Beatles By Day

Long time ago when we was fab

Song facts: Maxwell's Silver Hammer

Maxwell's Silver Hammer is a Beatles' song written by Paul McCartney in 1968 and originally intended for inclusion on The White Album; but it was never used due to time constraints. 

The track resurfaced in January of 1969 during the Let It Be sessions, but wasn't recorded properly until Abbey Road. The Beatles can be seen performing the song on the Let It Be documentary film, in which Beatles' roadie Mal Evans hits an anvil with a hammer.

Recording

Sixteen takes of the rhythm track were recorded on July 9th, along with a series of overdubs on July 10th and 11th; take number 5 later resurfaced on Anthology 3 in 1996, showcasing the song without all the overdubs. A blacksmith's anvil was provided for Ringo to hit, which the band rented from a theatrical agency.

The song was completed by McCartney on August 6th after he recorded a solo on a moog synthesizer. John Lennon didn't play on the track as himself and Yoko were recovering from a car crash they had in Scotland. They did however attend the sessions.

Abbey Road, 1969. 

Abbey Road, 1969. 

Ringo Starr at Abbey Road Studios, 1969. 

Ringo Starr at Abbey Road Studios, 1969. 

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George Harrison during a Let It Be session, 1969. 

George Harrison during a Let It Be session, 1969. 

 "It's one of those instant whistle-along tunes which some people hate, and other people really like. It's a fun song, but it's kind of a drag because Maxwell keeps on destroying everyone like his girlfriend then the school teacher, and then, finally, the judge." -  George Harrison
Paul McCartney, George Harrison and George Martin at Abbey Road, 1969. 

Paul McCartney, George Harrison and George Martin at Abbey Road, 1969. 

 "...my analogy for when something goes wrong out of the blue, as it so often does, as I was beginning to find out at that time in my life. I wanted something symbolic of that, so to me it was some fictitious character called Maxwell with a silver hammer. I don't know why it was silver, it just sounded better than Maxwell's hammer. It was needed for scanning. We still use that expression now when something unexpected happens." - Paul McCartney
 "The worst session ever was 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer.' It was the worst track we ever had to record. It went on for fucking weeks. I thought it was mad." - Ringo Starr
 "That's Paul's. I hate it. 'Cuz all I remember is the track - he made us do it a hundred million times. He did everything to make it into a single and it never was and it never could've been, but he put guitar licks on it and he had somebody hitting iron pieces and we spent more money on that song than any of them in the whole album. I think." - John Lennon

 Personnel

  • Paul McCartney – lead and backing vocals, piano, electric guitars, Moog synthesizer
  • George Harrison – backing vocal, acoustic guitar, six-string bass
  • Ringo Starr – backing vocal, drums, anvil*
  • George Martin – organ

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