Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 28, 1967

The Beatles are taking a short break from recording.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 27, 1967

The Beatles again in the recording studio (Studio Three, EMI Studios, London). Recording vocals for the song Magical Mystery Tour. Overdubbing from 7:00 pm to 12:45 am.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 26, 1967

Studio Three, EMI Studios, London

Overdubbing of bass, maracas, cowbell, tambourines, and backing vocal shouts onto "Magical Mystery Tour" took up the lion's share of this 7:00 pm to 2:00 am session. Another reduction mixdown then took take eight into take nine.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 25, 1967

Recording: Magical Mystery Tour

Studio Three, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

The Beatles began work on the title track of what would become their next film and EP/LP release, Magical Mystery Tour, recording three takes of the backing track.

The group rehearsed the song extensively in the studio before recording began, with Paul McCartney guiding the group from the piano. Eventually they taped a rhythm track of two guitars, piano and drums.

Satisfied with take three, The Beatles then oversaw five reduction mixes to free up extra tracks on the tape. The last of these, numbered take eight, was used for further overdubs on subsequent days.

The group also assembled a tape loop of traffic noises, taken from EMI's sound effects collection Volume 36: Traffic Noise Stereo. This was added to the song during a final mixing session on November 7, 1967.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 24, 1967

The Beatles are taking a break from recording

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 23, 1967

The Beatles are in-between recording at EMI Studios

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 22, 1967

The Beatles are in-between recording (EMI Studios)

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 21, 1967

Recording, mixing: Only A Northern Song, Sgt Pepper run-out groove

he final touch was added to the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band during this session: the gibberish sounds which filled the run-out groove of the vinyl record.

First of all, however, 11 mono mixes of George Harrison's Only A Northern Song were made. Two four-track tapes had been filled: one with organ, bass guitar, trumpet, glockenspiel and drums, and another with organ, vocals and other assorted noises.

Two tape machines therefore needed to be synchronised, a process that had previously been used during the recording of A Day In The Life.

Once the mixes were complete, attention returned to Sgt Pepper. The Beatles stood at the studio microphone and babbled nonsense on each track of a two-track tape, which was subsequently cut up and re-edited with some parts reversed.

On 21 April everyone in the studio recorded the run-on spiral for the album, about two seconds’ worth of sound. It was a triple session - three three-hour sessions - which ended around 4am. The Beatles stood around two microphones muttering, singing snatches of songs and yelling for what seemed like hours, with the rest of us standing round them, joining in. Mal carried in cases of Coke and bottles of Scotch. Ringo was out of it. ‘I’m so stoned,’ he said, ‘I think I’m going to fall over!’ As he slowly toppled, Mal [Evans] caught him and popped him neatly in a chair without a murmur. In the control room no one seemed to notice. A loop was made from the tape of the muttering and was mixed, but not without some altercation between John and the tape operator.
Barry Miles
In The Sixties

The album was cut by Harry Moss, and required several attempts before the sound appeared precisely in the run-out groove. The intention was for the sound to loop and be played ad infinitum, preceded by a 15 kilocycle pitch intended for dogs.

I was told by chaps who'd been in the business a long time that cutting things into the run-out grooves was an old idea that they used to do on 78s. Cutting Sgt Pepper was not too difficult except that because we couldn't play the masters I had to wait for white label pressings before I could hear whether or not I'd cut the concentric groove successfully, These were the things which, at the time, I used to swear about! It was George Martin who first asked me to do it. I replied, 'It's gonna be bloody awkward, George, but I'll give it a go!'
Harry Moss
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

Neither the test tone nor the loop of gibberish - known as Edit for LP End on the tape box - was used on the first North American pressings of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was eventually issued as part of the Rarities compilation, with the title Sgt Pepper Inner Groove.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 20, 1967

Studio Two, EMI Studios, London

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) was mixed into stereo in Studio Three between 5:00 and 6:15 PM, then the Beatles arrived at 7:00 for a session in Studio Two which ended at 2:15 AM, recording overdubs onto "Only A Northern Song".

First they returned to take three from February 13th, wiping some existing material and overdubbing bass, a trumpet, and a glockenspiel. Then they advanced to take 11 - itself a reduction mixdown of take three - and added vocals.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 19, 1967

Studio Two, EMI Studios, London

Although an April 6th mono mix of "Good Morning Good Morning" had been inserted into the master reel, it did not fit snugly up to the "Sgt. Pepper" reprise. So the former was mixed again in this 7:00 pm to 12:30 am session, RM23 solving the problem by means of merging the final cluck of the sound effect hen at the end of "Good Morning Good Morning" into the similar first guitar note at the beginning of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)".

With Paul now back from the USA, the Beatles had a recording session booked for the next night, picking up "Only A Northern Song" for the first time since February 14th. To remind them of the work done so far, another rough mono mix was made.

Source: The Complete Beatles Chronicle - Mark Lewisohn