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Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 14, 1966

The Beatles are not at the studio today, but will be back later in the week.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 13, 1966

The Beatles in-between recording at EMI Studios in London

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 12, 1966

Studio Three, EMI Studios, London

By making Help! a seven-song Beatles album and reducing Rubber Soul to 12 songs (two of those refugees from the British Help! LP) Capitol Records had, by 1966, almost enough material to compile a new album of songs unissued in the US to that time. There were eight available, three more would be ideal, so an application was made for three of the new Revolver recordings to be sent across for release a few months earlier than planned. The answer was positive and mono mixes and edits made this day of "Doctor Robert", "I'm Only Sleeping" and "And Your Bird Can Sing", were done for just a purpose.

Yesterday....And Today was issued by Capitol on Monday, June 20th, but these three songs were later mixed again for the British Revolver LP, causing some slight differences between the two sets.

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 11, 1966

The Beatles taking a break in-between recording at EMI Studios in London

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 10, 1966

The Beatles taking a break in-between recording at EMI Studios in London.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 9, 1966

Studio Two, EMI Studios, London

Ten piano/drum takes of another superbly crafted Paul McCartney ballad, "For No One", formed the basis of this night session, Paul overdubbed a clavichord track and Ringo added cymbals, maracas, hi-hat and tambourine onto take ten. There was no role for either John or George in the recording of "For No One'.

Paul added his lead vocal as an overdub on May 16th and the song's fine French horn solo was taped three days after that.

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 8, 1966

In between recordings at EMI Studios in London.

 

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 7, 1966

A previously unreleased letter that George Harrison wrote to Atlanta DJ Paul Drew in May of 1966 reveals that the Beatles seriously contemplated recording at Stax in Memphis with producer Jim Stewart before the plan was derailed by financial issues. "We would all like it a lot," Harrison wrote by hand, "but too many people get insane with money ideas at the mention of the word 'Beatles,' and so it fell through!"

Word of the proposed Stax sessions has circulated before, but it was always said they pulled out due to security issues. It was also never known they contemplated working with Jim Stewart as opposed to George Martin, the only producer they'd ever worked with until the end of their career three years later. 

The letter, which was postmarked May 7th, 1966, was written when the Beatles were in the early stages of recording Revolver. "The album we are making now should be out around October," Harrison wrote. "But I hear Capitol will make an intermediate album with unused tracks from Rubber Soul, a few old singles and about two or three of the new tracks we have just cut…Well I am off to the studio any minute, as soon as John and Ringo arrive." That "intermediate" album would eventually be released as Yesterday and Today.

"The general assessment is that Capitol did pretty much whatever they wanted with Beatles records," Gold says. "To see that George had a very specific understanding of what Yesterday and Today was going to be before it came out was kind of a revelation too. It surprised me."


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 6, 1966

Studio Two, EMI Studios, London

Recording for I'm Only Sleeping concluded on this day, with the addition of vocals by John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.

The day began with the creation of two reduction mixes, the second of which was preferred, to combine the previous day's backwards guitar solos onto one track of the four-track tape.

Onto track four Lennon double-tracked his lead vocals in places (the main lead part had been added on April 29, 1966), while McCartney and Harrison simultaneously performed harmonies.

I'm Only Sleeping was mixed in mono on 12 May and 6 June, and in stereo on 20 May and 21 June.

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 5, 1966

Studio Three, EMI Studios, London

A 9:30 PM to 3:00 AM session in Studio Three of Abbey Road. Typically, when The Beatles decided to record a backwards guitar solo onto Take 11 of I'm Only Sleeping, they chose to do it the hard way. They figured out a pleasing sequence of notes and played them in reverse so that the solo would sound backwards, but still have the same melodic sound of a forwards-running tape. George Harrison spent this whole session recording not only one backwards guitar solo overdub, but another backwards solo to have the two superimposed on top of each other.