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Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 14, 1966

Studio Three, EMI Studios, London

"Paperback Writer" was completed between 2:30 and 7:30 pm, with numerous overdubs onto the previous night's take two, including Paul's lead and John and George's novel "Frere Jacques" backing vocal, evoking schoolboy memories of French lessons. The finished recording was mixed into mono.

At 8:30 pm, after a 30 minute pause, recording began of "Rain", to be the B-side of "Paperback Writer" when issued in June. Like many of the Revolver era recordings, "Rain"  was full of all of the latest technological advancements: limiters, compressors, jangle boxes, Leslie speakers, ADT, tapes played backwards, machines deliberately running faster or slower than usual, and vari-speed vocals.

By the end of the session, at 1:30 am, the Beatles had made five passes at completing a rhythm and vocal track. The song would be taken through to completion in the next session.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 13, 1966

Studio Three, EMI Studios, London

Two distinct sessions this day. From 2:30 to 6:30 pm, George's "Granny Smith" (Love You To) was completed with the reduction of take six into take seven and subsequent overdubs of a new Harrison lead vocal, Ringo's tambourine and an occasional harmony vocal from Paul (omitted during mixing). Deemed complete, three mono mixes and various edits were made before the 6:30 conclusion.

Independent of the album, Revolver, which would be issued in August, the Beatles released a new single on Friday, June 10, with two songs from these current sessions. Recording of the A-side, Paul's "Paperback Writer", began at 8:00 pm this evening, concluding, for the present, at 2:30 am. In this time, two takes of the rhythm track were made, only the second being complete. Marked "best" it served as the platform onto which April 14th overdubs were recorded.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 12, 1966

The Beatles in-between sessions at EMI Studios in London

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 11, 1966

Studio Two, EMI Studios, London

After overdubbing guitars onto "Got To Get You Into My Life", the initial session of the day, 2:30 to 7:00 pm, saw George begin the recording of "Love You To", his first Indian-flavored composition. (It was untitled at first and then assumed the working title "Granny Smith", after the apple, only becoming "Love You To" near the album's release date).

The recording grew progressively more complex with each of the six takes, the first three being taped during the afternoon, the next three from 8:00 pm to 12:45 am. The sixth was marked "best" and included George's acoustic guitar and guide vocal, Paul's bass, and overdubs of sitar and tabla. Anil Bhagwat was credited on the Revolver sleeve as the tabla player, but there was no credit for the sitar player.  This may have been George himself, although newly discovered session documentation suggest that, like Bhagwat, someone from the Asian Music Circle in north London - founded by a friend of George's, Ayana Deva Angadi - was recruited for the part.

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 10, 1966

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 9, 1966

Recording Revolver

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 8, 1966

Studio Three, EMI Studios, London

Working from 2:30 to 9:00 pm, the Beatles recorded three more takes of "Got To Get You Into My Life", perfecting the rhytm track. The eighth was deemed "best", later to be overdubbed with vocals, guitar and the song's distinctive brass passages.

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 7, 1966

Studio Three, EMI Studios, London

While the afternoon from 2:30 to 7:15 was spent overlaying many of the aforementioned effects onto take three of "Tomorrow Never Knows", the evening session, from 8:15 to 1:30 am, saw the Beatles start work on Paul's superb Tamla Motown-inspired "Got To Get You Into My Life", recording five takes.

The song changed a great deal before it ended up on Revolver with recording taking place sporadically until June 17th.

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 6, 1966

The first session for what was to become the significant album Revolver. This set of recordings was destined to rock the rock world, change forever the course of popular music. And the closing song, "Tomorrow Never Knows" was the first to be taped. It took just three takes to tape "Tomorrow Never Knows" although by its very essence the recording was also the result of innumerable overdubs. In 1965, the Beatles' recordings had been progressing quite nicely, but here was a quantum jump into not merely tomorrow but sometime next week, "Tomorrow Never Knows" displaying an unrivalled musical progression and the Beatles' willingness first to observe the boundaries and then smash right through them.

The session took place in studio three at EMI Studios, Abbey Road, and lasted from 8pm-1.15am. At this time the song had the working title Mark I.

George Martin was, as ever, a vital ingredient in the process, always innovative himself, a tireless seeker of new sounds and willing translator of the Beatles' frequently vague requirements. Now he was joined by balance engineer Geoff Emerick, promoted to replace Norman Smith.

Revolver also heralded the first use of Artificial Double Tracking, invented by Abbey Road technical engineer Ken Townsend directly at the Beatles' request and now in use at studios worldwide. ADT saved the Beatles the chore of having to manually double-track their voices or instruments, an effect they so frequently sought. But "Tomorrow Never Knows" didn't only feature ADT - it also boasted tape loops and voices put through a Leslie speaker.

"Tomorrow Never Knows" featured, too, a John Lennon vocal that sounded like no other before, having been fed through the electronic circuitry of a revolving Leslie speaker (so named after its inventor, Donald J. Leslie) inside a Hammond organ technical innovation conceived by the Beatles, Martin, and Emerick team based upon composer Lennon's vision of 4000 monks chanting in the background of his song while he sang if perched on the highest mountain top. And all of this less than three years after "She Loves You".

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 5, 1966

The Beatles planning their next session