Written by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 2 July 1969
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Phil McDonald
Released: 26 September 1969 (UK), 1 October 1969 (US)
Paul McCartney: vocals, acoustic guitar
This 23-second throwaway song was originally intended to be part of the long medley that dominated the second half of Abbey Road.
It was written by Paul McCartney in Scotland, and was originally placed between Mean Mr Mustard and Polythene Pam in the medley. Instead it was the album’s postscript, with a stretch of silence separating it and The End.
Her Majesty is the shortest song in The Beatles’ repertoire, and was unlisted on original pressings of Abbey Road.
It was quite funny because it’s basically monarchist, with a mildly disrespectful tone, but it’s very tongue in cheek. It’s almost like a love song to the Queen.
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
Her Majesty was first performed at the Get Back/Let It Be sessions in January 1969. McCartney brought the song to the band in Twickenham on 9 January. It was played again on 24 January in the Apple studio, with McCartney joined by John Lennon on slide guitar.
In the studio
The song was recorded in three takes on 2 July, with McCartney singing live to his acoustic guitar accompaniment before the rest of the group began work on Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight. He recorded three takes, the first two of which were incomplete.
On 30 July, when it was decided which songs would end up in the long medley, McCartney decided that Her Majesty didn’t fit.
We did all the remixes and crossfades to overlap the songs, Paul was there, and we heard it together for the first time. He said, ‘I don’t like Her Majesty, throw it away,’ so I cut it out – but I accidentally left in the last note. He said, ‘It’s only a rough mix, it doesn’t matter…’ I said to Paul, ‘What shall I do with it?’ ‘Throw it away,’ he replied.
I’d been told never to throw anything away, so after he left I picked it up off the floor, put about 20 seconds of red leader tape before it and stuck it onto the end of the edit tape.
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn
The following day a lacquer version of the album was cut at Apple, and the song was again kept in. McCartney approved of the random accident, and so it remained on the final version.
That was very much how things happened. Really, you know, the whole of our career was like that so it’s a fitting end.
The crashing guitar chord that opens Her Majesty is actually the final chord from a rough mix of Mean Mr Mustard. The song cuts off without the final note, meanwhile, because it was intended to segue into Polythene Pam. It is actually possible to edit the three songs together to hear how they were originally sequenced.