Saturday, April 25, 2015

"Yellow Submarine" mixes

On May 26, 1966, The Beatles started work on a new John/Paul song for Ringo entitled "Yellow Submarine". This tune would prove quite popular as it was pulled from the LP and issued as a single along with "Eleanor Rigby" and a number one all over the world.
The basic tracks featured acoustic guitar, bass, drums, tambourine and Ringo's lead vocal. An overdub of all four Beatles singing along was also added at the session.
Fast forward to June 01 1966 and the effects were added to the song including John blowing bubbles, bells being clanged,a noisemaker, party chatter, etc. An edit piece was also added at the session with the sound of marching feet and a "rap" style chatter from Ringo. The edit piece was not used on the original LP nor was it used on the original single in the 60s but was commercially released on the Apple single 45/CD "Real Love" as a bonus track.
The mono mix has the acoustic guitar on the first strum but the stereo mix has the acoustic guitar entering the sound picture on the second strum. The stereo mix for some reason omits a backing line from John in the third verse with his "life of ease" response vocals. The mono has the effects throughout the song yet the stereo mix for some reason fades them out temporarily.
The "real love" mix has the effects turned up all the way through the song and includes the spoken intro while the commercial  Apple LP/CD "Yellow Submarine Songtrack" which synchs up take four with take five. The intro is not present on this one, but the effects are nicely heard and mixed evenly and spread over the stereo spectrum.
Here's an example of take 5 with the lead vocal, backing vocals and effects overdub.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

"I'm Only Sleeping" Rehearsal and Take 1

On April 27 1966, a new composition by John Lennon was recorded in eleven takes by The Beatles for their new upcoming LP. The song title was "I'm Only Sleeping". For some reason or another, this song was left in the can for the time being.
Two days later on April 29 1966, The Beatles returned to record another version of the song in Studio 3 of EMI Studios in London. There was a brief rehearsal with a bit of experimentation including adding vibes with an acoustic guitar and then recording a proper take with acoustic guitar, percussion and dual vocals by John and Paul.
Both the rehearsal and the song can be heard on the 3-LP/2-CD Apple "Anthology 2" set.
Eventually , take 1 from the 29th was not used but The Beatles decided to use the previous take 11 from the 27th instead and Lennon overdubbed his vocal on this instead of continuing with the "Anthology" version.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

"Taxman"/ "Tomorrow Never Knows" Cleaning up and a mono mix.

On April 22 1966, a session at EMI Studio Number 2 saw The Beatles and George Martin clean up a couple of previously recorded songs via overdubs and edits.
The first tune worked on was "Taxman". This included erasing a couple of stray upwards bends on the guitar for the second verse (you can hear it on the previous "Taxman" post via the link I put up). Also, the "Anybody Got a Bit Of Money" vocal from John and Paul was taken out and replaced with the now famous "Mr. Wilson/ Mr. Heath" backing vocal in it's place. Cowbell was added to the song (more cowbell !!) and it's interesting to know that the mono mix of the song has the cowbell coming in about ten seconds earlier than on the stereo mix.
Lastly, the ending of the song was extended by taking the guitar solo from Paul and adding the entire sequence to the ending of the song in order for the tune to eventually fade out at the solo. The last syllable of the George lead vocal was brought in from a previous verse as well.
In addition, there was also work to be done on "Tomorrow Never Knows": the addition of an organ fading in and out and tambourine as well. The backwards guitar solo was added - again played by Paul - and John's lead vocal double tracked. The tack piano was also added at this session. You can hear this as the song fades out.
There are two mono mixes available commercially on the "Revolver" LP in the UK - the original mix was RM 11 which included artificial double tracking on the guitar solo and actually made it onto various early copies of the LP when it was released. George Martin decided to change the mono mix and RM 8 was used instead with no artificial double tracking on the solo. It has never been explained as to why the different mix was conducted and finalized when some of the LP vinyl was already pressed and ready for release. You can tell which copy of the LP you have by the run out groove number: the original mono mix has the code 606-1 on side 2 meaning it's remix 8, 606-2 means that you have the more common remix 11. Also interesting to note is that there is feedback heard right after the guitar solo on the stereo mixes, but eliminated during the mono mixes.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

"Taxman" - Alternate Edit

The Beatles entered EMI Studio 2 on April 21 1966 in order to record a George Harrision composition entitled "Taxman" which would eventually open their newest LP released four months later. This song had the composer complain about the British tax system - a bit of a political comment which at the time was rare for the Beatles in song form.
There is an alternate edit released on the Apple 3-LP/2 CD "Anthology 2" title which is interesting. It contains an early edit of the song but uses the same take as the released, commercial version on "Revolver". This would be take 11.
The difference between the two has John and Paul singing backing vocals in a high pitched falsetto during one of the later verses with the words "Anybody got a bit of money" rather then mentioning the political British names "Wilson...Heath" on the commercial version. Another difference is the ending of the song whereby it fades out with the guitar solo repeated - actually edited so that the first and second solo are the same - played by Paul. The alternate edit on "Anthology" lets us hear the original thought of having the song end "cold"...i.e. no fade out. There also seems stray guitar notes during the second verse that was not used on the commercial version.