John Lennon [John]
Paul McCartney [Paul]
George Harrison [George]
Ringo Starr [Ringo]
Two Virgins [John]
Lady Madonna b/w The Inner Light
Hey Jude b/w Revolution
The Beatles EP (Hey Jude/Revolution/While My Guitar Gently Weeps/Don't Pass Me By)
Beatlemania has faded, the summer of love is a year past and the Beatles have returned from India where they went looking for enlightenment. They came back from the trip with a new outlook on life in general and their careers specifically. John, Paul and George wrote so many songs while at Rishi Kesh that they realized they could not fit them all on a single LP. So they met at George's home studio in Esher to record some demos and discuss what to do.
George especially voiced concern that given his two to three song allotment per album, he would never be able to exhaust his growing back catalog. After much discussion they soon came to the conclusion that the band was at a crossroad.
It was decided to enter the studio and begin recording all the songs they had, not for a Beatles album but solo albums. They utilized each other as well as friends for the basic tracks but each member was in charge of his own album. There was no questioning each others vision although each remained open to constructive criticism and suggestions which led to the occasional collaborations. George Martin served as an executive producer, guiding each project along and doing orchestral arrangements when called upon.
They also agreed to contribute one song each to a group EP. This EP would include songs from the recent single and two more songs. The four songs would be "Hey Jude", "Revolution", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Don't Pass Me By". Both John and George would include alternate versions of their contributions on their own albums.
Ringo in the meantime, realizing that he had the chance to record an album of his own, but not having any original material, approached George Martin with an idea. He compiled a list of his favorite old standards with suggestions from friends and family, and gave it to George Martin to commission arrangements and orchestrate. While John, Paul and George's were busy with their projects, George Martin and Ringo were able to slip in sessions over a ten day period for his album.
The albums were released close together with similar artwork and named simply using their names for the titles. They were also the first Beatles product to be released on their new label Apple.