Wednesday, June 30, 2010

You Were In A Car Crash

The next song featured on the double Apple LP/CD "The Beatles"(White Album) is the first song composed entirely by Richard Starkey (aka Ringo Starr). This original composition was first concieved in the studio as "Ringo's Tune" (very original) and it's second title in the studio while recording the basic tracks was "This Is Some Friendly" and finally the song was entitled "Don't Pass Me By". It's ironic that during a radio show in 1963, the song was mentioned as a composition that Ringo was working on and a bit of the tune was voiced by Paul McCartney. Even back in 1963, the song was titled as "Don't Pass Me By" which makes one wonder why the different earlier titles were used during the recording of the song.

The basic track for "Don't Pass Me By" was first started on June 05 1968 at EMI Studio three. The only two Beatles on the basic track were Paul (on the piano) and Ringo (on the drums and guide vocal). Three takes were recorded and the third take was considered the keeper. Another piano part recorded through a leslie speaker and Christmas sleigh bells with cowbell.(once again by Paul and Ringo respectively) were overdubbed and the four track was filled. A tape reduction was completed bringing the song to take 4 with another reduction attempt now bringing the song to take 5. A lead vocal by Ringo was attempted as an overdub but it was scrapped. The two remaining tracks were therefore filled with a couple of bass lines played by Paul. At the end of this session, another reduction mix was completed but never used.

The next day on June 06 1968 at the familiar EMI studio two. Paul and Ringo returned to take five as Ringo sang his two lead vocals and wiped out the previous sessions bass tracks. Once again, a reduction of the tracks was completed which ran the song into take 7 (take six was abandoned). A mono mix was completed at this session which was pressed as an acetate for the two Beatles. The song up to this point with a combination of takes 3 synced with take 5 are available on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" (in mono, of course). There are difference with the vocal tracks and at one point the chording goes out of sync !! This would be edited for the final commercial mixes.

"Don't Pass Me By" was left "as is" until nearly a month later when on July 12 1968, a fiddle player named Jack Fallon (who had ironically booked the Beatles as a promoter for five shows between March 1962 and June 1963 !!) added his overdub of fiddle throughout the song. Once this was complete, the bass guitar track was erased and replaced by another final bass performance by Paul. This completed the recording of "Don't Pass Me By" and four mono mixes were attempted and completed but this particular mono mix was not used on the commercial releases. This mono mix can be heard only on the Swinging Pig CD "Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 4". It must also be stated that the piano introduction of the song was taped at this session as an edit piece although I cannot find any strong documentation on it.

Finally, the song was mixed for both mono and stereo on the same day; October 11 1968 from the control room of EMI studio two. The fiddle in the song lasts longer in mono and the tempo of the song is faster in mono.

"Don't Pass Me By" can be found on the Apple 2-LP/2-CD "The Beatles (White Album) as well as the Capitol North American version LP "Rarities".

Ringo Starr performed this song with his All -Starr band during the 2003 tour.

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