Billy Preston played the organ on the song “Let It Be” and the Fender Rhodes electric piano on “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down” during the recording of the Let It Be album and film (earlier called Get Back). George Harrison brought Preston in to temporarily ease some of the tension in the studio during the tumultuous sessions. Also, the Beatles intended to record the tracks “live”, with no overdubbing, so it helped to have a fifth musician playing keyboards. At one point during the sessions, John Lennon suggested that Billy could join the band as the “Fifth Beatle”, but Paul McCartney nixed the idea saying that it was bad enough with four.
The “Get Back”/”Don’t Let Me Down” single was credited to “The Beatles with Billy Preston”. This was the only time an outsider was given this type of credit on an official Beatles-sanctioned release. Tony Sheridan had shared credit on some Hamburg-era recordings, but these were unsanctioned reissues on which the Beatles were primarily the backing group.
Preston also played Hammond organ on the tracks “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and “Something” that appeared on the Abbey Road album.
The Beatles first met Billy Preston in 1962 when he was part of Little Richard’s touring band. Manager Brian Epstein had organized a Liverpool show in which the Beatles opened for.
A Hard Day’s Night is the only Beatles album where all of the songs were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. It is also the first Beatles album to contain only original compositions, and no cover songs. A Hard Day’s Night was released on July 10, 1964, as the soundtrack to the Beatles’ film of the same name.
Most of the band’s earlier albums contain at least a few covers, and most of their albums have at least one George Harrison composition, but A Hard Day’s Night had neither. Harrison does get to sing lead vocals on the Lennon/McCartney penned “I’m Happy Just to Dance with You”.
A Hard Day’s Night is one of three Beatles albums that do not feature Ringo Starr on vocals on at least one track (Magical Mystery Tour and Let It Be are the others). But Starr is credited with the accidental creation of the movie/album’s title. During an interview with Playboy magazine in 1980, John Lennon said: “I was going home in the car and Dick Lester [director of the movie] suggested the title, ‘Hard Day’s Night’ from something Ringo had said. I had used it in ‘In His Own Write’, but it was an off-the-cuff remark by Ringo. You know, one of those malapropisms. A Ringo-ism, where he said it not to be funny… just said it. So Dick Lester said, ‘We are going to use that title.'”
“Something” was the first George Harrison composition to be featured as an A-side of a Beatles single. The B-side was “Come Together” (credited to Lennon/McCartney). Both songs were recorded and released in 1969, and appear as the first two tracks on the Abbey Road album.
Frank Sinatra was particularly fond of “Something;” declaring it “the greatest love song ever written”. It became a regular part of his repertoire and he sang it hundreds of times during his concerts. Sinatra mistakenly called “Something” his all-time favorite Lennon/McCartney song!
“Something” was the only George Harrison penned song to top the American charts while he was a member of The Beatles. Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the principal songwritings of the band, praised “Something” as one of the best songs Harrison had written.
“Flying”, from the 1967 release Magical Mystery Tour, was the first song credited as being written by all four members of The Beatles. The writing credit is attributed to “Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starr”. It’s a simple 12-bar blues chord progression instrumental track, though it does include some chanting.
It was rare for The Beatles to record instrumentals, and it was also rare for a song to be credited to all four members of the band.
“Flying” was originally titled “Aerial Tour Instrumental”.