*The Lost Album of the Beatles*

The author is Daniel Rachel, and the subtitle is What if The Beatles Hadn’t Split Up?  This is perfectly fine as a music book (for Beatle fans, it won’t convince the unconverted), but I couldn’t stop thinking of the Lucas critique.

For the author, the Beatles “final last album” is a double album of the best cuts from Beatle early solo careers, and that is an impressive assemblage indeed.  McCartney’s “Back Seat of My Car,” for instance, was written in 1968, or at least started in that year, so surely it would have ended up on the last album.  Or would it have?  It didn’t end up on Let It Be or Abbey Road, so who knows?  As long as the end of The Beatles was in sight, perhaps each Beatle would have hoarded his best potential solo material.  Or maybe the other Beatles would have vetoed some of those songs, just as Paul in 1968 had decided that George’s “Isn’t a Pity?” wasn’t suitable as a Beatles song.  Or maybe John and Paul would have had to give more songs to George and Ringo, to keep the group together, but arguably to the detriment of the final album.  Most of the songs on All Things Must Pass are very good, but best suited to their own little walled garden.

In contrast, this economist believes that an additional album would have fallen somewhere between Let It Be and The White Album, with an overall sound somewhat akin to “Free as a Bird,” or perhaps also Ringo’s “I’m the Greatest,” penned by John and cut with George as well.  Good stuff, but I’m still glad they split.  Get that Q up, especially given that market power was present!

And don’t assume that Beatle behavior remains invariant across different policy regimes.  Lucas truly was a universal economist.


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