Friday, July 23, 2010

She's The Latest And The Greatest Of Them All

The next song on side three/disc two of the Apple double LP/CD "The Beatles"(White Album) was an original Lennon/McCartney composition written mainly by John entitled "Sexy Sadie". The song started life with the title "Maharishi" whereby John Lennon wrote a bitter lyric and tyrade against the Maharishi Mahesh Yogo who The Beatles had been invited to study Transendental Meditation with in India earlier that year. It seems that particularly John and George had become disillusioned with the Maharishi as a person due to rumours from an outside party (Magic Alex). The Beatles had left the TM camp in India where a good percentage of the White Album material had been inspired and written.

It was decided in the studio to change the name of the song from "Maharishi" to "Sexy Sadie" in order to soften the blow, so to speak. The song also became a little more sympathetic lyrically.

The first attempt at recording "Sexy Sadie" took place on Friday July 19 1968 at EMI studio two where the Beatles gathered to basically rehearse the song while recording the takes. On this particular night, there were 21 takes recorded but none of them were used as John Lennon did not like the sound being produced. On this night the instruments consisted of organ, guitars and drums. Take 6 from this session including a Lennon guide vocal is included on the Apple 3-lp/2-CD "Anthology 3".

Five days later on July 24 1968, a second attempt was made to capture the sound and correct feel of "Sexy Sadie" once again at EMI studio two. 23 more takes were recorded at this session and the take 47 was temporarily marked as the best take although the satisfaction level of the outcome was still not positive and it was decided to make a third attempt at the song.

The third and final attempt at recording "Sexy Sadie" was achieved on Tuesday August 13 1968 at EMI studio two. The instrumental basic track session was completed in seven takes with Paul on the piano, George on Guitar, John on vocals and Ringo on drums.

On Wednesday August 21 1968, the overdubs for "Sexy Sadie" were recorded and completed at EMI studio two. After three (!!) reduction mixes, the overdubs at this session included a new Lennon vocal along with back up vocals, Paul's bass guitar, a tambourine and organ. Once this was complete, five mono mixes were attempted with the last mono mix being used on the commercial version of the song for the White Album.

Two days later on August 23 1968, completed mono mixes were copied to tape and issued to the individual Beatles for thier use. Among these mixes was "Sexy Sadie" which has a mono version of the song with an extra instrumental verse unedited at this point. The instrumental verse would be edited out of the mix by the time of release for the commercial product. This particular mix/version can be heard on the Swinging Pig CD "Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 4".

The stereo mix for "Sexy Sadie" was begun and completed on October 14 1968 from EMI studio two. Three stereo mixes were attempted with the third and last one being used on the White Album.

"Sexy Sadie" is available on the Apple 2-LP/2-CD "The Beatles" (White Album).

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