One of the key motivating factors behind the band's decision to stop touring was that they couldn't even hear themselves play over all the screaming fans, which both affected how well they were playing and resulted in low morale — it made it clear that most of the fans weren't bothering to listen. Recordings of their late live performances indicate just how sick they were of touring, with many of their songs being played at near-double speed, in order to get the concert over and done with as quickly as possible. So perfunctory was their stage act at the end that, by the time of their last paid concert (in 1966 in San Francisco), not one song from their then-new album Revolver was on their performance list. It's also no coincidence that around the Rubber Soul/Revolver period they'd begun to get a lot more elaborate in the studio, writing an increasing number of songs that would be too impractical to perform live during touring. Try to imagine the army of musicians they'd need to tow around just to play "Tomorrow Never Knows".
George Harrison in particular was vocal about how, for him at least, the appeal of being a Beatle had worn off around 1966-1967, because of the above and because he was getting tired of Lennon and McCartney constantly treating him as the younger sibling of the group with regards to his own efforts at writing.
Bad Export for You: Many American fans and the band themselves perceived the American releases prior to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band this way, as tracks were removed and added to the running orders. Some fans, however, particularly those who grew up in The '60s, protested the "restoration" to the British running order in the CD era. There was enough demand to release a couple of box sets containing the U.S. albums.
Breakthrough Hit: "Love Me Do" and "Please Please Me" in their home country, "She Loves You" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" worldwide.
The band's US discography, which consisted of Frankenslation releases cobbled together from their UK studio albums and various non-album singles, near-completely went out of print following the 1987 CD reissues, which codified the UK albums as the official ones worldwide. Apart from the ones that were unchanged from the UK releasesnote Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The White Album, Abbey Road, and Let It Be, the only US album to not meet this fate was Magical Mystery Tour, as it expanded a UK EP release into a full LP. The US albums were briefly reissued in a 2014 Boxed Set, but it was recreated from the 2009 remasters of the UK albums rather than using Capitol Records' masters, and once the set went out of print, the US albums were not reissued again.
Producer George Martin was not fond of the stereo versions of the band's albums prior to The White Album, describing them as "very woolly, and not at all what I thought should be a good issue." Consequently, he sought to remix them for the 1987 CD releases. Due to time constraints, he only got to Help! and Rubber Soul, with prior albums being put out in mono and later ones using the original stereo mixes. Nevertheless, the remixed versions of these two albums would become standard, with the original stereo mixes only scarcely being reissued over the years.
Cash-Cow Franchise: During the sixties and since 1987. A re-release by the Beatles is as newsworthy as a new release by U2.
Channel Hop: The band were originally singed to Parlophone Records in the UK and Capitol Records in the US, but left them in 1968 upon opening their own vanity label, Apple Records, staying there even into their post-breakup solo careers. EMI, Parlophone's parent company, distributed Apple.
Chart Displacement: The #1 UK and US singles compilation album explains it perfectly. It contains, for example, "From Me to You" which, while fairly well-known, is not among the band's timeless classics. On the other hand, "Here Comes the Sun", which arguably became the band's most famous song, wasn't even released as a single (though it charted on its own nonetheless). Then, many other songs that were classics were not #1 hits or were not released as singles at all (e.g. "Strawberry Fields Forever", "In My Life", "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds", "Blackbird", and the list goes on...).
Christmas Rushed: Rubber Soul was rushed into production before Christmas 1965. Beatles For Sale was also rushed (hence the name and the presence of a few covers after the all-original Hard Day's Night).
Corpsing: Paul cracks up during the second verse of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" because John mooned him in the recording studio as he sang the line "writing fifty times.
Creative Differences: Let It Be is basically what happens when you take a band that is already fracturing due to this trope and put them on film — even more fracturing.
John Lennon hated a lot of the songs he wrote for the Beatles. In some cases this is due to Values Dissonance - he particularly detested "Run for Your Life" for its severe misogyny, which is perfectly understandable. For a lot of them it just seemed he was being churlish though. However, it has been noted that Lennon's opinion on Beatles music depended on when he was talked to. Though he often said publicly that he hated it, as he got older his tone softened on all but the ones he disliked the most (only a few, usually written by him). Most of the people close to him put it down to his well deserved reputation as a Troll.
Everyone except Paul McCartney hated doing "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" because of all the time they spent working on it (it took almost a month to record). Lennon even called it "Paul's granny shit" at one point and mooned Paul from the control booth when he was doing the last vocal take just to screw him up (you can hear Paul giggle at one point).
After hearing it ad nauseam during his 64th birthday, Paul came to regret "When I'm Sixty-Four". This comes off as understandable since he went through a bitter divorce from his second wife weeks before he turned 64.
Creator Breakdown: John Lennon's songs, particularly in later years, tended to be more introspective and autobiographical in nature. Not that Paul McCartney or George Harrison were averse to this trope; in their last two albums especially, a lot of slightly bitter songs about the legal wranglings and friendship meltdowns going on around them can be heard. Though they also averted this spectacularly at least once: "Here Comes The Sun" was born of one "just sick of everything" moment, but the song itself is going in the opposite direction of such feelings.
Ringo Starr has said that "Rain" contained the best drumming he ever did. He has also stated in several interviews that "Yer Blues" is one of his favorites because unlike a lot of the work they'd been doing, it was a stripped down blues rock number recorded in a very small room that Starr felt was "just like the old days".
John Lennon's favourites of the Beatles songs he wrote were "In My Life", "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds", "Strawberry Fields Forever", "I am the Walrus", "Dear Prudence" and "Across the Universe". Of Paul McCartney's Beatles songs, he very much liked "For No One", which he called "a nice piece of work", but he loved "Hey Jude", and even urged McCartney to retain the placeholder line "The movement you need is on your shoulder" on the grounds that he knew what it meant and it was the best line in the song. Lennon also picked The White Album as his favourite Beatles record. He was also very fond of "Oh! Darling" and complained for years about the fact that Paul didn't let him sing on it.
Paul McCartney's favourite Beatles song is "Here, There and Everywhere", followed by "Yesterday".
Both Lennon and McCartney praised George Harrison's "Something" as one of the best Beatles songs of all. Lennon called it the best song on Abbey Road and McCartney said it was the best song Harrison ever wrote.
Cut Song: The band has a few (not counting songs recorded in album sessions that were always meant to be singles):
"I Call Your Name" was cut from A Hard Day's Night because the film's producer felt it sounded too similar to "You Can't Do That", which itself didn't end up getting used in the film. As the song had already been released in the US before this decision was made (on The Beatles' Second Album), the band released it in the UK on their "Long Tall Sally" EP instead.
"If You've Got Trouble" was cut from Help! as Ringo hated it, and thus "Act Naturally" was used as his track instead. It was eventually released on Anthology 2. "Wait" was also recorded for Help! and rejected, but was brought back for "Rubber Soul", with a few new overdubs.
"Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" were cut from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band because the band's US label wanted as a pre-album single, and the band wanted the album's tracklist to be the same the world over. The tracks were included on the US release of Magical Mystery Tour which eventually became the standard version. They were eventually included as bonus tracks on the Sgt Peppers' 50th Anniversary Edition as well.
"What's The New Mary Jane" was left off The White Album because George Martin felt that the album had enough avant-garde tracks. An attempt by John to release it as a solo single fell through due to band disapproval, and it was eventually released on Anthology 3. Anthology 3 also included George's "Not Guilty", which was abandoned midway through the album sessions. Harrison released a vastly rearranged solo version in 1979.
"Don't Let Me Down" was cut from Let It Be due to at the time, it having been recently compiled on the US album "Hey Jude". Paul McCartney wasn't happy about this, and it was eventually included on Let It Be: Naked.
Executive Meddling: Glyn Johns took the tapes of the "Get Back" sessions and produced the kind of mix which the Beatles envisioned. After the band rejected it, manager Allen Klein heard the mix and didn't like it, so he called in Phil Spector.
This was standard practice for most British pop albums of the period: hit singles were generally kept off of albums. This was opposite of American practice, and was part of the reason why early Beatles albums (up through Revolver) were recut for American release.
Recording engineer Norman Smith later stated that the studio sessions for Rubber Soul revealed signs of growing conflict within the group – "the clash between John and Paul was becoming obvious", he wrote, and "as far as Paul was concerned, George could do no right".
By the time Let It Be came about, the already tense relations between the bandmembers reached breaking point:
Paul McCartney tried to organise and encourage his bandmates, but his attempts to hold the band together and rally spirits were seen by the others as controlling and patronising.
McCartney and George Harrison got into a heated argument during the recording of "Two of Us".
Harrison got into a blazing row with John Lennon over creative disengagement from the band. According to journalist Michael Housego of The Daily Sketch, this descended into violence with them allegedly throwing punches at each other. Harrison denied this in a 16 January interview for the Daily Express, saying: "There was no punch-up. We just fell out."
The music videos were M.I.A. until the release of The Beatles 1+ in 2015.
A legal imbroglio prevents a Let It Be DVD release. Paul McCartney once told Rolling Stone that he was all for releasing it and Apple Corps has talked about putting it out, but it's yet to happen.
Yellow Submarine suffered this for a while. Rights issues kept it from being released on VHS until 1987, and it was pulled about a year later, only being released again - on both VHS and DVD - in 1999. A re-release only came out in 2012. Help! suffered the same fate for a while, but Apple's first DVD release came earlier in 2007.
Their only official live album, The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, was not issued on CD until 2016, to coincide with Ron Howard's documentary Eight Days a Week.
There are many recordings that haven't been officially released but have been widely bootlegged. The Get Back sessions are popular, as well as recordings from their formative years (for example, their audition for Decca Records, including the songs not on The Beatles Anthology 1).
For completists, or Americans who want to hear the original Capitol Records releases the way they heard them in The '60s, Capitol/Apple released two four-CD boxed sets of remasters of those albums, with both stereo/fake stereo and mono mixes: Meet The Beatles!, The Beatles' Second Album, Beatles '65 and Something New (on Vol. 1), and Help! (with Ken Thorne's soundtrack music), Beatles IV, The Early Beatles (basically a Capitol repackaging of Vee-Jay Records' Introducing The Beatles [itself a Please Please Me repackage/resequence] released after Capitol bought the American distribution rights to the 1963 material from Vee-Jay) and the American "Rubber Soul" (on Vol. 2). Because of slow sales, a "Volume 3" was not released, so Yesterday And Today, the American Revolver and the 1970 compilation Hey Jude (and whatever other content a fourth disc might include, if any) remain unreleased. Also unavailable is the American A Hard Day's Night soundtrack with George Martin's orchestral pieces, originally released on United Artists Records.
A full rerelease of the American albums finally happened in 2014, as a boxed set, individually packaged, and digitally, albeit using the 2009 mixes. Each CD does contain mono and stereo versions of each album.
Chances of the animated TV series ever getting an official DVD release are slim to none. However, episodes can be found here and there on YouTube for the curious but was taken off due to a copyright claim by UMG_MK.
Incredibly, the original single version of "Love Me Do" fell into this trope for a long time after EMI decided that the album version note with session drummer Andy White in place of Ringo should be the standard, had the single re-cut with that version, and had the master tapes of the original destroyed. The original version was unavailable from 1963 to 1980, when it was restored from a needle drop of an original 45.
When Beatlemania broke in America at the start of 1964, most of their American fans weren't really aware that the majority of the songs they were hearing were already at least a year old by that point, since Capitol Records had turned down every Beatle release up until "I Want to Hold Your Hand", and the three singles that got placed on smaller labels had only sold a few thousand copies combined.
Capitol's slice-and-dice methodology toward the British albums left some songs that didn't get an American release until several months after their British debuts. In a few cases, British album tracks were embargoed for later release as US-only singles ("Eight Days a Week", "Yesterday" and "Nowhere Man").
At the time the group broke up in 1970, there were eight Beatles songs that were not available on a Capitol album in the US. If you were an American who wanted to put together a complete collection of Beatles material, you had to buy all their Capitol albums, then buy a bunch of 45 RPM singles (including from Capitol's Starline catalog series) to fill in some B-Side material that wasn't available on an album, then track down a used copy of "Sie Liebt Dich", the German version of "She Loves You" that got released on Swan Records in 1964 (and actually got to #97 on the Billboard Hot 100), then somehow get ahold of the British No One's Gonna Change Our World charity album that had the original version of "Across the Universe". The Beatles 1962-1966 (Red Album) compilation in 1973 gave "From Me to You" its first Capitol album appearance, "I'm Down" made its album debut on Rock 'n' Roll Music in 1976, and Rarities in 1980 saw the album debuts of "Sie Liebt Dich", "The Inner Light", the aforementioned "Across the Universe" and "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)". The album also featured "Misery" and "There's a Place", which were on the Vee-Jay Records Introducing...The Beatles album in 1964, but didn't get included on Capitol's later retooled version The Early Beatles.note "There's a Place" was the B-Side of the single of "Twist and Shout" issued by Vee-Jay's subsidiary Tollie in 1964, and Capitol had reissued it on a Starline single. "Misery" was included as the B-Side of a Starline single of "Roll Over Beethoven", which was actually an exclusive release under the Starline imprint, rather than a reissue of an earlier single
Magnum Opus Dissonance: Lennon and Harrison didn't see what all the fuss about Sgt. Pepper was about. Lennon cited The White Album as his favourite Beatles release. To be fair, there is a substantial contingent of listeners and critics who agree with him.
Meaningful Release Date: The remastered albums and the Beatles version of the Rock Band game were released on 09/09/09. Number Nine, Number Nine, Number Nine...
The Beatles sent flexidiscs with holiday greetings and Sketch Comedy to their fan club between 1963 and 1969, which were compiled onto an LP (also a fan club exclusive) in 1971. All these releases are long out of print. They've never been legally available to the general public, except for the first one, which is unlockable content in The Beatles: Rock Band. An edited version of the 1967 message ("Christmas Time Is Here Again", the closest they ever came to doing an actual Christmas song) was officially released as a B-side of the "Free as a Bird" single in 1995.
Averted with "The Christmas Records", a box set containing each message on colored vinyl. You do need to splurge and pay approximately $130 for it.
"Carnival of Light" is an experimental track. Paul McCartney apparently has the recording and keeps making noises about releasing it. George Harrison supposedly vetoed it when he was still alive, but a decade later and it's still nowhere to be found. With as many leaked studio sessions and bootleg albums as there are out there, it's arguably one of the last truly rare Beatles recordings left.
"Now and Then".
The 27-minute version of "Helter Skelter", officially the third take of the 18 July 1968 session for it. Take 2 from that day, clocking in around 13 minutes, was released on the 50th anniversary box set in 2018. (The album take was recorded in September, by which time the song had become faster and louder).
Money, Dear Boy: After some uproar in the late '90s over Beatles songs being licensed for car commercials, Paul McCartney was quick to point out that he and John Lennon weren't above writing songs purely for monetary gain in their early days.
"Somebody said to me, 'But the Beatles were anti-materialistic.' That's a huge myth. John and I literally used to sit down and say, 'Now, let's write a swimming pool.'"
Network to the Rescue: The classic story was that George Martin at Parlophone Records gave them their break after the other top British labels rejected them. In the first volume of his exhaustively-researched, still in-progress three volume Beatle biography, Mark Lewisohn revealed that it was actually EMI's music publishing division that first showed interest in John and Paul as writers.note Brian Epstein held out to get the whole band signed to a recording contract. EMI then dumped them into Martin's lap, since he'd run into some trouble with management and wasn't in a position to say no.
The Trope Namer was kicked out of the band when George Martin said that he'd sign them on with the proviso that they use a studio drummer on their recordings, because Pete wasn't cutting it. John, Paul, and George, however, had decided that they wanted this fellow they'd befriended and hung out with a lot in Hamburg and who filled in for Pete whenever he missed gigs named Ringo in the group... so Brian Epstein gave Pete the bad news. He was later given his own band by Epstein (twice, since he refused the first offer), only to retire from music and then eventually get back into it.
There was also Stu Sutcliffe, a fellow art student of John's who was roped into playing the bass in spite of his lack of musicianship, but he left the band of his own volition in 1961 to live in Hamburg with Astrid Kirchherr and pursue painting... and tragically died less than a year later of a brain aneurysm.
Colin Hanton, Eric Griffiths, Len Garry, Pete Shotton, and Rod Davis were, along with John Lennon, the original members of the original incarnation of the Beatles in the 1950s, back when they went by the name the Quarrymen. In 1957, Lennon unilaterally invited Paul McCartney to join the group, and the following year, McCartney brought in his old friend, George Harrison. Hanton, Griffiths, Garry, Shotton, and Davis all slowly drifted away from the group, which moved decisively from skiffle to rock and roll. When Sutcliffe joined in 1960 only Lennon remained of the original lineup, and he suggested that the band rename itself. Of the original Quarrymen, only Shotton remained part of the Beatles' inner circle by the time they became famous, with the rest mostly having lost touch with John, Paul and George. The surviving five original Quarrymen reunited in the late 1990s and, with minor lineup changes (Griffiths died in 2005 and Shotton retired shortly thereafter) they continue to tour into 2011.
Then there's Jimmie Nicol who replaced a sick Ringo Starr note Appendicitis for six concerts over the span of two weeks in 1964.
The Red Stapler: The Beatles' popularity caused a massive spike in sales of Rickenbacker guitars in the 1960s. Funnily enough, the same didn't happen for Epiphone when all three guitar-playing Beatles took up the hitherto unloved Epiphone Casino in the mid-60s, but it did happen after the release of The Beatles: Get Back in 2021, in which Lennon's stripped-down Casino is his Signature Instrument. Casino sales shot up, and Epiphone ceased producing the guitar as a budget model in China, and started making it as a luxury model in the USA, for the first time in decades.
Saved from Development Hell: EMI planned to issue an album called Sessions in early 1985, collecting numerous unreleased songs and alternate takes. One problem: they didn't bother to get permission from Paul, George, Ringo or Yoko, and when they learned about the impending release they forced EMI to pull it almost literally at the last minute. A decade later, the Anthology albums were basically an expanded version of Sessions, with all the Sessions songs included.
Schedule Slip: Having recorded two albums a year for their whole career up to that time, the 10 month gap between the release of Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band raised eyebrows. But the success of the latter convinced record companies that allowing performers more time to perfect their music was a wiser strategy.
Short-Lived, Big Impact: The Beatles' recording career lasted just 7 years, but in that time they completely changed the landscape of popular music, and managed to crank out a whopping thirteen studio albums. The band broke up before any of the members had turned 30.
Short Run in Peru: Because of Capitol Records' constant demands for new material, nine songs were actually released in America before they got a UK release—"Long Tall Sally", "I Call Your Name" (on The Beatles' Second Album, before their UK release on the Long Tall Sally EP); "Bad Boy", "Dizzy Miss Lizzy", "You Like Me Too Much", "Tell Me What You See" (on the Beatles VI album; three of them would appear on Help!, while "Bad Boy" had to wait for the A Collection of Beatles Oldies compilation album in 1966); "And Your Bird Can Sing", "Doctor Robert", "I'm Only Sleeping" (appearing on Yesterday and Today a few months ahead of Revolver).
The guitar feedback at the beginning of "I Feel Fine" was "a found object" made by accident when John left his guitar leaning against an amp.
The song "Hey Bulldog" was originally written with the title "Hey Bullfrog." When Paul started barking during the recording sessions, they changed the lyrics on the fly to match.
"Helter Skelter" ends with a yell by Ringo of "I got blisters on my fingers!" The take included on the White Album was the last of 18 recorded in one day; at the end of it, Ringo hit his cymbals three times, threw his sticks across the studio, and let out the yell.
The cover of the Rubber Soul album. A photographer had taken a picture of the band and was projecting it onto a piece of cardboard as a mockup for the cover. The board tipped backwards, causing the image to elongate, and the band liked the effect well enough to approve it as the final artwork.
Just before the coda in "Hey Jude", the listener can just discern a cry of "Fuckin' hell!" from (allegedly) John.
Several other examples can be found on the trope page.
The "What Goes On" website is an exhaustive list of anomalies that made it into the finished recordings. Some of them are fascinating, some are just standard parts of musical performances (breath inhalations, flubbed notes) that are debatable as actually being anomalies (since the band clearly wasn't attempting pinpoint perfection in the studio) and some are just really exaggerated nitpicking (Ringo's bass drum pedal apparently squeaked a lot on the early albums, for anyone who might be interested).
Uncredited Role: Their studio albums featured dozens of session performers, many of which went uncredited. A notable one was Eric Clapton, who played an uncredited guitar solo "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".
George Martin, feeling that none of the Beatle originals he'd heard were up to snuff, and doubtful of the commercial potential of the extensive list of Cover Versions they did in live shows, chose "How Do You Do It?" by London songwriter Mitch Murray as the song they'd record for their Parlophone debut single. The band wasn't thrilled by the choice, but dutifully rehearsed it leading up to their first EMI session. As a potential B-Side, they brought in "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You". Their performance of "How Do You Do It?" was very lethargic, but they brought more enthusiasm to the other songs, and Martin eventually decided to forget "How Do You Do It?". However, at one point "P.S. I Love You" was going to be the A-side, until they remembered that there was already a famous 1934 Johnny Mercer song with that title, so they went with "Love Me Do". Gerry & The Pacemakers would later have a hit with "How Do You Do It?", and the Beatles version was eventually released decades later on Anthology 1.
"Please Please Me" was written and first recorded as a slow, bluesy ballad inspired by Roy Orbison. George Martin suggested making it a faster song, and a few takes later it was good enough for a single (Paul said "we were a bit embarrassed that he had found a better tempo than we had.").
Capitol Records had right of first refusal to issue British EMI product in America, and rejected the first four Parlophone singles in their original releases. EMI worked out a licensing deal with Chicago-based label VeeJay,note best known for early Chicago soul acts such as the Impressions, Betty Everett and their first non-black act in Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons who released "Please Please Me" and "From Me to You" to minimal national sales.note "Please Please Me", credited to "The Beattles", sold only 7310 copies and was only a minor hit in Chicago. "From Me to You" did marginally better, with some Top 40 airplay in Southern California. It sold about 22,000 copies and reached #116 on the Billboard Hot 100 but was outdistanced by a Del Shannon cover! Still, as an indie label desperate for material to release, they went ahead and planned a summer 1963 release of an Americanized version of the Please Please Me album called Introducing...The Beatles. But the label ran into financial troubles (caused in-part by a label executive embezzling label money to pay gambling debts), and had to scrap the release.note The Four Seasons also had trouble with the label, and ended up suing them and jumping ship to Philips Records EMI, citing breach of contract, yanked the Beatle rights away from VeeJay, and placed the next single, "She Loves You", with Philadelphia-based label Swan Records.note A small-time label mostly famous for Freddy Cannon "She Loves You" had a similar lack of initial success; by the end of 1963, it had only sold about 1000 copies and never charted in Billboard.* If "She Loves You" had somehow managed to sell 50,000 copies, which would probably have equated to a Billboard Hot 100 peak at around #70 or so, Swan would've gotten right of first refusal on the next Beatles single, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" Obviously, had any of these records broken big the way they eventually would in 1964, the history of the Beatles in America would have been much different. Once Beatlemania started in early 1964, VeeJay finally released Introducing...The Beatles, though legally they didn't really have a right to do so, pragmatically deciding to make as much money as they possibly could before the inevitable lawsuit. Of course, all this leads to the question of what would have happened if Capitol Records, with more money and promotional muscle at its disposal than VeeJay or Swan, hadn't passed on the opportunity to issue the Beatles the first time around? Would Beatlemania have launched early, or would they have flopped? Answer Capitol Records of Canada did release those records in 1963, with the same lack of initial success VeeJay in the U.S. had — the first couple of singles sold under 200 copies on their initial run. However, "She Loves You" managed to become a big hit in Canada in December of 1963, right before Capitol released "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in the US.
There was an attempt to have the Fab Four appear in the Doctor Who episode "The Chase" where the Beatles would perform as their younger selves and then appear later in the episode as aged resistance fighters against the Daleks. Scheduling conflicts made it difficult to film, and they ended up using a clip of a televised performance instead. Made even freakier by a photo release of The Beatles hanging out with a guy who, from the way he's photographed (from behind, while facing left) looks an awful lot like Matt Smith (The Eleventh Doctor).note The guy in question, to anyone familiar with the Beatles' staff, is clearly their personal assistant Neil Aspinall. Cue immediate suggestions by almost everyone that an episode HAS to be filmed with Eleven meeting the band...
The song "With a Little Help from My Friends" originally opened with "What would you think if I sang out of tune?/Would you throw ripe tomatoes at me?" Ringo requested that the second part of the line be changed for fear that fans would throw tomatoes at the group if they performed it live.
In 1967, the Beatles were considering doing a concept album about Liverpool. They got as far as recording two tracks, "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever", before the idea was dropped. Then Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was set to feature those two tracks as album tracks, befoe they were finally released as a double-A-side single instead.
Speaking of Sgt. Pepper, a sequel to Sgt. Pepper was to be released, with a song called "One of the Beautiful People" being a prospected track, before it was rewritten into "Baby You're A Rich Man".
They were rumored to be booked to play at the Monterey Pop Festival because of the involvement of their press officer Derek Taylor, but they declined, since their music had become too complex to be performed live. Instead, at the instigation of McCartney, the festival booked The Who and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, while Harrison recommended Ravi Shankar. Over the weekend of the festival, the Beatles were in London, preparing for the Our World television broadcast.
The White Album was originally conceived as a single LP instead of the double LP we received at the end. This early version was called A Doll's House.
On at least one occasion there was debate amongst the Four to invite Eric Clapton to be the fifth Beatle.
Same toward the end of the band's life with Billy Preston. Lennon, Harrison, and Starr were keen on it because Preston had raised spirits to such a great degree when he was around. Paul vetoed the idea saying it would make coming to decisions even harder with an extra member. Lennon and Starr later both speculated at different times that Paul's veto was his unconscious way of trying to make sure the band eventually broke up.
They were asked to play Woodstock, but they were too busy working on Abbey Road, couldn't coordinate their schedules and possibly weren't even interested in the first place.
One early idea was that Abbey Road was to be called "Everest" ("after the cigarettes I smoked", according to John) and feature the band posing on top of the titular mountain. This proved unworkable, so the band settled for calling it Abbey Road and taking the cover photo outside their studio.
Some of George's finest compositions, most notably on All Things Must Pass, only made it to his solo albums because they were rejected by the band.note In fact, after a while George didn't even bother pitching his more idiosyncratic songs to the other Beatles, giving them his more basic, accessible compositions.
George attempted to reunite the group for The Concert for Bangladesh. In the end, only Ringo performed. Paul declined due to the bad blood from the breakup and John pulled out when George refused to let Yoko perform.
It has often been mentioned by Yoko and Paul in interviews that if John Lennon had not been killed, The Beatles would likely have reunited - for a one-off concert, for a tour, for a charity single, for good; it's unknown exactly what - in either 1981 or 1982.
The surviving members of the band were asked to perform at Live Aid with Julian Lennon filling in for his late father, but they declined, though Paul performed.
The Beatles Anthology has revealed a lot of examples of this trope. For example, they originally planned on releasing "One After 909" as an early song, but were unable to get a satisfactory recording at the time, and it ended up being re-recorded later on as one of their last songs. There are also recordings of very different versions of the songs, such as "Rocky Raccoon" with a totally different introduction and "Your Mother Should Know" in a completely different style.
In September 2019, Mark Lewisohn unearthed a tape of a meeting between John, Paul and George in September 1969, shortly before Abbey Road was released (made for Ringo's benefit, since he was in the hospital at the time), where they discussed plans for a follow-up album, challenging the notion that they intended Abbey Road as a Grand Finale. John said he wanted to abolish the Lennon/McCartney songwriting credit going forward, and suggested recording more of George's songs. Paul wasn't too keen on the whole idea. The whole thing may well have been a Batman Gambit by John and George, who were both eager to move on from The Beatles, proposing things that they knew Paul wouldn't like.
Working Title: George was infamous for bringing songs in to the studio without a title. "Love You To" was originally called "Granny Smith" (after the apple that later was used for the Apple logo), and when work began on "I Want to Tell You", his reply when asked for the song's title was "I don't know", which is how it was listed on the studio sheets, until it got jokingly changed to "Laxton's Superb" (after another variety of apple). "Only a Northern Song" was originally just listed as "not known" on the studio sheets (which got garbled in later years into a rumor that there was an unreleased Harrison-composed Beatle song called "Not Unknown").