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Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 12, 1967

The Beatles in-between recording

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 11, 1967

Paul McCartney performs with Brian Wilson and John and Michelle Phillips

In the early hours of this morning, after he was recorded chewing celery on The Beach Boys' song Vegetables, Paul McCartney returned to John and Michelle Phillips' house in Los Angeles, where he had been the previous day.

McCartney brought Brian Wilson back to the Phillipses' house, and various musical instruments were brought out. John Phillips also filled a tray of glasses with different amounts of water, and McCartney made sounds by rubbing the rims. He also played cello and flugelhorn at the house.

The jam lasted much of the early morning, and McCartney and Mal Evans returned to Derek Taylor's house in time for breakfast. McCartney and Evans then flew back to England, during which ideas for the Magical Mystery Tour film and songs were worked upon.

McCartney borrowed a notepad from a flight stewardess and drafted the lyrics for the Magical Mystery Tour song. He then drew a rough plan for the film, using a circle divided into eight segments to represent the 60 minutes of a television special.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 10, 1967

Paul McCartney performs on The Beach Boys’ Vegetables

The day after their arrival in Los Angeles, Paul McCartney and Mal Evans spent the day shopping at Century Plaza, where Evans bought a talking pillow. 

In the afternoon the pair visited John and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas And The Papas. After a while McCartney left alone to meet The Beach Boys, leaving Evans with the Phillipses.

At the time Brian Wilson was working on the song Vegetables, intended for the Smile album but eventually released on Smiley Smile. McCartney was recorded chewing celery.

The night before a big tour, I was out in the studio recording the vocal when, to my surprise, Paul McCartney walked in and joined Brian at the console. And, briefly, the two most influential musical Geminis in the world had a chance to work together. I remember waiting for long periods of time between takes to get to the next section or verse. Brian lost track of the session. Paul would come on the talkback and say something like 'Good take, Al.'

 Al Jardine

The Beach Boys

McCartney also performed on an unreleased version of On Top Of Old Smokey. Shortly after midnight he arrived back at the Phillipses' house.

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 9, 1967

Paul McCartney films Jane Asher in Denver

Paul McCartney had flown to the United States on April 4, 1967, to surprise Jane Asher on her 21st birthday. Afterwards they spent several days together.

In the morning Evans took McCartney's camera to be repaired at a shop in Denver, Colorado, where they were staying. After returning the mended camera to its owner he went to the Civic Center park where he spent some time at the Greek amphitheatre.

In the afternoon McCartney filmed Asher walking among trees. It was on this day that he had the idea for a television special, which subsequently became the Magical Mystery Tour project.

I used to do a lot of amateur filming and from my interest in that it was a very small step for me to say, 'Well, if we hired a film cameraman and we told him where to shoot, then we're starting to film, aren't we? As long as we know that we want to go over Westminster Bridge backwards, he'll be able to do that. I can convey it to him.' So, the idea tumbled together that we'd hire a bus, take a bunch of people out and start trying to make up something about a magical mystery tour.

It used to just be called a mystery tour, up north. When we were kids, you'd get on a bus, and you didn't know where you were going, but nearly always it was Blackpool. From Liverpool, it was inevitably Blackpool and everyone would go, 'Oooo, it was Blackpool after all!' Everyone would spend time guessing where they were going, and this was part of the thrill. And we remembered those. So much of the Beatles' stuff was a slight switch on a memory; in Penny Lane, the nurse and the barber and the fireman were just people we saw on a bus route, but this time they'd be with us. So we'd always just heighten the reality to make a little bit of surreality. That we were interested in.

Paul McCartney

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 8, 1967

Paul McCartney and Mal Evans holiday in Denver

Paul McCartney and Mal Evans continued their stay in Denver, Colorado on this day, without Jane Asher who was appearing in a matinée performance of William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet in the city.

McCartney and Evans drove into the Rocky Mountains past Central City into the old Boodle Mine. During the trip their hired car got stuck in snow and mud, but they eventually made their way back to Central City and ate a meal in Paul's Café. Afterwards they watched a local country singer perform across the road in the Gilded Garter bar.

The pair returned to Denver in time to see the Old Vic theatre company's performance of Romeo And Juliet.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 7, 1967

Studio Two, EMI Studios, London

The Beatles were mostly absent when the stereo mixes of Sgt. Pepper were prepared - they considered mono of paramount importance and so were always around for these, but were generally content to leave the stereos to George Martin and Geoff Emerick. Working this day from 7:00 pm to 1:00 am, they produced stereo masters of "With A Little Help From My Friends" (with its preceding crossfade into the title song). "Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!", "Fixing A Hole", and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds".

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 6, 1967

Mixing: Sgt Pepper crossfades, Good Morning Good Morning

Studio Two (control room), EMI Studios, Abbey Road

The Sgt. Pepper song Good Morning Good Morning was mixed in mono and stereo during this session, and crossfades for the album were assembled. The session ran from 7pm until 1am the following morning.

Two mono mixes of Good Morning Good Morning were made, followed by five stereo mixes. The final stereo mix is notable for containing an extra six seconds of effects before the final chicken cluck.

These mono mixes were unused, however, and new ones were created on April 19, 1967.

The Beatles wished for there to be no gaps, or rills, between the Sgt Pepper songs. Furthermore, they wished to have two crossfades from one song to another: these occurred between the title track and With A Little Help From My Friends, and from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) into A Day In The Life.

At this stage the album was almost complete, but the running order was slightly different. Although the second half was in place, side one had the songs in a different order: Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, With A Little Help From My Friends, Being For the Benefit Of Mr. Kite!, Fixing A Hole, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Getting Better and She's Leaving Home.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 5, 1967

Paul McCartney visits Jane Asher in Denver

Paul McCartney flew to Denver from San Francisco on this day to pay a surprise visit to his girlfriend Jane Asher on her 21st birthday.

Asher was touring with the Old Vic theatre company in a production of William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet. McCartney had flown to America on April 3, 1967 with Mal Evans.

McCartney and Evans flew from San Francisco in a hired Lear jet; they arrived at Denver Airport and were met by Bert Rosenthal, who had agreed to lend McCartney and Asher his house. Evans, meanwhile, booked into the Driftwood Motel.

In the evening McCartney and Asher were reunited, and Rosenthal drove them to a hotel where a birthday party was held for her. The party had been organized by the Old Vic.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 4, 1967

Paul McCartney flies to San Francisco

The day after his arrival in the United States, Paul McCartney spent the day in San Francisco.

He and Mal Evans had flown into the city from Los Angeles in the early hours of the morning. The city was experiencing its first snow for 42 years, and the temperatures were much colder than the pair had been expecting.

The trip was to surprise McCartney's girlfriend Jane Asher on her 21st birthday the following day. With a free day McCartney and Evans saw the sights, photographed the Golden Gate Bridge and bought records.

They also visited the Fillmore Auditorium, where Jefferson Airplane were rehearsing. Afterwards they accompanied Marty Balin and Jack Casady to the Oak Street apartment they shared with the band's road manager Bill Thompson, where McCartney played them an acetate of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. They also attempted a jam, but McCartney had trouble playing Casady's right-handed bass guitar.

McCartney smoked cannabis with Jefferson Airplane, but declined an offer of DMT mixed with cannabis. Despite this, rumours persist in the city that he did partake in the hallucinogenic drug. At the end of the evening Jack Casady took them back to their hotel.

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 3, 1967

Recording, mixing: Within You Without You

The last song to be completed for the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album was Within You Without You.

Eight violins and three cellos were recorded onto track three, after which Harrison - the only member of The Beatles in attendance - overdubbed his lead vocals, as well as some extra sitar, onto track four. The recording took place in Studio One, and ended at 3am the following morning.

The violinists were Erich Gruenberg, Alan Loveday, Julien Gaillard, Paul Scherman, Ralph Elman, David Wolfsthal, Jack Rothstein and Jack Greene, and the cellists were Reginald Kilbey, Allen Ford and Peter Beavan. Each was paid the standard Musicians' Union rate of £9, apart from Gruenberg, the leader of the ensemble, who was paid £11.

The strings were conducted by George Martin, who had prepared a score based on Harrison's ideas. The parts were recorded numerous times, each wiping the previous attempt, before all were satisfied with the results.

When Within You Without You was first recorded on March 15, 1967, the song was referred to as having three parts, although it was recorded as one. The numbering of the parts continued through to this session and the next, with part one mixed separately from two and three.

Mono mixing of Within You Without You began during this session, but the results remained unused. Part one was mixed three times; parts two and three were mixed twice.

The mixing session took place in the control room of Studio Two, from 3-6.30am in the morning of April 4, 1967.