They are a kind of Holy Grail for the most voracious music lovers. They call them lost discs but they are usually located, although out of our reach, in highly protected files. It may be work that was left incomplete, due to force majeure or a breach of the original impulse. We can also be facing almost finished works, parked by the doubts of the record company or the artist himself. In the case of collaborations between two figures, a late row about credits or money easily leads to the burial of what began as a show of good vibes.
And then there are the counterfactual discs. Those who depend on “what would have happened if …?” Free field for fantasy: what would the meeting of Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix in a studio have sounded like ?; Where would Kurt Cobain go after discovering Leadbelly’s bottomless pit? Much speculation revolves around what would have been the 13th LP of the Beatles, commonly baptized as Hot As Sun. The title has historical resonance: it is an instrumental composed by Paul McCartney in 1959, recreated with improvised lyrics during the making of Let it be and finally recorded in Juan Palomo plan for McCartney (1970).
Respond to a journal occurrence Rolling Stone. In September 1970, he published a short story titled The Beatles album no one will hear. A fiction that could be taken for confidential information, since its authors belonged to the music industry. The theft of the master of the LP that was supposed to be called Hot As Sun. A ransom was demanded in exchange for the return of the tape; the exchange would take place in Algeria, then a den of all kinds of organizations with revolutionary pretensions. The Beatles, with the bad conscience of being millionaires on the wave of the counterculture, agreed to pay. After the exchange was made, the envoy returned to London. To general fear, it was discovered that the tape no longer contained music. They ended up deducing that the extortionists had complied with the deal, but, at the Algiers airport, X-rays had just been installed to inspect the luggage: poorly calibrated, the machine had erased everything recorded on the coil.
The story had an obvious flaw: the master of an album can be reconstructed from the final mixes of each song, which are stored in the recording studio. And that’s what a lot of Beatles fans have done, just working with discards of Let It Be and Abbey Road or even with songs released on early solo releases by McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and John Lennon (under his name or as the Plastic Ono Band). Songs that already existed in the final months of the Beatles and that, in some cases, they even played in the studio.
It would be a great album, without a doubt. Imagine a collection that includes Instant Karma, Maybe I’m Amazed, It Don’t Comes Easy, It Isn’t a Pity, Working Class Hero, All Things Must Pass, Jealous Guy, Every Night And of course, Hot As Sun, all processed by the efficient vocal / instrumental machinery of the Beatles, tuned by producer George Martin.
In these efforts, there beats a narcissistic desire to rewrite history. Today we know that the internal climate of the Beatles rapidly degenerated in 1969: rancor erupted hitherto repressed. George Harrison had had enough of the endless condescension on the part of the dominant duo. Ringo Starr felt humiliated by all the rooster and, in fact, he was the first to slam the door (he would return to the fold later). Above all, the couple leading the project broke up. With his usual bluntness, Lennon posed his wish to McCartney: “I want a divorce.”
You know the rest. To keep the ship on its way, Paul took the helm… and the other three disliked him. The captain, John Lennon, had entered a period of apathy and hard drugs. McCartney’s solution was to recover energy with surprise concerts, an enthusiasm not shared. The final shock came from the need to have a manager to replace the late Brian Epstein, something urgent given the jets of money they were losing with Apple Corps. Paul proposed to Lee Eastman, a veteran of the show business and father of his wife Linda. His colleagues could not accept that the bargaining power also shifted to McCartney’s corner; they preferred Allen Klein, a tough old school shark. Paul would reply by making the divorce public.
Searching, you can still find physical editions of Hot As Sun, obviously pirates, illustrated with images taken from the last photo shoot, developed in August 1969, with hirsute Beatles posing in John Lennon’s mansion, Tittenhurst Park. Our contribution to the legend consists of a cover imagined by the great Javier Aramburu.
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The last sprint of the Beatles | Summer Magazine