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Beatles Reunited: Smile Away (1972)

January 28th, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Beatles - Smile Away

What if The Beatles hadn’t broken up in 1970? In Any Major Alternative Universe the Fab Four stayed together, releasing solo records as they pleased but also keeping on producing Beatles albums.

We’ve already had the double-album follow-up to Let It Be, titled Everest, from 1971, and a live album from 1972. This new effort is also from 1972, including a few hold-overs from Harrison’s and Lennon’s fertile period in 1971. In 1972 Lennon was busy producing his weak Some Time In New York solo album with Yoko anyway, so that was just as well.

Ringo was on a roll and had two songs of his own composition included on the album (both in real life featuring George Harrison, who also played on John”™s Gimme Some Truth). Back Off Boogaloo, written by Ringo, was so good that Paul couldn’t object to its inclusion, even though the song addresses him.

In his commendable alternative-history novel The Life And Death of Mal Evans, Peter Lee produced his own idea of post-1970 Beatles albums. I followed his lead in calling the 1971 effort Everest. His follow-up album was set in 1974, as will be my next collection.

Arriving at a title for this putative 1972 LP was a bit of a challenge. What would The Beatles call an album in 1972? What was the vibe? I went for an easy option, and decided to riff on one of the song titles on this collection. But which one? I was torn between some theme relating to Gimme Some Truth, or maybe It Don’t Come Easy. But I think Smile Away is enigmatic and sounds like it fits to 1972. So that’s the one.

This is a single album, so it’ll easily fit on a CD-R. Covers included; PW in comments.

Side 1
Power To The People (John)
It Don’t Come Easy (Ringo)
Hi Hi Hi (Paul)
Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll) (George)
Another Day (Paul)
Imagine (John)

Side 2
If Not For You (George)
Smile Away (Paul)
Gimme Some Truth (John)
Back Off Bugaloo (Ringo)
Behind That Locked Door (George)
Wild Life (Paul)


The Death & Life of Mal Evans by Peter Lee is available in print or eBook from avonypublishing.com or from Amazon or Kobo. Also check out Peter’s blog of the book.

Previous Beatles Reunited albums:
Everest (1971)
Live ’72 (1972)
Smile Away (1972)
Photographs (1974)
77 (1977)
Let It See (1980)

More great Beatles stuff:
Beatles Recovered: A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles Recovered: Beatles For Sale
Beatles Recovered: Help!
Beatles Recovered: Rubber Soul
Beatles Recovered: Revolver
Beatles Recovered: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club  Band
Beatles Revovered: Magical Mystery Tour
Beatles Recovered: White Album
Beatles Recovered: Yellow Submarine
Wordless: Any Major Beatles Instrumentals
Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1
Covered With Soul Vol. 15 – Beatles Edition 2

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1967-68
Any Major Beatles Covers: 1968-70
Any Bizarre Beatles
Beatles Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 1
Beatles Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 2

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  1. halfhearteddude
    January 28th, 2016 at 07:02 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Dermot
    January 28th, 2016 at 15:57 | #2


    I thought I’d write to let you know that i really enjoy your blog. Long may it continue.

    All the best from East London


  3. m
    January 28th, 2016 at 17:02 | #3

    Fun project, but if you’re doing 1972, why are using music from 1970, which most of this is.

    And how could you put on the lame “Wildlife” and omit “Tomorrow” and “Some People Say”, by far the strongest tracks from “Wildlife”.

    And “Smile Away”, they’d never call an album that. They wouldn’t even bother with “Power To The People” much less open an album with it. In fact none of those songs, other than “Imagine” are good openers. “It Don’t Come Easy” that’s a good side opener, ok, I amend that.

    And because YOU don’t like “Sometime In NYC”, you don’t include any? “John Sinclair”, “Luck of the Irish” (even with Yoko’s horrible verses), “Attica State”…..those are great songs. They’re better on their live versions in Ann Arbor, but the problem with “Sometime In NYC” has just as much to do with the recording and the performances as it was to do with the sometimes sub-par material (and sides 3 and 4 of Yoko squealing).

    And including “If Not For You”?????? What????? No way.

    Love your blog, enjoy this exercise but this would most definitely NOT be the Beatles album of 1972, sorry. Maybe you shouldn’t take the lead from that book you’re reading.

  4. halfhearteddude
    January 29th, 2016 at 07:36 | #4

    Most of the music is not from 1970. The three tracks by Harrison are, because he released no studio album between 1970 and ’73. Most of the tracks are from 1971 (1972 was not a hugely fruitful Beatles solo year). Considering that I already did a double Beatles LP for 1971, it stands to reason that there’d have been carry-over material. Would you question John for releasing Jealous Guy in 1971 when he had written it in 1968 for the White Album?

    I reckon the others would have vetoed any of the Some Time in New York album. Too political and provocative on too specific issues. I am pretty sure they’d have told John to put that stuff out under his own name.

    One can argue at length about the song choices and sequencing. Why wouldn’t they open with Power To The People? It’s 1972 and would give people a jolt straight up. My alternative actually was It Don’t Come Easy, but no album ever started with a Ringo track. In my Beatles fantasy, John opening with a political song was the trade-off for Paul having one more song on this set.

    I think Wild Life sounds more like a Beatles sing than those you mention. And maybe Paul would have insisted having an animal rights song included if John was going to be all political.

    Why do you think there’s no way they’d have named the album after one of the songs? And why not “Smile Away”, a title that can be read in so many different ways? What do you suggest they’d have called the 1972 album?

    By the way, Peter Lee in his book uses pretty strict rules for his tracklistings, a lot stricter than mine. Maybe take a look at his method before condescending to it?

  5. russ
    January 30th, 2016 at 16:33 | #5

    These alternative histories are always fun. Something tells me Paul would object to: A Dylan cover, 4 George songs, and two Ringo vocals. If Not For You would certainly get yanked (Paul would never let the Beatles get something out AFTER Olivia Newton-John), and probably Back Off Boogaloo – I could see Paul pushing for that to be a non-LP single.

    I’d assume Too Many People and Cold Turkey would be the replacement tracks. There’s simply no way Paul lets a Beatles album get released with only 4 of his songs. I realize you had Too Many People on Everest, but I doubt anybody in the band would want a Beatles double album released if they’re all simultaneously issuing solo albums.

  6. James
    January 31st, 2016 at 01:51 | #6

    Hold on a moment, those suggesting a 1972 releases contains tracks from 1970. Where, in your appraisal of songs, does ‘Strawberry Fields’ fit? 1967? The Summer of Love? Recorded Nov/Dec 1966.

    Given the amount of songs they were churning out at the time, why not 1970 songs on a 1972 release? After all, a 1962(?) song ended up on a 1970 release by the actual band (One after 909).

    A 1957(?) song ended up on ‘Sergeant Pepper’ (‘When I’m 64’)

  7. James
    January 31st, 2016 at 02:06 | #7

    ‘My alternative actually was It Don’t Come Easy, but no album ever started with a Ringo track.’

    So by 1972, ever the opportunists to buck a trend, they bucked the trend. Although, in my universe, ‘It don’t come easy’ and ‘Back off Boogaloo’ are both George Harrison songs gifted to Ringo. ‘It don’t come easy’ is particularly transparent as a George song, as its demo features ‘Hare Krishna’ call & response backing vocals. Maybe, in a 1972 alternate universe, it might have been credited as a Harrison-Starkey co-write. (Which takes us back to the ‘Let it be’ film, where George is lending a hand in working up ‘Octopuss’s Garden’ in the film, despite an eventual ‘Richard Starkey’ credit.

    Latterly, McCartney has said that that the guitar riff, courtesy of George, in ‘And I love her’ IS the song. No credit, however, for Hari. Incidentally, on this song, in ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, the Fabs pretty much invent ‘Unplugged’.

  8. R Stone
    January 31st, 2016 at 19:55 | #8

    Triumph of Cynicism (An imaginary review of an imaginary album)

    The Lennon/McCartney decision to keep the cash machine alive has reached new depths of marketing malaise. Never more obvious than this latest recording The Beatles really should have dis-banded after the triumph of George Martins salvaging of the ‘Abbey Road’ sessions (1969-70). Only George Harrison has made peace with his role as the spiritual center of the group. The discord among the others has never been more apparent. Between the harping of Lennon’s political/artistic bent and Ringo’s emergence as a solo act stuck in a band of (un)happy merry men. All the players should really allow Paul to spread his wings and write the simplistic inane love songs he so clearly wants and needs to without the weight of continuing.

  9. m
    February 9th, 2016 at 22:41 | #9

    You must not be a musician, “Wildlife” sounds nothing like a Beatles song, it’s a lazy 3-chord composition that any amateur could toss off, and the lyrics suck, even if his heart is in the right place. Never in a million years would the Beatles do “Wildlife”, I don’t know what planet you’re living on. And “Tomorrow” is classic McCartney melodicism, and sorry kid, but it’s very Beatley. Go listen to it again. Way more Beatley than the pillar of medicority, “Wildlife”!

    Just because it’s your taste that you discount “Sometime in NYC” doesn’t mean John would have in 1972, nice try though. It’s not a great album….but “Mind Games” is even worse!

    “Power To The People”, a song that even John was embarrassed by, would never ever have been a Beatle song, and definitely not opening a Beatles album. Funny how you include “Power To The People”, one of Lennon’s limpest political songs….but you go to great lengths to NOT include the “Sometime in NYC” tracks.

    Simply put: nice effort, but never in ten thousand years would this have been the Beatles album of 1972.

    And to answer this: “By the way, Peter Lee in his book uses pretty strict rules for his tracklistings, a lot stricter than mine. Maybe take a look at his method before condescending to it?”

    If Peter Lee is using “strict rules” therein lies the problem. the Beatles didn’t have “strict rules”, and they would have continued to evolve in the 70s. And I can surely condescend to it if this sequence of songs is what his book inspired. Sorry, don’t need yet another useless Beatles book in my library, especially when – at this point – I could write my own, certainly imagining fake Beatle albums.

    People should try listening to the music, rather than reading about it, I find half of the opinions adopted by so-called music lovers are just regurgitated from bad rock writers (of which there are way more than good ones).

    PS: And I repeat: “If Not For You”?! That’s wrong on so many levels, I shouldn’t have to point it out.

  10. m
    February 9th, 2016 at 23:08 | #10

    PS: ….and where’s “Give Ireland Back To The Irish”? Both John AND Paul came out with Ireland songs that year…I think at least one of them would have made the album, don’t you?

    I guess that went against Peter Lee’s “strict rules”…..

  11. m
    February 10th, 2016 at 01:12 | #11

    Lastly…why wouldn’t they open up an album with “Power To The People”? Because it’s NOT a jolt. What do you think the jolt is, that there’s a bunch of people singing and stomping? It’s unbelievably corny. Then when the band comes in, it’s a moderate tempo, not exactly a “potboiler”, it’s got absolutely horrible lyrics at the head “Power to the people, right on…” um, yeah, sure….that’s going to open a Beatles album….or even APPEAR on a Beatles album.

    Just so you know – when the Beatles broke up, according to George (Howard Smith interview, May 1970), the agreement for all future Beatle album was 4 for John, 4 for Paul, 4 for George and 2 for Ringo (“because even Ringo is writing songs now!”)…the thought of these guys including a cover (and a Dylan cover!) is a big stretch, when they’re all fighting to get their compositions on as it was.

    Did you include “Deep Blue” on any of these? I guarantee you John and Paul would have preferred working on “Deep Blue” than “If Not For You”! Or “My Sweet Lord”, for that matter.

  12. halfhearteddude
    February 11th, 2016 at 10:03 | #12

    You’re being needlessly aggro here, M. So I’m not really interested in responding to your points.

    But I’ll reiterate to you that I did not base these mixes, except the first “live” one, on Peter Lee’s lists. Funny though that you dismiss Peter’s “strict rules”:, and then apply your own strict rules about what may or may not appear on these sets, even as you say that the Beatles had no “strict rules”.

  13. jeffrey gorow
    February 16th, 2016 at 10:10 | #13

    I think that a better choice for a harrison cut than his dylan cover “its not for you”, would have been his mega-hit “what is life” which captures that early 70s vibe

  14. halfhearteddude
    February 17th, 2016 at 06:34 | #14

    I love What Is Life. But it already featured on the first album: http://www.halfhearteddude.com/2015/10/beatles-everest/

  15. Walter Endres
    December 11th, 2016 at 12:35 | #15

    Hi Amd,
    After Jim Morrison died, the Doors recorded two more (not very successful) albums as a Trio. Had the Beatles been together in 1980, maybe the would have recored some more trio albums. How about continuing your series of alternative post-1970 Beatles albums with a post-1980 album by Paul, George and Ringo?
    All the Best

  16. Luis Cohaíla Guzmán
    January 18th, 2019 at 01:56 | #16

    please… re-up

  17. halfhearteddude
    January 18th, 2019 at 20:38 | #17


  18. ecnokaoi
    March 18th, 2023 at 06:57 | #18

    404 error on rapid gator
    Please reup

  19. amdwhah
    March 25th, 2023 at 14:21 | #19

    It’s up again.

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