The album John Lennon “very much objected” to

It’s a well-known fact that by the end of The Beatles’ timeline, tensions between the boys were high. Not only were their friendships wearing thin, but their musical relationships were strained, too. By the end, John Lennon wanted out as he bad-mouthed a good chunk of their final works.

The order of events gets a little hazy at the end. While Let It Be stands as their final album, it was surprisingly not their last recording effort. That wasn’t a shock to everyone, as the record’s sessions were rife with fallouts and fights. During the process, nearly every member took turns walking out and effectively quitting the fold.

Somehow, though, they kept it together for a whole new record, much to everyone’s astonishment. By all accounts, the recording of Abbey Road went by much smoother than their last album. George Harrison said of the sessions, “We did actually perform like musicians again”, as they put their squabbling to one side to work together. But there was still something in the atmosphere.

Everyone knew this would be their last record, as Harrison said, “It felt as if we were reaching the end of the line.” But along with that ending came final, impassioned attempts for the members to get their best work heard. Bossiness and commanding energy had been a big issue in the band before. Harrison felt dominated by McCartney, McCartney felt abandoned and disrespected by Lennon, and Starr didn’t feel anyone took him seriously. If all those relationships were an issue before, the case of the final album tracklist was bound to bring it out.

It brought it out of John Lennon, especially who wanted the album his way or no way. Speaking of the process, the band’s producer, George Martin, explained, “I tried to get Paul to get back into the old [Sgt.] Pepper way of creating something really worthwhile.” He wanted to continue their old interest in flowing records that followed a continuous idea, style, or sound. That, however, would require a lot of collaboration that Lennon simply wasn’t up for.

The Beatles reached a compromise that feels more like a war treaty than any bandmate discussions. Lennon would take the first half of the album for his songs, McCartney and Martin would take the second. The flip of the sides was like a country border, making the splinter between the two friends into a deep crack.

When listening back to the record, the two sections are clear. The first half of the album is a lot more like their older works, with disconnected singles and changing sounds. In the second half, McCartney and Martin crafted the extended piece that’s now known as the ‘Abbey Road medley’. It’s generally held up as a triumph, but Lennon was never a fan.

“John objected very much to what we did on the second side of Abbey Road, which was almost entirely Paul and I working together, with contributions from the others,” Martin said. Lennon himself put it far less politely as he deemed McCartney’s additions to the record “[music] for the grannies to dig”. He called the medley “Junk … just bits of songs thrown together.”

In fact, he objected to some of the songs on the album so highly that on a few of the tracks, he refused to even come into the studio and record. ‘Golden Slumber’, ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ and ‘Here Comes The Sun’ are all recorded without Lennon.

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