Sunday, March 27, 2016

"Your Mother Should Know" - First Session (Take 8)

The Beatles were absent from the recording Studio for approximately two months and picked up in late August to start their soundtrack titles for the upcoming television film "Magical Mystery Tour" of which the title track was completed.
On August 22 1967 The Beatles entered Chappell Recording Studios in London to begin a Paul McCartney composition entitled "Your Mother Should Know". In order to complete the basic track, Paul played the piano and Ringo played drums with a double lead vocal from Paul. At this stage, only two Beatles were featured and take 8 was considered as "best". An acetate of the song must have been made at this point. This take was used during the production of the film.
You can hear the results of this basic track on such bootlegs as the vinyl LP "Not For Sale" as well as the vinyl box set "Golden Slumbers". It's also heard on the bootleg CD "Acetates". I've tried to find a youtube equivalent but could not.
The next day on August 23 1967, the drums and piano were combined onto one track and the double lead vocal was also combined onto a second track to allow for two tracks of backing vocals and a bit of guitar in the choruses. The song was left in this state for the time being.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

"All You Need Is Love" Sessions

The Beatles had been asked to contribute a song in May of 1967 for the first worldwide television broadcast to be entitled "Our World". The song chosen for this occasion would be recorded at EMI Studios in London and captured live on television. John Lennon's composition "All You Need Is Love" was chosen for the broadcast.
The first thing the Beatles did was to record a backing rhythm track with additions and overdub thereby ensuring the few mistakes would happen during the live session of the broadcast. Therefore, on June 14 1967 The Beatles entered Olympic Studios in Barnes, England to produce the backing track. John Lennon played the harpsichord, Ringo was on drums, Paul on the double bass and George scratching a violin. There were 33 attempts with the 10th attempt being the "best". All of this was transferred onto a four track machine; combined onto track one and called "take ten".
Five days later on June 19, the Olympic Studio tape was taken to EMI Studios where it was transferred to a fresh EMI tape/tape machine with track 1 intact. On track 2 of the tape, some piano, some banjo and some drums were added. Onto tracks 3 and 4 (the remaining tracks) vocals by The Beatles was added such as the "Love, love, love" backing and some chorus vocals by John Lennon as well. A mono mix of the song was completed two days later and this mix was used for rehearsals with an orchestra of session musicians on June 23 1967 in EMI studio one. The next day (also at Studio 1) , the television crew, the orchestra and The Beatles rehearsed the song together as well as the crew blocking camera angles and prepping for the big day.
Finally, On June 25 1967 in Studio 1 at EMI, some vocal overdubs and orchestral overdubs were recorded during run-throughs and rehearsals including takes 44 to 58 being recorded on mono four track for the outside transmission vans, etc. One of these rehearsal takes was played during the BBC introduction of the song. The "live" portion of the song have the orchestra and The Beatles playing to the background track and is officially considered take "59". The backing track is on track 1, John Lennon's vocals are on track 4 (although Paul and George sing along, their mikes are not plugged in - they are simply miming to their pre-recorded vocals of the backing track). The orchestra is on track 3, Paul's bass guitar, George's guitar and Ringo's overhead for drums are all on track 2. Playing on the high-hat along Ringo is none other than Keith Moon. Once the song was over, the raw tape of the BBC was kept.
The next day on June 26, the burst of tambourine used at the beginning of the song for the BBC raw tape was replaced with a snare drum roll played by Ringo as well as John's lead vocal "fixes" whereby he cleaned up a few lines from the performance. The song was mixed in mono from this version and issued as a single 11 days later.
The song also appeared in the "Yellow Submarine" soundtrack for the film and the LP. The song was given a fresh mono mix on November 1 1967 and it was eventually edited as such: First verse and chorus, third verse, fourth chorus, added "fifth" chorus and coda.
As of this point, the song remained only available in mono until October 29 1968 when it was mixed for stereo - the mix is basically track 1 through the left speaker, track 3 through the right speaker, and tracks 2 and 4 centered. The Apple LP/CD "Yellow Submarine Songtrack" has the same mix with the exception of tracks 2 and 4 separated and the orchestra moving around the stereo spectrum as bit more.
The BBC raw "live" audio can be found on such vinyl bootlegs as "The Beatles Vs. Don Ho" and "LS Bumblebee". Better sounding versions of this appear on such bootlegs as "Ultra Rare Trax, Volume 5 and 6" (vinyl) and "Unsurpassed Masters, Vol. 3" (Compact Disc). The Apple "Anthology" version uses the commercial stereo mix. Lastly, an interesting mono mix created by Geoff Emerick with an added chorus (for the "Yellow Submarine" film that was not used) with count-in can be found on the CD bootleg "The Lost Pepperland Reel".

Saturday, March 12, 2016

"It's All Too Much" Session and Mixes.

The George Harrison song "Too Much" started life as a backing track recorded in four takes on May 25, 1967 at De Lane Lea Studios in London. The instruments sued were mainly drums, bass, guitar and organ. The backing instrument were all put onto one track; the second track featuring George's main vocals along with the backing from John and Paul. while percussion (tambourine, cowbell) were put on track three.
On June 02 in the same location, George Harrison saw the overdubs for trumpets and bass clarinet. Once again, there didn't seem to be a score waiting for the musicians to follow so - like "Magical Mystery Tour" - there must have been a lot of experimentation and improvisation until the desired result was accomplished.
The first mixes completed were conducted at De Lane Lea Studios on October 12 1967 - a mono mix and a stereo mix were finished and ready but the song lasted over eight minutes at this point ! The mono mix was copied at EMI Studios on November 15 1967 and was given to the film producers. The producers were weary of the long time length of the song and (like some of the other songs on the film soundtrack) was heavily edited by only including the intro, first verse, second chorus, a trumpet break before skipping to the fourth verse, the fifth chorus and the beginning of the long ending chorus. Whew! Quite the chop.
When it came time to mix for the commercial LP, the original De Lane Lea Studios tape was copied to an EMI Studios tape and a new series of mono and stereo mixes were conducted in late October 1967. This time the mono/stereo mixes would use a different editing from the film soundtrack. The third and fourth verses were removed and there was an early fade out produced. The mono mix would not be released until the 2009 mono masters (EMI/Apple Double CD). The stereo mix would appear on the Apple LP/CD "Yellow Submarine".
Finally, the stereo mix on the EMI/Apple LP/CD "Yellow Submarine Songtrack" contains pretty much the same stereo mix although the organ is isolated in the left channel.
The complete eight minute version of the song can be found on various bootlegs including the LP "Arrive without Travelling, the CDs "Arrive Without Aging" and "The Lost Pepperland Reel".
I've included a youtube link to the edited mono mix:

Saturday, March 5, 2016

"Magical Mystery Tour" Overdub/Film Mixes

The recording sessions for "Magical Mystery Tour" continued on the evening of May 03 1978 at EMI Studio 3 with brass overdubs for the song. When the trumpeters arrived, they were surprised to find out that no score was yet available. The story goes that Paul McCartney and George Martin were at the piano trying to figure out what the brass would be playing and the score ended up being written by Gary Howarth who was one of the musicians hired for the session!
The brass was recorded onto the empty track 4 and mono mixes were conducted for the song. There were seven attempts at a mono mix with some attempts on May 04 1967 and others on September 28 1967 (the last one used on the television show). The LP/CD mono mix would not be mixed until November 06 1967 which will be discussed in a later post.
The September 28 1967 mono mix contains various noises and voice narration not issued on the commercial recording including some audience applause, vehicle noises and the voice intro by John Lennon "roll up, roll up". There is also a narration by John Lennon in the middle of the song for the mono mix of the show; the "trip of a lifetime", etc.
Interestingly, the later VHS/DVD release of the television show features a stereo re-creation of the introduction using the stereo separation of takes eight and nine with the narration included.
The television show mono mix can be found on various bootlegs including the CD "Acetates" as well as the bootleg LP "Cinelogue Soundtrack" series and various examples of the "Alternate Magical Mystery Tour" LP and CD series.