Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 18, 1967

The Serpentine, Hyde Park May 18th 1967

On May 18, 1967, The Beatles had a photo session in Hyde Park with Marvin Lichtner from Time Magazine. Mal Evans was along for the ride, and a couple of his photos can be seen in The Beatles Monthly Book no. 49. This photo session was overshadowed at the time by the next day's event: The press party for the release of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
But they are nice, these photos, and they only pop up occasionally, so today's blog will be about them.
Paul was driven to the location by Terry Doran, while the three others arrived from the suburbs in John Lennon's psychedelically painted Rolls Royce. Or did they? The photo underneath is dated as May 18th. The car had recently been painted, so this may have been one of it's first outings in the new design - or is it too early? In fact, the invoice for the work and materials used are dated May 24th. The artist responsible for the painting, Steve Weaver worked on the car over at J.P. Fallon Painters, and there are photos of the car being unveiled on May 26th, so the inclusion of the photo here is a puzzle.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 17, 1967

Recording: You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Recording began for one of The Beatles' most bizarre songs on this day. You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) was taped, mixed and edited over a number of sessions between this day and November 1969, and it remained unreleased until March 1970.

The Beatles arrived at Studio Two on this day with no songs in mind, and without the presence of producer George Martin; in his place the session was supervised by balance engineer Geoff Emerick.

You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) was inspired by a telephone directory that John Lennon saw at Paul McCartney's London home. It was originally envisaged as a 15-minute mantra.

The final recording was made up of five discrete parts, and during this session the first part was recorded. The Beatles taped 14 takes of the rhythm track, with guitars, bass and drums, and take 10 was labelled the best for the time being. The song was then set aside until June 7, 1967, when overdubs were added to take nine.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 16, 1967

The Beatles in-between recording at EMI Studios in London.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 15, 1967

Paul McCartney meets Linda Eastman

On this evening The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein hosted a dinner party to mark the completion of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Afterwards Paul McCartney went to the Bag O'Nails nightclub to see Georgie Fame performing. At the club McCartney had his first encounter with his future wife, Linda Eastman.

The Bag O'Nails was situated in the basement of 9 Kingly Street in Soho, London. The Beatles were regular visitors, particularly in 1967 and 1968, and McCartney had his own private table there.

The night I met Linda I was in the Bag O'Nails watching Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames play a great set. Speedy was banging away. She was there with the Animals, who she knew from photographing them in New York. They were sitting a couple of alcoves down, near the stage. The band had finished and they got up to either leave or go for a drink or a pee or something, and she passed our table. I was near the edge and stood up just as she was passing, blocking her exit. And so I said, 'Oh, sorry. Hi. How are you? How're you doing?' I introduced myself, and said, 'We're going on to another club after this, would you like to join us?'

That was my big pulling line! Well, I'd never used it before, of course, but it worked this time! It was a fairly slim chance but it worked. She said, 'Yes, okay, we'll go on. How shall we do it?' I forget how we did it. 'You come in our car' or whatever, and we all went on, the people I was with and the Animals, we went on to the Speakeasy.

Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

The Speakeasy was a club on Margaret Street, where they heard Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade Of Pale for the first time.

We flirted a bit, and then it was time for me to go back with them and Paul said, 'Well, we're going to another club. You want to come?' I remember everybody at the table heard A Whiter Shade Of Pale that night for the first time and we all thought, Who is that? Stevie Winwood? We all said Stevie. The minute that record came out, you just knew you loved it. That's when we actually met. Then we went back to his house. We were in the Mini with I think Lulu and Dudley Edwards, who painted Paul's piano; Paul was giving him a lift home. I was impressed to see his Magrittes.

Linda McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles


The pair met again four days later, on May 19, 1967, when Eastman attended the press party for Sgt Pepper at Brian Epstein's house at 24 Chapel Street, London.


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 14, 1967

The Beatles enjoying a little break between recording.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 13, 1967

The Beatles in-between recording at EMI Studios in London.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 12, 1967

Recording, mixing: All Together Now

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Perhaps inspired by having recorded Baby You're A Rich Man during a six-hour session on the previous day, The Beatles recorded another song in just five and a half hours.

The song was All Together Now, which was written by Paul McCartney specifically for the Yellow Submarine film. It was a straightforward recording, made even without the presence of producer George Martin.

All Together Now was recorded in nine takes. The backing track had McCartney and George Harrison playing acoustic guitars, John Lennon playing harmonica, and Ringo Starr on drums and percussion.

McCartney overdubbed a bass guitar part, followed by his lead vocals, for which he was joined by Lennon and Harrison in the chorus. The final track on the tape was filled with Lennon's lead vocals in the bridge, more bass drum and finger cymbals, and the final singalong.

Six mono mixes were then made, and the song was complete and ready for inclusion in the film, and for release on the accompanying soundtrack LP.


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 11, 1967

Studio One, Olympic Sound Studios, London

Recording, mixing: Baby You’re A Rich Man

This was The Beatles' second UK session to take place outside EMI Studios, following their February 9, 1967 visit to Regent Sound Studio. It took place at Olympic Sound Studios, an independent studio situated at 117 Church Road, Barnes, London.

The balance engineer was Olympic's manager Keith Grant. The studio was often used by The Rolling Stones, and Mick Jagger was a visitor on this occasion.

The Beatles were working on Baby You're A Rich Man, intended for the Yellow Submarine soundtrack, but which was eventually used as the b-side to All You Need Is Love. It was The Beatles' first song to be recorded and mixed entirely away from Abbey Road.

I'm a terrible pusher on sessions. I do a lot of orchestral work and you naturally push people along. The Beatles said that this was the fastest record they'd ever made. They were used to a much more leisurely pace. We started the session at about 9pm and it was finished and mixed by about 3am, vocals and everything. They kept playing, version after version, then we spooled back to the one they liked and overdubbed the vocals
Keith Grant

Source: The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

One tape reel was filled with rehearsal takes, before 12 takes were recorded. The last of these was the best attempt, and featured piano, drums, maracas and tambourine. Paul McCartney then overdubbed a bass guitar part and John Lennon sang lead vocals, with harmonies by McCartney and others in the chorus.

Two reduction mixes were then made to free up space on the tape. The second, known as take two, had George Harrison's lead guitar and Lennon's Clavioline introduction overdubbed onto track three. Track four was filled with more vocals, some backwards piano in the final verse, and a single note of vibraphone played by tape operator Eddie Kramer.

A mono mix was then made. It took just one attempt, and became the version released on the All You Need Is Love single.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 10, 1967

The Beatles in between recording at EMI Studios in London.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 9, 1967

Studio Two, EMI Studios in London

A long (11:00 pm to 6:15 am) but decidedly unproductive session in which the Beatles committed to tape a mere sixteen minutes of an out-of-tune untitled instrumental jam comprising two guitars (one with vibrato effect), drums and a harmonium.