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".

Saturday, June 1, 2019

"You Always Hurt The One You Love" session for Ringo

One last tune for the "Sentimental Journey" LP by Ringo: This one was made popular by the Mills Brothers and entitled "You Always Hurt The One You Love". It was arranged by John Dankworth. He also conducted the backing 20 piece ensemble at De Lane Lea Studios on Februrary 25 with Ringo present for this session. Once the backing was completed, Ringo was called upon to add vocals and finish the recording. The song was also mixed at the same session (in stereo).
The final session took place on March 06 at Morgan Studios when John Dankworth returned to the song in order to add a saxophone solo along with some extra piano and drums. The son was also re-mixed with the additional instruments at Morgan Studios as well.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

"Whispering Grass ( Don't Tell the Trees)/Bye Bye Blackbird" session.

During the month of February 1970, both Paul and Ringo had been busy working on their respective Apple solo LPs and in fact, at one point they both used the same recording studio although not at the same time. Morgan Studios in London was used by Paul at first and he have recommended the studio to Ringo at some point at the next Ringo session for the "Sentimental Journey" LP was completed there on March 05 1970.
The two songs recorded and completed (incredibly) in one day, were "Whispering Grass (Don't Tell The Trees)" which was arranged by Ron Goodwin and "Bye Bye Blackbird" which was arranged by non other than Maurice Gibb.
The entire backing session took around three hours to complete with both songs using the same orchestra for the session. Rong Goodwin was first up and conducted the 36 piece orchestra for "Whispering Grass" and once that was perfected, Maurice Gibb stepped up and conducted the orchestra for "Bye Bye Blackbird" adding some banjo and brass.
Next up were Ringo's vocals which he overdubbed onto the backing being double tracked in various places on the song "Bye Bye Blackbird".
The next day (March 06 1970) both songs were mixed in stereo at EMI/Abbey Road Studios with George Martin producing. The songs were eventually released on the Apple LP/CD "Sentimental Journey".

Sunday, May 5, 2019

"Kreen-Akrore" Session.

The final instrumental piece and the final song on the "McCartney" solo Apple LP/CD is a tune/improv/drums experiment entitled "Kreen-Akrore". The song and title were inspired by a UK ATV television show on a tribe from the Brazilian jungle known for their defense of their territory  - the Kreen-Akrore Indians. The show's title was "The Tribe That Hides From Man".
The song was recorded at Morgan Studios probably between February 18 and 20 1970 ( the television show aried on the evening of February 17). The song was recorded in two parts: the first part including drums and the addition of organ, piano, guitars, bass as well as their vocals being speeded up to imitate animal sounds as well as hitting the back of a guitar to create that stampede sound. The second part of the song was recorded with more drums and also the addition of vocals, organ and guitar, bass and Paul's heavy breathing. The stereo mix was probably completed around the same time as the completion of the recording on February 20 1970.
It's an interesting experiment but not the best instrumental of the LP. The song has never been performed live as far as I know and can only be found on the "McCartney" album.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

"Maybe I'm Amazed" Session

"Maybe I'm Amazed" was recorded and mixed for his first Apple solo LP at Abbey Road/EMI Studio two in one day (February 22 1970). This song featured more instruments than some of the other tunes on the LP with the piano, bass, drums, various guitars and vocals/back up vocals overdubbed mainly by Paul with Linda. The song was written about and written for Linda McCartney. It ended up being the second last song on the B-side ( the sliced Apple side of the "McCartney" LP).
Although the song at the time was not released as a single, there was a promotion film made using Linda McCartney's photo stills and the song aired often on television. When the McCartney catalogue was transferred from Capitol Records to Columbia Records, this version of "Maybe I'm Amazed" was put out as an "oldies" single on Columbia in 1980.
Seven years later at the beginning of 1977, the live version of the song from the LP "Wings Over America" was released on 45 with the B-side being "Soily" - both songs taken from the concert LP. There was also a Capitol promo 12 inch single of the song  (Capitol SPRO 8574/77) mixed and edited in both stereo and fold-down mono. The 45 single reached the 10 ten in the charts in 1977 and has become a classic on 70s radio. The 23 inch single promo was also re-issued for Records Store Day in 2013 by Hear Music.
The song has been a staple of Paul McCartney's live shows starting with both European tours in 1972,  The "James Paul McCartney" television special in 1973, the 1973 UK Tour, it is also featured in the "One Hand Clapping" segment from 1974, the 1975 UK and Australia Tour, the 1976 North American and UK Tour, the "Wings Over The World" television special in 1979, The "Rockshow" movie originally premiering in 1980 and re-issued/remastered in 2013 by MPL, the 1979 UK Tour, the 1989 European and North American Tour, the 1990 UK and US Tour, the "Tripping The Live Fantasic" concert LP from November 1990,  it was also played at the tail end of a "Simpsons" episode in 1995,  the song also appeared in classical form performed by the Loma Mar Quartet on the "Working Classical" LP (EMI Classics) in 1999, it was performed on the "Back in the US/ World" 2002/2003 tours and CDs, the "Paul McCartney In Red Square" DVD from 2005 and the "Space Within Us" DVD from 2006,  it was played on his "On The Run Tour" of 2011 as well as his "Out There" tour of 2013. In 2015, the song was featured on the "Saturday Night Live: 40th Anniversary" special. The song was also performed on his "Freshen UP" tour of 2018.  

Saturday, April 20, 2019

"Teddy Boy"

"Teddy Boy" was a song written by Paul McCartney in Rishikesh, India around March of 1968 and later refined in Scotland and London. The song was going to be offered up to The Beatles first for the "White Album" and it was also rehearsed and recorded in January 1969 for the "Get Back/Let It Be" project but was not chosen for official release although early versions of the song appear the Glyn Johns mixes/ sequences for early "Get Back" LP consideration. The revamp was undertaken in early 1970 when "Teddy Boy" was dropped from the sequence with George Harrison's newly recorded "I Me Mine" and "Across The Universe" taking it's place on the LP ("Teddy Boy" is not seen in the movie whereby the other two songs are). The song taken from both the January 24 and January 28 1969 "Get Back/Let It Be" sessions from Apple Studios can be found on the Apple 3 LP/2CD project "Anthology 3".
Paul must have really loved this tune as it was also recorded at his St. John Wood home on his Studer four track machine with acoustic guitar, bass and Paul/Linda vocals (Linda on harmonies). This version was brought to Morgan Studios in London and drums/more vocals were added. The song was also mixed  in stereo at Morgan between February 10/20 1970 and released on the Apple LP/CD "McCartney".

Saturday, April 6, 2019

"Momma Miss America" by Paul

"Momma Miss America" is on Paul McCartney's first Apple solo LP known simply by the title "McCartney". This was recorded as two instrumental demo pieces with the first part going under the working title "Rock And Roll Springtime" as evidenced by said title announced before the take. The performances were completed at Paul's home on Cavendish Avenue in London.
The first part of the song consists of an electric guitar with added tremolo, bass, piano and drums. There is an obviously edit just prior to the two-minute mark in the song whereby the second part of the song appears. The instrumentation is different here with the addition of acoustic guitar and straight electric guitar as well as the piano, drums and bass.
The song may have been edited either by Paul or during the mixing stage at EMI Abbey Road Studio 2 in London on February 21 1970.
The song was also used on the soundtrack to the 1996 film "Jerry Maguire" which was probably suggested by director Cameron Crowe. Both the LP version and the soundtrack version have the same stereo mix.