Jeff Lynne Recalls Visiting the Beatles at Abbey Road

ELO leader Jeff Lynne recalled spending half an hour in Abbey Road Studios in London watching the Beatles work on their White Album in 1968, long before he got the opportunity to work with Paul McCartneyGeorge Harrison and Ringo Starr.

Lynne – who’d been a fan of the Fab Four since “Please Please Me” – was a member of the Idle Race at the time, and they were at work on their self-titled LP in the same city. “A friend of our engineer phoned the studio to say he was working on a Beatles session at Abbey Road,” Lynne told Classic Rock in a recent interview. “He told us we could go down there to have a look if we wanted.

“Maybe it was only me who went in the end, but I saw Paul and Ringo in Studio 3, doing a piano and vocal. Then I got invited into Studio 2, where John [Lennon] and George were in the control room. Down below, in the actual studio, George Martin was hurling himself around this pedestal, conducting the string section for ‘Glass Onion.’”

He said he was “blown away” by the work in progress. “Nobody had heard it yet, but there I was in Abbey Road, actually listening to it being made,” Lynne noted. “I stayed for maybe half an hour, then I thought it would be polite to leave, because you feel a bit of a dick in that company. So I went back to where the Idle Race were recording and, of course, it didn’t sound quite so good.”

Lynne went on to produce Harrison’s 1987 solo album Cloud Nine, which led to the creation of the Traveling Wilburys. Then in 1995 Lynne co-produced “new” Beatles tracks “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love” for the band’s Anthology project.

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