The albums in The Death and Life of Mal Evans are my fantasy albums. A lot of care and thought went into getting the right songs on these albums, ones that would sound the most like the Beatles and not a disjointed “Various Artists” compilation.
Most of the songs had one of five reasons to be included (in this order):
- It was written while the Beatles were still together, giving it some status as a “Beatle” song.
- It featured two or more Beatles playing on the song.
- Another Beatle praised the song (meaning it may have passed a Beatle audition).
- It fit with the way the album was coming together thematically.
- It just sounded like the Beatles.
This title was originally slated to be the title for the Beatles’ Abbey Road album in 1969, and was based on sound engineer Geoff Emerick’s cigarette of choice. They were intent on flying to the Himalayas to take the photo; but either laziness or the growing tension in the band prevented them from making the trip. It was easier to step outside the recording studio and walk across the street; hence the iconic Abbey Road name and album cover were born.
- “Too Many People” (by Paul McCartney, from the album Ram, 1971). Some may object to a song criticizing John on a Beatles’ album, but the first time I heard the opening chords to this song, I immediately thought it sounded
like the Beatles. And the sharp lyrics made a nice turning point in the plot of the book (as did Linda’s vocals).
- “It Don’t Come Easy” (Starr, Ringo, 1973)—Ringo’s hit single featured George on acoustic guitar and Mal on
- “Every Night” (McCartney, McCartney, 1970)—Paul debuted it during the Get Back sessions in 1969, with John even playing a slide guitar during one take.
- “Oh My Love” (Lennon, Imagine, 1971)—This ballad appears on demos from 1968’s White Album sessions.
George plays guitar.
- “Apple Scruffs” (Harrison, All Things Must Pass, 1970)—The song mainly lends to the acoustic feel of Everest. Mal Evans played a wooden block on it, and with the full harmonies, it does sound like a lost Beatles track from Abbey Road.
- “Isolation” (Lennon, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, 1970)—Beatlesque chromatic chord progressions abound here; Ringo plays drums.
- “Isn’t it a Pity” (Harrison, All Things Must Pass, 1970)—Dates all the way back to 1966. (A lot of George’s offerings were rejected.) Ringo plays drums.
- “Wah-Wah” (Harrison, All Things Must Pass, 1970)—George wrote this in 1969 after he temporarily quit the Beatles during the Get Back sessions. Ringo plays drums.
- “Look at Me” (Lennon, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, 1970)—Written during the White Album sessions around 1968.
- “Maybe I’m Amazed” (McCartney, McCartney, 1970)—Paul began to write this song in 1969, when the Beatles were starting to splinter.
- “Jealous Guy” (Lennon, Imagine, 1971)—Originally titled“Child of Nature,” this song was written by John while the Beatles were in India in 1968.
- “The Back Seat of My Car” (McCartney, McCartney, 1970)—You can hear bits and pieces of this song during the Beatles’ Get Back sessions in 1969.
- “All Things Must Pass” (Harrison, All Things Must Pass, 1970)—Another reject from the Beatles Get Back sessions – why this didn’t make the album is a mystery. Ringo plays drums.
Coming next: Abracadabra