10 Unbutchered Unknown Unknowns
1) John Paul and George had agreed on the new musical direction represented by Unbutchered and wanted to re-negotiate their contracts. They felt that the combination of Paul’s broadening musical palette, John’s increasingly personal lyrics and George’s improved musicianship meant they were producing a new kind of music, best heard on Rubber Soul, and wanted to produce coherent albums that reflected their new mature musical vision. They also felt that they could reproduce this in concert.
2) George had organised the Budokan concerts in 1966 as a showcase for Sony who they hoped would release Unbutchered in Japan. They were given the codename Sushi Boys so the name Beatles didn’t need to be used in discussions.
3) They refused to continue playing live after this, saying that track listings of new releases were sabotaged when they were on the road, so they wouldn’t risk that again. Brian Epstein was instructed to lead contractual discussions with all the major players and was given three white label copies of Unbutchered which he was only allowed to give to the heads of Sony, Capitol and EMI. It is not known if he passed these on as the relevant page is missing from his diaries.
4) Allen Klein won the right to represent THE BEATLES by saying he would get Unbutchered released. However although he increased their royalties, which was his usual tactic, he never bothered to negotiate its release. This was why Paul always opposed Klein’s involvement with the Beatles.
5) Apple was only started because Klein had failed to win the Beatles greater musical freedom, and they felt the only way to achieve that was to run their own company.
6) The Beatles was always planned as a double album, but originally it was to be an album of originals with Unbutchered being given away free with the first 2 million copies. This was why the early copies were numbered, so they could track the freebies.
7) Revolution was written as a protest at how the music companies messed up The Beatles albums and first attempts at it began as soon as Tomorrow Never Knows was finished. TNK was also a veiled threat: “turn off your mind” meant stop recording, “relax” meant go on holiday, and “float downstream” meant quit Capitol. Fortunately for them and us, Revolver was released Uncut.
8) EMI decided to allow the Beatles to have as much time in the studio as they wanted, whilst negotiations were going on, in order to avoid any further problems and hence Sgt Peppers is in the form it is.
9) Revolution Number 9 was produced by John, and Carnival of Light by Paul, to show what they could give record companies to meet contract requirements. They were planning to give Capitol these two tracks as a single album called Revolutionary Carnival instead of Sgt Pepper. However they realised that Capitol would release it anyway and it could sabotage future releases in the US. They had originally planned the freebie second album of Unbutchered in case they needed to apologise to fans.
10) The launch of Apple and the number of songs available for The Beatles meant that the Beatles dropped their plans for Unbutchered, as they dropped much else, and put their efforts into promoting Apple and the artists they were producing. As The Beatles had been planned as a double they decided to go ahead with it to show how different Apple was to Capitol.