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The Beatles – Alone (1972)

Suspend your disbelief. Imagine, if you will, that the harmonious recording of the Abbey Road album had served to reignite the amity between the four Beatles. Linda and Yoko became firm friends; George was finally accepted as an equal; Ringo was delighted with all of this and decided that being a Beatle was better than being famous for having been one. Apple Inc. was running well, and a manager in shining armour appeared on the scene.

For the purpose of this scenario, we acknowledge that the various members had solo aspirations (George and John had already issued solo albums before the release of Let It Be in 1970, Paul released one a week after announcing the Beatles’ disbandment). To accommodate these, the four decided that the band would take off two years, and in 1972 re-assembled to record an album together. By now, John had given peace a chance and from the backseat of his chauffeur-driven white Rolls imagined all the people having no possessions, Macca had given Ireland back to the Irish, and George had recycled the music of early ‘60s girlbands. Even Ringo had recorded an album of standards, presaging the strategy of young-and-upcoming Rod Stewart by three decades. Paul was especially touched by John’s thoughtful song wishing for a resolution to his old friend’s insomnia problems. And so the Fab Four brought into the studio the songs they had accumulated for their 13th album. They would release two more albums, in 1976 and shortly after John’s death in 1980.

So here is the first of three mixes which suppose how Beatles albums released in the 1970s might have sounded; this compilation pseudo-dated December 1972. One of these songs might in fact have become a real Beatles track: Lennon’s Jealous Guy had been written for the White Album, but with different lyrics. Originally called Child Of Nature, Lennon continued to play it during the sessions which resulted in the Let It Be album (known as the Get Back sessions). Eventually he dumped the flower-child lyrics, wrote the self-flagellating ode which we know today, and released it on Imagine in 1971.

Of course, not all tracks sound like Beatles songs as we know them. Hi Hi Hi, which opens this compilation but was the last to be released before the cut-off date, certainly has the Wings sound. As we reunite the Beatles in our imagination, we must allow for musical growth and changing sounds. It’s easy to forget that only two years passed between With The Beatles and Rubber Soul, and also just two years between Help and Sgt Pepper’s. And yet, it’s easy to conceive of Lennon’s Crippled Inside, Harrison’s What Is Life or McCartney’s excellent Maybe I’m Amazed appearing on, say, the White Album.

As always, this mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R. The next two mixes will; go up over the coming couple of weeks.

TRACKLISTING:
1. Hi Hi Hi (Paul McCartney)
2. Instant Karma (John Lennon)
3. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey (Paul McCartney)
4. What Is Life (George Harrison)
5. Jealous Guy (John Lennon)
6. Another Day (Paul McCartney)
7. Love (John Lennon)
8. It Don’t Come Easy (Ringo Starr)
9. Maybe I’m Amazed (Paul McCartney)
10. Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (George Harrison)
11. Working Class Hero ((John Lennon)
12. Mother (John Lennon)
13. If Not For You (George Harrison)
14. The Back Seat Of My Car (Paul McCartney)
15. Crippled Inside (John Lennon)
16. Oh My Love (John Lennon)
17. Isn’t It A Pity (George Harrison)
18. Gimme Some Truth (John Lennon)
19. Wild Life (Paul McCartney)
20. Back Off Bugaloo (Ringo Starr)

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  1. whiteray
    June 23rd, 2008 at 22:53 | #1

    Good idea and a very nice selection, with one quibble: I would have likely plopped “All Things Must Pass” or “I’d Have You Anytime” in there somewhere. (What comes out? Well, maybe “Hi Hi Hi”.) And it would be interesting to know what was No. 21.

  2. Uncle E
    June 24th, 2008 at 04:13 | #2

    Very nice post. Did a similiar thing on my blog entitled “The Best Beatles Album Never Made”, and got subsequently blasted by my readership. Nothing polarizes music fans like Beatles discussions. I like your list better!!http://econceipts.blogspot.com/2008/04/best-beatles-album-never-made.html

  3. Any major dude with half a heart
    June 24th, 2008 at 08:44 | #3

    Well, Uncle E, great minds, eh? I suppose it is necessary to include embarrassing Paul tracks on a Beatles album (responding to a comment on your post).whiteray, All Things Must Pass is such a fine collection of songs (the redundant jam session apart), great songs would be left out.Track 21… well, John is over-represented as it is. I suppose God might have been a contender, but how can that appear he when he doesn’t believe in the Beatles? Or maybe something from Sometime In New York City. I’ve always liked John Sinclair, which would have dated this compilation pretty well. Woman Is The Nigger Of The World was a contender, but I felt uncomfortable with the title – and, indeed, the half-baked analogy. The next George track might’ve been Wah Wah. Maybe Bangla Desh, but Wah Wah would’ve been a natural choice for a Beatles album.I suppose, though, that the mix is missing the obligatory ill-judged Beatles track. There’s always one. So that would’ve been Paul’s C Moon, the b-side of Hi Hi Hi. Or Long Haired Lady, which has moments of sheer embarrassment.

  4. Narcoleptico
    June 24th, 2008 at 20:28 | #4

    Thanks a lot for your comment in Modern Life is Rubbish. Hope you enjoy it. Cheers!

  5. twostepcub
    June 25th, 2008 at 01:46 | #5

    Hey AMD great insight. They do flow together quite admirably (even Ringo’s) as a would-be successor to the White Album. The closeness of the pre-wings McCartney to the final Beatles output never crossed my mind as such…Much kudos.

  6. keith
    June 26th, 2008 at 22:51 | #6

    hey HHDLove the blog, and pop by coupla times a week but this is the first time I said Hi.Played the mix at work today to many queries from my colleagues, and much discussion. We work in a music distribution company so you can imgaine there was a lot of ‘which album is this?!’ Anyway lovin your work both musical & literary!all the best

  7. September 2nd, 2010 at 07:38 | #7

    Thanks so much for Alone Again and Finally. Sadly, the Alone link is expired; I just read about it from your comment on PopDose. Any chance this might go up again?

  8. halfhearteddude
    September 2nd, 2010 at 20:55 | #8

    I’ve re-uploaded the collection. Hope you enjoy it, Jonathan.

  9. September 14th, 2010 at 06:59 | #9

    Awesome! Thank you endlessly.

  10. Bradford
    June 15th, 2017 at 22:28 | #10

    I am always super impressed with your posts. Now that The Beatles are back in peoples minds due to all the huzzah over the 50th anniversary Sgt Peppers reissue, I searched your site for the other Beatles posts….would love to get this one, but the link is waaaay expired. I cant be the only one interested in your other Beatles posts, so would it be terribly troublesome to renew the links (re-upload) this post and some other the other expired ones? But especially this one, I love the concept. I see it was re-uploaded in 2010, but its long gone now.
    Thanks so much for all the other Beatles posts (AND all the other “covered in” posts) you put your time into. Bradford

  11. halfhearteddude
    June 16th, 2017 at 20:37 | #11

    Thanks for your kind words, Bradford. The Alone series is being updated, step-by-step, by imaginary albums featuring most of those tracks. So far, 1971 and ’72 are covered.

    http://www.halfhearteddude.com/2015/10/beatles-everest/
    http://www.halfhearteddude.com/2016/01/beatles-smile-away/
    http://www.halfhearteddude.com/2015/09/beatles-reunited-and-live/

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