Saturday, March 10, 2018

"Ain't She Sweet", "Sun King/Mean Mr. Mustard"

Two sessions were held for the second part of the "Huge Melody" at EMI Studios on July 24, 25 and July 29 1969. This consisted of two songs mainly written by John - "Sun King" and "Mean Mr. Mustard". Two different feels and two different tempos but recorded as one entity. Both John and George on guitars, Paul on Bass and Ringo on drums was the instrumental line up for the basic track. Paul turns on his distortion pedal for the second part.
As the basic track was progressing for the July 24 session, John lead the band into a couple of Gene Vincent covers, namely "Ain't She Sweet", "Be Bop A Lula", etc. The tune "Ain't She Sweet" was released as a track on the Apple/EMI 3LP/2CD "Anthology 3" project.
Overdubs for this medley were conducted over two days; namely July 25/29 in Studio 2 and 3. This included the three-part harmonies for "Sun King", maracas and bongos and an organ of which started the original medley with one note but progressed throughout the song. For "Mean Mr. Mustard" piano and tambourine were added, vocals by John with harmonies by Paul starting in the second verse. It's also interesting to note that the original name of Mr. Mustard's sister was "Shirley" but obviously this was changed due to the running order of the huge melody.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

"Come And Get It" - Take One

On July 24 1969 at EMI Studio 2 in London and during the Beatles "Abbey Road" sessions, Paul McCartney had decided to create a demo recording of his new composition "Come and Get It". This song was to be given to the Apple Records Group "Badfinger" to record for the upcoming movie soundtrack to "The Magic Christian" starring Peter Sellers and featuring Ringo Starr as well.
Paul had a spare hour before George and Ringo arrived and recorded the demo with John Lennon in attendance although only Paul participated. Instead of just an acoustic demo, Paul recorded piano and vocal on one track, a vocal overdub and maracas on the second track, bass guitar on the third and drums on the fouth completed the song in one take !! It was mixed in stereo by engineer Phil MacDonald who was also working on the "Abbey Road" project. An acetate was made and given to Badfinger.
This incredible would have made for a great single from the sessions - imagine if The Beatles themselves had all played on it....oh well !
In the early 80s the song was remixed by Geoff Emerick in fake stereo (who knows why he did this when EMI still had the multitrack and the original stereo mix). The song was to be used on the aborted "Sessions" LP but it appeared this way from a secondhand mono tape on the bootleg LP "File Under Beatles". In the middle 80s the song appeared on some of the bootleg "Sessions" LPs with Geoff Emerick's fake stereo mix. Amazingly, when the demo was officially released on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology" series, they used the same fake stereo mix once again and considering the superior mix was available to Apple, they screwed it up again.
Lastly, if you want to hear the song in true stereo and original mix, pick up a CD copy of "Another" and/or "Mythology Vol.3".

Saturday, February 24, 2018

"Come Together" Take 1

On July 21 1969, a John Lennon composition was attempted at EMI studio 3 with The Beatles and George Martin. "Come Together" would eventually open side one of the classic LP as yet untitled. On the Anthology 3 2 CD/3 LP, we have take 1 from these recording sessions.
The take consists of John on hand clapping, vocal and tambourine, Paul on bass, Ringo on drums and George on guitar. John is doing a guide vocal with variations on the lyrics and his voice is shot...haha.
Interestingly, this is the final song Lennon wrote specifically for The Beatles. It was originally intended to be used as a campaign song for Timothy Leary as the story goes.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

An early take of "Something"

This George Harrison composition started life as a demo recorded in February 1969 as a solo recording. The Beatles started work on the song May 02 1969 with John on the piano, George on guitar, Paul on bass and Ringo on the drums. The basic track was completed in 36 takes with a prolonged jam at the end of the song which brought the timing up to (almost) eight minutes.
On May 05 1969, the song was put back on the recorder and Paul re-did his bass part with George adding his superb middle guitar solo. The song remained in this state until July 11 1969 at EMI Studio 2 when vocals were added by George - double tracked in the chorus parts. A reduction of the tracks combining various instruments left two tracks open and bringing the song to take 37.
This version of "Something" can be heard on the vinyl bootleg "No. 3 Abbey Road N.W. " as well as on the CD bootleg "Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 5". Later on in August 1969 a new vocal, new guitar solo and the orchestration would be added.
As an aside, pictured above is the Canadian version of the Apple single, who had originally put "Come Together" on the whole side (A side) of the single and had relegated "Something" to the sliced Apple side (B side). These first pressings were subsequently corrected and they remain collector's items.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

"Maxwell's Silver Hammer"

On July 09 1969 The Beatles (minus John) started work on the McCartney composition "Maxwell's Silver Hammer". The first trials for the tune were being worked out earlier in the year in January 1969 via the "Get Back/ Let It Be" sessions at Twickenham studios. The song was later discarded when recordings for the January project moved in mid month to Apple Studios.
Fast forward to the summer of 1969 and the new LP as yet untitled. These sessions in July feature Paul on piano and guide vocal, George on bass and Ringo on drums. Take 05 has survived and is now commercially available on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project. It's interesting for the vocal improvisation from Paul in the third verse as well as the instrumental part of the song. There is also a piano flourish ended. It's good take but more takes would be recorded later in the day until take 21 was chosen as the "best" take with acoustic guitar overdub.
The next day on July 10 1969, more overdubs were added to take 21 with some extra piano bits here and there played by Paul, George Martin adding hammond organ to the original two bar intro which would be edited out of the commercial "Abbey Road" LP version. Other additions included a leslie'd electric guitar from George and Ringo added some anvil hits in the chorus and at the end of the song.
The main lead vocal from Paul was added as well as backing vocals on the choruses by Paul and George and the final "Maxwell Silver Man" end chorus included Ringo as well. Once this was completed, a mono mix of the song appears on the vinyl bootleg "No. 3 Abbey Road N.W. 8" as well as on CD as "Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 5" with both containing the original intro and the take announcement "take 21".

Saturday, January 20, 2018

"Her Majesty/ Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight"

There are two early takes from the "Abbey Road" sessions at EMI Studio 2 taken from July 02 1969. It's been said that McCartney would always arrive to the studio slightly earlier than the rest of the band due to his close living quarters in St. John's Wood. On this day he was early and decided to run through his tune "Her Majesty" which was first introduced during the "Get Back/Let It Be" sessions earlier in the year. He recorded three takes on two tracks - one track for acoustic guitar and  the other track for vocals - with the third being eventually used on the commercial LP with an edit (more on that later) but we can hear the entire take with the last strummed chord in mono on the bootleg LP and CD "No.3 Abbey Road N.W. 8" as well as on the CD "Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 5".
After both George Harrison and Ringo Starr arrived for the session, attention was turned to a new McCartney tune entitled "Golden Slumbers" which segued into "Carry That Weight" recorded together with Paul on piano and guide vocal, George on bass and Ringo on drums. John and Yoko were still recovering in Scotland at that time.
The raw recording - take 13 - of "Golden Slumbers/ Carry That Weight" can also be heard on the above bootlegs. Overdubs would be added later in the sessions.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

An Early Version Of "You Never Give Me Your Money"

One of the very last basic tracks recorded at the very, very end of the "Get Back/Let It Be" era was at Olympic Studios in London on May 06 1969. The basic tracks were for a McCartney composition entitled "You Never Give Me Your Money" being fragments of leftover tunes in his head. This would be the beginning of a larger melody issued on a later album. Glyn Johns was present in the control room for the basic tracks.
Paul was on piano and guide vocal, George on an electric guitar going through a leslie speaker, Ringo on drums and John on another electric guitar. 36 takes were attempted and the take used for commercial release and overdubs would be take 30.
After this session, The Beatles took a bit of a break and went their separate ways for about a month and a half. It was during this break that Paul had contacted George Martin about recording a new LP like they had used to do it in the recording studios and the "Abbey Road" sessions got under way for the month of July and August.
Unfortunately during a trip to Scotland, John had been in an automobile accident with Yoko and therefore missed the first few recording sessions at the beginning of July.
The first order of business for the session (now at EMI Studios number 2) on July 01 1969 was overdubbing Paul's vocal onto "You Never Give Me Your Money". You can hear this version (pre-overdubs) on various bootlegs including the vinyl LP: "No. 3 Abbey Road N.W. 8" as well as the CD "Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 5" with a few strand notes at the beginning of the take.