Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Listen To The Colour Of Your Dreams.

The final cut on the marvelous Parlophone UK LP "Revolver" is an original Lennon/McCartney composition written mainly by John entitled "Tomorrow Never Knows". The title of the song is taken from one of Ringo's sayings. The lyrics of the song were inspired by Dr. Timothy Leary's Tibetan "Book Of the Dead". Although this was the last song on the LP (and CD), it was the first song recorded during the early 1966 sessions.

The backing track for "Tomorrow Never Knows" was recorded on Wednesday April 06 1966 from EMI Studio three. A slowed down guitar and percussion tape loop were constructed first and then Paul added bass and Ringo added his drums onto this tape loop. Three takes were taped and third take was deemed as "best". John Lennon sang a guide vocal throughout the takes and take one of this session is featured on the Apple/EMI 3-lp/2-CD "Anthology 2". The guide vocal as well as the drums and bass seem to be out of sync at the tape loop and the drums/bass recording go out of time as the song wears on. This is probably why take three was preferred. The title of the song at this point was entitled "Mark I"

Work on the song continued the next day on April 07 1966 once again at EMI studio three. This time tape loops were brought in (mainly recorded by Paul) and manipulated all over EMI studios at Abbey road including studios one, two and three. The loops were all fed through the control room mixing board in studio three and faded up and down as it seemed fit to do. Also at this session, John Lennon's proper vocal take was recorded: the first verses were treated to double tracking (not ADT to my ears as suggested by various books).

On Friday April 22, 1966 from EMI studio two, a one-note sitar was added to the recording and the final verse of John Lennon's vocal was recorded through a Leslie speaker via his microphone.

On Wednesday April 27, nine mono mixes of "Mark I/Tomorrow Never Knows" were attempted from the control room of EMI studio three. None of these mixes were ever released with the exception of remix eight which would eventually be released commercially. A few weeks later on May 16 1966, the eighth mono mix of "Tomorrow Never Knows" was subjected to a tape copy from EMI studio two. Three final mono mixes of "Tomorrow Never Knows" were completed on Monday June 06 1966 and the originally selected mono mix for the LP was remix 11. The day that the LP was cut, remix 11 was part of the original mono reel BUT....George Martin had changed his mind and asked that remix 11 be replaced with remix 8 for the LP instead. It was July 14 1966 when this mono remix from 11 to 8 occurred.

The stereo mix was completed on Wednesday June 22 1966 from the control room of EMI studio three. "Tomorrow Never Knows" was subjected to six remixes in stereo.

The difference between mixes is as follows: on the original mono mix (remix 11) it is available on the UK LP "Revolver" with 606-1 etched on side two. The more common remix 8 is found on the UK LP "Revolver with 606-2 or higher. The stereo mix has feedback (a leftover from the backwards guitar solo played by Paul) during the last verse while the feedback is not heard on either mono mixes.

One final note: although it has been said in various Beatles book that the original title for "Tomorrow Never Knows" had been titled "The Void"; there is no such phrase in any Abbey Road/EMI sheets or the Mark Lewisohn or John C.Winn or any multiple other recording session books available. Supposedly, this phrase came from a contemporary fan magazine and suggested by Neil Aspinall as a possible title for the tune.

"Tomorrow Never Knows" is available on the Parlophone UK LP/CD "Revolver" as well as the North American Capitol LP version of "Revolver".

A definitive song for the Beatles and an indication of the direction where the composers' heads were at in 1966 and this is an example of how technology in the studio was starting to interest and influence the Beatles' wonderful music. They were true innovators without question. Man, these guys were amazing !!

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