The Beatles 1970-1975

An image can be seen which shows the idea of culture in a snapshot. It is a representation of how the concept of culture is seen from the outside, with a variety of elements all coming together to form a single idea.

The Beatles have been a source of fascination for me ever since I was given Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for my seventh birthday by my parents, which was back in August 1968. It included cutouts, a paper mustache and epaulettes.

It takes a certain breed of fan to be that invested in the band and I used to be one such devotee.

I was the kind of fan who would go to great lengths to hunt down every single recording that John ever played on, or any song that he and Paul had written for Cilla Black or Peter & Gordon, as well as any Teddy Boy bootlegs such as Hamburg.

The Decca Sessions, and This Is the Savage Young Beatles, featuring the band in their leathers on the bright yellow cover, looking neither quite menacing enough to be a street gang nor quite polished enough to be the pop stars they eventually became.

This is an alternate version of the Beatles’ story when they were still a group of hard-rocking, wild boys who stayed up all night playing in the Star Club.

We can only get a glimpse of this early days of the group through grainy photographs and sound clips that are just a few seconds long. Somehow, those pieces make us feel as if we know them, as if they are the same high school kids who made it big.

As John said to Jann Wenner in 1970, “We were just a band who made it very, very big, that’s all.”

It is undeniable that the Beatles have always been iconic figures and were recognizable in America from the moment we were introduced to them in 1964.

Nevertheless, these original images and bootlegs offer us a different perspective of them; it is as if we can try to create a new past and make them our own.

The Beatles don’t need to be remembered as the band that conquered the world. Or possibly they are, yet didn’t split; maybe Abbey Road or Let It Be–relying upon your interpretation of their end–doesn’t need to be the definitive articulation.

This is the alternate adaptation of the dream Beatles, similarly hazy and hard to make out. What if they had stayed together and delivered records until John chose to become a stay-at-home dad in 1975? It’s not completely inconceivable: by the mid-1970s, John and Paul had arrived at a settlement.

They were assembled the night Lorne Michaels playfully offered the Beatles three thousand dollars to show up on Saturday Night Live; it’s said they contemplated strolling in at NBC.

A couple of years before, on March 31, 1974, they even reunited for one night in a Los Angeles recording studio, with Stevie Wonder.

Harry Nilsson, Jesse Ed Davis, and Bobby Keys; the subsequent alcohol- and cocaine-filled session, including tunes like “Cupid” and “Stand By Me,” is accessible on a bootleg called _A Toot and a Snore in ’74. _It isn’t much to tune in to, aside from when those harmonies come in.

Here we have the idea of pop stardom–to be a reflection of the crowd’s longing.

Playing a game of let’s imagine, I have been pondering what the Beatles’ 1970s albums would have sounded like had they not broken up. Every solo effort from John and Paul to George and Ringo, from the eclectic Two Virgins to the sugary McCartney II, made me ponder this question.

I used to envision John at the center of the band, with a hard-edged and political sound in mind, yet I realized that this was not the Beatles. Neither were they the spiritual seekers of George’s early solo work, nor the improvisational nature of Ram and Wild Life.

As for Ringo, I’ll just say that the Beatles were never his group.

Despite how high quality some of the tracks are (“Three Legs,” “I Found Out,” “Maya Love”), they would not have been able to make it onto an original Beatles album. This is because the songs were too personal and unique from the band’s identity.

If a record is to be composed of songs from the Beatles, it must make sense as an album and represent the combination they were, while also utilizing the patterns they usually followed.

The Beatles, although they were innovative, had a classic way of constructing albums, with one or two tracks from George, an equal amount from John and Paul, and a little something from Ringo.

This should be taken into account when thinking of the possibilities of what they could have created.

John, Paul, George and Ringo’s work in the 70s is not particularly noteworthy, and this is another issue with my fantasy band of John’s. Apart from Walls and Bridges, Double Fantasy and Milk and Honey, their work after Imagine is not worth listening to.

George’s solo album All Things Must Pass was the only great one, and Ringo’s 1973 self-titled album was the peak of his career, featuring all four ex-Beatles.

When you look at the solo work from the late 60s to the dissolution of Apple Records, you realise how little of it would be suitable for the band.

Maybe this is due to them all trying to break away from the group identity, or having the fame to be able to produce triple albums and recordings of babies’ heartbeats.

I have come to the conclusion that the Beatles could have released four albums. The first one, Instant Karma, would have been out around Thanksgiving, and John would have been the main focus of it.

George would have had two cuts, and, despite all the material from All Things Must Pass, Paul would have been a minor contributor, due to the lack of good songs from McCartney.

Ringo, whose albums Sentimental Journey and Beaucoups of Blues involved standards and country music respectively, wouldn’t have been on the album. The single would have been Paul’s song “Maybe I’m Amazed”, with “Cold Turkey” as the b-side.



John’s “Remember”

“Mother” by John

Paul’s “Teddy Boy”

John’s “Working Class Hero”

George’s “What is Life?”


John’s “Cold Turkey”

John’s “Isolation”

George’s “Beware of Darkness”

John’s “Instant Karma”

Paul’s “Maybe I’m Amazed”

At the end of 1971, John and Paul both exhibited a strong sense of individual identity in their solo albums, Imagine and Ram, respectively, along with Ringo’s “It Don’t Come Easy”. This imaginary album, Too Many People, reflects their common views.

Looking back, it is interesting to note that “Crippled Inside” is followed by “It Don’t Come Easy” and then George’s “All Things Must Pass” and Paul’s “Another Day”.

The theme of the second side is one of reconciliation, with the songs “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” and “Monkberry Moon Delight” being the most reminiscent of the Beatles. These two songs act as a link that connects the Beatles’ earlier sound to their works from this period.



John Lennon’s “Imagine”, “Crippled Inside”

Ringo Starr’s “It Don’t Come Easy” (co-written with George Harrison)

George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass”

Paul McCartney’s “Another Day”


Paul’s “Too Many People”

John’s “Jealous Guy” and “Gimme Some Truth”

George’s “Awaiting on You All”

Paul’s “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” and “Monkberry Moon Delight”

Beginning in 1971, the quality of the Beatles’ work began to decline. John released Sometime in New York City, a much-criticized album. Red Rose Speedway and Mind Games were not well received either.

However, Paul’s 1972 single “Hi Hi Hi” and the two albums Band on the Run and Ringo were successes. George’s Living in the Material World was the only noteworthy song from this period, making him the least prominent of the four.

In order to create a record from this material, taking a year off is the first step, much like the original Beatles did in 1972.

By late 1973, there was enough material for an album titled Let Me Roll It which has ten songs, with four by Paul and four by John (including “I’m the Greatest” sung by Ringo).

In a lot of ways, it is a more lighthearted version of the Beatles’ work, except for “Woman is the Nigger of the World” and “John Sinclair” which demonstrate John’s growing disconnect from the band.

While in 1971 the members seemed to be on the same page, by 1973 their relationship had begun to deteriorate.



Band on the Run (Paul)

Let Me Roll It (Paul)

Woman is the Nigger of the World (John)

Bluebird (Paul)

I’m the Greatest (Composed by John, performed by Ringo)


Mind Games (John)

Hi Hi Hi (Paul)

Photograph (Ringo)

Living in the Material World (George)

John Sinclair (John)

At the conclusion of the Beatles’ career, Paul McCartney visited George Martin in 1969 to make an album “like before” so the group could “leave on a positive note.”

This ended up being Abbey Road, which many consider their best work due to their understanding that this would be their final album. By 1975, the songwriting had declined but it was possible to arrange a record that revisited the Beatles’ history.

Paul’s Venus and Mars provided a template for the last Beatles album, titled What You Got and released in early 1975.

The Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper is referenced here with its live performance-like structure, starting off with the track “Venus and Mars/Rock Show” and ending with the “Venus and Mars Reprise”.

This is followed by music from Walls and Bridges, which is often underrated. George’s songs, “Dark Horse” and “This Guitar Can’t Keep From Crying” (a follow-up to “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”), are also included.

The record culminates with John’s 1975 b-side “Move Over Ms. L.”, a rock and roll throwback to the band’s beginnings when they were playing Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran songs in Liverpool.



  1. Paul McCartney’s “Venus and Mars/Rock Show”
  2. John Lennon’s “Steel and Glass”
  3. George Harrison’s “Dark Horse”
  4. John Lennon’s “Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down and Out)”
  5. Ringo Starr’s “No No Song”


  1. Ringo Starr’s “Goodnight, Vienna” (written by John Lennon)
  2. John Lennon’s “# 9 Dream”
  3. John Lennon’s “What You Got”
  4. George Harrison’s “This Guitar Can’t Keep From Crying”
  5. Paul McCartney’s “Venus and Mars Reprise”
  6. John Lennon’s “Move Over Ms. L.”

The harsh reality is that the Beatles never experienced the same success as when they were the object of desire. After four decades, they still fascinate me and I can’t help but think what would’ve happened if they had stayed together.

Although I understand why they chose to break up, there’s still a part of me that wishes they hadn’t.

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