Monday, April 27, 2020

A 'What if' Album: Apple Scruffs • The Beatles

By Doug McIntosh & Paul Hobbs
(two fans and a fanciful rewrite of 1970)

A 'What if' Album Series:
Apple Scruffs • The Beatles 1970 | All In • CSNY 1970

The Apple Scruffs were a loosely-knit group of hardcore Beatles fans who were known for congregating outside the Apple Corps building and at the gates of Abbey Road Studios in London during the waning days of Beatlemania, in the hope of seeing or interacting with one of the band members. The name was first coined by George Harrison, who also recorded the song "Apple Scruffs" as a tribute to them for his 1970 triple album All Things Must PassWikipedia 

I actually co-opted the idea for this What If blog series from my good friend Paul Hobbs. In high school, Paul started a fun tradition of putting together imaginary new Beatle albums after their breakup in April of 1970. Paul's process would be to create a cassette tape mix from the solo albums of the post-fab-four from that year or thereabouts. I would often go over to Paul's house and we would sit in his bedroom and listen to albums on his portable record player. Sometime in 1970, Paul invited me over and shared his new Beatle album mix tape with me and together we escaped into a Beatles-forever alternate universe.

Recently in our 2020 #stayathome phone conversations, we decided to go back fifty years and put our heads together to create what that followup album might have been from our perspective today. Without too much rancor (just kidding), we both came together with a side one of seven songs, and a side two of six songs for our 42 minute mythical vinyl album. 

First we needed some basic rules to follow.

A 'What If' Album - 1970 Fantasy-Band-Land Rules
  • Our album had to be a 12" vinyl LP (Long Playing) analog record with 23 minutes maximum play time per side. So back in the day, a typical album had 12 songs or 6 songs per side.
  • Songs picked for this 'What If' album would be from John, Paul, George, and Ringo's solo recordings, no later than 1970. 
  • Think of these solo album songs as 'demo tracks' recorded without all four Beatles participating to make a final definitive Beatle track.
    1969-1970 Beatle Discography
    Abbey Road was released September, 1969 and even though Let It Be was recorded earlier in January of 1969, it was released in May of 1970.

    1970 Solo Albums -
    Paul McCartney                         George Harrison                      John Lennon                              Ringo Starr - Single
    McCartney                                 All Things Must Pass               Lennon/Plastic Ono Band         It Don't Come Easy 
    April 17, 1970                           November 27, 1970                 December 11, 1970                   Recorded March & Oct. 1970

    Here's a fun B Side song found on Ringo's It Don't Come Easy single, called Early 1970. (YouTube video link)














    and now for a little fantasy.... Starting with our made up press release

    Hey ‘Scruffs’ Cheer Up Good News For Beatles Fans
    Actual 1970 Circus Magazine Cover
    Dan Lingman • August 14, 1970 • Circus Magazine

    In the aftermath of courtroom battles and breakup rumors, the Beatles have resurfaced at Abbey Road Studios where they’re putting the finishing touches on Apple Scruffs a new collection of Beatle songs tentatively slated for a fall release.

    “Apple Scruffs” comes from George’s affectionate term for the fans who gather outside the Apple offices day after day, hoping for some sort of connection with their heroes,” explains Neil Aspinall, head of Apple Corps. “With all the turmoil caused by the rumors of the Beatles imminent demise the fans have been very much on the Beatles’ minds. They seem genuinely reinvigorated and refocused. I was able to pop in on a session earlier in the week and the energy in the room was extraordinary! Everyone seems very excited.”

    With the prospect of a new Beatles album when it seemed like all was lost? That’s cause for excitement, not to mention a Beatles Christmas for all of us.

    and.... A 'What If' Album Fictional Narrative

    Apple Scruffs • Release Date: October 9, 1970
    It is spring 1970, Let It Be is topping the charts and the lads after a few rough patches on a winding road have gotten back to full-form with the critically acclaimed, Abbey Road. George continues to press John and Paul in getting more of his songs on Beatle albums as he now has a war chest of songs ready to go. In a recent interview George was asked about being a songwriter and he said, "the only reason I started to write songs was because I thought, well, if they can write them, I can write them."

    Ringo is now a movie star with the release of The Magic Christian and thinks his song, It Don't Come Easy will be a single at some point.

    A 'What If' Album Cover


    The band has all agreed that the Phil Spector experiment of producing Let It Be is behind them as he has returned to America, and his gun collection. George Martin is back to steer the magical ship as Producer and 5th Beatle, full speed ahead Mr. Parker, full speed ahead.

    Also, in a stunning reversal, The Beatles have fired manager, Allen Klein and he has been replaced by The Bee Gees, Cream, and Eric Clapton's manager, Robert Stigwood.

    John and Paul are becoming more open to the new dynamics in the band as they begin a new decade together. The Lennon/McCartney team continues to balance their collaborative and solo songwriting craft as both seek greater autonomy in their professional and personal lives. John likes to call himself, "a happily married fellow" these days, and Paul has traded in his London highlife for a sheep farm in Scotland. Can these two find peace and happiness at home? Enough so, that keeps them both coming back to work together, and with George and Ringo? Time will tell, but for now they have a miraculous follow up and journey past Abbey Road's The End.

    A "What If" Back Album Cover




    Ladies and Gentlemen
    The Beatles • Apple Scruffs (1970)



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    References

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