 13th, in a remarkable exchange:

Paul: It isn’t as daft as you were sort of frightened it might sound.  … The great thing is that you singing how you really sing will be it.

Ringo: Yes, but the only way to do it is on your own.

Paul: Until then, yeah, sure. Until then, until you reach how you really sing, you’ll sing your half-soul.

And it’s probably when we’re all very old that we’ll all sing together.

And we’ll all really sing, and we’ll all show each other how good we are, and in fact we’ll die then, I don’t know. Probably something sappy or soft like that. I don’t know.

But really, I mean, it’s really down to all those sort of simple, silly things to me.

Yoko Ono: But those are the important things, you know?

This part of the lunchroom conversation covered much of the same ground as the “divorce” discussion on January 7, but with a softer, more optimistic and accepting posture. A few extra days and George’s actual absence — not merely a threat of one —  created a clear difference in the vibe.

Through this John sounded sincerely unsure of himself and the path he’d like to take. It can only be assumed that the lack of cameras or visible recorders allowed him to speak more fearlessly.

While Paul worked to reassure John — “You’ve noticed the two ways open to us. You know the way we all want to go, and you know the way you want to go. Which is positive!” — John’s insecurity overwhelmed his outsized abilities.

“Like Ringo said about his album … I won’t do it cause I’m gonna let us down or look like a fool.”

Days after pushing back on George’s concern that his songs “come out like a compromise,” Paul adjusted his stance. Maybe it’s re-positioning with George gone or maybe it’s a result of the departure and any responsibility he had in it, but Paul showed a retreat on the group micromanaging their respective songs, including his own role in doing so, at least now while they were still together.

What I’d like to do is for the four of us — and you know, we’ve all have done that things to different degrees — I think is if you [Ringo] go one way, you [John] go one way, George one way and me another. But I know it will apply to all of us, if one day you can all be singing like you’re singing, [Ringo] can be drumming like you’re drumming. George can be really playing, I mean like he plays, not like as if I’m trying to make him play. But I keep trying to make him play like that.

This dynamic reached beyond just George and Paul.

“You try and make George play competently because you’re afraid that how he’ll play won’t be like you want him to play,” John replied. “And that’s what we did, and that’s what you did to me. …

“I got to a bit where I thought it’s no good me telling you how to do it, you know? All I tried to do on [the White Album] was just sing it to you like I was drunk, you know? Just did me best to say , ‘Look, this stands up on its own.’ … It wasn’t the arrogance of  [saying,] ‘Listen, this is it, baby.’ It isn’t that I can’t tell you what to do because you won’t play here like think you should play. And I’m not going to tell you what to play.”

The differing approaches John and Paul took to arranging their songs are pretty evident on the Nagra tapes and to readers here. At this point in the lunchroom conversation, John admited he’s just too scared to stop Paul from micromanaging parts to the detail and degree he does.

John continued:

Apart from not knowing, I can’t tell you better than you have, what grooves you’d play on it. … But when you think of the other half of this, just think how much more have I done towards helping you write. I’ve never told you what to sing or what to play.

You know, I’ve always done the numbers like that. Now the only regret, just for the past numbers, is that when because I’ve been so frightened, I’ve allowed you to take it somewhere where I didn’t want. And then my only chance was to let George … take over, or interest George in it.

“‘She Said She Said‘?” Paul asked.

Of all their songs to name, it’s a notable discussion point and not accidental. The final song recorded for Revolver (and one they played in passing earlier in the week at Twickenham), Paul walked out during its sessions in June 1966, a link from that moment to this one, with a Beatle missing.

Paul, as quoted in Barry Miles’ Many Years from Now:

I’m not sure but I think it was one of the only Beatles records I never played on. 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.

Without Paul’s interference, John could let the others just play their parts as originally, and simply, arranged. “[George would] take it as is, you know?” John recalled before backhandedly crediting Paul’s management style. “It’s George, you know, if there’s anything wrong with it, because I don’t want your arrangement on it. … If you give me your suggestions, let me reject them or in the case there’s one I like, it’s when we’re writing songs.”

The situation wasn’t reciprocal, as John reminded Paul — who agreed — “there was a period where none of us could actually say anything about your criticisms, ’cause you’d reject it all.” (Still, John conceded Paul’s musical decisions would often be the correct ones.)

If this line of conversation sounds familiar, it’s because exactly a week before this lunchroom chat, Paul and George debated this very issue in the quintessential tension-filled moment of the Let It Be film. Ultimately, George wasn’t too excited to take things “as is” and Paul wasn’t necessarily insistent he do so. So the situation is characteristically blurry.

“I’ll play, you know, whatever you want me to play. Or I won’t play at all, if you don’t want me to play. Whatever it is that will please you, I’ll do it.”

Still, George will play, you know, whatever you want him to play, but at this point he’s not playing anything at all, to general displeasure.

Assuming nobody noticed the hidden microphone in the flower pot at the canteen — a phrase as ridiculous for me to type as it is for you to read — we can be certain none of the parties on the lunchroom tape were playing for the cameras and a larger degree of posterity. (Whether they were being sincere with each other in this private moment is a completely separate question.)

Without the this recording, however, we wouldn’t know just how far Paul was encouraging the others to experience outlets outside the band’s restraints, and just how warmly he spoke of what would be an eventual reunion “when we’re all very old.” It would be a return in which they all can show off how much they’ve grown as artists outside of the limitations and restrictions they posed upon each other, and this reunion would serve as their very final act. It’s sweet and in retrospect very sad, even if Paul backs off a little calling it “silly.” Two Beatles never advanced past middle age, must less having a chance to be “very old.” Thankfully Yoko appreciated Paul’s line of thinking.

Around the context of their conversations and at the precise moment these sessions — and collective future — were in question, Paul’s support for and active, repeated urging of the group to go their separate ways very much complemented his grand statement to end their proposed TV show.

Their ultimate reunion would have made a most spectacular sequel.

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