George Harrison once opened up about his least favourite song by the band, and recalled the hellish time spent in the studio recording it.
Speaking of The Beatles’ 1969 track Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, which featured on the band’s eleventh studio album Abbey Road, George Harrison described the song as “fruity,” and recalled bandmate Paul McCartney’s weeks-long insistence that The Beatles perfected its composition: “Sometimes Paul would make us do these really fruity songs,” Harrison said.
“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…” It was a sentiment shared by Beatles drummer, Ringo Starr, who revealed in a 2008 Rolling Stone interview that recording the song was the “worst session ever.” Starr continued: “It was the worst track we ever had to record. It went on for fucking weeks. I thought it was mad.”
John Lennon likewise criticised Maxwell’s Silver Hammer — and McCartney’s perfectionism in producing it — in a separate interview, claiming that he “hated it” and that “[McCartney] did everything to make it into a single, and it never was, and it never could’ve been.” Despite the frustrations of his bandmates, McCartney himself was chuffed with the song, saying it received “the best radio play I had ever heard in my life, and [had] the best production.”
Maxwell’s Silver Hammer is about a hammer-wielding murderer named Maxwell Edison, disguised by an uptempo beat. McCartney pushed for the song to be released as a single for Abbey Road, although it later just formed part of the album’s broader tracklist. McCartney described the song as “my analogy for when something goes wrong out of the blue, as it so often does.” Earlier this month, The Beatles secured their thirteenth number one album, achieving the feat for Abbey Road.