Queen Elizabeth II decorated the Beatles with Order of British Empire 1965Running just 23 seconds long, “Her Majesty” is the shortest song in the Beatles official catalog. It was originally to be placed between “Mean Mr. Mustard” and “Polythene Pam” on their Abbey Road album. Paul McCartney decided that the sequence didn’t work and the song was edited out of the medley by studio tape operator John Kurlander. Kurlander placed the edited out song after fourteen seconds of lead out tape at the end of the Abbey Road master tape. The original intention was to not have “Her Majesty” appear on the album, but they liked the “accident” and decided to keep it.

Click the Play button (arrow) to hear the song in its entirety:

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Nowhere Man / What Goes On singleThe first Beatles song to give Ringo Starr co-writing credit was “What Goes On”, though Ringo jokingly claimed he contributed “about five words, and I haven’t done a thing since.” The writing credit is attributed to Lennon/McCartney/Starkey, with Ringo using his real name of Richard Starkey. The credits in the first pressing of the single accidentally omitted “Starkey”.

The origins of “What Goes On” actually date back years earlier to the Quarrymen days when John Lennon started the original version of the song. It was later resurrected in 1965 and completed with the help of Paul McCartney and Starr.

The song appeared on ‘Rubber Soul’ (the UK version) and ‘Yesterday and Today’ in the US. It was also the B-side to the “Nowhere Man” single.

George Harrison and Eric Clapton performing at the Concert for BangladeshGeorge Harrison’s good friend Eric Clapton played lead guitar on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Due to the band’s inner tension at the time, the other Beatles showed little or no interest in the song, so George invited Eric to join him during the song’s recording session. Clapton was at first reluctant to play on a Beatles’ record. Harrison later recalled, “…I was with Eric and I was going into the session and I said, ‘We’re going to do this song. Come on and play on it.’ He said, ‘Oh no. I can’t do that. Nobody ever plays on Beatles’ records.’ I said, ‘Look, it’s my song and I want you to play on it.’ So Eric came in and the other guys were as good as gold because he was there. Also, it left me free to do the vocal and play rhythm. Then, we listened to it back and he said, ‘Ah, there’s a problem, though, it’s not Beatley enough.’ So, we put it through the ADT (automatic double tracker) to wobble it a bit.”

Clapton used a Gibson Les Paul guitar for the song. He received no credit in the liner notes on the  ‘White Album’ because of his contract with another record company.

Julian Lennon and John LennonJulian Lennon made his musical debut at age 11 playing drums on his father’s first studio version of “Ya-Ya”. The 1974 recording would appear as the last track on John Lennon’s  ‘Walls and Bridges’ album. This short, casual version of the song features just Julian on drums, and John on piano and vocals.

May Pang later recalled that Julian was disappointed when he found out the recording would make the ‘Walls and Bridges’ album, telling his father “If I’d known, I would have played better”.

“Ya-Ya” was originally performed by Lee Dorsey in 1961 and later covered again by John in a full length version on his “Rock ‘n’ Roll” album.

Click the Play button to hear the version with Julian:

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