Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Final Beatles' Recording Session

On April 01 1970, final work was done on three of the tunes for the upcoming "Let It Be" (formerly known as "Get Back") project. The session was held in Studio 1 of EMI/Abbey Road Studios in London.
The participants included producer Phil Spector and Ringo Starr. Also included a 35 piece orchestra, a choir with 14 members, and orchestral arrangement by Richard Hewson (who would later work a lot with Paul McCartney on various Mary Hopkin tunes and is the arranger behind "Thrillington"), John Barham (who would also work on some Apple Records projects) and Brian Rogers.
The first song being worked on was John's "Across The Universe". The song was transferred from the original four track and copied onto eight-track (only using three tracks). The background vocals by the two fans/ Beatles were removed. They then added the choir and the orchestra, extra guitars and Ringo on drums to help keep time. The song was slowed down a key for the final mix.
The second song butchered....uh, I mean re-arranged.....was Paul's "The Long and Winding Road". Supposedly, Paul knew nothing about this session and later claimed anger at the arrangement of his song. The first thing done was to reduced the number of tracks on the original eight track by combining drums and bass onto one track rather than two, and combining Billy Preston's electric piano and George's guitar onto one track as well. Mr Spector than proceeded to add strings, brass, choir and Ringo on the last track. During the mixing process done the next day, two of the stereo mixes were combined.
Lastly, the final song was George's "I Me Mine". Phil Spector had already extended the track by adding a previous verse and chorus repeating instead of once to lengthen the song. Brass, strings and Ringo were added to the song. Thankfully, no choir for this one. The next day, all stereo mixes were completed.
Paul strongly objected to the "The Long and Winding Road" mix and asked that the orchestration be brought down in the mix with the Beatles instrumentation/vocals be brought up. He also asked that the harp at the end be taken out. He was completely ignored. Not the best ending.
All three songs can be heard on the Apple LP/CD "Let It Be".

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