Last night, WAMU, the public radio station in Washington, broadcast a documentary entitled The Beatles: One More Album, which examined what another Beatles album, after Abbey Road, might’ve been like.
It wasn’t definitive in any way, but it was interesting. The early solo music of the four Beatles was discussed, from songs they tried out for Let It Be and Abbey Road that didn’t make the cut to their first solo albums. Copious amounts of music was played, with a particular highlight being George Harrison’s demo of “Isn’t It A Pity?” that was an iTunes-exclusive bonus track for his recent solo greatest hits album. (This is also, by the way, the only official Beatles track available on iTunes, as this demo was recorded early in the Let It Be sessions.)
One point that was made during the hour was that it was likely that songs the Beatles never wrote for their early solo albums would have appeared on a 1970 Beatles album. The very act of working together, of being competitive with one another, would have produced entirely new and different music.
Which, naturally, prompted some thought.
Some time ago, I came up with my own post-Abbey Road Beatles “album.” I called it “Hot as Sun.”
I like this “album.” To me, it feels right. It feels cohesive.
But, listening to the documentary last night, I realized that it’s missing something.
It’s missing a McCartney “story” song.
Paul McCartney liked writing “story” songs. “Eleanor Rigby” is a good example. “Penny Lane.” The middle-eight of “A Day in the Life.” Several White Album songs, like “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” or “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” Songs that aren’t about love, peace, and happiness. Songs that are about people, leading mundane lives.
McCartney didn’t have a “story” song on McCartney. Well, “Teddy Boy” or “Junk,” but they’re not quite what I’m looking for. His early single “Another Day” counts as a “story” song. I could slot that in “Hot as Sun.”
Except I have a better idea.
It’s a little-known McCartney song, because he never recorded it and released it officially. You can find the original demo here.
He wrote it in mid-1970. It’s a Dickensian tale of a young boy and his starving mother in Victorian England.
There’s no good recording of the song — the demo is unfinished — but I imagine it would fit on “Hot As Sun” on side two, in place of “Valentine Day.” I can really only imagine it there; I can’t put it in the playlist and have it “fit.”
I can dream, though. 🙂