Friday, January 6, 2017

"What's The New Mary Jane" Session and Mixes

On August 14 1968, John, George, Yoko and Mal Evans were present at EMI Studio 2 and were feeling a bit out of their heads as John would later say. It was decided to record a new composition by John entitled "What's The New Mary Jane". John was playing piano and vocals while George would strum the guitar.
The fourth take would last over six minutes long - the main body of the song is only two minutes and the rest of the tune consists of experimental noises by all involved. The piano and guitar were doubled and a second vocal was added to the first part of the song; the second part of the song includes percussion like rachets, handbells, cowbell, tambourine, drums, etc.) as well as Yoko's wailing. The song ends with the John Lennon statement "Let's hear it before we get taken away"!
A stereo mix of the song let's us hear the first two minutes including three verses and choruses, Yoko joins in with the addition of an accordian and piano (with someone just playing the strings of the piano), some slide whistle is also added before the percussion and chaos continues.
On September 25, 1968 two mono mixes and two stereo mixes were completed and the song was edited down to just over three minutes. One of these mixes can be heard on a very early vinyl bootleg entitled "Mary Jane" and on "Spicy Beatles Songs" (in mono).
Of course, the song never made it to the new LP but it re-surfaced later in the next year when John thought he may use the tune as a Plastic Ono Band single. Fresh stereo mixes were completed and a stereo mix from November 26 1969 is used on the 12 inch vinyl bootleg: "What A Shame Mary Jane Had A Pain At The Party".
Finally, circa 1984, a stereo mix was created by Geoff Emerick using the original tapes and going back to the original length of six minutes. The mix remained slated for release on the cancelled "Sessions" commercial LP but ended up on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project.

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