Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's Driving Me Mad

The last song on side one of the Beatles classic Apple LP/CD "Abbey Road" is an original composition by Lennon/McCartney written mainly by Johne entitled "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". This song was an attempt by Lennon to explain his love for Yoko in as few words as possible

"I Want You (She's So Heavy)" has a very long recording history. The song was first recorded during the Get Back/Let It Be sessions on January 29 1969 (a day before the roof top concert) at Apple Studios and it was known only as "I Want You" back then. This version has not been released as far as I know and may only have been a run-through of the song.

The proper recording of the version we all know and love started on February 22 1969 at Trident Studios with the basic track being recorded and with a guide vocal by John Lennon. The organ was played by Apple artist Billy Preston and the recording was produced by Glyn Johns. 35 takes were recorded with various parts of the takes combined in order to fill a master tape of the song. This was done the next day on February 23 1969 once again at Trident Studios. Take 9 of the first part, the middle part was from take 20 and take 32 closed out the song. All were edited onto one master tape. A safety copy of the master was attempted and completed on February 24 1969 at Trident Studios. Once again, Glyn Johns was over-seeing all of the above recording procedures.

On Friday April 18 1969, John Lennon and George Harrison overdubbed guitars onto the master tape from Trident Studios. A reduction of the tape was attempted and completed and more overdubbing of guitars continued onto this tape which was re-titled take 1. The production chores at this point was overseen by Chris Thomas. The recording of guitar overdubs took place at EMI studio two. At the conclusion of this session, a rough stereo mix was completed in one attempt.

Two days later on April 20 1969 from EMI studio three, more hammond organ and conga drums were added to take 01 of the master tape. Once again, Chris Thomas produced this session.

Fast forward to August 08 1969 at EMI studio two and now George Martin producing. John Lennon had on this day decided to add "white noise" from George Harrison's moog synthesizer to the ending of the song. The problem was that the noise was added not to the finished master after the previous reduction back in April but rather the pre-reduction master.

Three days later on August 11 1969 and at EMI studio two, backing vocal for the "She's So Heavy" section were added to the reduction take 1 of the song by John Paul and George. John was undecided which version to use - either the pre-reduction master or the post-reduction master so he decided to edit/add both backing vocal takes to both masters at this point.

On Wednesday August 20 1969 from the control room of EMI studio three, the first section of the original pre-reduction tape was edited onto the post-reduction tape at four minutes and thrity-seven seconds. This allowed the white noise moog sound to be heard at the end of the song. The first part was mixed for stereo in eight attempts while the second part was mixed for stereo in two attempts. A combination of mix attempts eight and ten were combined to complete the stereo mix which we now all enjoy and love !!

"I Want You (She's So Heavy)" is available on the Apple LP/CD "Abbey Road".

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