Saturday, April 30, 2016

"The Fool On The Hill" Unsuccessful Attempt

I guess I should perhaps clarify a bit: both "Your Mother Should Know" and "The Fool On The Hill" had variations of the arrangements recorded around the time of the "Magical Mystery Tour" project in late 1967. The only reason I call them "unsuccessful" is that they did not - at the time of release - appear on the LP nor in the film. Bootlegs of the demo for "The Fool On The Hill" discussed in a previous post did appear and was released in so/so quality and both the "Your Mother Should Know" from my last post and this arrangement of "The Fool On The Hill" were both very successfully released on the 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 2" Apple project in early 1996.
This early version of "The Fool On The Hill" was recorded on September 25 1967 at EMI Studio 2. The lyrics for the song would eventually change slightly (a word or two in the verses) over the course of the project. From the beginning the arrangement included piano and recorders/flutes, Paul's main vocal, acoustic guitar, drums played with brushes. The intro at this point is the same as the earlier piano demo. Three takes were recorded of the basic track with some overdubs added onto take four. The successful remake would be started the following evening.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

"Your Mother Should Know" Unsuccessful Remake

On September 16 1967, Paul McCartney had decided to try another pass at his composition "Your Mother Should Know" in a different recorded form probably for experimental purposes or maybe to try another method of presentation for the song. In any case, this session saw a remake of the tune that ended up on the commercial Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 2" project. It's even mixed in stereo !
During the session in number 3 at EMI Studios in London, Paul played the harmonium and Ringo plays his snare drum. There are also bongos and a phased piano heard during the track which may or may not be band mates George and John. About 10 takes were performed with take 27 (the seventh take) being used as the example for the Anthology version.
A little more than a week after this recording (on September 24 1967); The Beatles filmed the scene for the song and the earlier version with Paul on piano - the version which would also end up on the disc - was used instead of this version.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

An Early Version of "Aerial Tour Instrumental"

It was decided by The Beatles to supply the soundtrack for their upcoming late 1967 television special "Magical Mystery Tour" and for this purpose a recording session was held on September 08 1967 with an improvisation composed by all four members originally entitled "Aerial Tour Instrumental" which was later changed to the title "Flying".
The tune is basically a bit of a blues number and on the day of the session the basic tracks consisted of George Harrison on electric guitar, John Lennon on the studio organ, Paul McCartney on bass and Ringo Starr on the drums. The entire instrumental last approximately one minute and a half and take six would be used as the backing for the master.Overdubbing for the day began with some backwards organ, the four tracks reduced to two tracks and then the melody of the song being first played by Lennon on the mellotron and the entire group joining on on vocals "La la la".
More overdubbing would later feature on the track but for now, a mono mix (RM4) was completed and the song as it stood was pressed onto an acetate at EMI. At this point, slide whistle and some flute sounds from the mellotron was featured for 30 seconds after the song ended as well as an "inboard" sound from the mellotron featuring a jazz band ending.
The song in this early form can be found on bootlegs such as the vinyl "The Lost Lennon Tapes Volume Nine" and the CD "Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 03".

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Walrus and The Fool

On September 06 1967, The Beatles entered Studio Two at EMI in London to continue the completion of the "I Am The Walrus" track. This time the previous backing track (see last entry) was reduced to take 17 with Paul adding some bass guitar and Ringo thickening his snare drum. John Lennon added his vocal which would be used on the commercial recording. The vocal features a great compression in sound and you can tell that John is forcing his vocal by the way he is singing. It's also been witnessed by DJ of the time Kenny Everett (who is present at this particular session) that Lennon had been singing the song over and over for most of the day making his voice slightly hoarse which contributed to the sound of the vocal.
Once this task was completed, a mono mix was attempted and the fourth mix was used to copy onto an acetate. The mono mix was also used for miming during the filming of the accompanying video of the tune. This mono mix is featured on such bootlegs as the vinyl "Casualties" and the CD "Acetates". There is also a commercial version of this early take on the Apple 3LP/2CD "Anthology 2" which contains a stereo mix created from takes 16 and 17.
The other song featured at this session was a very early example of a Paul McCartney song entitled "The Fool On The Hill". During a lull in the recording of "Walrus", Paul sat at the piano and recorded a short demo of the song as it stood at the time. Most of the lyrics are complete although the early version shows a few substituted words and some scat singing. There is also no planned ending so a "show biz" type ending is used in it's place. This version has been bootlegged on the LP "Strawberry Fields Forever" as well as the CD titles "Ultra Rare Trax, Volume One" and "Acetates". It eventually appeared commercial on the Apple 3LP/2CD "Anthology 2" in mono.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

"I Am The Walrus" - Early Takes and Rehearsals

There is a tape that exists out there of the Beatles performing the backing tracks for John Lennon's latest composition at the time - and his contribution to the "Magical Mystery Tour" session - namely the bizarrely titled : "I Am The Walrus".
The backing track recording took place at EMI Studio 1 in London on September 05 1967. The instrumentation included John Lennon on guide vocal (off-mic) and electric piano, Paul on bass guitar, Ringo on the drums and George Harrison on electric guitar.
Takes 07, 08 and 09 as well as a bit of rehearsal are crammed onto the tape with take 07 being performed about halfway through the song before it breaks down. Take 08 is shorter when the musicans stop during the first verse. Finally Take 09 is much better with the song being performed to the end. After this, we can hear some of the rehearsal performance from a previous attempt.
All being said, eventually the backing track would be kept after take 16 (discussed in the next section) whereby the instrumentation would change with Paul hanging up his bass and playing tambourine; the bass guitar being added later in the recording process.
Here is take 07:

Here is take 09:

As you can hear, the mix is not very good but these are very rough early takes supposedly through studio monitors. You can also hear these recordings in section from the bootleg CDs "Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 03" as well as "Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 06" on CD as well. The complete section of takes 07, 08, 09 and rehearsal can be found on the CD "The Complete Controlroom Monitor Mixes Vol. 02".