The boardroom tape
A tape recording of a business meeting in 3 Savile Row between three of the Beatles on September 8, 1969 has been the big news today. Speaking with Richard Williams of the Guardian about his upcoming touring multimedia show, “Hornsey Road“, Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn played an excerpt of the tape which prompted the headline: “This tape rewrites everything we knew about the Beatles”.
Although quoted from in Anthony Fawcett’s book “One Day At A Time” as early as in 1976, and again in Nicholas Schaffner’s book from the same era, “The Beatles Forever,” the tape has been largely neglected by later Beatles authors (see this post).
Earlier this year, Erik Taros and Richard Buskin revealed that they had indeed heard the tape, and used it as a starting point for one of their “Swinging Through The Sixties” podcasts. So it looks like it has began to circulate among high-end collectors of Beatles material. Lewisohn has now been able to pinpoint the date of the business meeting, something which has not been public knowledge before.
In the tape, John Lennon is positive about The Beatles making a new album after having completed “Abbey Road”, and also brings up the subject of recording a single for the Christmas market. He also suggests that George should get equal treatment as a songwriter within the group, and should get four songs on the next album, with John and Paul also contributing four songs each, and two from Ringo, should he want to. Ringo was in hospital for a check up at the time of the meeting, so it was recorded for his sake, in order for him to be able to later listen in to their discussion.
Perhaps the most shocking revelation in today’s excerpt from the meeting was Paul McCartney being quoted as to say that he hadn’t thought much of George as a songwriter until “Abbey Road”.