Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: October 4, 1967

Television: The Frost Programme

Having made a well-received appearance on The Frost Programme on Friday 29 September, John Lennon and George Harrison returned to Wembley Studios in London to give another interview.

Once again, the subject of the 45-minute show was Transcendental Meditation. Lennon and Harrison answered questions posed by host David Frost, from viewers' letters and by members of the studio audience. They also took part in a discussion with various pro- and anti-meditation people.

The edition of The Frost Programme was recorded from 6-7pm, and was shown on the ITV network from 10.30-11.15pm on the same evening.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: October 3, 1967

The Beatles taking a break today.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: October 2, 1967

Recording, mixing: Your Mother Should Know, Hello, Goodbye

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Ken Scott

This session, which began at 10pm and ended at 2.30am the following morning, saw the creation of final mono mixes of Your Mother Should Know, and the first takes of Hello, Goodbye.

 Five mono mixes of Your Mother Should Know, numbered 21-25, were the first to be tackled. The last of these became the master version. A stereo mix was made on 6 November 1967.

Hello, Goodbye was written too late to feature in the Magical Mystery Tour film, although it did appear over the end credits. It was destined instead to be The Beatles' next single.

The basic track was recorded in 14 takes, with piano, drums, organ and tambourine, under the working title Hello Hello. Take 14 was judged to be the best, and maracas, bongos and tambourine were overdubbed.

Before the end of the session two reduction mixes was made to allow for further overdubs. These mixes were numbered 15 and 16, the latter of which was used for subsequent recording. It featured all the instruments on track one of the tape.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: October 1, 1967

West Malling Air Station, West Malling, Maidstone

A one-day return to West Malling to film miscellaneous Magical Mystery Tour pick-up shots with the coach.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 30, 1967

Top 20 Song Chart for September 30, 1967

1. The Letter - The Box Tops

2. To Sir With Love - Lulu

3. Never My Love - The Association

4. Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison

5. Ode To Billie Joe - Bobbie Gentry

6. (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher) -  Jackie Wilson

7. Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie - Jack & The Techniques

8. Come Back When You Grow Up - Bobby Vee & The Strangers

9. I Dig Rock & Roll Music - Peter, Paul & Mary

10. Expressway (To Your Heart) - The Soul Survivors

11. Gimme Little Sign - Brenton Wood

12. How Can I Be Sure - The Young Rascals

13. Little Old Man (Uptight, Everything's Alright) - Bill Cosby

14. You Know What I Mean - The Turtles

15. I Make A Fool Of Myself - Frankie Valli

16. Dandelion - The Rolling Stones

17. Hey Baby (They're Playing Our Song) - The Buckinghams

18. Get On Up - The Esquires

19. Funky Broadway - Wilson Pickett

20. The Look Of Love - Dusty Springfield

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 29, 1967

Television: The Frost Programme

John Lennon and George Harrison took part in an interview with David Frost for The Frost Programme on this evening. It was recorded before a studio audience between 6pm and 7pm at Studio One at Wembley Studios in London.

Lennon: "Buddha was a groove, Jesus was all right."

Harrison: "I believe in reincarnation. Life and death are still only relative to thought. I believe in rebirth. You keep coming back until you have got it straight. The ultimate thing is to manifest divinity, and become one with The Creator."

The interview was shown on the ITV network from 10.30-11.15pm. The programme also featured an interview with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, which had been recorded earlier in the day at London Airport.

Lennon and Harrison gave a second interview to The Frost Programme on October 4, 1967, when once again they discussed Transcendental Meditation.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 28, 1967

Recording, mixing, editing: I Am The Walrus, Flying

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Ken Scott

Two songs for the Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack were worked on during this session: I Am The Walrus and Flying.

Before The Beatles arrived, however, copies were made of the songs Magical Mystery Tour and Flying for the film's producer Denis O'Dell. This took place from 4-5.30pm in the control room of Studio Two.

George Martin then turned his attention to I Am The Walrus. All four tracks on the tape were full after the backing vocals were recorded during the previous day's session. Furthermore, the rhythm guitar, bass and lead vocals were all on the same track due to reduction mixes made on that day, the last being labelled take 25.

To allow greater flexibility, George Martin went back to the earlier take 17, which had a spare track, and dubbed the orchestral and choral overdubs onto it. All subsequent mixing was done from this take.

The Beatles were present for the evening session, which began at 7pm and ended at 3am. It began with four mono mixes, numbered 2-5, of I Am The Walrus. The second was considered best for the time being, although it was replaced the following evening.

Flying, which at this stage still had the working title Aerial Tour Instrumental, was then given more overdubs. Ringo Starr played maracas, George Harrison added an acoustic guitar part, and John Lennon played the Mellotron on the flute setting.

Lennon and Starr also prepared some tape loops containing Mellotron, organ and chimes, to replace the previous Dixieland ending. These were added in five separate overdubs: the first lasted from 1'24" until 2'48", and was played backwards; the second ran from 2'51" to 5'14"; the third appeared from 5'25" to 6'09"; tape four was played backwards from 6'16" to 7'01"; and the final one, also played backwards, lasted from 7'06 to 9'35".

These were likely assembled as incidental music to be used throughout the film, rather than as a part of Flying; the final mix fades before the first tape had ended. At the end of the session two mono mixes were made of Flying, numbered five and six, the latter of which was selected for the soundtrack release.


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 27, 1967

Recording, mixing: I Am The Walrus

Studios One and Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Ken Scott

Two separate sessions took place on this day, involving overdubs for the Magical Mystery Tour song I Am The Walrus.

The Beatles had recorded the backing track for I Am The Walrus on September 5th and 6th 1967. On this day, in a three-hour session beginning at 2.30pm, George Martin's orchestral score was recorded.

The session musicians were recorded simultaneously with a reduction mix, in Abbey Road's Studio Two. It took seven attempts - numbered 18-24 - to complete, with take 20 being the best. The final four takes, however, were edit pieces not lasting the length of the song.

The musicians were: violinists Sidney Sax, Jack Rothstein, Ralph Elman, Andrew McGee, Jack Greene, Louis Stevens, John Jezzard and Jack Richards; cellists Lionel Ross, Eldon Fox, Bram Martin and Terry Weil; clarinetist Gordon Lewin; and horn players Neil Sanders, Tony Tunstall and Morris Miller.

The day's second session took place in Studio One from 7pm to 3.30am. This was for the choral overdubs, and began with a reduction mix of take 20, which became take 25.

I had this whole choir saying 'Everybody's got one, everybody's got one.' But when you get thirty people, male and female, on top of thirty cellos and on top of the Beatles' rock 'n' roll rhythm section, you can't hear what they're saying.
John Lennon, 1980
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

The Mike Sammes Singers were the session vocalists on the track, and recorded their parts in one take simultaneously with the reduction mix. The singers were: Peggie Allen, Wendy Horan, Pat Whitmore, Jill Utting, June Day, Sylvia King, Irene King, G Mallen, Fred Lucas, Mike Redway, John O'Neill, F Dachtler, Allan Grant, D Griffiths, J Smith and J Fraser.

John worked with George Martin on the orchestration and did some very exciting things with the Mike Sammes Singers... Most of the time they got asked to do Sing Something Simple and all the old songs, but John got them doing all sorts of swoops and phonetic noises. It was a fascinating session. That was John's baby, great one, a really good one.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 26, 1967

Studio Two, EMI Studios, London

A re-make of "The Fool On The Hill", with a basic rock recordig numbered take five, onto which a host of instrumentswere overdubbed. This was then reduced into take six with vocals and ass superimposed.

Producer George Martin was absent for this 7:00 pm to 4:15 am session, the Beatles' new balance engineer Ken Scott having to fulfill double duties.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 25, 1967

Editing: Magical Mystery Tour

The Beatles began editing the Magical Mystery Tour television film on this day. They had thought it would be completed in a week, but it took a total of 11.

The editing was done by Roy Benson at Norman's Film Productions on Old Compton Street in London's Soho. Paul McCartney was there for the entire 11 weeks, occasionally joined by other members of the group. The unclear hierarchy within The Beatles at the time slowed down work considerably, as others would order scenes to be recut.

Roy Benson had previously worked as an editor on A Hard Day's Night.

He and I got our heads together and I said, 'Well, look, we've shot all this, and we've got clapper boards on some of it.' He said, 'Not on everything?' I said, 'No, no. No, some of it we just shot, but I'm sure it synchs.'
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

These edit sessions typically lasted from 10am to 6pm each day, after which The Beatles often went to Abbey Road for a recording or mixing session. Approximately 10 hours of film was cut down to just 52 minutes, resulting in a large amount of unused footage.

Some additional audio recording was also done at Norman's Film Productions, including occasional narration by John Lennon.