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Over the course of their time in The Beatles, Paul McCartney’s bandmates grew increasingly frustrated with him. To them, McCartney’s perfectionism and insistence on controlling many aspects of the recording process was highly annoying. McCartney himself admitted that he could be a bit bossy to his bandmates. Still, he claimed that he tried to take a step back on Abbey Road but his bandmates didn’t want him to.

Paul McCartney said his bandmates wanted him to exert control over ‘Abbey Road’

Though it was not the last album the band released, the final time The Beatles got into the studio together was to record Abbey Road. The band fought bitterly while recording the White Album and Let It Be. As a result, McCartney vowed to be less overbearing with his bandmates on the latest album.

“Again the feeling that I mustn’t be dominating was plaguing me,” McCartney said in The Beatles Anthology. “I was trying to get a record made of my song the way I wanted it, but I didn’t want to offend anyone, and it was getting very difficult. I remember backing off like mad and saying, ‘OK.’”

The cover of 'Abbey Road,' with The Beatles crossing the street, is on a wall in a gallery.
The Beatles | Krafft Angerer/Getty Images

According to McCartney, he asked his bandmates to guide him. They responded by telling him that they wanted him to lead them.

“At some point I said, ‘Look, would you guys tell me what to do?’ Then they all went very quiet; we had a day of that, and I remember Ringo coming up and saying, ‘No, go on. You tell us. Come on — produce us!’” McCartney said. “I was being asked to dominate — and yet I was starting to feel this was something I really mustn’t do. It made working conditions pretty difficult and in the end it was getting to be less fun than it was worth.”

Paul McCartney said he and his bandmates got along well as they recorded

Though McCartney felt uncomfortable in his role during the recording of Abbey Road, he said all the Beatles generally got along better than usual. 

“We were holding it together,” McCartney said. “The music was OK and we were friends enough that, even though this undercurrent was going on, we still had a strong respect for each other even at the very worst points. It was getting fairly dodgy — but those weren’t the worst times, funnily enough. We put together quite a nice album, and the only arguments were about things like me spending too long on a track: I spent three days on ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.’”


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According to longtime Beatles producer George Martin, the band was happier while recording Abbey Road because they knew it would be their last album.

“It was a very happy record,” he said. “I guess it was happy because everybody thought it was going to be the last.”

He later described himself as bossy

While McCartney said his bandmates wanted him to lead them, he acknowledged that his behavior had frustrated them. 

“That’s the difficulty of a group. You are not the director bossing around a dance company where they naturally expect you to boss them around,” he explained in the book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now by Barry Miles. “You’re just a guy in a very democratic unit; which a group, at best, is. We were all equal in voting, our status within the group was equal. We were joking when we made the Anthology: I was saying, ‘I realize I was a bossy git.’”

While McCartney recognized this, he also thought it was daring of him to try to guide the band.

“George said, ‘Oh no, Paul, you never did anything like that!’ With a touch of irony in his voice, because obviously I did,” McCartney said. “But it was essential for me and looking back on it, I think, Okay. Well, it was bossy, but it was also ballsy of me, because I could have bowed to the pressure.”