The first song to open side two of the Parlophone UK LP "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" ( or the eight song on the CD version) is an original George Harrison composition entitled "Within You Without You". The song was written after a conversation between Harrison and other friends at the home of Klaus Voorman (a Hamburg friend of the Beatles who designed the "Revolver" LP cover as well as played bass on various Beatles' solo LPs). The instrument used by Harrison was a pedal harmonium which was available at the home of Voorman. The song deals with the perception of philosophical dealings within one's self. A mix of Indian traditional instrument as well as western classical instruments is used on the song.
"Within You Without You" was started on March 15 1967 at EMI studio two with one take of the backing track. This consisted of Indian instruments played by Indian musicians "borrowed" from the Asian Music Circle from London. The tune was basically broken into three parts, the first vocal section, the second instrumental section in 5/8 time, and the last vocal section. All instruments on this date's recording were played by Indian musicians with the exception of the tabla which was also played by George Harrison and by Neil Aspinall. The song at this point remained untitled.
On Wednesday March 22 1967 at EMI studio two, two dilrabas were added to the song. Also on this day, the song was officially entitled "Within You Without You". Once this was completed, all four track of the machine were full and required a reduction mix which became take 2. There was also a quick mono mix done this evening and an acetate was cut in order for George Martin to take and arrange the classical section of the song.
On Monday April 03 1967 at EMI studio one, the violins and the cellos werre added to the existing take 2 of "Within You Without You". As an example of how things were working in the studio during this time of the Beatles' careers, the recording takes of the instruments overdubbed onto the track were not numbered, but were wiped off the track if any imperfections were discovered only to be taped over the previously offending attempt. Also overdubbed on this evening were George Harrison's lead vocal, some sitar in the middle section and some ver faint acoustic guitar. Three mono mixes were attempted of the first section, while two mono mix attempts were conducted for the second and third sections. None of these were used.
The next day on Tuesday April 04 1967, "Within You Without You" was mixed for mono and stereo as well as having an additional overdub: tapes of laughter were removed from the EMI tape library and a snippet of laughing was added to the end of the song. This was at the request of it's composer. Six mono mix attempts were completed for the first section of the song, while only one attempt of a mono mix was used for the second and third section of the song. Both final mono mixes were edited together with a further two mono mix attempts of the entire piece. The second attempt was best and used on the commercial LP. Three stereo mix attempts were undertaken for the first section, while two stereo mix attempts were undertaken for sections two and three. Once the sections were edited, two more stereo mixes were attempted and the last one was used on the commercial LP. During mixing, the tape was slightly sped up and the song sounds a little faster on the record than when first recorded. There is a difference in the mono and stereo mix at the end of the song: the laughter on the mono mix is louder and more pronouned than on the stereo mix.
"Within You Without You" is available on the Parlophone UK LP/CD "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" as well as being on the North American Capitol version of the LP of the same name. The song is also contained on the equivalent picture disc released in the late 1970s by EMI and Capitol in the UK and North America respectively.