Saturday, February 20, 2010

And The Band Begins To Play

The next song on the great Parlophone UK LP "Revolver" is an original composition written by Lennon/McCartney (mainly by Paul for the chorus and John for the verses although Donovan is said to have helped with the lyrics) and sang by Ringo as a vehicle for him on this particular LP. The name of the tune is "Yellow Submarine". This song was also released worldwide as a single with "Eleanor Rigby". The double-sided single is available in the UK as Parlophone R 5493 and in North America (US and Canada) as Capitol 5715. "Yellow Submarine" was though upon by Paul McCartney one night as he was drifting off to sleep (according to an interview on the Anthology series). "Yellow Submarine" was not only an LP track and a single, but was also the name of the Beatles' third United Artists' full feature length film.

This child-like pop song was first recorded at EMI studio three on Thursday May 26 1966 with four attempted takes of the rhythm track including an acoustic guitar, bass, drums and tambourine. Take four (the last take) was kept and Ringo's lead vocal was overdubbed onto that as well as the whole band singing along on the choruses. This filled up all four tracks and a tape reduction was completed making it take five.

The next recording session for "Yellow Submarine" took place on Wednesday June 01 1966 at EMI studio two this time. The purpose of this session was to overdub all of the sound effects and tricks used throughout the tune. These effects included the blowing bubbles, John Lennon's responses to Ringo's thrid verse vocals, Mal Evans playing a huge bass drum, the sound of a propellor, a foghorn, chains being swished around in the tub, clinking glasses, the sound of talking during a party, a shaker as well as the short blast of a brass band playing (which is interesting because this was all done at one session and the brass band was never credited nor is there any research that states what their names were - that section must have been very,very quickly recorded {possibly in one take} as I can imagine having the musicians run in, record and exit). The fade out chorus features all four Beatles and some friends such as Mal Evans, Pattie Harrison, Brian Jones, the pretty Marianne Faithful and a host of studio staff. Also recorded at this June 01 1966 session was an elaborate edit piece of Ringo introducing the song by reciting spoken words "And we will march to see the day....". Behind Ringo's introduction is the sound of marching feet. The introduction section was never used on the song up until the mid 90s when the whole tune was remixed and all of the work done on the song up to that time is featured on the Apple/EMI EP/CD "Real Love" (including the intro).

The first attempt at a mono mix was conducted at EMI studio two on Thursday June 02 1966. This attempt was ultimately never used. The next day on Friday June 03 1966 from the control room of EMI studiot two, five mono remixes of "Yellow Submarine" were conducted and it is at this point that the decision to drop the intro section of the song was made. Two stereo mixes were conducted on Wednesday June 22 1966 from the control room of EMI studio three. The difference between the mono and stereo mix includes a strum of the acoustic guitar on Ringo's first word of the verse (mono) whereby the stereo mix does not have the first strum. Also, when John Lennon is responding to Ringo's vocals on the last verse - the line "life of ease" is present on the mono mix but not available on the stereo mix. Finally, the mix used for the 1999 Apple/EMI LP/CD "Yellow Submarine Songtrack" is a latter day mix that uses the original take four basic tracks with the take five overdubs.

"Yellow Submarine" is available on the Parlophone UK LP/CD "Revolver" as well as the North American Capitol LP/CD version of "Revolver". The song was also released as a double sided single (see first paragraph above). "Yellow Submarine" is also featured on the Parlophone LP greatest hits collection "A Collection of Beatles' Oldies" and is the title track on the Apple LP/CD "Yellow Submarine" as well as the Apple 2-LP/2-CD "The Beatles 1962-1966". It can also be found on the Parlophone/EMI/Capitol compilation LP "Reel Music" and the Parlophone UK LP version of "20 Greatest Hits" and appears on the Apple EP/CD "Real Love"(with original intro) and the Apple/EMI LP/CD "Yellow Submarine Songtrack" as well as the Apple/EMI 2-LP/CD "1".

"Yellow Submarine" has been performed over the years by various installements of Ringo Starr and his All-Starr band.

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