Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (Lennon/McCartney)

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Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (Lennon/McCartney)

Maxwell’s Silver Hammer is a song about karma originally presented by Paul for inclusion on The Beatles but was rejected by the others on the basis that it was too complicated. It was resurrected for Abbey Road and work on the track was slated to begin upon John’s return from recovery following an automobile accident, but he hated the song and refused to participate, dismissing it as “more of Paul’s granny music”. He left the sessions and didn’t return until two weeks later for Come Together.

Quotes

“Just when everything is going smoothly, ‘bang bang’ down comes Maxwell’s Silver Hammer and ruins everything.” – Paul

“We were setting up the microphones for the session and this huge double-bed arrived. An ambulance brought Yoko in and she was lowered down onto the bed. We set up a microphone over her in case she wanted to participate and then we all carried on as before! We were saying, ‘Now we’ve seen it all, folks!'” – engineer Martin Benge

“I popped into one of the later sessions in No. 3 and there was Yoko in this blooming double bed. I couldn’t believe it! John was sitting at an organ, playing, and I went up to him and said, ‘What the bloody hell is all this?’ and he was very touchy about it, so I kept quiet and walked out.” – engineer Ron Richards

“I was ill after the accident when they did most of that track, and it really ground George and Ringo into the ground recording it…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

“Sometimes Paul would make us do these really fruity songs. I mean, my God, ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ was so fruity. After a while we did a good job on it, but when Paul got an idea or an arrangement in his head…” – George Harrison

“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

“The only arguments were about things like me spending three days on ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.’ I remember George saying, ‘You’ve taken three days, it’s only a song.’ Yeah, but I want to get it right. I’ve got some thoughts on this one.” – Paul McCartney

“We had to play it over and over again until Paul liked it. It was a real drag.” – George Harrison

“It was granny music. But we needed stuff like that on our album so other people would listen to it.” – Ringo Starr

Personnel

  • Paul McCartney – lead and backing vocals, piano, electric guitars, Moog synthesizer
  • George Harrison – backing vocal, acoustic and lead guitar, 6-string bass
  • Ringo Starr – backing vocal, drums, anvil
  • George Martin – organ
  • Mal Evans – anvil

Release history