The Beatles were all but done as a group by the last week of March 1970, but you couldn’t tell it from listening to the radio.
There, bunched together at the top of the charts 40 years ago this week, were these three hit singles:
— A song by the Beatles.
— A song by a solo Beatle.
— A song written and recorded first by a solo Beatle.
It was, perhaps, Beatlemania’s last stand.
It was about this time that I signed a petition begging the Beatles to stay together. It was something orchestrated by WOKY, the big AM Top 40 station out of Milwaukee. They wanted listeners to circulate petitions. If memory serves, the top prize was a complete set of Beatles LPs.
At our school, a seventh-grade girl named Robin took up the challenge. I signed her petition during lunch in the gym. Robin must have done a pretty good job. She got some kind of mention on the radio. Whether she got any Beatles LPs, I can’t recall.
We didn’t keep the Beatles together, of course, but no one was letting go of them. Not with these songs at No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 in WOKY’s chart that week:
— “Let It Be” by the Beatles.
— “Instant Karma” by John Lennon.
— And the one written by Paul McCartney and released on the Beatles’ Apple label …
“Come And Get It,” Badfinger, from “Magic Christian Music,” 1970.
This was one of my favorite 45s. I liked this tune, but I liked the flip side even more. “Rock Of All Ages” is a wild piano- and guitar-driven rave-up that’s been posted here twice before.
McCartney did a solo demo of “Come And Get It” during the “Abbey Road” sessions in July 1969. It wasn’t officially released until 1996.
As for those other hit singles by the Beatles and by John Lennon … enjoy a couple of cool covers.
“Let It Be,” Ike and Tina Turner, from “Workin’ Together,” 1971. It’s out of print but is available digitally. Tina makes this one all her own.
“Let It Be,” the Mar-Keys, from “Memphis Experience,” 1971. It’s out of print. From the house band at Stax Records in Memphis, this is a sweet, laid-back instrumental with a warm sax lead. (This is a CD rip from “Mojo Beatlemania, Volume 2,” included with Mojo magazine in September 2004.)