Maxwell's Silver Hammer
- Paul McCartney – lead and backing vocals, overdubbed guitar, piano, Moog synthesizer
- George Harrison – backing vocals, guitar, bass
- Ringo Starr – drums, backing vocals, anvil
- George Martin – organ
Maxwell's Silver Hammer was written by Paul McCartney and he sings the lead vocals. This song was released on the Abbey Road album. It is still within the "psychedelic rock" medium, as it is a lively, cheerful song about a medical student (Maxwell Edison) who murders his girlfriend, his teacher and the judge at his trial. The murder weapon is his silver hammer. The coda makes an almost verbatim reference to Mason William's Long Time Blues (1968). It seems to be stuck on at the back, after the song had really ended. This led to speculation that the coda was either an homage to Williams or a jab at him. In the film of Let It Be, Paul tries to teach this song to the others, but they react with indifference. These sessions were in January of 1969. The group (minus Lennon) met on July 9, 1969 to make 16 more takes of the rhythm track and some overdubs. (Take 5 from this session appears on Anthology 3). Anvil, guitar, organ, piano and vocals were all added during the next couple of days, and on August 6, McCartney capped off the recording with an overdub of a Moog synthesizer. Ringo plays the anvil in the studio version. In the filmed version, Mal Evans is seen playing it.
In later interviews Paul explained that the premise of this song is how unexpected failings come along in life, and one defeat then leads to another. It was about "fate" in the sense used in Greek drama. At the time he wrote the song, McCartney was blue about the difficulties being encountered within the group and the problems they were facing in their private lives. Maxwell's Silver Hammer was a fictionalization of that sentiment, about how in one's life the negative events will come in cascades.
Lennon never liked the song, and he criticized it for its high production cost. He called Paul's effort "granny-style," and he bristled at McCartney's ego in thinking this song had what was required to be a hit song. He was absent from the recording sessions because of a road accident in Scotland, not because he intentionally boycotted the session. Harrison thought it was "fun" but "fruity." Ringo considered the recording sessions for this song to be the hardest, most grinding ones ever. Like George and John, he was not fond of McCartney's songs that might charitably be described as "whimsical."