Sunday, August 1, 2010

Don't You Know That You Could Count Me Out - In

The first song on side four of the Apple vinyl record version of "The Beatles"(White Album) is an original Lennon/McCartney composition written mainly by John entitled "Revolution 1". This tune was the first song recorded for the LP project at the end of May 1968. The original title for the work was simply "Revolution" but this was changed after a second, rockier harder version was recorded and released as the B-side to "Hey Jude" (see blog entry for details).

This version featured a more acoustic/brass sound. It is also played slower. Out of the recordings for "Revolution 1" came some ad libbing at the end of the takes which would later be featured on the "Revolution 9" sound collage.

The recording of "Revolution 1" was started on Thursday May 30 1968 at EMI studio two with the basic tracks. The instrumentation on this session included acoustic guitar, piano and drums. It took 18 takes to construct the basic track. Take 18 included a John Lennon guide vocal. Take 18 also consisted of an extended instrumentational jam at the end of the song which became the inspiration for "Revolution 9".

The next day on Friday May 31 1968 at EMI studio three, John Lennon overdubbed double tracked vocals while Paul added his bass guitar. This four track was reduced and the background "doo-wop" vocals were added.

The work resumed four days later at EMI studio three on June 04 1968 with John Lennon re-doing his vocals while lying down on the studio floor. A lot of experimentation took place this day including Paul and George singsing background vocals repeating the words "mama" and "dada" as well as tape loops being dropped in. Two loops included a high backing vocal of "aaahhh" while the other was a high guitar note distorted and repeated throughout the song. This was all reduced to take 20. Another drum track and percussion, a tone guitar by John and organ by Paul were also overdubbed. Once this was complete, a mono mix was quickly completed and copied to tape for use by John Lennon. There is a bootleg with take 20 as it stands with the experiments, tape loops and the extended version - none of which are present on the commercial version of the song.

The recording of "Revolution 1" was completed on June 21 1968 with the overdubbing of two trumpets and four trombones by session musicians once a reduction mix of the song was completed which brought the song to take 21 and 22. This was the third reduction of the four track tape. The brass replaced the experimentation and tape loops previously recorded for the tune. George Harrison then overdubbed the distorted lead guitar present especially just before the first verse of the song.

"Revolution 1" was mixed for stereo in seven attempt first on June 21 1968 (after the completion of the final overdubs) at EMI studio two. This was improved upon four days later on June 25 1968 with five more attempts. The final attempt was used on the commercial version. These were done in the control room of EMI studio two. I have not seen any documentation as to when the mono mix(es) were attempted and completed. The mono mix is slightly longer on the recording than the stereo mix.

"Revolution 1" is available on the Apple 2-LP/2-CD "The Beatles"(White Album).

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