Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: June 3, 1966

Studio Two, EMI Studios, London

The final overdub onto what would be titled "I Want To Tell You" was of Paul's bass guitar. (Recording the bass separately onto a vacant track of the four-track tape allowed greater manipulation of its sound during mixing.) Four mono mixes of this song and five of "Yellow Submarine" concluded this 7:00 pm to 2:30 am session.


Source: The Complete Beatles Chronicle - Mark Lewisohn



The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: June 2, 1966

Studio Two, EMI Studios, London

In securing an unprecedented three compositions on a 14 song Beatles album, George was having problems with his titles. What was in the end to become "Love You To", itself a title not mentioned in the lyric, had the working name "Granny Smith", after the brand of apple. Now, for the song "I Want To Tell You", the problem arose again. George Martin asked George Harrison for the title, the latter replied "I don't know" (because of which, it was actually called this for a brief time) and it was left to Geoff Emerick to dub the new son "Laxton's Superb", another type of British apple. Only later did it become "I Want To Tell You".

Apart from the production of a rough mono mix of "Yellow Submarine", all of this 7:00pm - 3:30 am session was spent recording "Laxton's Superb", taping the rhythm track in five takes, overdubbing onto the third of these and then making a reduction mixdown, called take four, to facilitate more overdubbing the next night.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: June 1, 1966

Studio Two, EMI Studios, London

Having recorded the backing track on May 26, 1966, The Beatles and friends added sound effects and backing vocals for Yellow Submarine on this day.

Two tracks were remaining on the tape, and The Beatles raided the trap room at Abbey Road to find suitable instruments and effects. Onto the first the following sounds were added, in rough order of appearance:

  • John Lennon blowing bubbles into water using a straw
  • George Harrison swirling water in a metal bathtub
  • Two ships' bells being rung
  • A noisemaker being rattled
  • Low-level voices for a party atmosphere
  • An ocarina, played by The Rolling Stones' Brian Jones (heard during the third verse)
  • A propeller being wound and put into water
  • Coins being scattered
  • A foghorn
  • The final singalong

The fourth track contained similar effects, again in the order in which they appear:

  • Chains being rattled in the bathtub
  • Clinking glasses
  • More party chatter
  • A brass band
  • Lennon, recorded in the studio echo chamber, shouting naval phrases into a microphone connected to his Vox guitar amplifier
  • Whooshing sound effects
  • Lennon's "life of ease" vocals
  • A marching band drum played by Mal Evans

The brass band was made up of session musicians booked especially for the session, although their names remain unknown. The final chorus, meanwhile, was sung by anyone on hand in the studio, including Mal Evans, Neil Aspinall,  George Martin, Geoff Emerick, Pattie Harrison, Brian Jones, Marianne Faithfull and The Beatles' chauffeur Alf Bicknell.

Ringo Starr also recorded an unused introduction, a brief spoken word passage accompanied in part by the other Beatles:

...yellow submarine. And we will march till three the day to see them gathered there. From Land O'Groats to John O'Green, with Stepney do we tread. To see us yellow submarine. We love it.

The words were in reference to Land's End and John O'Groats, the southernmost and northernmost parts of the United Kingdom. Underneath the vocals was the sound of a box of coal being shaken, in an approximation of marching feet.

This spoken passage was left out of the Revolver mixes, but was included on the Real Love single in 1996. The new mix created for the single also brought many of the effects to the fore.


Source: The Beatles Bible



The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 31, 1966

During a short break in the sessions for Revolver, Ringo Starr took part in a photoshoot for The Beatles Book magazine.

The session was conducted by Leslie Bryce, the staff photographer from the magazine. It took place at Sunny Heights, Starr's home in Weybridge.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 30, 1966

The Beatles' unprecedented sonic experimentation on their 1966 album Revolver make it one rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest albums. But ironically, one of the album’s greatest innovations happened on a B-side that came out before the final album.

Backward guitar and sitar solos appear throughout Revolver, which is credited as the first popularized use of “backmasking”, the intentional recording of a track in reverse. But songs like “Love You To” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” were not the first songs the band recorded backward.

The real birth of the Beatles’ backmasking came in the form of John Lennon's reversed vocals during the outro of “Rain”, the B-side to lead single “Paperback Writer” that came out in the U.S. on May 30, 1966.

It was not the first time anyone had tried recording backwards – it had been available since the early days of Edison’s phonograph and avant-garde composers experimented with it as early as the 1950s. But the Beatles are universally credited with bringing the technique to the mainstream.

And, like so many other musical miracles, it happened by accident.



The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 29, 1966

The Beatles enjoying a small break.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 28, 1966

The Beatles spend time with Bob Dylan in his room at the Mayfair Hotel in London.


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 27, 1966

The Beatles were all fans of Bob Dylan, whom they had first met in August 1964. They met him again the following year, and once more on this day during his tour of the United Kingdom.

In 1965 Dylan divided audiences by moving from his folk roots and adopting electric instruments. On this tour he was backed by The Band, and on 26 and 27 May 1966 was scheduled to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The occasion was a fractious one, with audience members jeering and protesting at his new direction.

Dylan invited The Beatles to his shows, and John Lennon and George Harrison attended the second Royal Albert Hall show. Furthermore, all four Beatles spent time with Dylan in London nightclubs and at his hotel.

Following his 26 May concert, Dylan visited Kenwood, Lennon's home in Weybridge. The following day the pair were filmed being driven to the May Fair Hotel in Stratton Street, London, where Dylan was staying.

Present in the limousine was director DA Pennebaker, who had been hired to make a documentary on Dylan's UK tour, and sound operator Bobby Neuwirth. The footage, titled Eat The Document, was later shelved after the US TV network ABC, which had funded the shoot, rejected a rough cut.

Two 10-minute film reels were filled during the journey to London. Lennon and Dylan were evidently recovering from the after effects of drug taking, and both wore sunglasses and smoked cigarettes. In the first reel the pair discussed contemporary musical acts, including the Mamas and the Papas, Barry McGuire, The Silkie and Johnny Cash.

At the beginning of the second reel Dylan is seen complaining of illness, and is pictured leaning forward with his head in his hands. He tells the driver, Tom Keylock, to hurry to the hotel as he may be sick. Pennebaker later revealed that he and Lennon had to help Dylan to his hotel room upon their arrival.

In the final cut of Eat The Document, only a few minutes of the footage was included. The film was screened at the New York Academy of Music on 8 February 1971, and again in 1998, but has rarely been seen since.

An alternative edit, titled You Know Something Is Happening, was made by Pennebaker for private use. This contained more footage of the limousine encounter, but also remains unreleased. Footage from the journey has long circulated among bootleg collectors, however.

Following the evening concert, Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Aspinall and The Rolling Stones all visited Dolly's nightclub on Jermyn Street, London.

Source: Beatles Bible

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 26, 1966

Studio Three, EMI Studios, Abbey Road

The backing track for Paul McCartney's children's song Yellow Submarine was recorded on this day, along with lead and backing vocals.

 George Martin was ill with food poisoning, so the session went ahead without a producer. Martin did, however, send his fiancée Judy Lockhart-Smith to the session; she remained mostly in the Studio Three control room.

The Beatles began the session, which started at 7am and finished at 1am the following morning, by filling two tape reels with rehearsals of the song. Most of these were later wiped, however.

Four takes of the rhythm track were then recorded onto two tracks of the tape. John Lennon used his Gibson Jumbo acoustic guitar, McCartney played bass guitar, George Harrison was on tambourine and Starr played drums.

The fourth track was judged to be the best, and onto this Starr overdubbed his lead vocals, joined by the others in the chorus. A fourth track was filled with additional vocals.

Source: Beatles Bible



The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 25, 1966

The Beatles - enjoying a short break