The end had already begun. The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein was dead, and (other than George) they felt burned by their visit with the Maharishi. In the middle of these sessions, Ringo was the first Beatle to temporarily quit the band. Most of these thirty songs were recorded by various subsets of the group, who were seldom all in the studio at the same time. Producer George Martin fought hard to edit the project down to a consistent single album, but the Beatles were right to keep the scraps, experiments, and jokes — the tension and confusion of the time became central to The Beatles (which was originally called A Doll’s House, a fitting title for its odds-and-ends feel). The album’s curious, unique genius reveals the Beatles at their hardest (“Helter Skelter”), softest (“Julia”), and weirdest (“Revolution 9”).
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