Saturday, September 4, 2010

Doing It Again

The next song on side one of the Apple LP/CD "Yellow Submarine" is another original Lennon/McCartney song mainly written by John entitled "Hey Bulldog". A very heavy rocking number and in my opinion, the best song on the album.

The Beatles had been in the recording studio during the month of February 1968 before their departure for India and had completed three songs during these sessions: "Across the Universe", "The Inner Light" and "Lady Madonna". It was decided that "Madonna" would be the next A side of the single so it was decided to film the Beatles in the studio performing said song.

On February 11 1968, the Beatles gathered at EMI studio three in order to be filmed. Since the sessions had gone quickly, it was decided to record the new John Lennon song "Hey Bulldog". Hence, the promo film for "Lady Madonna" is actually the Beatles working on "Hey Bulldog" with rehearsal footage as well as the Beatles recording the basic track for the new song. The end of the films shows Paul leaving the studio which was actually filmed at Chappell and was during the "Step Inside Love" sessions.

The basic track for "Hey Bulldog" was completed in 10 takes with the instrumentation being Ringo on the drums, George Harrison on the lead guitar, John on the piano and Paul shaking two tambourines. Once this was perfected, John and Paul shared a microphone and added the lead and backing vocal. An outstanding bass guitar performance was also added by Paul. Finally, overdubs included John Lennon playing the lead guitar solo for the song, Ringo doubling his snare drum in placed (the choruses) and John doubling his lead vocal.

"Hey Bulldog" was mixed for mono at the same session with two attempts. The second was kept but not released until 2009 when it appeared on the Apple/EMI 2-CD "Mono Masters" included in the Beatles mono box set.

On October 29 1968 from the control room of EMI studio three, "Hey Bulldog" was mixed for stereo in three attempts with the third attempt being released on the stereo LP and folded down for the "PMC" version.

Ironically, the best song recorded especially for "Yellow Submarine" was only available on film prints from the UK as the "Hey Bulldog" scene was deleted from North American copies of the film and the song did not appear on that print. The original film from 1968 featured "Bulldog" running slightly faster than the LP. The home video of "Yellow Submarine" restored in 1999 features "Hey Bulldog" and the entire scene restored.

Interestly, it has also been reported that the February 11 1968 session was the first time that Yoko Ono appeared in the EMI studio with John Lennon (although she does not appear in any footage of the session).

"Hey Bulldog" can be found on the Apple LP/CD "Yellow Submarine" as well as the Capitol/EMI 2-LP compilation "Rock And Roll Music". A slightly modified stereo mix of "Hey Bulldog" can be found on the Apple/EMI LP/CD "Yellow Submarine Songtrack".

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