Monday, July 12, 2010

Take a Cha-Cha-Cha-Chance

The song that opens side three on the double Apple LP "The Beatles"(White Album) or disc two of the CD version is an original Lennon/McCartney composition written mainly by Paul entitled "Birthday". This rocker was originally inspired by a riff played in the rock 'n' roll style and elaborated upon in the studio. In fact, the entire song was recorded and mixed (for mono) at the same session. The date was Wednesday September 18 1968 and it all happened at EMI studio two.

First Paul entered the studio and played the "Birthday" riff while teaching it to the other Beatles. With the usual instruments, 20 takes of the basic track were recorded. The take 19 was deemed as the best take. Once this was complete, The Beatles and company moved over to Paul's home in order to watch the rock 'n' roll movie "This Girl Can't Help It" which inspired them and they returned to EMI in order to complete the song. Lyrics were written in the birthday theme and the four track tape was then transferred over to the eight track tape in order to accommodate the overdubs. The lead vocals are by both John and Paul, the backing vocals include Yoko Ono and Pattie Boyd Harrison as well as having handclaps, a tambourine and a distorted piano. Once these additions were completed, the song was mixed for mono in one attempt.

The stereo mix for "Birthday" was completed on Monday October 14 1968 at EMI studio two. There are diffences in the two mixes where there is a vocal edit present on the stereo mix but not in the mono mix (at the end of the first verse "Daaaaa/aaaancee").

"Birthday" is available on the Apple 2-LP/2-CD "The Beatles"(White Album) and can also be found on the Capitol/EMI 2-LP compilation "Rock 'N' Roll Music".

"Birthday" has been performed live by Paul McCartney and a notable performance was released on a 12 inch single by EMI entitled (funnily enough) "Birthday". The performance comes from Knebworth on June 30 1990. This can also be found on the 3-LP/2-CD EMI recording "Tripping The Live Fantastic" and the 1-LP/1-CD EMI recording "Tripping The Live Fantastic Highlights!" lead song. "Birthday" has also been performed by Paul for Ringo's 70th birthday gig at Radio City Music Hall in NYC on July 07 2010.