Saturday, February 27, 2016

"Magical Mystery Tour" Title Song Recording

The recording of the song "Magical Mystery Tour" practically blended with the end of the "Sgt. Pepper" sessions in timing. The end of the current LP was completed and within a few days the beginning of a new project was started. The inspiration of Paul McCartney's "Magical Mystery Tour" was written while Paul had visited the USA earlier in the month and derives from bus tours given in the UK where an unknown destination -for the passengers- would end up somewhere on a sea side whereby the partying and drinking would commence.
On April 25 1967, The Beatles gathered into EMI Studio 2 to start the recording with Paul on piano, John and George on their guitars and Ringo on Drums. Take three became the basic track with reductions of the four track where all this was thrown on to track one in five attempts bringing the recording up to take eight. Backing vocals by all were added to track four, bass by Paul on track two and some percussion (cow bell, tambourine, etc.) all went onto track three.
Another reduction was completed combining tracks 2 and 3, 1 and 4 bringing the recording to take nine. This left tracks 3 and 4 open.
On April 27 1967, the lead vocal by Paul along with some harmonies was recorded onto track 3 and a mono mix was made and cut into an acetate in order to have the score written out for the brass parts to be added later on.
This take nine mix can be heard on the bootleg CD "Another tracks (sic) of Magical Mystery Tour". This can also be found on various "Alternate" version issued on vinyl and CD.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Run Out Groove Recording

On April 21 1967, The Beatles entered Studio 2 at EMI recording studios in London to record some noises for the run-out groove of the new upcoming LP "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". A microphone was set up and it was decided to simply project random thoughts, words, whatever as they stood around this microphone. The results (supposedly from take 1) are barely three seconds of high pitched or sped up voices that appears on the last groove of the original UK LP.
The mono version of the British LP has this in mono obviously and on the stereo version the run out groove pans from one speaker to the next. In-genius.
The North American market did not have this particular inner groove gibberish as it only appeared in the UK during the cutting of the LP at EMI. Later in 1980, the North American market finally got their version with the commercial release of the Capitol/EMI LP "Rarities" and was featured as the last track of side 2. Another version of the groove chat was released on the commercial compact disc version of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" in 1987 with the inner grove chat being repeated 23 times over and over to try and simulate what would have happened if the set was to be played as a vinyl LP on a turntable with a manual arm.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

"Only A Northern Song" mixes

A George Harrison composition was ready to be recorded for the upcoming "Sgt. Pepper" project but in the end it was discarded in favour of his other composition "Within You, Without You". "Only A Northern Song" was first recorded on February 13 1967 in Studio Two at EMI in London. The recording consisted mainly of organ and percussion. The four tracks were reduced to two tracks by combining the instruments which then added George Harrison's first attempts at a vocal. The song was left to it's own devices for the moment.
On April 20 1967, The Beatles returned to the original tape with organ, percussion and vocals. A bass guitar track was added by Paul as well as glockenspiel and trumpet (played badly). The latter instruments were completed and the four track was full. Instead of a reduction, a second machine was used with a fresh four track tape and George proceeded to sing a new vocal attempt along with keyboards (piano, organ and mellotron) and tympani to produce more background screwing around notes. Since two four tracks were used, it must be remembered that the original organ/percussion take from back in February was present on both and the machines and tapes had to be successfully manually synced.
The next day on April 21 1967, the machines/tapes were synced and a mono mix was completed and given to the producers for use on the "Yellow Submarine" film project (hence it appears on that soundtrack LP). There were six attempts at the mono mix. This made a stereo mix complicated due to the syncing of the tapes and instead of trying to separate the instruments, a duophonic mix was created on October 29 1968 by boosting the high end in one channel and boosting the low end on the second channel. This fake stereo mix appears on the Apple LP/CD "Yellow Submarine" - the mono mix is available on the LP/CD of the same title in the UK only with original copies being rare. The mono mix from the film runs a semi tone lower than the commercial recording on vinyl/CD. The mono film mix can be heard on the bootleg "The Lost Pepperland Reel".
Due to the advances in technology, it is now easier to re-construct various reel tracks digitally thereby allowing the song to have true stereo mixes. The first stereo mix contains the original organ, bass and drums with the vocals from the first attempt back in February 1967 by George Harrison with slightly different words. This appears on the commercial Apple/EMI 3-LP/ 2-CD "Anthology 2". The second true stereo mix can be found on the Apple/EMI LP/CD "Yellow Submarine Songtrack" which uses the same instrumentation as the final attempt for the original LP, but remixed in true glorious stereo.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

"Within You, Without You" Mixes

In early April (3 and 4) 1967, the mixes for "Within You, Without You" which was an original George Harrison composition, were experimented and completed. The song consists of three parts, the first verses, the middle section and the final section of verse.
There was a private reduction mix completed early on for George Martin to take away and score a musical section for violins and cellos. You can hear an example of the overdubs on the "Making of Sgt. Pepper" television special and this has also been available on the vinyl bootleg "Arrive Without Traveling" and the CD bootleg "Arrive Without Aging".
The mix from the 3-LP/3-CD Apple/EMI "Anthology 2" project consist of an instrumental leaving the bare backing for the first two minutes before introducing the orchestral overdubs. You can hear George Harrison's sitar clearly. Vocals have been taken out obviously.
The mono and stereo mix present on the commercial "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" LP contains edits between the first part/ second and third part. The edit is smoother on the mono mix (which can be heard at 2:23). Also the mono mix is two seconds longer than the stereo mix as the laughter (which is added to the end of the song as suggested by the composer) is different on each mix.
"Within You, Without You" was also re-mixed by Giles Martin for the Beatles' late 2006 issue of the 2-LP/CD "Love" project and mashed up with "Tomorrow Never Knows".
I've included the "Anthology 2" mix below for your listening pleasure: