The Beatles released their final album, Let It Be, in 1970, before splitting up for good. The band’s 13th album included some major hits including Across the Universe, Get Back, Let It Be and The Long and Winding Road. But it also included one of George Harrison‘s best-loved songs: I Me Mine. However, when the band started recording the track, John Lennon was not present.
The Beatles got together at Abbey Road for the final time on January 3, 1970, to record their last song together, I Me Mine. The album version of the track is credited to Harrison on vocals, acoustic guitars and lead guitars; Paul McCartney on harmony vocals, bass guitar, Hammond organ and electric piano; and Ringo Starr on drums.
At the time, Lennon was out of the country. He had flown out of the UK on December 29, 1969, alongside his wife, Yoko Ono, to the small city of Aalborg in Denmark.
The couple stayed with Ono’s first husband, Tony Cox, and his new wife Melinde. Lennon and Ono were visiting her daughter and stayed at Cox’s farmhouse until January 25, 1970.
Lennon’s presence in the small town attracted press interest, prompting him to hold a press conference on January 5. Together with Ono, they performed a Danish folk song before pledging to donate all their future royalties to their peace campaign.
As a result of this little adventure, Lennon missed out on I Me Mine’s composition and recording entirely.
However, Harrison later lamented the treatment his songs received from Lennon and McCartney during their writing sessions. The Quiet Beatle was usually granted a single, quelling track to write, record, and place on each album, while the band sometimes spent days on one of their tracks.
Harrison once moaned: “I’d have to wait through ten of their songs before they’d even listen to one of mine.”
Harrison also opened up about the meaning behind I Me Mine, saying it addressed the “eternal problem of egoism”. He later used the song’s title as the title for his 1980 memoir.
Long before the Beatle had begun working on I Me Mine, he bemoaned the atmosphere of the recording sessions. He returned to Abbey Road “quite optimistic” about the songs that they were going to lay down. But soon enough, The Beatles fell into their old stagnant routines.
He said the band were “just the same as it had been when we were last in the studio … There was a lot of trivia and games being played.”
The previous sessions were held to write the band’s penultimate album, Abbey Road. During that time, Lennon, Starr and Harrison all hit out at McCartney and his excessive track Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.
Harrison said: “Sometimes Paul would make us do these really fruity songs. I mean, my God, Maxwell’s Silver Hammer was so fruity.”
The usually quiet Starr added: “The worst session ever was Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. It was the worst track we ever had to record. It went on for f****ng weeks.”
Lennon lashed out: “I hated it. All I remember is the track – he made us do it a hundred million times.”