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.

Friday, January 5, 2018

"Give Peace A Chance"

In the late evening of May 30 1969 as John and Yoko were holed up in room 1742 of the Hotel Reine Elizabeth in Montreal, John grabbed his acoustic guitar and taught a few other people in the hotel room including Tim and Rosemary Leary.
Derek Taylor contacted EMI Canada and was sent a mobile recording unit through independant engineer/producer Andre Perry, a local. Andre brought up a four track Ampex that he had rented from RCA and arrived at the hotel room the next night (May 31 1969). While the recording and filming equipment was being prepared for the event, John and Yoko ran through the song with others in the room including Tommy Smothers, Timothy Leary and Rosemary Leary, Derek Taylor and some Krishna devotees.Rabbi Abraham Feinberg, Allan Ginsberg, Murray the "K" and others.Tommy Smothers played the second acoustic guitar and the Krishna people supplied some percussion.
After a couple of rehearsals with the singalong and John instructing the gang to "clap on the off-beat" - which is the two and four if you are musical - the recording used was taped at 11 in the evening with four microphones - two for the guitars and main vocals and two for the room crowd and ambience.
On June 01, Andre Perry took the tapes and transferred them from 4 track to 8 track. He had some session players sing along on the chorus and added a thumping drum beat to the song. Also, the tune was sped up a bit on the commercial releasse.
The song reached number 2 in the UK and number 14 in the us when it was released as an Apple single in 1969 along with Yoko's "Remember Love". The US release does not have a count-in. The original mix from the hotel room attributed to the promo film can be heard on the bootleg vinyl "The Lost Lennon Tapes Volume Twenty-Four".

Monday, January 1, 2018

"You Know You Know My Name"

In the spring of 1967, John Lennon visited Paul McCartney at his home on Cavendish Ave in London and spotted the London telephone book with the slogan "You know their name? Look up their number". This mantra would be repeated over and over in John's mind and he set music to it.
On a May 17th 1967 recording session, a rhythm track was recorded with acoustic guitars, bass and drums. After 14 attempts the ninth take was chosen and the session came to a close. Fast forward to another session on June 07 with overdubbed piano. The next day (June 08 1967) Brian Jones of the Stones appeared at EMI Studios after Paul had asked him to contribute to the track. Brian brought along an alto sax and many versions of the mantra were recorded which would be edited together to complete the track.
Along with take 09 of the first part recorded back in May, four other parts would be recorded on June 08 as well with Paul on piano, Brian Jones on sax (on the "ska" section and the "Jazz club" section as well). There was also a "nightclub" section with some latin type percussion and the final "Part 5" section featuring noisemakers. All of the five parts were edited together and called take 30. These parts were then transferred to one track of a four track tape and basically left there for the time being.
In the spring of 1969, on April 30 in EMI Studio 3, John and Paul added their silly voices to the backing tracks of the various parts of "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)" along with some background bits such as shouting, applause, etc. Three mono mixes of the song were also completed on this date.
Fast forward to November 26 1969 and the original intent was to release the tune along with "What's The New Mary Jane" as a single and credit the songs to the Plastic Ono Band.
The mixed used was the third mono attempt with two minutes and seventeen seconds edited out. The song was eventually released commercially as the B-side to the Beatles' Apple Single "Let It be" in 1970.
The song remained in mono until the Anthology project when it was released commercially in stereo for the first time. Unfortunately, this edit removed 27 seconds including parts of the commercial release as well as fading out a few seconds before the ending. This stereo, edited version can be heard commercially on the Apple 3LP/2CD "Anthology 2". The entire unedited song can be heard on bootleg (lasting over six minutes) on the title "Upgraded Collection-Highlights" in mono/stereo.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Another "Octopus's Garden" session.

On April 29 1969, work continued on Ringo's composition "Octopus's Garden". This time Ringo was a the microphone in order to overdub not one but two lead vocals over the backing track. Also added around this time was the piano bit in the bridges although it's not been confirmed who's played the instrument; maybe Paul or as John C. Winn has suggested; maybe Chris Thomas who also produced this particular session from Studio 3. The tune was still incomplete as sessions would continue in July for this song.
In any case, this is an early mono
version from this evening that can be heard on bootlegs such as "No. 3 Abbey Road N.W.8" as well as on the bootleg CD "Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 05".

Saturday, December 9, 2017

"John ! Yoko !"

In the afternoon of April 22 1969 John Winston Lennon changed his to John Ono Lennon legally on the roof of the Apple building at 3 Savile Row in London. Once the ceremony was photographed and completed, the couple went along to a recording session at EMI Studio 3 in order to record for their third joint album which would eventually be released commercially as the Apple LP box set "Wedding Album".
The first side of the LP consists of a sensitive microphone picking up the heartbeats of both John and Yoko who were both lying on the studio floor which was recorded for about 20 and a bit minutes. Overdubbed on top of the heartbeats were John saying "Yoko!" and Yoko saying "John !" for 20 and bit minutes. This vocal was pronounced in various emotive tones such as teasing, pleading, inquisitive, yelling, etc.
A first attempt at a stereo mix (with the two voices in the left and right speakers accordingly) and the heartbeats centered. This mix was not used and a second mix on the 26th of that month had a second attempt at a stereo mix.
Finally on April 27 1969 (five days later), the heartbeats had to be re-recorded and it was mixed the same day and released on the commercial Apple LP "Wedding Album" as side one. Pictured above is the Japanese label re-issue on Odeon.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Start of the Abbey Road Sessions: "Oh! Darling"/"Octopus's Garden"

There is a bit of blur between the end of the "Get Back/Let It Be" sessions and "Abbey Road" in the sense that the month of February 1969 contained some undocumented sessions at Apple Studios with the Beatles completing overdubs of the former and beginning a song for the latter. The song "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" was recorded; or at least the basic backing track was recorded during a session in February for example and worked on in April at well.
The April 20th session which took place in Studio 2 of EMI in London saw work on a song that was started for the "Get Back/Let It Be" project with Paul as main composer. The song "Oh! Darling" had John playing piano, Paul on bass and guide vocal, George on electric guitar and Ringo on drums. There were 26 takes with a hammond organ overdub. This was left alone until six days later (April 26) when Paul added some vocals and overdubbed his own backing vocals as well. This early version as it stand can be heard on CD bootlegs such as "Unsurpassed Masters, Vol. 5" and "No.3 Abbey Road N.W." as well as the vinyl bootleg of the same name.
Also recorded on April 26 was Ringo's composition "Octopus's Garden". The instrument line up was basically the same as the early Beatles' records with John/George on guitar, Paul on bass and Ringo on drums and guide vocal. In all, the basic track reveals that 32 takes were required, but take 2 has appeared commercially and can be found on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project. Interestingly, Ringo's comment at the end of the song comes from a different take edited in.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

"Old Brown Shoe/Something" Sessions

On April 16 1969, The Beatles entered Studio 3 at EMI in London in order to record some George Harrison compositions. After listening to a recorded demo of "Old Brown Shoe", four takes of the song with Ringo on Drums, Paul on piano, George on guitar and vocals and John on guitar were completed. Overdubs included John and Paul on backing vocals, Paul adding his bass with George doubling some of the lines with Paul on his guitar. Lastly, George re-did his lead vocals.
The next attempt was laying a basic track for "Something" with George on guitar, George Martin on piano, Paul on bass and Ringo on drums. It took 13 takes - but the song would be returned to in May of that year. At the end of the session, there was an attempt to mix "Old Brown Shoe" for stereo.
Two days later on April 18 1969, George Harrison with Chris Thomas as producer returned to Studio 3 at EMI in order to add the guitar solo in the middle of the song played by George as well as having George add an organ to the song, effectively erasing John's earlier guitar track. The song would be mixed into stereo after 19 attempts and would be originally released as the B-side to the commercial Apple single "The Ballad Of John and Yoko".
"Old Brown Shoe" would later be available on various Apple/EMI compilation LPs including "The Beatles Again", "The Beatles 1967-1970", "Past Masters Vol. 1 and 2", etc. The song remains available in stereo only and was never mixed in mono. Any claimed mono mixes are simply a stereo "fold down".