In 1969 The Beatles were hard at work on writing and recording one of their most recognisable albums of all time: Abbey Road. But Paul McCartney had extra creativity flowing through his veins, so he would sneak into the legendary studio before the rest of the Fab Four arrived to lay down some more music. Eventually, he wrote himself a certified hit – but wouldn’t keep it.
McCartney recalled in The Beatles Anthology that he penned Come and Get It in 1969, and recorded a “fairly decent demo”.
He went on: “Because I lived locally, I could get in half an hour before a Beatles session at Abbey Road – knowing it would be empty and all the stuff would be set up – and I’d use Ringo’s equipment to put a drum track down, put some piano down, quickly put some bass down, do the vocal, and double-track it.”
Working without his songwriting partner, John Lennon, McCartney recorded the entire demo himself, alone, on July 24, 1969, in Abbey Road Studios.
It seems as if he simply wanted to write and record a new song for fun, but once the track was finished, he knew he had to give it to one special band.
At the time, The Beatles’ music company, Apple, were managing a few other bands. One of these acts was Badfinger.
The Welsh rock band were originally formed in Swansea and had a collection of major hits over two decades – including McCartney’s secret project.
However, when McCartney decided to give Badfinger his song, he had some stipulations for the track.
He told them: “Okay, it’s got to be exactly like this demo.”
McCartney said the song’s demo “had a great feeling on it,” and he wanted to retain that when professionally recording it.
The rockers were keen to put their own spin and flair on the track, though, and tried to change things up. But, as McCartney was producing the song, he had to refuse.
Looking back, he said: “They actually wanted to put their own variations on, but I said: ‘No, this really is the right way.’”
Eventually, the Hey Jude singer recalled, they “listened to him”.
“I was producing, after all,” McCartney said. “And they were good. The song was a hit in 1970.”
Badfinger’s Come and Get It went straight to number one in New Zealand’s singles charts, and claimed a quick fourth-place spot in the UK and Canada.
The track also had a Hollywood debut just months later.
Come and Get it was part of the soundtrack of the 1969 movie The Magic Christian, which starred Peter Sellers and The Beatles’ very own drummer, Ringo Starr.
It has since become one of the best-known lost Beatles songs of all time.
Author Ian MacDonald described the song as “by far the best unreleased Beatles recording” in his book, Revolution in the Head.