Saturday, December 24, 2016

"Not Guilty" Basic Track and Mixing

The song "Not Guilty" was written by George Harrison and was meant to be featured on the upcoming new LP (eventually entitled "The Beatles" (White Album)". This was not the case as in the end the song was left in the can, as it were.
There was a lot of work put into the basic track of the song including the musical stylings of George on guitar, Ringo on drums, Paul on bass and Chris Thomas on harpsichord. At this point of time and until the end of the Beatles' career, John Lennon rarely played on a George Harrison track for some reason we will never know.
Recording the basic track took two nights to complete; the first evening was on August 07 1968 with 46 takes and the next evening August 08 1968 with a further 51 takes. The take used for the commercial recording was take 97 and four track reduction took place taking the song to take 101!
On August 09 1968, there were overdubs by George of more guitar and also some added drums by Ringo. Finally, on August 12 1968, George Harrison added vocals to the song with one pass using John and Paul to add harmonies but this was discarded and it ends up being a solo vocal performance.
A mono mix of the song was completed on August 12 as well and you can hear this version on various bootlegs including the vinyl versions of "Not Guilty" and "Nothing Is Real" as well as the CD version of "Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 04".
A stereo mix was created by Geoff Emerick in 1984 especially for the aborted "Sessions" LP and it is the same mix used for the Apple 3-LP/2CD "Anthology 3" project. Lots of phasing in the drums and vocals on this mix, plus a lot of editing.
Here's the original mono remix 1:

Saturday, December 17, 2016

"Mother Nature's Son" Alternate Take

In the evening of August 09 1968, Paul McCartney recorded his composition "Mother Nature's Son" at EMI Studio 2 for inclusion on the upcoming LP - later to be entitled "The Beatles" (White Album). There were 25 official takes in total, of which take 24 would become the commercial version we all know and love. Additional overdubs of brass, a second vocal and doubling of guitar, tapping of a book with added bass drum and tympani were all added to take 24 on August 20 1968. The song was mixed for mono with eight attempts the same evening. The mono mix included on the Peter Seller's tape is announced as Remix 08 and is slightly different than the commercial release as it's percussion is mixed low as well as the low mix of the second guitar. This version can be found on the "Peter Sellers" CD Bootleg.
There is also take 2 available commercially on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project. This take consists of a D chord strumming intro and the song is extended with an instrumental repeat rather than going straight into the coda. Paul mentions "Londenderry Air" and continues to strum as the recording fades on the Anthology.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

"Hey Jude" outtakes

There is an interesting outtake for "Hey Jude" that is available commercially on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project. This outtake is pre-Trident Studios (where the eventual take from the single was recorded) and also pre "film crew" as well.
This take would be considered take 2 of six takes recorded on July 29 1968 at EMI Studio number 2. The take was recorded on four track for the time being with composer Paul McCartney's vocal on track 1 and his piano on track 2, John's acoustic guitar as well as George's electric guitar on track 3 and the drums on track 4 played by Ringo, of course.
The arrangement of the song barely changes from this stage on. The verses and chorus are in the same place and the lyrics seem to be fairly complete with very minor changes from this take to the final take recorded days later at Trident.
The next evening July 30 1968 and at the same EMI location, The Beatles once again worked on the song except that George Harrison did not play on these takes but was located in the control room with George Martin. A film crew as present as well in order to record some footage for a documentary film entitled "Experiment in Television: Music!". Audio wise, we have a few outtakes from this session including take 7 (which lasts about five minutes) including an extended coda with some ad-libs from John and Paul. There is also a half spoken word type between song audio snippet which is usually identified as "Las Vegas Jude" on the bootlegs. We also have the end of take 8 in to take 9 on the audio bootlegs as well.
Most of the July 30th outtakes can be heard on the CD bootlegs: "Unsurpassed Masters, Volume 4" and "Unsurpassed Masters, Volume 6" at various speeds.
Finally, the song was re-made at Trident Studios in London the next evening on July 31 1968 on eight track making this the first Beatles recording on eight track. The basic track featured Paul on piano/vocal, John on acoustic, Ringo on drums and some occasional electric guitar by George. The first take was used as the final backing track with some bass, percussion (tambourine), a fresh lead and backing vocals. The 36 piece orchestra for the final coda was recorded at Trident the next evening on August 01 1968.
The mono mix heard on the Apple single was mono and was mixed at EMI on August 08 1968 (the third attempt was used) and the stereo mix used on the Apple LP of the same name was created a year later in 1969.
Here is take 7 from the July 30 1968 session plus a bit of "Las Vegas Jude":

Friday, December 2, 2016

"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" - acoustic take 1

On July 25 1968, George Harrison would finally record a new composition for the upcoming LP already in progress. This tune was entitled "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" which was inspired by words "gently weeps" randomly chosen from a book passage in George's home.
From EMI Studio 2, George sat in the studio with his acoustic and recorded a variety of takes (the number of takes remains unknown as George took away the reels from this evening's sessions) but left take 1 behind and this take has been used for various reasons and has appeared on various bootlegs as well.
The instrumentation for the song consists of George Harrison on acoustic/vocal and a harmonium either played by Paul McCartney or overdubbed by Harrison himself. The harmonium enters the song half way through.
Mixes of this version include the Abbey Road Presentation show which was a showcase in 1983 which used a mono mix of the song with the harmonium mixed down low and the ending intact as it was recorded. You can hear this version on such bootlegs as "The Beatles At Abbey Road" as well as "Another Sessions...Plus". One year later, it was decided by EMI to officially release this version on their upcoming proposed "Sessions" LP by including it as a track. Geoff Emerick mixed the song in the stereo and the harmonium is more pronounced on this version. Also, the ending was extended by creating a loop of the final guitar lick a few times which brought the song over three minutes in length. The "Sessions" LP was scrapped and this version finally appeared on the commercial Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" format/project with the same loop for the ending of the tune.
Finally , it should be noted that George Martin overdubbed an orchestral backing for the song which would eventually be released on the Apple CD/LP soundtrack to "Love" released in 2006.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

"Good Night" - A Ringo Lullaby

The history of the song "Good Night" began back on June 28 1968 with some taped rehearsals. This was a tune written by John Lennon especially for his son Julian who was a small boy at the time. It was decided that Ringo would sing the song and that the running order on the new LP (eventually "The White Album") would end with this track.
During the rehearsals, Paul played some piano and George Martin played a shaker as Ringo sang the tune and an arrangement took place during this time. A snippet of this rehearsal can be heard commercially on the Apple 2-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project. This is in mono but it becomes cross-faded into the ending of the orchestral version of the song in stereo.
In the end, five takes were properly recorded with a Ringo vocal overdub completed on July 02 1968 and taken away via an acetate from the studio by George Martin for the "over the top" orchestral overdub which occurred on July 22 1968 in the large Studio 1 at EMI Studios in London.
There are three main mixes available for the tune: the first one is mono with some music edited and some extra 'whispering' vocals at the end of the tune and can be heard on the "Peter Sellers" tape which was an early mix of some of the White Album songs and given as a gift to the actor from Ringo. The main difference between the mono and stereo mixes on the official LP is that the stereo mix has the orchestra fade in at the beginning of the song whereas on the mono mix the orchestra comes in at full volume.
The "Peter Sellers" version can be found on bootleg CD such as "Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 4" and (of course) "The Peter Sellers Tape".

Friday, November 11, 2016

"Sexy Sadie" Monitor Mixes

On July 19 1968, The Beatles continued work on the new LP with a John Lennon song entitled "Sexy Sadie" which was a tune designed to describe the disappointment on John's part of the India experience with the Maharishi earlier in the year.
The rehearsals were taped at EMI Studio 2 in order to get a goo basic track. John Lennon on voice and acoustic, Paul on the organ, Ringo on drums and  George on electric. Apparently 21 takes were recorded but none of the them were used except for take 6 which appears commercially on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project.  There is also some studio chat from the session that shows up on the commercial Anthology DVD.
The bootleg version of this evening's session consists of various playbacks of the song along with some conversation by Paul and John - it also consists of some words added to John Lennon jamming on acoustic and the subject being Mr. Brian Epstein - known on the bootleg as "Brian Epstien Blues" as well as some nasty alternate lyrics for "Sexy Sadie" alluding directly the Maharishi. This excerpt can be found on the CD "Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 4" as well as the CD "Control Room Monitor Mixes and "Complete Control Room Monitor Mixes" as well.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

"A Beginning/ Don't Pass Me By" mixes.

On July 12 1968, fiddler Jack Fallon would enter the EMI Studios as he was hired to fiddle during Ringo's new song at the time: "Don't Pass Me By".  The fiddle part was added to the last track of the tape so the bass part (which was erased) had to be re-done by Paul. Some of the piano (with leslie speaker added) had to be re-done as well and this time frame is probably where that piano intro/tinkling came in for the commercial take of the song. At the same session, a mono mix of the song was completed (remix 4) and given to Ringo to take home. This is one of the songs included on a compilation of very early "White Album" mono mixes that was put on cassette and given as a gift from Ringo to actor Peter Sellers. Eventually, the early mixes were copied and released as a bootleg LP/CD entitled "The Peter Sellers Tape" as well as the CD "Unsurpassed Masters, Volume 4". The early mono mix includes some stray bass notes played during the intro to the song as well as the repeat of the first verse which was not included on the commercial version.
There are also differences between the mono and stereo mix of "Don't Pass Me By" on the commercial Apple LP/CD "The Beatles"(White Album). The mono version is sped up by a semitone compared to the stereo mix. Also, there is a different fiddle improvisation between both mixes. This is probably due to two difference takes of the fiddle overdub.
Lastly, there is an orchestral introduction to the version of "Don't Pass Me By" on the Apple 3LP/2CD "Anthology 3" version. The orchestral piece is entitled "A Beginning". This piece remains a bit of a mystery. The piece was recorded on July 22 1968; ten days after the final recording of Ringo's song. The piece also makes an appearance in the "Yellow Submarine" film near the beginning of the Liverpool scenes. Only George Martin knows for sure why this piece exists. To my ears, I don't think the original intent was to have the song lopped onto "Don't Pass Me By" as there is no musical connection; it may just have been experimental. Or as suggested by others, it may have been George Martin's attempt to have this introduction piece included on the "Yellow Submarine" soundtrack LP.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Revolution Outtake

Upon the completion and work on "Revolution 1" and Revolution 9" for the upcoming LP, it was decided to use the song for the next Beatles single. This time the song would be re-recorded with a faster and more lively tempo.
On July 09 and July 10 1968, The Beatles used EMI Studio 3 to re-record the song. After several rehearsal attempts on the ninth of July, the next day (July 10) started with proper backing tracks. This included John and George playing distorted guitars (through the studio board) and heavy drums by Ringo. There were ten attempts at the backing with the last one being used on the release.
This time the song did not feature the "doo-wop" backing vocals and the only overdub would eventually be a short keyboard solo by Nicky Hopkin. For the moment, both guitars went on track 1 and drums on track 2. John Lennon recorded his vocal on track 3 with the "count me out" vocal; no "in". On the last track, John Lennon laid down the famous "scream" from the intro with an accent on the drums by Ringo. The vocals and intro vocal were then all put onto track 3 leaving track 4 open (probably for the future bass and keyboard overdubs).
This stage of the recording in mono was put on an EMI acetate and has been bootlegged on various formats including the LP "The Lost Lennon Tapes Vol. 4" and the CD "Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 7" and the CD "Revolution" as well.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" Outtake

On July 05 1968, The Beatles were recording at EMI Studio 2 in London preparing a new song for the upcoming LP. "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" started to days previous with the basic track of Paul on acoustic and vocal and Ringo on drums. First it was decided to use take seven, but this was changed to using take four instead. Paul added a second acoustic guitar (slightly distorted) onto take four.
The next day, harmonies and backing vocals were added to the song by John, Paul and George. Lastly (on July 5th, saxophones and conga drums were added to the song.Eventually, more percussion was added to the chorus as well as bass guitar. A rough mix of the song was done and put on an acetate for Paul to take away. He didn't like this take and decided they would abort it and it didn't end up on the LP.
This take (now called take five) has appeared over the years on various bootlegs as it was once considered for the "Sessions" project. The CD "Unsurpassed Masters, Vol. 07" has the raw mix while some versions of this take have it segued with "Christmas Time Is Here Again" in the fade out.
The take five version of "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" was officially released on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" (with new edits at the beginning and end).

Sunday, October 16, 2016

"Blackbird" Rehearsal/ Outtakes

On June 11 1968, Paul McCartney sat at EMI Studio 2 and was filmed as well as recorded performing his new song "Blackbird" featuring himself and an acoustic guitar. John and Yoko as well as Paul's current girlfriend Francie Schwartz were all present at the studio as well.
After performing a run-through of the song for producer George Martin (who was also present), Paul started recording once Mr. Martin had gone up the stairs of the studio to the control room. It was suggested that Paul rehearse the song and record it as a "demo" in order to tighten up the arrangement. In the end, a total of 32 "takes" were recorded on tape in the studio. At one point, the idea of a string quartet in the second verse is discussed as well as a suggestion from John Lennon suggesting a brass band (which would be used eventually on another McCartney composition: "Mother Nature's Son").
Finally, the official takes begun and take 4 was used on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project whose main difference from the commercial release is that the first verse is repeated. In the end, take 32 was chosen as the best take and McCartney double tracked his voice in some places. Six mono mixes were made and a temporary mix (the last one) was kept for almost four months until the official mono and stereo mixes were completed on October 13 1968. The sound effects were added during the October mixing sessions and the difference between the official mono and stereo mixes are the timings for the bird effects in the song (sooner in mono).
The take 4 version of the song can be heard on such CD bootlegs as "Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 4" and "The Peter Sellers Tape". Most of the rehearsal takes can be heard on the bootleg CD "Gone Tomorrow, Here Today" which is a Paul improvisation sung during the rehearsal sessions.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

"Don't Pass Me By" Alternate Commercial Mix

Although there are no real outtakes available for the Ringo song from the "White Album", "Don't Pass Me By" has seen a different mix released on the commercially available Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project as well as a short snippet of dialogue and a few seconds of music on the Anthology DVD.
The snippet consists of the finality of take 3 with cymbals crashes from Ringo while Paul plays some piano. The dialogue that follows this is basically Paul saying "I Think that's got it!" while Ringo says "I think we've got something there, George" (probably referring to George Martin). The piano was treated to some generous leslie speaker manipulation.
The available mix from the LP/CD uses a vocal overdub from Ringo onto take 5 but uses the original take 3 backing of Paul's piano, drums and overdubbed percussion. All this is in glorious stereo. Some extra vocal lines are intact on the mix; some of which would be removed on the "White Album" mix including some spoken word.

Friday, September 30, 2016

"Revolution 1" Sessions

On May 30 1968, The Beatles entered EMI Studio 2 in order to start work on a new LP which would eventually consist of a two record set with the official title "The Beatles" (unofficially known as the "White Album" once released to the public).
The first song to record on the agenda was John Lennon's "Revolution". It would later be changed to "Revolution 1" for the LP version of the tune. The backing track of acoustic guitar, piano and drums would be recorded and take 18 would be chosen as the best backing upon which to overdub. The following day an overdub of John's double tracked vocal , backing "shoo-be-doo-wop" vocals and Paul's bass guitar were added. The whole thing was then reduced to take 19 at this point.
A few days later on June 04 1968 at EMI Studio 3, John continued work on his lead vocals. The high pitched vocal of Paul and George singing "mama...dada" over and over was not used in the end result. Neither was the note of a high pitched guitar feedback loop/ or what sounds like someone going "aaahhh". The whole thing was then reduced to take 20 at this point.
After more overdubbing (Paul on organ and more acoustic guitar); improvisation on the ending of the song with John playing around with the "all right!" vocals and Yoko adding some talking and noises, etc. that would eventually wind up on the LP track "Revolution 9". All of the above taking place before the brass overdubs.
An interesting tape of Yoko rambling into a cassette recorder during the take 20 sessions is available on the bootleg CD "From Kinfauns To Chaos". Take 20 with original overdubs - before they were all chopped off - can be found on the bootleg LP "Revolution" slightly off-speed.
Here is a link to take 20 (running slow) but with the original overdubs intact for your listening pleasure:

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The "White Album" Pre-Production Acoustic Demos

In the final weeks of May 1968 and after the return of the Beatles from the Ashram in India where they had spent the better part of late winter-early spring, a shitload of songs had been written while abroad. It had been decided to "demo" the pile of songs for an upcoming LP that was slated to be started at EMI in the near future.
The result of these demos included almost 25 tunes recorded at George Harrison's home on four track and now known as the "Kinfauns" tapes or the "Esher" tapes named after George's home and/or area respectively. All songs were demoed on acoustic guitars and vocals with minimum percussion. There were also some songs (four of them discussed here) that were recorded solely by John Lennon at around the same time from his home "Kenwood" and they have been included in this batch of recordings which contain acoustic guitar/vocals/ tambourine (in some cases).
The songs included in these demos are as follows: "Julia" featuring a longer version from John with Paul harmonizing."Blackbird" with an extended guitar verse and primitive lyrics. "Rocky Raccoon" which goes straight into the first and second verse and uses maracas. "Back In The USSR" with tambourine and a repeat of the first two verses."Honey Pie" which was released commercially on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project includes tambourine, hand clapping, some scat vocals, maracas. "Mother Nature's Son", "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"including some tambourine. "Junk/Jubilee" was released commercially on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project with some primitive lyrics. "Dear Prudence" has a spoken-word outtro by John. "Sexy Sadie" has additional tambourine and maracas. "Cry Baby Cry" has the final part of song change tempo into a waltz. "Child Of Nature" has additional tambourine and maracas and features the original lyrics. "The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill" has everyone singing along on the chorus with handclapping and maracas. "I'm So Tired" has harmonies by Paul, tambourine and a spoken word verse. "Yer Blues" has tambourine and primitive lyrics different from the commercial version. "Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey" has a shaker added to the demo. "What's The New Mary Jane" has additional tambourine and a group sing along at the chorus. "Revolution" has the fast version with the "doo-wop" backing vocals. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" has organ in the bridges and primitive vocals. "Circles" has organ added to the demo. "Sour Milk Sea" has tambourine and maracas added. "Not Guilty" is added, "Piggies" was released commercially on the Apple 2-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project.
The demos recorded solely by John Lennon at his home in Kenwood include "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" an early arrangement missing some of the section from the commercial version. This is followed by "Mean Mister Mustard/Polythene Pam/Glass Onion". These four latter demos were released commercially on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project.
Most of the "Kinfauns" demos can be found on the bootleg CD "Unsurpassed Demos" as well as the excellent bootleg CD "The 1968 Demos" and a bootleg double EP "The Beatles".
The entire tape can be found on the bootleg CD "From Kinfauns to Chaos".

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Two Virgins Outtake

Yes, read right. In mid May in 1968, John Lennon returned from New York after promoting the Apple company along with Paul McCartney featuring some interviews both in print and on television. The story goes that Lennon got bored upon his return to the UK and decided to call over both Pete Shotton (his longtime Liverpool buddy) and also ended up contacting Yoko Ono to come over. The result was Mr. Shotton going to bed that evening and leaving John and Yoko up to their own devices.
John and Yoko recorded in John's attic studio overnight with the results of experimental spoken word, accompanied by the mellotron (a keyboard that emulates various sounds similar to what would eventually be known as a synthesizer) and sporadic piano notes.
The results of this masterpiece was released commercially on the Apple LP "Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins" in mono and fake stereo of which the front cover consisted of John and Yoko standing fully naked on the front cover facing forward and the back cover with them once again fully naked with their backs turned. The LP was not distributed by EMI or Capitol, but by Track Records in the UK and by Tetragrammaton Records in North America.
The outtake ( lasting about one minute and a half) was broadcast on the "Lost Lennon Tapes" radio series and can be found on the CD bootleg "The Lost Lennon Tapes".

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Rishikesh Audio

Between mid February to late March 1968, The Beatles (minus Ringo who left early due to the food) were situated in Rishikesh, India at an "Ashram" whereby they were instructed to medidate with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi  at the Academy for Trancendental Meditation.
Between March 01 and March 15 1968, some snippets of audio were recorded by an Italian television crew of the Beatles and friends singing some standards including titles such as : When The Saints Go Marching In, Jingle Bells, She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain, Blowin in the Wind, Hare Krishna Mantra, It's Now or Never, Catch the Wind (Donovan),
Also recorded on March 15 1968 were some improvised tunes including : Spiritual Regeneration/ Happy Birthday To You (sung at Mike Love's (of the Beach Boys) birthday party).
Most of these recordings are simply snippets or parts of songs accompanied by acoustic guitar played by either one of the Beatles or Donovan. They can be found on various bootlegs including in the documentary "The Complete Beatles" and vinyl bootlegs "Nothing But Aging" and on CD "Arrive Without Aging". The Happy Birthday wishes and tunes can be found on bootleg vinyl including the LP "Indian Rope Trick" and the LP/CD "Strawberry Fields Forever", etc. The narration hear in the recording is by Wolfman Jack.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Construction of "Lady Madonna"

A new song written mainly by Paul McCartney was chosen to be the next A-side of a single and the start of recording occurred on February 03 1968 at EMI Studio 1  with Paul on the piano and Ringo playing drums using brushes. This basic track recording was completed in three takes. The first over dub consisted of Ringo adding another drum track throughout the song using his hard sticks and playing along with himself from the basic track. Paul added his bass guitar while John and George added electric guitars playing the riff throughout some of the verses. Paul's main vocal and the John/George backing vocals were also overdubbed onto the backing track after the instruments. So far you had on track 1: The original piano/drums with brushes; track 2 and 3: drums with sticks, bass and guitars and on track 4: the vocals (main and backing). On some bootlegs, some of the backing overdubs include a voice at the end singing the words "Lady Madonna" in a quick operatic mocking voice.
Three days later on February 06 1968, the song became take 4 with the drums, bass and guitars mixed onto a single track leaving some free recording space. This was used to have the piano "thickened" by Paul for the intro, Paul's voice "thickened" as well for the "see how they run" part, handclaps in various places and the three main singers cupping their hand and adding a mock voice instrumental part in the middle fo the song. On the bootlegs, you can hear Paul yell out "Lady Madonna" with a short laugh at the beginning of the first verse and the word "Meet...eet...eet" at the end of the song. Most bootlegs contain a rough mix/monitor mix of the song.
A brass section was added to the song as well featuring two tenor and two baritone saxes. A reduction mix was conducted during this time brining the song into take 5 and adding not only the brass, but a sax solo from musician Ronnie Scott. On the Apple "Anthology 2" project, you can hear a few stray lines of sax at the end of the song not present on the commercial versions (they were faded down).The overdubs ended with the harmonization of the "see how they run" segment of the song and more handclaps.
The mono mix was completed on February 15 1968 after ten attempts. There were no stereo mixes completed until the end of that year on December 02 1969 when a stereo mix was completed. This was due to the fact that the US only release of the "Hey Jude" LP was imminent.
Bootlegs with the various overdubs not faded include the LP "Ultra Rare Trax, Volumes 5 and 6" and the CD "Unsurpassed Masters, Volume 4". The commerical mono mix can be found on the single, the stereo mix can be found on both the Apple "Hey Jude" LP/CD and the Apple "Past Masters Volume Two", "Past Masters" and the compilation LP/CD Apple compilation "1".  As mentioned above, the extra sax mix can be found on the Apple 2-CD/3-LP commercial release of "Anthology 2".

Saturday, August 20, 2016

"Across The Universe" takes 7 and 8

On February 04 1969, The Beatles continued work in Studio 3 of EMI Studios in London for the John Lennon composition "Across The Universe" using a different take from the previous take 2 mentioned in the previous post. This time work concentrated on take 7 which featured John on acoustic guitar, George Harrison adding tamboura and Ringo playing a single drum tom.
One of the ideas floating around was to have backing vocals on the chorus of the song. Since it was a last minute decision, it was decided to grab two fans waiting outside the EMI Studios and bring them inside to sing along to during the chorus. The two lucky teens were Lizzie Bravo and Gayleen Pease who sang their parts and then left the recording session.
Some experimentation followed when take 7 was reduced to take 8 and backwards bass/drums were added. Also added at this stage were backwards guitar/harp and the band humming a note during the "Om" section and near the end of the song as well. A mono mix was made of this and it was eventually released (without the backwards bass/drums) on various bootlegs including the LP  "The Lost Lennon Tapes Volume Three", the CD "Ultra Rare Trax, Volume 3" and "Unsurpassed Masters Volume 4" described sometimes as the "Hums Wild" version of the song.
Four days later on February 08 1969, the backwards tapes were taken off and replace with harmonies by Paul and George as well as adding some electric guitar swells from John, maracas by Ringo and piano by Paul. This version was mixed to mono with some animal effect used at the beginning of the song and it sat there for most of the year, unused.
Almost a year later in 1970, Glyn Johns started preparing an LP acetate of the "Get Back" sessions and decided to use the take 7 version of "Across The Universe" by mixing it in stereo using the guitar, tamboura, drum tom and the teenage backing vocals.This mix can be found on such bootlegs as the CD "Get Back Second Mix" and "Get Back: The Final Glyn Johns compilation".

Friday, August 5, 2016

Across The Universe - Take 2

On February 03 1968, The Beatles convened into Studio 3 of EMI Studios in London to prepare a possible single (45) release in anticipation of their departure to India to study with the Maharashi. John, Paul and George had all written songs that were ready to be recorded.
There was a bit of work done on McCartney's composition for the backing of "Lady Madonna" before moving on to John's composition "Across The Universe".
The backing for "Across The Universe" was completed in two takes. The instrumentation for this version consists of acoustic guitar, tamboura and a table harp. All acoustic instruments with John's lead voice overdubbed. A very dreamy effect takes place upon listening to this version. In my opinion, this could have been released "as is" but I'm sure Mr. Lennon had different plans for the song because it obviously changed over time.
This version of take 2 was officially released on the Apple 3 LP/2-CD "Anthology 2" project and sounds fabulous in stereo. There is also a monitor mix of the song that is available on bootlegs such as the CD "Control Room Monitor Mixes" and "Complete Control Roolm Monitor Mixes 2".

Friday, July 29, 2016

A Cameo For The Film "Yellow Submarine"

On January 25 1968, The Beatles dropped in to Twickenham Film Studios in London for the task of appearing in a cameo for the upcoming "Yellow Submarine" feature film based on the song. In the end, the cameo lasts less than a minute. The Beatles are seen in similar shirts and the background is black. The original idea was to have animation happening in the background during the cameo, but this failed to materialize due to budget constraints and time constraints. It's a nice little ending and it's great to see the group together for this segment as they introduce the last song "All Together Now" which would end up on the songtrack, of course.
Also taped on this day are segments of the individual Beatles hanging out in the animation studio with Paul listening to a playback wearing headphones, Ringo looking through one of the movie cameras and George running across the studio holding a tape measure. These brief scenes appeared in a short documentary on the film entitled "A Mod Odyssey" which is available commercially on the "Yellow Submarine" DVD (1999 version as well as the upgraded 2012 version).

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Christmas Time (Is Here Again) Sessions

On November 28 1967, The Beatles entered EMI Studio 3 in order to fulfill their duties to the Official Fan Club and record their Christmas flexi for the year 1967. The format of the flexi was to have various audio skits interspersed with a theme song.
The theme song was recorded first. The title being "Christmas Time (Is Here Again)". The tune has Ringo on drums, Paul on piano, George on the acoustic guitar and John on the timpani drum. The entire instrumental backing was recorded in one take with 10 repeated verses played one after the other. Once this was completed, the vocals were added to the first 09 of the verses with the entire group singing the title over and over and Ringo singled out for the line "O-U-T spells OUT" (of which the words would later be used by Paul on his 2013 solo LP "NEW" on the song "Queenie Eye").
The skits themselves were recorded in ten takes and overladen with certain sound effects and then interwoven with the new theme song. A guest on the flexi is Beatles' friend Victor Spinetti who appears in three of the Beatles' films in various capacities. Sketches include mention of the BBC, tap dancing, Beatles roadie Mal Evans makes an audio appearance. This is followed by a jingle for a product called "Wonderlust" and a television show with voices from Paul and John.
A fragment of the theme song is played, a skit with George as announcer followed by a skit containing John as a quizmaster and George as a contestant for a quiz show, the commercial jingle once again, a skit with Ringo. Once again the theme song appears underneath the voices of John and George from the quiz show with applause.George Martin thanks the "boys" for a wonderful year. John sums it all up with a Scottish seasonal verse heard over the organ (Paul?) which plays "Auld Lang Syne".
The original flexi disc was released only in mono for the Fan Club. It was mailed out on or around December 15 1967. Produced by George Martin. Catalogue number LYN 1360. It is one sided and plays at 33 and a third. The flexi lasts 6:06 minutes.
The entire mono version of the theme song only can be heard the vinyl bootleg "File Under: Beatles". A stereo mix of the theme song in full with the introduction including John's "Interplanatery remix; page four hundred and forty four!" was conducted for the release of the aborted 1984 "Sessions" LP and can be heard on LP and CD bootlegs of this title. A proposed single from the "Sessions" LP would have included a mix of both "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da/ Christmas Time (Is Here Again)" which contains about a minute of the theme song and can be found on the vinyl bootleg "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da".
Finally, the theme song for this Christmas flexi was released commercially as a B-side to "Free As A Bird" in 1995 on the Apple Vinyl/CD single. The first two and a half minutes includes the theme song (in stereo) mixed in with some 1966 Christmas greetings by each individual Beatle and ending with the previously mentioned Scottish seasonal verse by John.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

"All Together On The Wireless Machine"

Broadcast around November 25 1967 on BBC Radio 1, this Paul McCartney tune or rather "ditty" of a fragment appeared with Paul on piano and vocals.
This small number was basically a promotional or a jokey way to promo the DJs or personalities associated with the radio program entitled "Where It's At".
The number starts with the chords of the song "Hello Goodbye" being played on piano by Paul which leads us to speculate that this was done at Abbey Road sometime earlier in the month and then a little bit of whistling. The tune starts with basically the basic chord, four chord and five chord played over and over with the lyrics "Kenny Everett and Chris Denning/ All together on the Wireless Machine".
The tune has warranted enough attention as to appear on the vinyl bootleg "Abbey Road Revisited" in bad quality. It was also released on the bootleg CD "Mythology, Vol. 3 `.
I found a copy of the recording on `youtube`and have included it for your listening pleasure:

Friday, July 1, 2016

"Step Inside Love" Demos

In mid to late November 1967, Paul McCartney was approached to write a theme song for a new television show featuring Cilla Black as host. As both Mr. McCartney and Ms. Black were clients of manager Brian Epstein, I'm sure this arrangement had been previously handled by him before his passing. The confirmation for the theme song would have probably been an afterthought, or maybe Mr. McCartney was too busy with the "Magical Mystery Tour" project.
Whatever the case, a demo was constructed of the song in late November of 1967 and features Paul singing and playing acoustic guitar. There are three verses, although no lyrics for the second verse are sung but simply hummed as the lyrics are incomplete at this point. The demo is probably a run-through of the song to show DJ Kenny Everett how is goes as he was the one who recorded it in horrible quality and is featured on a vinyl bootleg entitled "Abbey Road Revisited".
On November 21, Paul McCartney met up with both Cilla Black and George Martin at Chappell Studios in London to record a proper demo of the song for orchestration and arrangement purposes. The run through of the song features Cilla on vocals and Paul on acoustic guitar with both of them humming through the instrumental break in the middle of the song. This time, all verses are complete. The demo/rehearsal was also filmed (probably by Tony Bramwell) for future use. This demo was officially released on the CD box set: "Cilla 1963-1973 The Abbey Road Decade". I've included a nice copy of the Cilla/ Paul demo...beautiful song !!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Overdubbing and Mixing the Title Track "Magical Mystery Tour"

On November 07 1967, the final session for the soundtrack LP "Magical Mystery Tour" was completed. This consisted of a few "tweaks" for the title track. For the television special, there was a spoken introduction during the opening of the title track by John Lennon which basically went like this: "Roll up, roll up, roll up for the magical mystery tour !! Step right this way !! Hurry, hurry, hurry !!!".
During the mixing session for the song, it was decided to have the intro on tape along with the music for record release. I suppose John was not available as it was Paul who stepped up to the microphone and stated the same phrases without the "hurry, hurry" part of it. So, you instantly have two versions of the title track with one intro by John (from the TV/film special) and by Paul (from the LP/CD commercial version).
There are also differences in the mono and stereo mixes completed on this day: the mono version has heavy "phasing" on both the lead vocal and the group backing vocals whereby the stereo version does not - at least it's not as heavy. There were six attempts at the stereo mix and ten attempts at the mono mix for this song. Both of these are commercially available on the mono and stereo Capitol LP/CD "Magical Mystery Tour" and released in the UK during the 70s - I recommend you seek out the yellow vinyl copy, it looks "fab" !!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

"Jessie's Dream"

In the Beatles film "Magical Mystery Tour", there is a weird scene whereby Ringo's Aunt Jessie is having a dream while sitting in the tour bus. She dreams of sitting at a table with Buster Blood-vessel (you gotta see the movie to understand what I'm talking about) as they eat spaghetti served by John Lennon in a waiter's outfit. The outlandish thing is that the spaghetti is served by John using a shovel as he takes it from a heap and pours it on the dinner plate/table.
It's a very interesting scene with a soundtrack playing in the background. The soundtrack is mainly piano with some chant and noises added
. It's even in stereo on the re-issue !! There is no record of who is playing what but this would have been recorded sometime in October 1967.
The soundtrack to the movie scene can be heard on the CD bootleg: "Back-Track Part Two" and "Magical Mystery Demos".

Saturday, June 11, 2016

"The Fool On The Hill" Re-make And Final Mix

The Beatles recorded three version of "The Fool On The Hill": the first being the piano demo featuring Paul only, the second slower group version recorded September 25 1967 (see previous blog entry). Both of these recordings can be heard commercially on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 2" project.
The third and final version - the one we all know and love - was recorded with the basic track on September 26 1967 (the day after version two) with Paul playing piano, John on acoustic guitar, either George or Ringo playing the finger cymbals and maracas. There were five takes of the basic track with take five being used for the commercial version. The overdubbing process included Paul's vocal, the harmonicas played by George and John as well as the solo recorder by Paul. On September 27 1967, Paul doubled his vocals in the choruses. At this point, the track was left until almost a month later when the flutes were added on October 20 1967.
The flutes were probably added to track four (the harmonica overdubs) or they may have been synced to a second four track machine. At this point, the take number switched to take seven as the song was completed.
The mono mix was conducted on October 25 1967 and was satisfactory after twelve attempts and this is was appears on the "Magical Mystery Tour" LP and UK EP. The stereo mix of the song was conducted on November 01 1967 after five attempts and this naturally appears on the stereo versions of the "Magical Mystery Tour" LP, UK EP and CD. As a side note, it's been said that almost a minute and a half of the song was edited from it's original version. I've always wondered what the entire recording sounds like - that's a pretty long song considering the structure of the song and the arrangement of the demo and second variation. It could also be rumour.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

"Hello Goodbye" Overdubs and Mixes

On October 19 1967, The Beatles were continuing on the development of "Hello Goodbye" in Studio 1 at EMI on Abbey Road. The overdubs completed on this day was some lead guitar by George Harrison and the main vocals by Paul McCartney. There were also counterpoint vocals added as well as the coda vocals during the "Hey - La, Hey -Ba-Hello-Wa" segment. This was considered take 16 and was later released officially in this early form on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 2" project. You can hear some lead guitar bits that were eventually scrapped as this take 16 was "reduced" on the four track (combining tracks 3 and 4 of the vocals) to create take 17. The song stood in this form at the end of this session.
The next day on October 20 1967, violas were added to the middle part of the song as well as an echo laden vocal for the "Why why why" section of the song by Paul. This was once again reduced with both the guitar track and viola tracks combined - Paul added his bass to the remaining empty track and the recording of the song was basically completed.
The mixes for the song were attempted and completed on November 02 1967 with at least six mono attempts and at least two stereo attempts. Thus, remix 6 for mono and remix 2 for stereo. The mono mix can be found on the original Parlophone/Capitol single. The stereo mix can be found on the "Magical Mystery Tour" LP as well as the Apple double LP/double CD "1967-1970" and the original mixes of Apple's double LP/CD "Beatles 1" project.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

"Blue Jay Way" - Overdubs and Mixes

And so it was that on October 06 1967 it was decided to have a cello fill the fourth track of the George Harrison composition "Blue Jay Way". Alas, there is no sign of who exactly played the cello on the track.
Mixing for the song began on November 07 1967 and there was no issues with the mono mix - with 27 attempts and an edit ! It was also decided that there was something to be added to the song so a separate reel of the song being played backwards was faded up in between vocal lines but this appears only in the stereo mix of the song - only 12 attempts - giving it a very eerie atmosphere.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

"Hello Hello" Take 1

On October 02 1967 at EMI Studio 2 in London, England The Beatles decided to start the recording of a new tune that Paul McCartney had written inspired by a conversation between himself and fellow friend/NEMS employee Alistair Taylor concerning the use of antonyms (opposites in word form). The song was to be entitled "Hello Goodbye" but referred to on this date - and on tape - as "Hello Hello" which could have been a mistake.
The song was probably picked as a single early on as it does not appear on the "Magical Mystery Tour" film apart from the end coda snippet running over the closing credits in mono.
The basic track with Paul on the piano, Ringo on Drums, maybe John on Organ and George on percussion/tambourine. Ken Scott was the engineer over the talkback speaker when take 1 is announced and off they go. The arrangement of the song is slightly extended but very similar to the released, commercial take of the single. It ends up that take fourteen of the basic track was chosen for reductions and overdubs with a bit of percussion (maracas) added on this evening's recording session.
Take 1 can be heard on the vinyl bootleg "Ultra Rare Trax, Volumes 5 and 6" as well as on the bootleg CDs "Not Guilty" and "Unsurpassed Masters Volume 3".  Ringo's drumming is "Par Excellente" !!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

"I Am The Walrus" Mixes.

On September 27 1967, George Martin had conjured up an excellent orchestral score for John Lennon's composition "I Am The Walrus" in which some horns, strings and clarinets were added as well as having a vocal backing consisting of the Mike Sammes singers who were professional backing singers of the era. All of this was recorded with the orchestra going first and the singers going on second to enhance the song much of the delight to the Beatles, I"m sure !!
Two days later on September 29 1967 John Lennon decided to add a live radio feed from a BBC broadcast onto one of the mixes (mono mix 22) directly to tape. Thus the first of the mono mixes was created by having the first half of the song from mono mix 10 and the second half of the song from mono mix 22. You can hear the edit at around the two minutes mark - the combination of the mixes were now called mix 23. The intro was also trims to four bars and the extra bar of music before the words "Yellow Matter Custard" remains in the mix.
For the stereo mix (which occurred on November 06 1967), the song has true stereo (stereo mix 06) for the first half of the song and second half of the song (stereo mix 07) has bass on the left channel and treble of the right channel due to the fact that the live radio broadcast feed was added during mixing and therefore could not be separated in a different channel. At the end of the song during the fade-out, the signal is panned left and right across the spectrum. This mix also has the four bars during the intro but the extra bar of music before "Yellow Matter Custard" is taken out of the mix.
The two mixes above appear on the North American "Magical Mystery Tour" LP (mono and stereo) and the North American single (mono).
On November 13 1967, somebody at EMI realized that the two mixes were of different lengths and an attempt to correct that saw the extra bar before the words "Yellow Matter Custard" removed from the mono mix and used on the British single.
On November 17 1967, just before the British EP was finally cut, it was decided to use an alternate stereo mix for the first half of the song using the original six bar intro (stereo mix 25) edited onto the second half of stereo mix 07.  This was added onto the master reel of the EP created another stereo version of the song.
Finally, the "Anthology" DVD has the first complete true stereo mix of "I Am The Walrus" by spreading out the instruments with the electric piano on the left, percussion in the middle and the guitar on the right), the orchestra is split far left and right and the radio feed is lifted from the original broadcast with added radio static. This mix was also the case used on the Apple double LP/CD "Love".

Saturday, May 7, 2016

"Flying" Tape Loops

On September 1967, The Beatles returned to EMI Studio 2 in order to complete the instrumental "Flying" (originally entitled "Aerial Tour Instrumental"). In order to do this, the first order of business was to overdub Ringo shaking percussion while George Harrison added guitar licks.
To end the song, the original "dixieland" ending was discarded in favour of having mellotron tape loops playing at the end. This plan was probably devised by John and Ringo as both were experimenting with the keyboard instrument around this time.
There are five passages to the tape loops: the first passage appears on the commercial version and is faded out slowly. The original first passage lasts about a minute and a half, next is a passage lasting two and a half minutes and the third lasting only about forty second. The fourth passage can be heard for a about forty-five seconds and the last passage is played at almost two and a half minutes.
This can be very tedious listening - the first passage is played backwards and the other forwards, they are the sounds of flutes and they waver as the are played.
If you are looking for the full passages, you can hear it on bootlegs such as the CD "The Ultimate Collection, Volume One: Miscellanesou Tracks" and various "Magical Mystery Tour" outtake bootlegs.

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".

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.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

"Magical Mystery Tour" Title Song Recording

The recording of the song "Magical Mystery Tour" practically blended with the end of the "Sgt. Pepper" sessions in timing. The end of the current LP was completed and within a few days the beginning of a new project was started. The inspiration of Paul McCartney's "Magical Mystery Tour" was written while Paul had visited the USA earlier in the month and derives from bus tours given in the UK where an unknown destination -for the passengers- would end up somewhere on a sea side whereby the partying and drinking would commence.
On April 25 1967, The Beatles gathered into EMI Studio 2 to start the recording with Paul on piano, John and George on their guitars and Ringo on Drums. Take three became the basic track with reductions of the four track where all this was thrown on to track one in five attempts bringing the recording up to take eight. Backing vocals by all were added to track four, bass by Paul on track two and some percussion (cow bell, tambourine, etc.) all went onto track three.
Another reduction was completed combining tracks 2 and 3, 1 and 4 bringing the recording to take nine. This left tracks 3 and 4 open.
On April 27 1967, the lead vocal by Paul along with some harmonies was recorded onto track 3 and a mono mix was made and cut into an acetate in order to have the score written out for the brass parts to be added later on.
This take nine mix can be heard on the bootleg CD "Another tracks (sic) of Magical Mystery Tour". This can also be found on various "Alternate" version issued on vinyl and CD.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Run Out Groove Recording

On April 21 1967, The Beatles entered Studio 2 at EMI recording studios in London to record some noises for the run-out groove of the new upcoming LP "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". A microphone was set up and it was decided to simply project random thoughts, words, whatever as they stood around this microphone. The results (supposedly from take 1) are barely three seconds of high pitched or sped up voices that appears on the last groove of the original UK LP.
The mono version of the British LP has this in mono obviously and on the stereo version the run out groove pans from one speaker to the next. In-genius.
The North American market did not have this particular inner groove gibberish as it only appeared in the UK during the cutting of the LP at EMI. Later in 1980, the North American market finally got their version with the commercial release of the Capitol/EMI LP "Rarities" and was featured as the last track of side 2. Another version of the groove chat was released on the commercial compact disc version of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" in 1987 with the inner grove chat being repeated 23 times over and over to try and simulate what would have happened if the set was to be played as a vinyl LP on a turntable with a manual arm.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

"Only A Northern Song" mixes

A George Harrison composition was ready to be recorded for the upcoming "Sgt. Pepper" project but in the end it was discarded in favour of his other composition "Within You, Without You". "Only A Northern Song" was first recorded on February 13 1967 in Studio Two at EMI in London. The recording consisted mainly of organ and percussion. The four tracks were reduced to two tracks by combining the instruments which then added George Harrison's first attempts at a vocal. The song was left to it's own devices for the moment.
On April 20 1967, The Beatles returned to the original tape with organ, percussion and vocals. A bass guitar track was added by Paul as well as glockenspiel and trumpet (played badly). The latter instruments were completed and the four track was full. Instead of a reduction, a second machine was used with a fresh four track tape and George proceeded to sing a new vocal attempt along with keyboards (piano, organ and mellotron) and tympani to produce more background screwing around notes. Since two four tracks were used, it must be remembered that the original organ/percussion take from back in February was present on both and the machines and tapes had to be successfully manually synced.
The next day on April 21 1967, the machines/tapes were synced and a mono mix was completed and given to the producers for use on the "Yellow Submarine" film project (hence it appears on that soundtrack LP). There were six attempts at the mono mix. This made a stereo mix complicated due to the syncing of the tapes and instead of trying to separate the instruments, a duophonic mix was created on October 29 1968 by boosting the high end in one channel and boosting the low end on the second channel. This fake stereo mix appears on the Apple LP/CD "Yellow Submarine" - the mono mix is available on the LP/CD of the same title in the UK only with original copies being rare. The mono mix from the film runs a semi tone lower than the commercial recording on vinyl/CD. The mono film mix can be heard on the bootleg "The Lost Pepperland Reel".
Due to the advances in technology, it is now easier to re-construct various reel tracks digitally thereby allowing the song to have true stereo mixes. The first stereo mix contains the original organ, bass and drums with the vocals from the first attempt back in February 1967 by George Harrison with slightly different words. This appears on the commercial Apple/EMI 3-LP/ 2-CD "Anthology 2". The second true stereo mix can be found on the Apple/EMI LP/CD "Yellow Submarine Songtrack" which uses the same instrumentation as the final attempt for the original LP, but remixed in true glorious stereo.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

"Within You, Without You" Mixes

In early April (3 and 4) 1967, the mixes for "Within You, Without You" which was an original George Harrison composition, were experimented and completed. The song consists of three parts, the first verses, the middle section and the final section of verse.
There was a private reduction mix completed early on for George Martin to take away and score a musical section for violins and cellos. You can hear an example of the overdubs on the "Making of Sgt. Pepper" television special and this has also been available on the vinyl bootleg "Arrive Without Traveling" and the CD bootleg "Arrive Without Aging".
The mix from the 3-LP/3-CD Apple/EMI "Anthology 2" project consist of an instrumental leaving the bare backing for the first two minutes before introducing the orchestral overdubs. You can hear George Harrison's sitar clearly. Vocals have been taken out obviously.
The mono and stereo mix present on the commercial "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" LP contains edits between the first part/ second and third part. The edit is smoother on the mono mix (which can be heard at 2:23). Also the mono mix is two seconds longer than the stereo mix as the laughter (which is added to the end of the song as suggested by the composer) is different on each mix.
"Within You, Without You" was also re-mixed by Giles Martin for the Beatles' late 2006 issue of the 2-LP/CD "Love" project and mashed up with "Tomorrow Never Knows".
I've included the "Anthology 2" mix below for your listening pleasure: