Mental Floss

9 Things You Probably Don't Know About The Beatles

David K. Israel

Today is 09/09/09, and you know what that means!

The big Beatles: Rock Band release. (GET IT? Number 9, number 9, number 9...) To get you in the mood, here are 9 rather obscure facts about those four lads from Liverpool that we bet you don't know. (Nein?)

1. Before Lennon/McCartney there was McCartney/Lennon

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If you pick up a Beatles album today, you'll notice the songs are credited to Lennon-McCartney, in alphabetical order, thanks to a longstanding agreement between the two songwriters whereby each would get full credit no matter who came up with the tune or lyric first. But this alphabetical listing was not always the case. The credits on their first album, Please Please Me, list the eight original compositions to McCartney-Lennon. One reason for this could be that Paul McCartney wrote "P.S. I Love You" and "Love Me Do," the first two songs on the album. The McCartney-Lennon credit would appear twice more on McCartney's 1976 live album, Wings Over America, and once again on 2002's Back in the U.S., albeit much to Yoko Ono's disapproval.

2. The Ed Sullivan Show was not The Beatles' American TV debut

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3. Eric Clapton almost replaced George

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4. The initial album cover for Yesterday and Today was banned

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5. "She Said She Said" was inspired by an LSD trip with Peter Fonda

During a break from their American tour in late August 1965, The Beatles rented a house in Beverly Hills. Although the Spanish-style mansion was hidden from plain view, their address eventually became public knowledge and the LAPD had to be called in to ward off eager fans. Since it was impossible to leave home, the Beatles played host to dozens of musicians and actors, including the then-unknown Peter Fonda. The entire band, excluding Paul McCartney, dropped acid with Fonda. According to Lennon, the drug-induced Fonda kept telling the band, "I know what it's like to be dead" and "You're making me feel like I've never been born." Lennon would later use both phrases in the lyrics to "She Said She Said."

6. Bob Dylan introduced the Beatles to marijuana

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7. Paul McCartney met Yoko Ono before John did

Yoko Ono claims to have been introduced to John Lennon by a mutual friend at her November 9, 1966, art exhibit in London. According to Yoko, she had never heard of the Beatles and had to be told who John Lennon was. However, Paul McCartney, likes to tell a different story about how she and John met. It was late 1965 and Yoko had knocked on Sir Paul's door. She was helping John Cage, a personal friend of McCartney's, with a book he was working on, and wanted to include some of the Beatles' work. Paul declined her offer, but suggested that she see Lennon. Yoko took Paul's advice and Lennon wound up giving her the original handwritten lyrics to "The Word" from Rubber Soul. The lyrics were later reproduced in Cage's book Notations.

8. Yes, there was a "Fifth Beatle," and he was the inspiration for their mop tops

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9. Let It Be was not their last album

Although it was released in 1970, a year after Abbey Road, Let It Be was actually recorded in early 1969, making it officially their penultimate album. Originally conceived as a back-to-roots record entitled Get Back, the band was unhappy with the version mixed by producer Glyn Johns and temporarily shelved the album to work on Abbey Road. After the success of Abbey Road, studio tapes from the Get Back sessions were given to the legendary Phil Spector. Spector created a new version of the album and finally released it as Let It Be in 1970. McCartney was upset with the finished copy, particularly Spector's mix of "The Long and Winding Road," which Paul had originally conceived as a spare piano ballad. It was the beginning of the end for The Beatles and the band broke up shortly before the album's release. In 2003, a new version of the album, titled Let It Be"¦ Naked was released. According to McCartney, the album's stripped down sound was what he had originally intended for the album.

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