The Beatles songs Paul McCartney wished were recorded in America: “They need that raw quality”

News The Beatles songs Paul McCartney wished were recorded in America: “They need that raw quality”

British music history is littered with legends. It spawned some of the biggest rock and roll bands of all time in Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. The Manchester scene bred some of the most revered guitar outfits in Joy Division and The Smiths. It’s the birthplace of Britpop staples like Blur and Oasis, of alternative icons Radiohead and My Bloody Valentine, and boy bands and girl bands in abundance. But there is one group who defines British music more than any other: The Beatles.

Spawning out of the suburbs of Liverpool in the 1960s, The Beatles would begin to carve out their place in British music history. They revolutionised recording, sent the entire world into Beatlemania, and penned an unparalleled number of all-time greats. By the time they were done, they were not only the biggest band to come from Britain but the biggest act in the world.

As Liverpool continues to draw in countless tourists every year, each desperate to see a gig at the Cavern Club or to take a photo with the bronze statues on the waterfront, the Fab Four remain tied to the country’s cultural landscape. Still, the extent of their success took them far beyond the northern town.

When the band were working on their seventh record, the enduringly experimental Revolver, they hoped to record on the other side of the Atlantic, in the United States. As Paul McCartney recalled in 1966, via Beatles Bible, this plan was thwarted by the pricing they were posed with. “They wanted a fantastic amount of money to use the facilities there,” he remembered, “We thought we’d forget it because they were obviously trying to take us for a ride because we were The Beatles.”

Forced to stick to their roots, Revolver would be recorded at the iconic Abbey Road Studios. This was a blessing in disguise, as McCartney noted that they had found a “new British sound almost by accident.” However, there were two songs that he believed could have benefitted from some American recording sessions – album opener ‘Taxman’ and ‘Got to Get You into My Life’.

“They need that raw quality that you just can’t get in this country for some reason,” he explained. ‘Taxman’ certainly harnesses a raw, rocking energy with stark strums and sparsity. Perhaps this could have been intensified even further with the right studio. ‘Got to Get You into My Life’ is raw in a different way, soulful and sincere.

Neither of the songs seems to have anything notably missing from their final takes, but McCartney maintains that they “would have sounded better if we’d cut them in America.” Nonetheless, they would both become Beatles classics, and McCartney’s stipulation feels like something only a songwriter would notice. The British recording would have no bearing on audiences ensuing love for the pieces.

Perhaps the rawness of the two tracks would have been somewhat heightened if their plans to record in the States had been pulled off, but recording in their homeland maintained the coherency of Revolver and maintained that British sound they had discovered. The record would be consistently credited as one of their best and remains one of the most well-loved records in British music history.

Listen to ‘Got to Get You into My Life’ by The Beatles below.

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