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Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: October 13, 1967

The Sgt. Pepper album was widely perceived by listeners as the soundtrack to the Summer of Love, occupying the number one position of the Billboard Top LPs in the US for 15 weeks, from July 1st to October 13, 1967. Its initial commercial success exceeded that of all previous Beatles albums.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: October 12, 1967

Recording, mixing, editing: Blue Jay Way, Shirley’s Wild Accordion

Studio Three, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: John Lennon
Engineer: Ken Scott

This was the first recording session for which John Lennon was officially listed as a producer. It saw work on two songs, George Harrison's Blue Jay Way, and some incidental music for the Magical Mystery Tour film known as Shirley's Wild Accordion.

The first task was the creation of mono mixes of Blue Jay Way. Eight mixes were created, numbered 2-9, following which an edit of the sixth and ninth attempts was made.

Shirley's Wild Accordion was a Lennon-McCartney composition, although it wasn't officially a Beatles recording. It featured Shirley Evans on accordion, accompanied by her musical partner and then husband Reg Wale on percussion. Paul McCartney also played maracas and yelled "Go on, Shirl!", while Ringo Starr played drums.

The track was recorded under the working title of Accordion (Wild), and was cut from the final edit of the film. It was recorded in eight basic takes, with Evans playing from a score written by Mike Leander from ideas by Lennon and McCartney.

Two reduction mixes were then made, numbered nine and 10, followed by overdubs. The recording was completed with five additional takes, numbered takes 11-15.

Three mono mixes Shirley's Wild Accordion were then made, numbered 1-3, from takes 10, 7 and 14 respectively. The second was subtitled Waltz, and the third was known as Freaky Rock. The session ended at 2am on the morning of October 13, 1967.

A mix of Shirley's Wild Accordion was included in the bonus material of the 2012 reissue of the Magical Mystery Tour film. It omitted the drums and maracas, but kept various other percussive sounds.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: October 11, 1967

The Beatles were not too busy, but Yoko Ono's "Half A Wind" show opened at the Lisson Gallery. It was basically just a load of stuff chopped in half and painted white - Beds, chairs, tables, etc........

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: October 10, 1967

Oct. 10, 1967 - Memorial Service to Brian Epstein: The Beatles and many other show business people paid a final tribute last night to starmaker extra-ordinary Brian Epstein. More than 200 were at the memorial service in the New London Synagogue. Photo shows Beatle John Lennon and his wife, Cynthia, pictured when they attended last night's memorial service.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: October 9, 1967

John Lennon’s 27th birthday

John Lennon celebrated his 27th birthday on this day.

Since September 27th 1967 he had been receiving daily postcards from the artist Yoko Ono, after subscribing to her postal art event 13 Days Do It Yourself Dance Festival. Each morning participants received a short instructional message.

This day's message, the final in the series, said: "Colour yourself. Wait for the spring to come. Let us know when it comes."

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: October 8, 1967

The Beatles enjoying a small break today.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: October 7, 1967

Sid Bernstein offered the Beatles One Million Quid to perform at Shea Stadium again - but they turned him down.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: October 6, 1967

Recording: Blue Jay Way

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

The recording of George Harrison's Magical Mystery Tour song Blue Jay Way was completed during this session, which began at 7pm and ended at midnight.

There had been one free track on the four-track tape at the end of the 7 September 1967 session. This was filled on this evening with a cello and tambourine overdub.

The tambourine part was likely to have been performed by a Beatle. The cellist was Peter Willison, who was paid £27 for his contribution.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: October 5, 1967

The Beatles taking a break today.

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.