Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) Session

On April 01 1967, The Beatles entered the larger EMI Studio 1 in order to record a reprise of the title song for their upcoming LP. The idea was inspired by the fact that McCartney would usually thank the audience at the concert before the final song to let them know that the show was coming to an end.
Neil Aspinall had mentioned the fact to Paul McCartney and this inspired the song. It took only one day to record with nine takes of the backing as John and George played guitar, Paul on bass and Ringo on drums with George Martin on the harmonium. They all played live as a unit with Paul singing a guide vocal.
Once take nine was completed, vocals by Paul, John and George were added as were some percussion (tambourine and maracas). Finally, some of the audience tape noise was overdubbed onto the beginning of the song with the count-in as well as the end of the song and in various spots throughout.
Take five of this session can be heard commercially in mono on the Apple/EMI 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 2" set. The same take five can be heard commercially in stereo on the Apple/EMI DVD "Anthology" series.
The mono mix for the original LP was completed on the same day as the recording in nine attempts whereby the stereo mix was completed on April 20 1967 in ten attempts. The mono mix is longer with an extra bar added to the song as well as having Paul's shouting intro louder than on the stereo mix.
Here's an amusing little clip someone put up about the differences with the mono and stereo versions of the reprise on the LP:

Saturday, January 23, 2016

"Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite" Overdubs

In the studios of EMI particularly in number 1 (the largest room) on March 31 1967 The Beatles entered and work was to continue on a John Lennon number entitled "Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite". Starting at a session from March 28 1967:The basic track was taken off the shelves, dusted off and polished by adding some harmonica and organ at the beginning of the song for the intro - thickening whatever harmonicas were already recorded. Both harmonicas were played by Ringo and George although some sources also mention Mal Evans and Neil Aspinal contributing which is also possible. The middle of the song had some tambourine added by Ringo, a guitar added by Paul, organ by John and George Martin playing the cascading notes on another organ.
The next day on March 29 1967, it seems that John and George "thickened" up the harmonicas by adding a couple more blasts in the intro.The melody being carried at the last instrumental verse was being recorded on this day as well.
Finally, on March 31 1967, the tape loop consisting of various circus recordings and steam engine sounds being cut up and manipulated were added to the last instrumental verse. The final low chord on the organ and a bit of glockenspiel were also added to the tape to complete the song.
You can hear some of the take 09 overdubs with the tape loops, etc. on the commercial version of the Apple/EMI 2-CD/3-LP "Anthology 2" which actually cross-fades from take 07 without the overdubs to take 09 with the overdubs at around the two minute and a half mark.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Good Morning Good Morning Animal Effects

The basic track for the John Lennon composition "Good Morning Good Morning" was pulled off the EMI tape storage shelf on March 13 1967 in order to complete a horn overdub consisting of saxes, trombones and a French horn played by members of the 1960s band Sounds Incorporated who were acquaintances of The Beatles. In addition, on March 29 1967, John Lennon overdubbed his lead vocal and harmonizing with himself as well as the addition of backing vocals by the band and the lead guitar solo played by Paul McCartney (very phased on the mono mix, by the way !!).
It was decided to begin and end the song with an array of animal sounds. You can hear a rooster or crow at the beginning and then there is a variety of animal noises at the end which some researchers contest that they follow one another in the order of which animal devours the next animal (not quite). Sounds includes birds (similar to the beginning of "Across the Universe"), cats, dogs, horses, lions, elephants, chickens, etc.
The isolated animal effects tape can be heard unedited on the bootleg CD "The Lost Pepperland Reel" as well as the youtube post below. The tape was assembled by the EMI staff on either March 28 or 29 1967 and mixed into the song at the same time. The stereo mix has a very slight length difference with a few seconds added compared to the mono mix.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Completing the title track for "Sgt. Pepper"

March 06 1967 was a busy day at EMI Studio 2 for the Beatles. The overdubbing of french horns for the title track of the newly decided title being: "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".
The horns were mainly added to the chorus of the song as well as the ending whereby they would hold a note while the backing continued. At this point there was no fade out and the bass line and drums continued and then simply stopped once the length of the ending was accomplished.
Once the horns were recorded, George Harrison added his stinging lead guitar to the proceedings and put on the same track as the horns (track 3). Finally, audience ambiance and noise was added to the mix on track four with some laughing and chatting and applause - added to track 4. There was also at the very beginning of the song before the music started whereby the orchestra was warming up and tuning along with some chatting. As stated, the chatting was taken from a library tape whereby the orchestra tune up was taken from the February session of "A Day In The Life" where the orchestra was present for the orgasmic overdub. The isolated crowd noises can be heard on the CD bootleg "The Lost Pepperland Reel".
Three attempts at a mono mix was completed at this session as well as eight attempts at a stereo mix. There are differences in both mixes with the audience noises and the fact that the lead guitar/audience is much louder in the mono mix. The commercial stereo mix has Paul's vocal isolated in one speaker and moving across the stereo spectrum with the group vocals also isolated in the other speaker and also moving around the spectrum. This was changed on the Apple/EMI CD/LP "Yellow Submarine Songtrack" where the vocals were centered and the group vocals were separated on each speaker during the chorus. There is also a breakdown of the title song available on bootleg.