Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Beatles of 1968 [Part 2]


July 28, 1968

I don't believe The Beatles had set aside time specifically for a real 'photo session' since March of 1966, some of the results which would become the basis for the cover for their infamous 'butcher' LP "The Beatles Yesterday...and Today" which was released in America later that year.  

There was, of course, the photos taken for the "Sgt. Pepper" LP cover in 1967 and there would be certain events when photos were snapped, but to quietly take an entire day off just for pictures hadn't been done in what seemed like forever.

So, with that, I'd like to open up Part 2 of my "Beatles of '68'" blog with as many decent photos from this day as I can find.  It's a bit difficult to try and re-assemble them as the day was scheduled, but I'll have a try at it.  

This particular day was one that I'll not forget myself as I know exactly where I was, who I was with and what I was doing, because you see, this day was also my 8th birthday!














28 July 1968 - It really is next to impossible for me to assemble these photos in the chronological way that they were taken but I'll do my best to at least present everything in as logical a manner as possible.

To start with, there's no one photographer that was taking the photos.  The most prominent one seems to be Don McCullin, but there was also his driver and photographer himself, Tom Murray.  I've seen presentations made of this day advertised by Stephen Goldblatt, who according to The Beatles Bible was also taking pictures along with Tony Bramwell and Mal Evans.

They were all over the landscape that Sunday, but it appears they began it at a place called Thomson House, owned by Lord Thomson, and where The Times and The Sunday Times were located.  

The main objective from this location was to get a shot for the cover of Life magazine, first showing The Beatles against a blue backdrop and then a 'crumpled aluminum foil background'.  They were able to use a photographic studio in the penthouse of this building with a fan pointing towards them blowing their hair away.






















28 July 1968 - From there they went to the Mercury Theatre, 2 Ladbroke Rd., Notting Hill, London.  According to The Beatles Bible it was originally a church hall apparently built in 1848 and it had a stage and a piano which The Beatles utilized for photos along with a parrot which someone had arranged to be brought along.


I'm not 100% on this but word is that Mal Evan's son was also along for the ride this day, so I'll make an assumption and say this is that boy, Gary Evans.  Gary was born in 1961 so this might be a safe bet.






































Just an observation here:  If this was truly only the second of seven locations they visited in a day, and if the clock on the wall behind them is correct, isn't it a bit late in the afternoon?  (As far as I've read, however, yes it truly was that late in the day already.)











28 July 1968 - The first location The Beatles went to outside their controlled environments was to be at the 'reputedly haunted historic graveyard' in Highgate Cemetery.  

Tom Murray recalls:  "I believe it was John's idea to go to Highgate Cemetery, because he wanted to visit the tomb of Karl Marx.  But, when we got there, like a lot of places in London at the time, it was closed on a Sunday!

"Sundays in London were always terribly quiet.  The shops weren't open.  In fact, very little was open.  When we turned up in Swain's Lane hardly anyone saw us, apart from a couple of girls."

They stayed outside on Swain's Lane (shown above at it looks today) and took photos in two places.












28 July 1968 - From Swain's Lane it was off to the Old Street roundabout.  

Don McCullin recalls:  "...I just asked them to get up on it.  Once they were on the roundabout they obviously thought they might as well do something and performed completely spontaneously for me. You can't direct people like that.  The choreography was there.  The taxi drivers couldn't believe it as they came round and caught this free show."








Tom Murray:  "I took a photograph where it looks like John is pushing Paul off, but he wasn't doing that at all.  In fact, he was hanging on for dear life."






28 July 1968 - After leaving Old Street in north London, The Beatles headed on to St. Pancras Old Church and Gardens near Regent's Park.  

There were a couple of benches used in this location shoot.  First there was the bench south of the central monument where they were joined again with Gary Evans, Mal's son.  



Here is a photo of the central monument as it appears today along with a diagram of it (below).



They would return to that area later and sit on a second bench to the north of the monument.






Southeast of the monument there was a drinking fountain where they stopped to get a few photos.




Next to the mausoleum of architect Sir John Soane [1753-1837] in the eastern part of the gardens they sat on the grass.






North of the mausoleum in St. Pancras Coroner's Court they utilized another bench photo shared with an unknown man.


Tom Murray:  "I like the...photograph of the guy sitting on the bench...  He was just sat there, fast asleep, with John behind him, Paul next to him, and George and Ringo sat on the bench.  Click click, and off we went.  He never knew."



Here's where one needs to be careful when documenting history.  I always assumed the unknown man was simply reading a newspaper.  Memories can get cloudy with time.  Also, sometimes the temptation to embellish a story is just too great to pass up.  Sometimes it's a combination of both as with time the embellishment eventually becomes the fact.  

As this slightly fuzzy photo seems to show, the unknown man does indeed appear to be reading the newspaper and is not asleep.  Whether he truly was oblivious to The Beatles, or if instructed to ignore the proceedings around him, or again maybe a combination of the two, we can remain uncertain.




Tom Murray recalls:  "We went into the hollyhocks and other places and shot for 20 to 30 minutes before anyone really clocked on.  The boys could stand around for quite some time before people would suddenly go, 'Oh my God, it's The Beatles.'"


This was north of the monument in a flowerbed standing in the hollyhocks with the St. Pancras Hospital in the background.










Tom Murray:  "I managed to get a great photo of Paul when he realised that I was taking pictures as well.  He had spotted that I wasn't one of the main posse, so he started to look out for where I was.   There's a particular picture in the hollyhocks where he'd been looking one way and then, all of a sudden, he noticedI was about to take a photograph.  He turned and glared.  I got that moment.

"It's playful and perhaps suggests in some ways that he acknowledged other people's attitude towards me.  I was the outsider, the new kid, the lone wolf, and this image seemed to playfully tip its hat at that."






Finally they wound up at the church's arched doorway as a crowd of people began to gather behind a fence which was to the left of where they were standing and separated the church from the garden.  Eventually they mingled in with the crowd and one of the photos from that shoot would later be used in 1973 for the Beatles compilation LPs "1962-1966" & "1967-1970" also known as the "Red" & "Blue" albums.






It was now on to east London to Wapping Pier Head.  As they arrived that evening, they took their first photographs at Wapping High Street and Sampson Street, literally in the street.





They then moved "on to the concrete bed...between the two Wapping Pier Head buildings."





Soon they all took their shirts off(!)










Paul's solo shoot with the chains.







As with last year's photo of John laying down playing dead in front of his Rolls Royce, his dark humor took over.  I think this might have been inspired by the idea of finding a dead body down at the pier.











As mentioned earlier, they all took their shirts off, but I don't believe it was the warmest of days and the sun was setting.  Only Paul would remain completely shirtless while the others put something back on.  In fact it appears that George found it necessary to button up!













Finally, even John had to cover up.  Ringo looks a bit like he's trying to keep warm, and Paul put on a vest.






28 July 1968 - At the end of this incredible day of Beatles' photos, the four retired to Paul's home in St. John's Wood where they hung out in Paul's meditation platform having tea.  This was his geodesic dome which resided in his back garden.  More photos were taken with Paul's dog, Martha, and they ended up outside of the dome with photos taken from below and inside. 











Tom Murray concludes the day's events for us:  "It was a hectic day, but a very cool one at the same time.  I guess the best way to describe the dynamics between them is 'automatic'.  It seemed effortless to them.  ...they knew each other so well that when the cameras were on them, it all came so naturally.

"They (John and Paul) got on extremely well that day.  It was like watching two brothers.  

"The amazing thing about George is that there seemed to be this aura around him that was very unusual.  He was an incredibly peaceful individual; almost spiritual in a way you don't often see.

"Ringo was just fun.  There's a lot more to him than meets the eye.  He's one of those characters who is more of an observer of people, but he's always thinking.

"To be honest, there was a unique and almost divine energy between all four of them.  They were really tight with each other.  You could tell why they were so successful.

"...what a thrill it was for me, the photographers around me, for the two kids in Swain's Lane that looked out their window and saw the four of them standing there, the people who saw them in the hollyhocks, the kids that chased them in the car down by the docks because someone had eventually phoned in to say they were there...  It was an amazing moment, and we were all there...!"




29 & 30 July 1968 - As mentioned at the end of my previous post "The Beatles of 1968" John initially felt that "Revolution" should be the next Beatles single.  Then Paul came along with "Hey Jude" which John himself liked so much he knew his own song would have to do no better than the 'B' side.  

On the previous Friday, July 26th, he and Paul put the finishing touches on Paul's tune and on the 29th they were ready to begin recording with the thought in mind that this was the next Beatles' single and so wouldn't be meant for the new LP.  

There were six attempts made on this day, but again these were more like rehearsals.  Three were complete 'takes' 1, 2 & 6 all with Paul singing vocals and playing piano, John on acoustic guitar, George on electric guitar and Ringo playing drums. 

One of these takes is sampled on "The Beatles Anthology 3" from 1996.

George Martin himself was not present on this date, but John Smith had his first day on the job replacing Richard Lush as tape operator.  He and Ken Scott as balance engineer would continue on for almost all of the remaining sessions for "The Beatles"

Recording would continue on the 30th with takes 7-23, but again these were still more like rehearsals.  Another thing about this day was that The Beatles were being filmed for a part of a documentary being made by the National Music Council of Great Britain called "Music!".  This fulfilled a promise The Beatles had given to be included in a film about the various forms of British music being promoted at that time.  It was produced by James Archibald and was eventually screened in British cinemas late in 1969 and wasn't seen in the USA until early 1970 on the series NBC Experiment In Television.  Most of what they got included take 9 of the song from this day. 

One big change that was captured on film was the fact that George Harrison is seen only in the control booth with George Martin and Ken Scott.   I'm not certain exactly when it happened, because Mark Lewisohn states George would again play on "Hey Jude" but it certainly appears at least Paul wanted to try the song without him, as he was beginning to see that electric guitar didn't have a place in this particular recording.  

I am not sure exactly which rehearsal 'take' this is from at the end of the link below, but I do believe it was recorded on the 30th (and not included on "The Beatles Anthology 3".)




Here's some more information about "Hey Jude" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.

Reading this it's next to impossible to explain why John would say such a thing about his own son.  John over time said a lot of things that hurt a lot of people, but he never made it a secret that he came from a loveless marriage himself with his dad abandoning him very early in life, and what must have felt like abandonment for some time from his own mother.   He was also keenly aware of the pedestal he and the group had been put upon and would, in time, do all he could to personally bring it down.  Being honest about who he really was, in an albeit crude way, was to serve as a tool in bringing him down to earth as a human being and that he was like everyone else on this planet who had faults.  

He knew he'd passed on many of the bad traits he'd experienced as a child and wasn't the best of fathers.  Julian was not an expected child, but on the flip side of this rather dark assessment of his own son coming into the world, John did marry Cynthia, there never seemed to be word of having an abortion or that Julian was un-wanted, and it does not appear that this would be, or was, a totally loveless marriage.  It's just that Yoko came along and offered something to John no one else could, and he took it.

"Hey Jude", I don't believe was entirely about Julian, although he certainly was an inspiration and helped give it a name.  I believe the heart and soul of the song belongs to Paul and it's ultimately about him and what he was going through with the loss of Jane Asher.  I don't think he'd entirely yet committed to Linda Eastman and he was at a crossroads.

So universal was the song that John saw it as being meant for himself.  He took it to his own heart, and that helped make it an easy decision for him to put it out as the next Beatles single.

















[Video archived on Dailymotion]

Even better!  Check out this fan edit (below) of the entire take 9 for "Hey Jude" on YouTube!

This is truly FAB!

The above performance is in mono, which may be the best way to experience it because the 'stereo' is simply Paul and piano on one track and everything else on the other.  Nonetheless, you can hear the 'stereo' version via this link:  "Hey Jude" [take 9] 30 July 1968





31 July 1968 - It only lasted 8 months, but time had run out for "The Fool" and The Beatles' Apple Shop, when on this day they officially closed down their retail business to the public.  

First, however, The Beatles had visited it the previous evening and took all that they wanted before opening the boutique the next day to give all the rest of it away for free.

The initial problem with the shop was city council objections to the beautiful psychedelic mural painted on the outside.

George recalls: "If they'd protected it and the painted wall was there now, they would be saying, 'Wow, look at this.  We've got to stop it chipping off.'  But that's just typical of the narrow minds we were trying to fight against.  That's what the whole Sixties Flower-Power thing was about.  'Go away, you bunch of boring people.'  The whole government, the police, the public -- everybody was so boring, and then suddenly people realised they could have fun.

"Once we were told we had to get rid of the painting, the whole thing started to lose its appeal.  The whole tone of the events around the Apple shop was going sour, and -- as it was not working out -- we decided to sell it.  We ended up giving the contents away.  We put an ad in the paper and we filmed people coming in and grabbing everything."

Ringo remembers:  "We went in the night before and took everything we wanted.  We had loads of shirts and jackets -- we cleaned a lot of the stuff out.  It wasn't a sale, we just gave it all away, and that was the best idea.  In the end, of course, people were coming with wheelbarrows.  It was silly, but we had wanted to open a shop and dress everyone like us."

John says:  "It was a big event and all the kids came and just took everything that was in the shop.  That was the best thing about the whole shop, when we gave it all away.  But the night before, we all went in and took what we wanted.  It wasn't much, T-shirts... it was great, it was like robbing.  We took everything we wanted home."




Paul's Press Release:  "We decided to close down our Baker Street Shop yesterday and instead of putting up a sign saying, 'Business will be resumed as soon as possible', and then auction off the goods, we decided to give them away, but we did that deliberately.  We're giving them away -- rather than selling them to barrow boys -- because we wanted to give rather than sell."

But what about Apple Tailoring?  Paul explains:  "The Kings Road shop, which is known as Apple Tailoring, isn't going to be part of Apple anymore but it isn't closing down and we are leaving our investment there because we have a moral and personal obligation to our partner, John Crittle, who is now in sole control.  All that's happened is that we've closed our shop in which we feel we shouldn't, in the first place, been involved."


Paul concluded:  "Our main business is entertainment -- communication.  Apple is mainly concerned with fun, not with frocks.  We want to devote all our energies to records, films and our electronics adventures.  We had to re-focus.  We had to zoom in on what we really enjoy, and we enjoy being alive, and we enjoy being Beatles."



31 July 1968 - On the previous day a rough stereo mix was made of "Hey Jude" take 25 for George Martin so he could take it away and use it to help him arrange the song's orchestral score.

On this day "Hey Jude" would be re-made and it would take place back at Trident Studios away from EMI.  Trident was in use already by George Harrison while he produced the new Jackie Lomax sessions for Apple, and Paul was also using it for Mary Hopkin.  Newly signed Apple musician, James Taylor, was creating product at Trident as well.  

Another nice thing about Trident was it had an 8-track recording facility.  According to Mark Lewisohn, Abbey Road did as well (a 3M machine) but it was still being evaluated by 'tape machine expert' Francis Thompson.  

Ken Townsend remembers:  "Whenever we got in a new piece of equipment at Abbey Road it went to Francis...and he would spend about a year working on it.   The joke was always that when he'd finished with it he'd let the studios use it!  

"He was unhappy with the overdub facility, it didn't come directly off the sync head as it did with the Studer four-track, and there was no facility for running the capstan motor vari-speed from frequency control.  Francis had to make some major modifications.  

"I remember George Harrison asking why we hadn't got one -- 'When are you going to get an eight-track, Ken?' -- and we had a wooden replica of the new desk EMI was making to go with it.  He said, 'When are you going to get a real one, not a wooden one?'.  Such independent studios (like Trident) were setting up all over London.  They were really trying to attract work and were installing new technology which was leaving the EMIs and the Deccas a bit behind." 

It was with this 'new' eight-track technology The Beatles began real work on "Hey Jude".  This re-make began fresh with 4 takes, including a basic rhythm track of piano with Paul, John on acoustic guitar and Ringo on drums.  (Note:  Mark Lewisohn lists George Harrison on electric guitar again in his 1988 "Recording Sessions" book, but when it was revised in 1992, no Beatles lineup for this day is included.  So was he or wasn't he?  We do know that take 1 was the version selected for more overdubs the next day.)





1 August 1968 -  Paul would overdub bass guitar today along with his lead vocal and the other Beatles contributing backing vocals.  This occurred early in the evening and then from 8-11pm the orchestra was recorded.  During this time Paul's bass was wiped so strings could instead be added.

There were 36 instruments including:  ten violins, three violas, three cellos, two flutes, one contra bassoon, one bassoon, two clarinets, one contra bass clarinet, four trumpets, four trombones, two horns, one 'percussion' and two string basses.  We know Bobby Kok was one of the cellists and Bill Jackman, the tenor saxophonist on 'Lady Madonna', played flute.  

Chris Thomas recalls:  "The studio at Trident was long and narrow.  When we did the orchestral overdub we had to put the trombones at the very front so that they didn't poke anyone in the back!"

The musicians were also asked (for more pay) to contribute handclaps and backing vocals and most were happy to go along with that, but it has been reported one got quite offended and walked out saying, "I'm not going to clap my hands and sing Paul McCartney's bloody song!"

Three stereo mixes would be completed on the 2nd, the 3rd labelled 'best'.  Mono mixing was begun on the 6th of August using at first an original stereo mix.  



(Note:  August 6, 1968 - John Lennon was interviewed while attending a fashion show held at Mayfair discotheque known as The Revolution.  He was with Pattie Harrison and fashion editor Suzy Menkes and recorded by Matthew Robinson for BBC's Late Night Extra broadcast that day.  So far I can't find anything of this recording.)







7 August 1968 - Returning to Abbey Road with a new song to be recorded by George Harrison.  Unfortunately his "Not Guilty" wouldn't be the success hoped for.  Today, and all through the night until the early morning hours of the 8th, 46 takes were recorded of George's song.  These were all of the live, basic rhythm track only with bass guitar, drums, guitar and electric piano, and the first 18 only were of just the song's introduction.  From take 19-46 only 5 were complete, being 26, 30, 32, 36 and 41.

The song would continue the next evening with takes numbered 47-101(!)  This was a 'first' for a Beatles recording.  Take 99 was labelled as 'best' yet it was still just the basic rhythm track with a harpsichord replacing the electric piano.  

On Friday, August 9, 1968, take 99 was given a reduction mix labelled take 102 and the overdubbing would begin with a 2nd drum track, 2nd lead guitar, and a 2nd bass guitar.  

Brian Gibson recalls:  "George asked us to put his guitar amplifier at one end of one of the echo chambers, with a microphone at the other end to pick up the output.   He sat playing the guitar in the studio control room with a line plugged through to the chamber."  

Another (final) overdub was made on August 12th with George's vocal.

Ken Scott remembers:  "George had this idea that he wanted to do it in the control room with the speakers blasting, so that he got more of an on-stage feel.  So we had to monitor through headphones, setting the monitor speakers at a level where he felt comfortable and it wouldn't completely blast out his vocal." 

"Not Guilty" then was given a rough mono mix and acetates were made of that, but this is as far as George's song got in 1968.  At this time it did not receive a proper mono or stereo mix and, of course, was not included on The Beatles' next album. 

George would re-record it for his "George Harrison" 1979 LP, but this version wouldn't see the light of day until it was released on "The Beatles Anthology 3" in 1996.

Surprisingly George doesn't have a lot to say about "Not Guilty" in his book "I Me Mine", only that "it seems to be about that period:  Paul-John-Apple-Rishikeh-Indian friends, etc."

Technical engineer Richard Hale, breaking EMI rules and taking photographs through a venetian blind of The Beatles as they enter the building at Abbey Road. 



8 August 1968 - During the time work had begun on George's tune, mixing continued on "Hey Jude" at Abbey Road, but something extraordinary occurred.  

Ken Scott remembers:  "I went to Trident to see The Beatles doing 'Hey Jude' and was completely blown away by it.  It sounded incredible.  A couple of days later, back at Abbey Road, I got in well before the group.  Acetates were being cut and I went up to hear one.  On different equipment, with different EQ [equalising] levels and different monitor settings, it sounded awful, nothing like it had a Trident.

"Later on, I was sitting in number two control room, and George Martin came in.  I said, 'George, you know that stuff you did at Trident?'  'Yes -- how does it sound?'  I said, 'In all honesty, it sounds terrible!'  'What?' 'There's absolutely no high-end on it, no treble.'  

"Just then Paul McCartney came in and George said to him, 'Ken thinks 'Hey Jude' sounds awful'.  The look that came from Paul towards me...if looks could kill, it was one of those situations.  Anyway, they went down to the studio floor, clearly talking about it, and one by one all the other Beatles came in and joined them.  I could see them talking and then look up at me, and then talk again, and then look at me.  I thought, 'Oh God, I'm going to get thrown off the session.'

"Finally they all came storming up and said, 'OK, let's see if it's as bad as you say.  Go get the tape and we'll have a listen'.  Luckily, they agreed with me, it did sound bad.  We spent the rest of the evening trying to EQ it and get some high-end on it.  But for a while there I wanted to crawl under a stone and die."


Note:  Photos actually from October 7, 1968

9 August 1968 - After The Beatles worked on George's "Not Guilty" and the session was basically over, Paul stayed behind in the studio to work on his song, "Mother Nature's Son", which was in a way like his version of John's "Child of Nature" both being inspired by their time in India.  

It is unclear why John's song was never formally attempted in the studio by the group.  Perhaps the similarity of ideas prevented it, but Paul completed his basic track this evening by himself on acoustic guitar and vocal until he got what he felt was best in take 24.  There was a take 25 just for good measure.  The only difference with them all was the length of the guitar intro which was initially twice as long. 

You can hear take 2 of "Mother Nature's Son" on "The Beatles Anthology 3" from 1996.


13 August 1968 - Apparently still not satisfied with "Sexy Sadie" as it stood, today the song was re-made again beginning with the number of choice, take 100(!)  There were initially eight takes of the new basic track which included drums, piano, fuzz guitar and a John Lennon vocal.  Take 107 was considered 'best' and it went through four reduction mix downs making it ready for more overdubs which took it to take 111.

From the previous day Ken Scott recalls:  "I remember that John Lennon came in at one point and I turned to him and said, 'Bloody hell, the way you lot are carrying on you'll be wanting to record everything in the room next door!'  The room next door was tiny, where the four-track tape machines were once kept, and it had no proper studio walls or acoustic set-up of any kind.  

"(John) replied, 'That's a great idea, let's try it on the next number!'  The next number was 'Yer Blues' and we literally had to set it all up -- them and the instruments -- in this minute room.  That's how they recorded 'Yer Blues', and it worked out great!"


Here's some more information about "Yer Blues" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.

So it was after John got "Sexy Sadie" to a point where he could leave it for a while, he then began "Yer Blues" as 'recommended' by Mr. Scott, being recorded  in the small annex to the studio two control room.  14 takes were made for the basic track with drums, bass, rhythm and lead guitars.  After two reduction mixes were made of take 6, they were labelled Take 15 and 16.  Then there was a reduction mix of a portion of take 14.  This was labelled take 17.

Then, for the first time on a Beatles recording, the original four-track tape was hand edited.  (Mark Lewisohn explains that something like this would only be done at the two-track, quarter-inch tape stage, not so early on.)   They took the beginning of this 'new' take 17 and edited it onto the end of the 'new' take 16, which gives it that distinctive 'cut' that can be heard at the 3'17" mark on the song and which runs through to the fade out.

Note:  As mentioned earlier The Beatles were also creating a "Various Ad libs" collection of sounds on tape and during takes 8 and 9, John, George & Ringo fell into a session jam, this being a 'purely instrumental piece with much electric guitar'.  (Paul apparently was taking a break.)  This jam was added to that collection still being compiled during the making of The Beatles.



These photos have been reported as being of a business meeting in London sometime in August (the 10th?) to sign the deal for the distribution of Apple records by Capitol Records in the States (with then company president Stan Gortikov.)

14 August 1968 - After one more John Lennon vocal overdub was added to "Yer Blues" it was remixed for mono.  Then, John, George, Yoko and Mal Evans began work on John's 'bizarre nursery rhyme' called "What's The New Mary Jane", which one could consider yet another 'experimental' piece of sound.  

Four takes were recorded with one breaking down and the others lasting from 2-1/2 to 6-1/2 minutes. The lyric was a repeated, "What a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party", with John punctuating the final word as 'an American drawl viz, "pahr-tee"'.

John was on piano with vocals, George was on guitar.  Take four was used for overdubbing these instruments a second time with more of John's vocals.  Someone was also on handbell and xylophone. At the end of take four John could be heard saying, "Let's hear it, before we get taken away!"

"What's the New Mary Jane" was mixed for mono at a conservative 3'15" and a copy of that along with "Yer Blues" was taken home by John. 

Take 4 of "What's the New Mary Jane" was released on "The Beatles Anthology 3" in 1996.


15 August 1968 - Everyone was back in the studio on this day to record Paul's "Rocky Raccoon" working on the basic track with Paul on acoustic guitar, Ringo on drums, and John on bass guitar.  George remained in the control room and can be heard announcing 'take one' at the start of the session.  Later bass and drums were overdubbed onto take nine.  Then after a reduction mix (take 10) John added harmonica, George Martin added a honky-tonk piano solo and John, Paul and George added backing vocals.   

"Rocky Raccoon" was approached in the opposite direction by Paul, as opposed to "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" which seemed to take forever to complete, for not only was the song to be finished in one day, it was done while Paul was unsure of the lyrics.  Rejected ideas include:  "roll up his sleeves on the sideboard", "roll over, Rock...he said ooh, it's okay doc, it's just a scratch and I'll be okay when I get home", "This here is the story of a young boy living in Minnesota... **** off!" and "move over doc, let's have none of your cock".  "I don't quite know the words to that verse yet!" Paul would confess.  

Just one mono remix (from take 10) of "Rocky Raccoon" was made on this day and copies were produced for John and Paul, and also copies of "Yer Blues" were made for George and Ringo to take home.

Here's some more information about "Rocky Raccoon" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.

Take 8 of "Rocky Raccoon" was released on "The Beatles Anthology 3" in 1996.


16 August 1968 - "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" was revisited today (with George's original solo version now serving a purpose as a demo for the other three.)  

14 takes of a basic rhythm track were made with Ringo on drums, Paul on bass, John on organ and George on guitar.   Take 14 was used for a reduction mix which also slowed the track down from almost 4 minutes to almost 5 minutes. 

One note of interest is that one of the session boxes from this day clearly states:  "The Beatles; Produced by The Beatles". 

Brian Gibson recalls:  "The 'White Album' was a time when George Martin was starting to relinquish control over the group.  There were a number of occasions -- holidays, and when he had other recording commitments -- when he wasn't available for sessions and they would just get on and produce it themselves.  He certainly wasn't around for quite a considerable period of time, although they'd always fall back on him for scoring and arranging things."


20 August 1968 - Monday's session on the 19th was cancelled as George had decided to take a quick trip to Greece and wouldn't be back until the 21st.  Today's work went on without him and it began with John and Ringo recording a very short edit piece for "Yer Blues" (with Ringo's spoken intro "two, three...") which was added onto the 'best' mono mix for the master.  

Then as it was considered just too complicated to try and get a 'true' mono mix out of "Revolution 9" they opted instead to take the June 25th best stereo mix (remix #2) and copy it direct to mono instead of utilizing the original 4-track tape.  

Much of the evening, however, was just Paul working alone first completing "Mother Nature's Son".  

Technical engineer Alan Brown recalls:  "Paul wanted an open effect on his drums [to give a bongos sound] and we ended up leaving the studio itself and putting the drums in the corridor, halfway down, with mikes at the far end.  It wasn't carpeted then and it gave an interesting staccato effect."

Ken Scott concurs with a similar request he'd received from Paul (session unknown):  "Right at the back of the building there's a staircase that goes from the basement up to the top floor.  Paul suggested we use that as a natural echo chamber, with a speaker at the bottom and a microphone about half-way up, for the base drum sound."  

There were overdubs of timpani added, a second acoustic guitar track and brass instruments.  He would work with George Martin on the arrangement of the brass players.  There were two trumpets and two trombones but unfortunately we don't have records of who the players were.  We do know that George Martin received a £25 fee, however, for his services. 

(Note:  I believe this photo is actually from October 7, 1968)

Also on this night, which went until 4am, Paul took the opportunity to record a demo of a song called "Etcetera" which Alan Brown is quoted as saying, "This was a very beautiful song.  I recall it was a ballad and had the word "etcetera" several times in the lyric.  I only heard it twice; when he recorded it and when we played it back to him.  The tape was taken away and I've never heard of it since." 

Paul himself has been quoted as not really liking the song and it's been reported that an acetate copy turned up not too many years ago in Paul's personal archives which proved out that it's actually a version of his "Thingumybob".

The evening was ended with another off-the-cuff recording which was called "Wild Honey Pie".  At only 53 seconds, it features Paul on vocals, acoustic guitars, bass drum all done on one take with many overdubs.  Before the night was over it would be mixed to mono along with "Mother Nature's Son".


21 August 1968 - George was back in town, although probably arriving quite late in the evening into the studio, if at all.  ( I don't see any mention of Ringo actually being present for certain either on this day.)

Tonight they continued work on "Sexy Sadie" with three reduction mixes allowing for overdubs of another John lead vocal, an organ, bass guitar, two sets of backing vocals and a tambourine.  Then 5 mono mixes with the fifth being labeled as 'best'. 

One of these mono mixes of "Sexy Sadie" which contains an extended fade can be heard by downloading a copy from this link: 



22 August 1968 - Not a happy day in Beatles' history.  

John had (sadly) taken an preemptive strike against Cynthia by suing her for divorce on the grounds of adultery (presumably with Roberto Bassanini).  Today Cynthia struck back with a countersuit for divorce of her own citing John's adultery with Yoko (still married herself to Anthony Cox).

Cynthia Lennon:  "I had to survive this for Julian.  I couldn't afford to crumble.  I had to be strong, do what was best for him.  I could fight the divorce, but that would get horribly messy and in the circumstances as clean a break as possible seemed best."  (Note:  She had denied any wrongdoing herself.)

Also, six years from his joining The Beatles completing the quartet, and six years to the day that television cameras first captured John, Paul, George & Ringo together, Ringo Starr made history by also being the first to quit the group.  

What exactly caused this?  As can be imagined it wasn't something that had occurred overnight.  Two days previously, as Paul was working solo on his recording of "Mother Nature's Son" (performing the drums himself, by the way) Ken Scott related a story about how "Everything was great, everyone was in great spirits.  It felt really good.  Suddenly, half way through, John and Ringo walked in and you could cut the atmosphere with a knife.  An instant change.  It was like that for 10 minutes and then as soon as they left it felt great again.  It was very bizarre."

Peter Vince adds:  "Things were getting very strained on Beatles sessions by this time.  The engineers would be asked to leave.  They'd say, 'Go off for a meal' or 'Go off for a drink' and you'd know they were having heavy discussions and didn't want anyone around."

Note:  Photo from October 7, 1968

Ron Richards, part of the AIR team (George Martin's company, Associated Independent Recording which he founded in 1965) remembers:  "Ringo was always sitting in the reception area waiting, just sitting there or reading a newspaper.  He used to sit there for hours waiting for the others to turn up.  One night he couldn't stand it any longer, got fed up and left.  George [Martin] told me that he was having trouble with Ringo but I'm not surprised.  He left and it was all kept very hush hush."

Richard Lush adds:  "Ringo probably had the hardest job in the band, playing for hours and hours, and he probably shared the same view that we occasionally had, 'I played that last night for nine hours.  Do I have to do it again?'  He had a hard job trying to please them."

Ken Scott who was there this night recalls:  "I remember Ringo being uptight about something, I don't remember what, and the next thing I was told was that he'd quit the band.  But work continued.  (Note:  This is also what happened later when George quit The Beatles, stunned perhaps, the remaining three just played on.)  

"They did 'Back In The USSR' with what I seem to recall was a composite drum track of bits and pieces, possibly with all of the other three playing drums."

Five takes were made of "Back In The USSR" of the basic rhythm track this evening with Paul on drums, George on lead guitar and first bass played by John.  


On the 23rd of August there showed a total of three bass guitar parts, all played by John, Paul and George and both Paul and George playing lead guitar.   As mentioned before early takes do show one drummer (Paul) on the basic track, but then two more drum tracks were overdubbed 'conceivably while Paul was engaged playing other instruments.'   Piano was added, along with Paul's lead vocal and John and George's Beach Boys style backing vocals and handclaps. 

The 'distinctive' sound of an airplane taking off and landing came from the curator of sound effects, Stuart Eltham's collection.  "Someone managed to get that tape for me at London Airport", he recalls.  "There's one of it revving up and taking off and one of it landing.  It's a Viscount aeroplane filed in the library as 'Volume 17:  Jet and Piston Engine Aeroplane'." 

Mono mixing completed the evening with one made of "Back In The USSR" (take 6).


Here's some more information about "Back in the U.S.S.R." from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.


With this, however, Beatles product began to grind to a halt in Ringo's absence.  Only another mono copy of "Revolution 9" would be made on the 26th of August, presumably improving upon the previous copy.  

Ringo discusses his leaving The Beatles:  "I left because I felt two things.  I felt I wasn't playing great, and I also felt that the other three were really happy and I was an outsider.  I went to see John, who had been living in my apartment in Montagu Square with Yoko since he moved out of Kenwood.  I said, "I'm leaving the group because I'm not playing well and I feel unloved and out of it, and you three are really close.'  And John said, 'I thought it was you three!'

"So I went over to Paul's and knocked on his door.  I said the same thing.  'I'm leaving the band.  I feel you three guys are really close and I'm out of it.'  And Paul said, 'I thought it was you three!'

"I didn't even bother going to George then.  I said, 'I'm going on holiday.'  I took the kids and we went to Sardinia.

"I had a rest and the holiday was great.  I knew we were all in a messed-up stage.  It wasn't just me; the whole thing was going down.  I had definitely left, I couldn't take it anymore.  There was no magic and the relationships were terrible.  I'd come to a bad spot in life.  It could have been paranoia, but I just didn't feel good -- I felt like an outsider.  But then I realized that we were all feeling like outsiders, and it just needed me to go around knocking to bring it to a head."




24 August 1968 - In the August issue of "The Beatles Book - No. 61" it is stated in the editorial (page 2) an acknowledgement of 'a tremendous flood of letters this month about John and Yoko.'  After pointing out that the wish is to avoid 'prying into the boys' lives once they have left the spotlight' the editorial ends with editor Johnny Dean's, "...I don't think it's fair to either John or Cynthia to say anything about what is a very private affair between them.  That's been our policy up to now and we are going to stick to it."

On this day, however, as Mark Lewisohn would state, 'John and Yoko nailed their true colours to the mast during this remarkable TV appearance, an interview with David Frost on..."Frost on Saturday" networked live from Wembley Studios" that evening.'  

It was a showcase for John & Yoko's art and their views, and their first joint television appearance.











 Endless thanks go to Beatles fan Mark Jones who had uploaded these screen shots from the broadcast on the Bootleg Zone Forums.  Without these, I would have nothing!

While the broadcast itself does seem to exist in video form, I have only been able to locate the audio portion of it at this time, which you can listen to by downloading a copy from this link:

David "Frost On Saturday" with guests John Lennon and Yoko Ono [August 24, 1968]


26 August 1968 - It had to have been strange for the Fab Four on this day because as they collectively were launching Apple Records, although not known to the world at that time, Ringo had seriously left the group four days prior.  I can only imagine what must have been going through their minds and those in the business that were close enough to know what had happened, and what potential repercussions it might have had towards their new venture had the news got out that Ringo was gone.


"Our First Four" by The Beatles released on their new Apple Label was officially launched in the USA on this day.  (The date in the UK would be August 30th.)  

The 'first four' were 4 new Apple singles, although with The Beatles it was a facade because they were still contractually bound to EMI so their release belonged to the EMI catalog.  Nonetheless, the first four included:

The Beatles "Hey Jude" b/w "Revolution".

Apple 2 record was Mary Hopkins singing "Those Were The Days" b/w "Turn, Turn, Turn" and it was produced by Paul McCartney

Apple 3 was by Jackie Lomax produced by George Harrison and included George's "Sour Milk Sea" b/w "The Eagle Laughs at You" (also credited to George Harrison).

The Apple 4 single was The Black Dyke Mills Band playing "Thingumybob" b/w "Yellow Submarine" and also produced by Paul McCartney.  

The surprise 'flop' of the four was "Sour Milk Sea" which didn't chart in Britain nor the top 100 in America (but it was somewhat of a hit in Canada) even though it was a critical success.  It also had the distinction of including George on acoustic guitar and lead guitar, Paul on bass, Ringo on drums and '5th Beatles' Eric Clapton on lead guitar and Nicky Hopkins on piano.  










The rare British press kit packaging seems to be the most lavish.  



The American Press Kit for The Beatles First Four

The West Coast version of The Beatles new single.


This was the East coast pressing.

A huge 'thank you' goes out to Bruce Spizer for his article on the American Press Kit for "Our First Four" which is posted at this link:  www.beatle.net

As Mr. Spizer points out the new records had what was known as 'a slip guard consisting of 360 interlocking serrations surrounding the label.  By coincidence, Capitol had re-tooled its pressing plants for slip guard singles at the beginning of the month, so the Apple singles were among the first Capitol manufactured titles to take on the new look.



In America the Catalog numbers began with 1800. 




For information about the text shown on the information sheets above, please check out Bruce Spizer's article at this link:  www.beatle.net








Although the Apple Campaign had been a resounding success for The Beatles new single, there was one aspect of it that did not go over well.  

Paul had come up with the idea of using the window area of the now-closed Apple shop on Baker Street to promote "Hey Jude" and "Revolution" by painting the titles in huge letters, with the help of Alistair Taylor.  

Soon afterwards a brick was thrown through the window as some locals had mistaken the word Jude as being the same word that was painted on Jewish owned buildings in Nazi Germany.



28-30 August 1968 - "Dear Prudence" would become the next 8-track recording for The Beatles as they returned to Trident Studios on this day, that is with Ringo still absent.  

It was recorded track by track over a number of times each, simultaneously wiping out the previous attempt.  This method left the day with just 'take 1' even though that one take had been put together by many previous attempts that were each recorded separately.   The basic track was laid down with guitars by George and John and Paul on drums.  

On the 29th, Paul added bass guitar, John manually double-tracked his lead vocal, backing vocals, handclaps and tambourine by Paul and George.  Mal Evans even participated along with Paul's visiting cousin John, and Apple's Jackie Lomax.  A deliberate applause from all contributors 'graced' the end of the track, but would be later mixed out.  

"Dear Prudence" would be completed on the 30th with Paul's piano track and 'a very short burst of fl├╝gelhorn'.


Here's some more information about "Dear Prudence" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.


You can hear that early mono mix (with applause at the end) along with another track which is just the instruments only from "Dear Prudence" via this download link:  



Ringo and family on holiday in Sardinia after his break with The Beatles.

3 September 1968 - Ringo Returns, his drum kit smothered in flowers!  After his escape to Sardinia, Ringo was brought back into the Beatles' orbit, and things did get better.  He very well may have shocked them into a reality that produced two quite efficiently made tracks, "Back in the U.S.S.R." and "Dear Prudence".  As things would go, however, on this day he had nothing to do himself(!)  Another reminder of how 'loose' things had gotten, now George Martin was gone on an extended vacation and wouldn't rejoin The Beatles until the beginning of October.  

Still with the Four Brothers back together, things were afoot!  "Hey Jude" had become the first eight-track Beatles recording, but the benefit of that fell more on the creation of the orchestral background.  With "Dear Prudence" The Beatles (while at Trident Studios) got a more direct realization of the advantage of eight-track recording affording them yet another way to make records they liked and now they wanted all of their recordings to be eight-track from here on. 

Back together at EMI in Studio Two the four had 'got wind of the fact that Abbey Road did have an eight-track machine, the 3M model in Francis Thompson's office.'  They decided to "liberate" it.

Technical engineer Dave Harries remembers:  "The studios were never allowed to use any equipment until Francis had said that it was up to standard, which was great, fine, but when you've got four innovative lads from Liverpool who want to make better recordings, and they've got the smell of the machine, matters can take a different course.  

"They must have been getting on to Ken Scott about it because Ken called me and suggested we get the machine out of Francis's office and take it along to number two.  I very nearly got the sack over that!"

Mike Sheady adds:  "Unless the tape operator remembered to mute the output from the machine when you spooled back and wanted to hear the tape traveling past the heads, it would send the spooling noise straight into the Beatles' cans, almost blasting their heads off.  They got very uptight about that, understandably, because it can be very disconcerting."

So it was, George's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" became the first Abbey Road eight-track recording.  As the evening wore on, however, George would work alone first having take 15 of his song transferred to the new eight-track medium (take 16) from the original four-track, and then into the night he tried perfecting the sound of a guitar crying.  

Brian Gibson recalls:  "George particularly wanted to get the sound of a crying guitar but he didn't want to use a wah-wah [tone] pedal, so he was experimenting with a backwards guitar solo.  This meant a lot of time-consuming shuttling back and forth from the studio to the control room.  We spent a long night trying to get it to work but in the end the whole thing was scrapped and it was around that time that Eric Clapton started to get involved with the song."

One other output from today was the copying of the "Revolution" rhythm track from take 16 (completed July 12, 1968).  You may recall that all of the work they group did on promotional films for "Magical Mystery Tour" went to waste in the UK because of the Musicians' Union ban on miming.  This time in order to 'fool' the ban they would add new vocal tracks to their songs during the shooting of their next promotional clips for the new single.  For example, when they video taped "Hey Jude" Paul would simply sing a new vocal over the existing backing track.  This they would do together again, the next day.






4 September 1968 - Back at Twickenham Film Studios to video tape promotional clips for the new Beatles single with director Michael Lindsay-Hogg (who had previously worked with them on the 'Paperback Writer' and 'Rain' film clips).  The decision to video tape the promos had been made on August 29th, so they must have had a good idea Ringo was coming back by then.

Two completed promotional videos were made of each song, "Hey Jude" and "Revolution".  The first tackled today was "Hey Jude" with Paul on an upright piano, John and George sitting on an adjacent podium with their guitars and Ringo perched up high behind them along with a 36-piece orchestra in white tuxedos and 300 extras to help with the 'extended refrain'.  The extras had been put together by invitations from Mal Evans made previously to fans outside EMI studios and others were recruited after 20 students had distributed leaflets in the area.  

At least three takes of "Hey Jude" were taped with the most broadcast version being an edit, consisting of the first half from take one and the last half from take three.   Only the vocals were live.  

Since "Hey Jude" was going to premiere on the David Frost show, he was brought in this afternoon to be taped introducing The Beatles.  After running through a quick version of Mr. Frost's theme music (composed by George Martin, by the way) they were congratulated by Mr. Frost for giving "a perfect rendition" and then The Beatles led a short parody of Elvis Presley's "It's Now Or Never" (which was edited out of the broadcast) and into "Hey Jude"

You can now see that video as part of The Beatles "1" collection, and the bonus material includes a 'new' edit of existing footage to make yet another version of the "Hey Jude" promotional video.  































I've been able to locate what I believe is the original alternate 2nd version of the promo video for "Hey Jude" that was made in 1968.  The most noticeable difference I can tell is that the 'extras' seem to approach and surround The Beatles a little earlier than in any of the other versions.  They are all pretty similar, but you can see for yourself via this link:  


With "Revolution" The Beatles were back in form with the more familiar three guitars and drums stance.  The two versions of the clips were distinguished by differences in lighting.  Again, new vocals were supplied (blending in lyrics from "Revolution 1") with the original EMI backing track.  "Shoo-be-doo-wop" was back, sung by Paul and George, while John was once again allowing himself to be counted "out/in".

The world premiere of "Hey Jude" was broadcast (in monochrome) during "Frost on Sunday", September 8, 1968.  "Revolution" was screened only once on "Top Of The Pops", September 19, 1968.  

In the USA "Hey Jude" and "Revolution" were screened in color on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" with "Hey Jude" on the October 6th show and "Revolution" a week following on October 13th, 1968.

























Admittedly there seems to be only slight differences in the editing between the two promotional versions of "Revolution" the most noticeable to me is with the music starting quite soon on the 2nd version and a few other changes.  But check it out for yourself by downloading a copy from this link:


It is interesting to note (as taken from Mark Lewisohn's "The Complete Beatles Chronicle") that originally a 38 scene storyboard had been put together for "Hey Jude" by film editor Roy Benson (who had worked with the group on the "Hello, Goodbye" promos).  That idea was dropped when The Beatles learned it would take up to three days to shoot.  

5 September 1968 - Back at EMI and a return to that new eight-track machine with work continuing on George's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".  First there were two separate George Harrison lead vocals plus maracas, more drums another lead guitar all overdubbed onto take 16.  Then George didn't like where it was going and scrapped the whole idea.  

Then it was onto remaking the track again.  This third version begun from scratch started with 28  more takes numbered 17 - 44.   In George's mind, however, the slate was wiped clean.  This would be an entirely different approach and so they commenced with his announcement that this was "Take One!"

The basic track of this brand new "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" consisted of Ringo on drums, George on acoustic guitar with a guide vocal, John on lead guitar and Paul on piano alternating with organ.  

From Mark Lewisohn, Note:  Take 40 developed into an impromptu jam including snatches of "Lady Madonna" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" both with Paul as vocalist.  This was preserved on the "Beatles Chat" bits and pieces tape.

It would be take 25 that was labelled 'best' at the end of this day.



6 September 1968 - In impromptu addition of Eric Clapton makes the highlight of this day after George, while Eric had been giving him a lift from Surrey (where they both lived) into London, suggested he turn up at the studio and overdub guitar.   George had known Eric as far back as 1964 when he, as a member of the Yardbirds, supported the Beatles in a series of Christmas shows.  

Eric was a bit stand offish about the idea reminding George that "no one plays on Beatles sessions!"  George's response was, "So what? It's my song."

Brian Gibson recalls:  "Eric behaved just like any sessions musician, very quiet, just got on and played.  That was it...there were no theatrics involved.  I remember Eric telling George that Cream's approach to recording would be to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, spending very little time in the studio itself, whereas The Beatles' approach seemed to be to record, record, record, and then eventually get the right one.  The sessions were their rehearsals."  

Along with Eric on his Les Paul guitar, Paul played a fuzz bass guitar, George 'threw in a few very high pitched organ notes', Ringo added percussion with George's lead vocal and Paul adding backing harmonies.  

George would not only recall later that, "It made them all try a bit harder; they were all on their best behaviour," he would use this 'tactic' again in the future during the "Get Back" Sessions. 

You can hear Eric Clapton's guitar playing isolated on this track from "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" via this link:  




9 September 1968 - The Beatles return to "Helter Skelter" on this day remaking it from the beginning with 18 takes (numbered 4-21) all at the more 'reasonable' length of 3 to 4 minutes long.  

Brian Gibson recalls:  The version on the album was out of control.  They were completely out of their heads that night.  But, as usual, a blind eye was turned to what The Beatles did in the studio.  Everyone knew what substances they were taking but they were really a law unto themselves in the studio.  As long as they didn't do anything too outrageous things were tolerated."

Chris Thomas remembers:  "While Paul was doing his vocal, George Harrison had set fire to an ashtray and was running around the studio with it above his head, doing an Arthur Brown!  All in all, a pretty undisciplined session, you could say!"

Mr. Thomas had another story to tell about this day:  "I came back from my holiday and there was a note from George [Martin] on my desk, 'Chris.  Hope you had a nice holiday; I'm off on mine now.  Make yourself available to The Beatles.  Neil and Mal know you're coming down.'  It took a while for The Beatles to accept me.  Paul was the first one to walk in -- I was sitting in the corner wearing a suit and tie! -- and he said, 'What are doing here?'  I felt like such an idiot, but managed to blurt 'Didn't George tell you?' 'No.' 'Well, George has suggested I come down and help out.' Paul's reply was 'Well, if you wanna produce us you can produce us.  If you don't, we might just tell you to **** off!'  That was encouragement?  I couldn't speak after that..."

Of course, as Mark Lewisohn points out, it is hardly likely that anyone was really producing The Beatles any longer except themselves.  

As the session progressed, they settled on take 21 and added additional overdubs on September 10th, including John playing bass guitar, a saxophone(!), Mal on trumpet, two lead guitars, heavy drums, a piano, backing vocals from John and George, Paul on lead vocal and a lot of distortion and feedback. Drumming 'as if his life depended on it, Ringo finished the recording off screaming, "I've got blisters on my fingers!"'  (That is, at least on the stereo version of the song.  The mono mix was almost one minute shorter, excluding a return fade up to the continued jamming.)

I've uploaded the Rockband mix version of "Helter Skelter" (along with a snippet of studio chatter) because it removes the fade down and fade up near the end of the track giving a longer ending effect which is interesting.  This is the link:



11 September 1968 - John's "Glass Onion" makes fun of the public's almost always wrong interpretations of The Beatles' music.  It was recorded in 34 takes on this day, starting with the basic rhythm track of drums, bass, lead and acoustic guitars -- each version being just under 2 minutes long except for take 15 which developed into a 6 minute jam session.  

Take 33 would be considered 'best' and on the 12th of September John would add a lead vocal along with a tambourine and on the 13th, an additional drum track and piano was added.  

On the 16th of September someone thought of adding a recorder (woodwind instrument) at the point in the song where "The Fool On The Hill" is mentioned.  It was double-tracked as two overdubs.



Here's some more information about "Glass Onion" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.

16 September 1968 - George was not involved, but John, Paul & Ringo worked on Paul's new ballad, "I Will", with Paul singing and playing acoustic guitar, Ringo on maraca and tapping cymbals and John tapping a beat with wood on metal.  67 takes were made (not all of them complete) with take 65 selected as 'best'.  

"I Will" was recorded on four-track initially during a long session that lasted from 7pm to 3am in the morning, Paul not settling completely on the final lyric until late in the night, and then copied to eight-track for further overdubbing.

During the session, Paul ad-libbed a few other songs off-the-cuff including "Step Inside Love" which he had written for Cilla Black and recorded earlier in the year, "Los Paranoius", "The Way You Look Tonight" which was almost entirely derived from "I Will" and then an untitled, un-copyrighted tune where he sang "Can you take me back where I came from, can you take me back?" lasting 2' 21" which was then copied to The Beatles 'odds and ends' tapes.  From that a 28-second section was itself cut and included on the finished album in-between "Cry Baby Cry" and "Revolution 9"

"I Will" was completed on the 17th of September with Paul overdubbing a backing vocal, a second acoustic guitar, and a 'baritone dum-dum-dum impersonation of a bass guitar'.  The lead vocal would be treated to ADT during the remix.

Take 1 of "I Will" along with bits of "Step Inside Love" and "Los Paranoius" was released on "The Beatles Anthology 3" in 1996.

You can hear the 'full' "Can You Take Me Back" via downloading from this link:



Steve Turner in his book "A Hard Day's Write" states that "I Will" was the first song Paul would write about Linda Eastman.  Linda and her daughter Heather would be arriving the following week in London and Paul obviously had her on his mind big time!

It should also be noted that in front of "Revolution 9" there would be the sound of 'studio control room chatter' which was Alistair Taylor (Apple office manager) apologizing to George Martin for not bringing him a bottle of claret.  There is no known date for when that was picked up on tape.  

Also on this day, engineer Ken Scott and tape operator Mike Sheady, with the occasional supervision of Chris Thomas, began working with all of the mono masters of all of The Beatles' recorded music from 1962-68, compiling and copying the little section from each track where the title of each song occurred.  It is unknown why this was done but 20 songs titles were copied on this day, 27 more on September 17th, 30 more on the 23rd and 22 more on the 24th.  

It is possible that it might have been done for copyright reasons, but the project was given the same "Job Number" for accounting purposes as the double-album currently being produced.  It could be that somewhere this 'sharply-edited barrage of Beatles singing their own song titles' might have been considered for inclusion on the new LP.


18 September 1968 - If you are a known Beatles fanatic like myself, you can count on people sending you copies of this song once a year.  On this day Paul's "Birthday" was pretty much written, recorded, and mixed, with time to spare for a movie in-between!

Chris Thomas had mentioned to Paul earlier that the 1956 classic "The Girl Can't Help It" was making its British Television debut and so the idea was tonight's session would start early, at 5pm, so everyone could take a break and head to Paul's home to watch the film and then go back to work.

Paul had arrived first and began playing 'the "Birthday" riff.'  When the others began showing up, he pretty much had the song written but with room for 'little contributions here and there' by the other Beatles.  A backing track was completed after 20 takes by 8:30pm when they were able to watch the movie, and returning to the studio session visitors Pattie Harrison and Yoko Ono added backing vocals.

Paul McCartney gives John Lennon a bit more credit:  "We thought, 'Why not make something up?' So we got a riff going and arranged it around this riff.  We said, 'We'll go to there for a few bars, then we'll do this for a few bars.'  We added some lyrics, then we got the friends who were there to join in on the chorus.  So that is 50-50 John and me, made up on the spot and recorded all the same evening. I don't recall it being anybody's birthday in particular, but it might have been, but the other reason for doing it is that, if you have a song that refers to Christmas or a birthday, it adds to the life of the song, if it's a good song, because people will pull it out on birthday shows, so I think there was a little bit of that at the back of our minds."

The song was begun on four-track and then transferred to eight-track where there would be room for drums, lead guitar, bass guitar, tambourine, piano, handclaps (with Mal Evans), backing vocals, lead vocal by Paul and joined in by John.

The completed work was mixed in mono by 5am and "Birthday" was complete.  (Stereo mixing would be done on October 14th.)

Here's some more information about "Birthday" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.

19 September 1968 - Eleven takes were made of George's "Piggies" basic rhythm track on this night including the harpsichord played by Chris Thomas.

Chris Thomas:  "All four Beatles were there for the session and we were working in number two (studio).  I wandered into number one and found a harpsichord, not knowing that it had been set up overnight for a classical recording.  So we discussed wheeling the thing into number two but Ken Scott said, 'No, we can't, it's there for another session!' So we moved our session into number one instead.

"George Harrison agreed that my harpsichord idea was a good one and suggested that I play it. (Chris Thomas had studied at the Royal Academy of Music as a child.)  This I did, but while George and I were tinkling away on this harpsichord he started playing another new song to me, which later turned out to be 'Something'.  I said, 'That's great!  Why don't we do that one instead?' and he replied 'Do you like it, do you really think it's good?'  When I said yes, he said, 'Oh, maybe I'll give it to Jackie Lomax then, he can do it as a single.'"

Although George never gave "Something" to Jackie Lomax, he did give it to Joe Cocker, also playing on Mr. Cocker's version, months before The Beatles version came out, although Mr. Cocker's version was released second, in November of 1969.


Also playing on that basic rhythm track were George on acoustic guitar, Ringo on tambourine, Paul on bass then on the 20th of September, George added lead vocal (with ADT added later to portions of his voice) while John Lennon was in the control room creating a tape loop of pigs snorting and grunting from the Abbey Road sound effects collection "Animals and Bees" [Volume 35].

Stuart Eltham recalls:  "It's from an old EMI 78rpm record and The Beatles may have used a combination of that and their own voices.  That always works well -- the new voices hide the 78rpm scratchiness, the original record hides the fact that some of the sounds are man-made."

In one verse George pinched his nose while singing creating a nasal sound.  Ken Townsend remembers:  "We fed the microphone signal through a very sharp echo chamber filter, an RS106, so that it chopped off everything above and below the 3.5 kilohertz level, creating a very narrow band of sound."


Here's some more information about "Piggies" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.




23 September 1968 - They did it with "A Day in the Life" and would do so again in a more elaborate way on their final LP, and so also today when John presented three different, unrelating and unfinished songs that would be woven together to form one complete track.  In the studio it would be called "Happiness is a Warm Gun in Your Hand" and from the first take this combined structure had already been put into place.  The initial idea had come from an advertisement in a magazine.

There would be many takes, mainly 'because of the complicated tempo changes between 3/4 and 4/4 time'.  Takes 1-45 of the rhythm track were made today with bass, drums, John's lead guitar, his guide vocal and George's fuzzed lead guitar.   A further 25 takes would be made on the 24th bringing it up to take 70.

On the 25th of September, after it had been decided that take 53 had the best version of the first half of the song, and take 65 had the best for the second half, those two pieces were edited together.   Then overdubbing began through the night of the 25th on eight-track tape.  It included John's lead vocal, John, Paul & George backing vocals, an organ, piano, tuba (which was pretty much mixed out eventually), a snare drum beat, tambourine and bass guitar.

During the mixing of the song for release, and while applying ADT to John's vocal, the first time he sings "I need a fix..." was mixed out leaving that portion of the song instrumental.

You can hear one of the overdub tracks from "Happiness is a Warm Gun" that contains organ, guitar, snare drum and piano, along with an interesting alternate stereo mix of the completed track via downloading from this link:


With more mono mixing to be done on the 26th, the song finally became known more simply as "Happiness is a Warm Gun".  "What's the New Mary Jane" received another set of mono remixing as well as "Glass Onion" and "I Will".

Here's some more information about "Happiness is a Warm Gun" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.  As mentioned here, Linda was in town, and thanks to her we have some nice photos of The Beatles working in the studio at that time.


With "Glass Onion", John felt it needed more and so he compiled a 'bizzarre four-track tape' that included a telephone ringing, one note of an organ, the BBC television soccer commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme shouting, "It's a goal!" complete with crowd noises in the background and a window being smashed, all laid down on each individual track and playing repeatedly for about 2-1/2 minutes in length.  A section of this was added onto the end of "Glass Onion"

When George Martin returned from his holiday, he suggested to John a different approach and strings would replace John's strange concoction of sounds with that new overdub made on October 10th.

John's original idea for the song "Glass Onion" was released on "The Beatles Anthology 3" in 1996.


30 September 1968 - Hunter Davies' book "The Beatles:  The Authorised Biography" is published in the UK.  (It is claimed to have been released in the USA earlier on August 17th.)  It would remain the only authorized biography (excluding The Beatles own 'Anthology') and it was the author himself when he had been working with Paul McCartney who first suggested the book back in September of 1966.



Paul liked the idea and had Mr. Davies contact Brian Epstein who also was favorable towards the project.  Thus, Mr. Davies was granted access to watch The Beatles at work and at home with their families conducting interviews and generally spending a considerable amount of time with them as individuals which began in early 1967.

The US cover.

The popularity of this book has remained to where we have a 50th Anniversary Edition available today.



1 October 1968 - The Beatles return again to Trident Studios 'for no other reason than a change of scenery' and stayed there for the remainder of this week.  Once again after most assuredly rehearsal takes, and other takes that would be deemed incomplete, all wiped before proper overdubbing would begin, the final version of today's output, Paul's "Honey Pie", would be labelled as only 'take 1'.  It was a basic track with Paul on piano, George on bass, Ringo on drums and John on electric guitar.  A rough mono remix was made for George Martin (now back from his holiday) so he could write a brass and woodwind arrangement.

More overdubs of Paul's lead vocal and lead guitar would be made on the 2nd.


These nine photos were presumably taken on September 26, 1968 in the studio by Linda (then) Eastman.

3 October 1968 - Using the same method again today produced 'take 1' of George's "Savoy Truffle" creating a song that was 'derived from a chocolate box'!  Much of the lyric came right off of Mackintosh's Good News chocolates.

George Harrison has revealed that this song came about by hanging with Eric Clapton whom "...at that time...had a lot of cavities in his teeth and needed dental work.  He always had toothache but he ate a lot of chocolates -- he couldn't resist them and once he saw a box he had to eat them all.

"He was over at my house and I had a box of 'Good News' chocolates on the table and wrote the song from the names inside the lid.  'Creme Tangerine, Montelimar, Ginger Sling, Pineapple Heart, Coffee Dessert....'  I got stuck with the two bridges for a while and Derek Taylor wrote some of the words in the middle... 'you know that what you eat you are...'

On this day a basic track of drums, bass and lead guitars was recorded.  Listening to the eight-track tapes, Mark Lewisohn believes there was 'no role for John Lennon at any time' during the recording process..

Here's some more information about "Honey Pie" and "Savoy Truffle" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.


4 October 1968 - Mark Lewisohn makes a case for what again might be considered a Paul McCartney one-man show (although photos taken by Linda Eastman show as evidence that George Harrison was also present on these two days) with the commencement recording of "Martha My Dear".  Parts by him were recorded before and after a six-hour brass, woodwind and string overdub session for this and his "Honey Pie".  The night began early (4pm) with Paul providing a vocal line, along with piano and drums for a basic track.  (Mr. Lewisohn also states that although Martha is Paul's sheepdog, this composition only borrows the name and nothing more, and so is not about his dog.)  

Seven musicians came in at 6pm and recorded their contributions to "Honey Pie".  They were:  Dennis Walton, Ronald Chamberlain, Jim Chester, Rex Morris and Harry Klein (all on saxophones), Raymond Newman and David Smith (clarinets).

Then 14 musicians began at 9pm to work on "Martha My Dear".  They were:  Bernard Miller, Dennis McConnell, Lou Sofier and Les Maddox (violins), Leo Birnbaum and Henry Myerscough (violas), Reginald Kilbey and Frederick Alexander (cellos), Leon Calvert, Stanley Reynolds and Ronnie Hughes (trumpets), Tony Tunstall (French horn), Ted Barker (trombone) and Alf Reece (tuba). Leon Calvert also contributed a fl├╝gelhorn part.  

George Martin supervised the musicians, so at one time he must have been given a demo of "Martha My Dear" in advance from Paul so he could create the arrangement.

From midnight on, Paul replaced his vocal on "Martha My Dear" with a new one including handclaps, later with ADT applied.  His line, "now she's hit the big time!" was then added to "Honey Pie" being 'heavily limited, chopping off the signals at both ends of the frequency range' and then the sound of a 'scratchy old phonograph' was added to make his vocal sound as if it came off of a worn 78 rpm record.  




5 October 1968 - Rounding out the week at Trident Studios, ADT was added to a new George Harrison lead vocal for "Savoy Truffle" and bass and electric guitars (both played by Paul) were added onto "Martha My Dear".  



Here's some more information about "Martha My Dear" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.




7 October 1968 - The beginning of some very long sessions, and the work on a George Harrison song initially called "It's Been A Long Long Long Time", but being considered too long itself the title was shortened to "Long Long Long".

The afternoon began earlier than usual, at 2:30pm with some tape copying and mixing, one in stereo  of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and two in mono, both from take 25.  

What eventually came a 16-1/2 hour session and ending at 7am included 67 takes for the basic track of "Long Long Long" with George on acoustic guitar and vocal, Paul on organ and Ringo on drums.  John was not present during this session.  

Chris Thomas remembers:  "There's a sound near the end of the song [best heard on the right stereo channel] which is a bottle of Blue Nun wine rattling away on the top of a Leslie speaker cabinet.  It just happened.  Paul hit a certain organ note and the bottle started vibrating.  We thought it was so good that we set the mikes up and did it again.  The Beatles always took advantage of accidents."

Ringo too, recorded 'an extra spurt of fast drumming for the same passage.'



Mark Lewisohn points out that George appeared to be in a happy mood throughout the night "laughing, joking and bursting into busked versions of other songs including "Dear Prudence".  At one point he started a discussion about the joss-sticks they were into burning at the time wondering 'Where did Mal get those...?  They're like Rishikesh joss-sticks.'  

Richard Lush recalls:  "The people at Abbey Road didn't particularly like them, especially when the carpet and the whole studio was stinking of them, be it strawberry or whatever was the flavour of the month."

Alan Brown kept one, in its original wrapper, remembering:  "They used to burn several at once, sticking them into slots of the acoustic screens.  I'd go home at night my clothes reeking of them!  I've never smelt joss-sticks of quite the same quality that they used.  They had them specially brought in from India."   

Here's some more information about "Long Long Long" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.

8 October 1968 - This particular concentration on recording continued this day, which began at 4pm and went through to 8am the next morning.  It was fruitful as well as two more John Lennon songs were begun and completed with additional work on George's "Long Long Long".  (George added a second acoustic guitar, a second manually double tracked lead vocal and with Paul adding a bass track.) 

The first of the new songs tackled this evening was "I'm So Tired" with bass, drums, guitars, John's lead vocal, vocal 'fills' by John and Paul, electric piano, and organ.   Mark Lewisohn states that John's 'muttering' at the end of the track is, "Monsieur, monsieur, how about another one?".  This would later be played backwards to reveal another 'clue' into Paul's apparent 'death' for which the record ghouls would take delight in.  There would be 14 takes of the basic track for "I'm So Tired".

A combination of takes 3, 6 & 9 of "I'm So Tired" would be released on "The Beatles Anthology 3" in 1996.

Here's some more information about "I'm So Tired" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.

This was followed up by "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" which was completed in only 3 takes for the basic track, but did contain many overdubs.  The energy behind this tune was the opposite of "I'm So Tired".  It was fun and like "Dear Prudence" was about another student of Transcendental Meditation that was present with the Beatles while they were in India.  

As Mark Lewisohn points out, it was 'slap-happy'.  A 'slapdash recording, preserving imperfections in an effort to capture the right atmosphere.'  

Yoko Ono sang one solo line, "not when he looked so fierce" becoming the first female lead vocal on a Beatles recording.  She was not totally alone for Maureen Starkey was also a part 'of the assembled chorale'.  

Chris Thomas remembers:  "That night was really fast going.  Everyone who was in the vicinity of the studio joined in on 'The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill'.  Yoko sang her line and I played a mandolin-type mellotron bit in the verses and the trombone-type bit in the choruses."

The short Spanish acoustic guitar solo at the beginning of the track was recorded separately and added on the beginning of take three.  (The Beatles Bible states that the opening piece was actually another 'sample tape' from the mellotron said to have been played originally by Australian session musician Eric Cook.)  It ended with 'a north of England accented John Lennon "Eh up"' which would become the cue for the beginning of the next track, George's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".   

Here's some more information about "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.

9 October 1968 - Overdubs to "Long Long Long" were made including a Paul backing vocal and piano played by Chris Thomas.  (Most likely John was off this day enjoying his birthday.)

Then Paul taped the basic track for his "Why Don't We Do It In The Road" in five takes with his lead vocal and acoustic guitar.  At first he instructed engineer Ken Townsend that it was his wish to sing "...one quiet verse, one loud verse..." but it was the last take where his 'vocal took on the more raucous tone throughout.'  Then a piano track was overdubbed onto take 5.  

More vocals, handclaps, a bass track and Ringo's drums were added on October 10th.  Since this particular recording was done on 4-track, after a reduction mix Paul added an electric guitar overdub.  

Take 4 of "Why Don't We Do It In The Road" would be made available on "The Beatles Anthology 3" in 1996.




10 October 1968 - While Paul was finishing up his track, "Why Don't We Do It In The Road",  George's "Piggies" and John's "Glass Onion" were being completed on this day with strings added to both by the same eight musicians:  Henry Datyner, Eric Bowie, Norman Lederman and Ronald Thomas (violins); Eldon Fox and Reginald Kilbey (cellos); John Underwood and Keith Cummings (violas). 



Also on this day George Harrison created a second music publishing company of his own called Singsong Ltd.  It is unclear as to exactly why he did this.  Even though his bought Mornyork Ltd in September of 1964, which would become Harrisongs Ltd in December of that same year, this second company would eventually publish only one song, "Old Brown Shoe" before merging into the existing Harrisongs.

What is clear was that up until now, George's music had been under contract to Northern Songs Ltd, but his royalty rate was way lower than John and Paul's.  Since that contract expired in March of 1968, both he and Ringo had the opportunity to now make more money on the publications of their own compositions.  Indeed, Harrisongs Ltd. would publish the remainder of George's songs with The Beatles and his early solo work. 



11 October 1968 - George's "Savoy Truffle" was graced with a brass overdub.  Chris Thomas recalls:  "George Martin suggested that I score 'Savoy Truffle' for saxophones.  I must say that I found it a real chore."  The musicians were Ronald Ross and Bernard George (baritone players); Art Ellefson, Danny Moss, Harry Klein and Derek Collins (tenor players). 

Brian Gibson remembers:  "The session men were playing really well -- there's nothing like a good brass section letting rip -- and it sounded fantastic.  But having got this really nice sound George (Harrison) turned to Ken Scott and said, 'Right, I want to distort it'.  So I had to plug-up two high-gain amplifiers which overloaded and deliberately introduced a lot of distortion, completely tearing the sound to pieces and making it dirty.  The musicians came up to the control room to listen to a playback and George said to them, 'Before you listen I've got to apologise for what I've done to your beautiful sound.  Please forgive me -- but it's the way I want it!'  I don't think they particularly enjoyed hearing their magnificent sound screwed up quite so much but they realised that this was what George wanted, and that it was their job to provide it." 




During the mixing of their music, Ken Scott would recall:  "The Beatles would go to extremes with the 'White Album'.  Like when it came to mixing they would say, 'Right, let's add full top [treble] and full bass to everything'.  Some of the time it would sound good, sometimes it wouldn't.  When it did they would say, 'Okay, let's do it like that'.  Most people just used top and bass where necessary, trying to keep the sound as natural as possible.  The Beatles weren't necessarily after a natural sound." 

13 October 1968 - The 32nd and final song recorded this day for "The Beatles" was John's "Julia".  It would become the only time John Lennon would produce a completely solo recording for The Beatles with him playing acoustic guitar and adding his vocal twice to a four-track machine.  There were three takes, overdubbing and the finished product was mixed to both mono and stereo, all on the same day.

Take 2 of "Julia" would be made available on "The Beatles Anthology 3" LP in 1996.


Here's some more information about "Julia" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.




14 October 1968 - Ringo and his family would return to Sardinia on this day for another two-week holiday leaving the rest of "The Beatles" to John, Paul and George.  

Today a second electric guitar, organ, tambourine and bongos were added to George's "Savoy Truffle" making it the final recordings to take place for the new double LP.  

As mixing the tracks progressed, Chris Thomas recalls an incident with "While My Guitar Gently Weeps":  "I was given the grand job of waggling the oscillator on the 'Gently Weeps' mixes.  Apparently Eric Clapton insisted to George that he didn't want the guitar solo so typically Clapton.  He said the sound wasn't enough of 'a Beatles sound'.  So we did this flanging thing, really wobbling the oscillator in the mix.  I did that for hours.  What a boring job!"



16-17 October 1968 - A full 24 hour session to wrap up "The Beatles" helmed by John and Paul, George Martin, with Ken Scott and John Smith, as now George Harrison had flown out to Los Angeles.   His primary purpose of this visit was to produce songs for the upcoming Jackie Lomax Apple LP, "Is This What You Want?".

Alan Brown recalls:  "I remember arriving at the studios on Thursday 17 October 1968, 9am, to find The Beatles still there.  They had been there all night, finalising the master tapes for what we now call the 'White Album' and banding it up [putting the songs in order and editing the master].  They were all over the place, room 41, the front listening room -- anywhere -- almost every room they could get.  It was a frantic last minute job."





George's "Not Guilty" at this time had still not been remixed for stereo and the assumption is that it wasn't a contender at this point.  Amazingly, it appears "What's The New Mary Jane" still was but finally dropped at the last minute while trying to create a 'structure' for the entire remaining 30 song presentation.  

What the wound up with was 'the heavier rock songs' mostly on Side C.  George's four songs would be spread out, one per side.  No one composer had more than two songs in succession.  As a joke most of the songs with an animal in the title were placed in succession on Side B. 

Great lengths were made to link all of these songs of 'wide-ranging in styles' with either 'a crossfade, a straight edit or by matching the dying moment of one with the opening note of the next.'  As with "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" there would be none of the usual 3-second gaps of silence in between each song.   




***

(Note:  I am not completely positive about the location and time of this photo, but it appears to be outside Marylebone Magistrates' Court in London.)

18 October 1968 - As one chapter closes, another begins.  It was the morning when John Lennon and Yoko Ono were arrested for drug possession inside their own home.  (Well, actually they were staying temporarily in Ringo's flat at Montagu Square.)

John Lennon quotes:  "All of a sudden, there was this knock on the door and a woman's voice outside, and I look around and there is a policeman standing in the window, waiting to be let in.  

"And I said, 'You're not allowed in like this, are you?'  I was so frightened.  I said, 'Come round the front door.  Just let me get dressed.'  And he was saying, 'Just open the window, you'll only make it worse for yourself.'

"We'd been in bed and our lower regions were uncovered.  Yoko ran into the bathroom to get dressed with her head poking out, so they wouldn't think she was hiding anything.

"The Daily Express was there before the cops came.  In fact, Don Short had told us, 'They're coming to get you,' three weeks before.  So, believe me, I'd cleaned the house out, because Jimi Hendrix had lived there before in the apartment, and I'm not stupid."

The raid was headed by Sergeant Norman Pilcher along with two detective sergeants, two constables, a policewoman and two sniffer-dog handlers, initially without their dogs.

John Lennon:  "They [the police] brought some dogs.  They couldn't find the dogs at first -- and they kept ringing up, saying, 'Hello, Charlie, where are the dogs?  We've been here half an hour.'  And the dogs came."

Drugs were found.  I won't get into the details, except that from what I've read at least some of what was confiscated appeared to probably belong to John, stuff he'd forgotten about that was brought inadvertently into the apartment inside other objects from his previous residence by his staff.

In any case, whether or not he was using drugs at that particular time, had he been in need of drug assistance, there's nothing we do in society then as in now, to actually help people.  The system of exploitation continues, and no doubt John Lennon was a big fish to catch by Mr. Pilcher.




19 October 1968 - John & Yoko appear at Marylebone Magistrates' Court in London for a hearing of the charges against them.  Mr. Pilcher read the charges against them, both were remanded on bail and the case was adjourned until November 28th.

Outside their car was not waiting for them, so it would be a few tense moments dealing with the crowd until they were able to leave.

With "The Beatles" double LP completed, all four Beatles had gone their separate ways.  Ringo was vacationing in Sardinia, George in Los Angeles working on the new Jackie Lomax LP, John & Yoko were now dealing with this new problem, and Paul went to New York to spend time with Linda Eastman.  


29 October 1968 - "A Hard Day's Night" was a film 'soundtrack' LP.  Then there was "Help!".  Even their Television special, "Magical Mystery Tour" had a soundtrack to go with it, yet although "Yellow Submarine" the movie, had yet to be released in the States, no soundtrack LP for that film had been assembled until this day.  

As "The Beatles" double LP was being put together on October 16 - 17th, George's track, "It's All Too Much" was taken out of the vault and remixed (for a second time) in mono and then it would get its first stereo mix.  

(Incidentally, "The Beatles" would be cut for disc in mono on October 18 - 19th by Harry Moss at Abbey Road.  The stereo version of that LP was cut October 21st.)

Today "Hey Bulldog" would receive three stereo remixes,  "All Together Now" would get one and "All You Need Is Love" would receive six. "Only A Northern Song" would not receive a true stereo mix.  Apparently the original mono recording came from two four-track tapes playing in synchronization, and so in order to avoid recreating that headache, a 'mock' stereo mix was made from the original mono.  (A true stereo version of "It's Only A Northern Song" would be released in 1999 as part of the "Yellow Submarine Songtrack" presentation.)

With only four 'new' Beatles tracks, it was decided that George Martin would record anew, the orchestrated film soundtrack to fill out the LP's second side.  This he had done at Abbey Road on October 22-23rd.  (His original recordings for the film were done during production of the film earlier at Olympic Sound Studios.)

Considering that in America, "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!" were both 'padded out' records containing film soundtrack music along with no more than 8 Beatles tracks, this probably wasn't such a bad idea, however, "Yellow Submarine" somehow was always a bit of a disappointment to the fans.  

In answer to that, a mono EP was assembled on March 13, 1969 containing "Only A Northern Song"; "Hey Bulldog"; the bonus track "Across The Universe" on side 1 and "All Together Now" and "It's All Too Much" on side 2.  These original mono tracks would not be released, however, until the box set "The Beatles in Mono" in 2009.

(Note:  "Yellow Submarine" itself was released in stereo on January 17, 1969.  A 'mono' version of the LP was also released in Britain, but it was only a fold-down version of the stereo LP, and not a true mono mix of the original tracks.)



1 November 1968 - George Harrison's "Wonderwall" soundtrack finally gets released as the very first Apple Records long player.  

The cover was designed by American artist Bob Gill who recalls all four Beatles emphasizing to him how important this first Apple LP was going to be.  Mr. Gill's original concept was deemed by now Apple executive, Derek Taylor, as being "...a nice painting but miss(ing) the essence of hope."  

George Harrison's answer to that was to have a brick removed from the wall to "give the fellow on the other side a chance, just as the Jack MacGowran character had a chance [in the film]."

The back cover was of the Berlin Wall with the image mirrored to represent a corner.






There was a mono mix of the LP which was released only in Britain, but it is unclear to me whether or not it was from true original mono mixes, or a fold-down copy made from the original stereo mixes.  The LP wasn't released in America until December 2nd, 1968.

At this time, the movie itself still hadn't gone into general release.  Perhaps because partly due to that, it did not even chart in the UK.  It did, however, peak at 49 on Billboard's pop LP listings for two weeks in the United States in March of 1969.  It did even better, as reported by Cash Box and Record World charts in the US by peaking at numbers 39 and 33, respectively.   It made the top 30 in Canada and peaked at 22 in West Germany.

For some reason, George Harrison did not give himself credit on the recordings for many years leading to the assumption he was only the producer.  In fact, George contributed piano, mellotron, electric and acoustic guitars.  

The Liverpool group, The Remo Four also played on the record.  In fact, during the production of this record, George produced an original composition by The Remo Four called "In The First Place" which wasn't rediscovered and released until the late 1990s.  

Also on the recordings was Eric Clapton (electric guitar) and Ringo Starr (drums).





11 November 1968 - That John & Yoko would put out an LP with themselves naked on the cover (front and back) appears in history to overshadow what they (and their families) were really going through during those days.

DISCLAIMER:  Before I continue, I want to be clear that I had every intention of hiding the naked photos of John & Yoko, and allowing the viewer to somehow make the choice as to whether or not they wanted to see them.  When I went onto eBay.com, however, and saw that people were selling the record without inhibition, I almost felt like a prude with my idea.  

I have absolutely no personal problem with the photos, and with all that has happened in history, society (at least in America) still has a very long way to go in overcoming hang-ups with the naked human body and human sexuality.  

So I'm giving a head's up here, if you don't want to see the photos, scroll on past the next few uploaded images.

John & Yoko, still fresh from their arrest for drug possession, would announce at the end of October 1968 that they were expecting a baby.  This was extraordinary, especially since John had taken the preemptive strike against his wife Cynthia by accusing her in court of adultery.  (Was John beginning to think it was time for some honesty, perhaps?)

At the beginning of November, however, Yoko was admitted to Queen Charlotte's Hospital in London, fearing complications with the pregnancy.  John would remain by her side throughout her stay.  

During this time Cynthia Lennon would be granted her divorce from John on November 8th, 1968, retaining custody of their child, Julian.  The simple reason for the divorce now was John's admitted adultery with Yoko.  

Despite all that was going on John & Yoko were somehow able to get an LP released, created by themselves, called "Unfinished Music No. 1:  Two Virgins".  It would first be released in America on this day, but not by EMI, which refused to handle it.  John & Yoko were able to get a small label called Tetragrammaton to release it and another independent UK label, Track, would get the record out in the UK at the end of November.

The reason for so much trouble getting the record released was, of course, because of the nude cover of John & Yoko in 'all their glory'.  The photos for the LP were apparently taken in early October and said to have been John's idea for the LP cover.  


Despite the fact that the LP was sold in brown paper sleeves, quantities (including 30,000 copies in New Jersey) were seized by the authorities on the grounds that it was obscene.

As John & Yoko would attest, if there was any message to be taken away by this 'art piece' it was the witnessing of "two innocents, lost in a world gone mad".  It "...just seemed natural for us.  We're all naked, really," John would say. 

Things would continue to not go so well for John & Yoko.  On November 21st, Yoko would suffer a miscarriage of their baby.  The unborn child would be named John Ono Lennon II and buried in a secret location.   Before the baby's death, however, it's heartbeat would be recorded and issued on the next John & Yoko LP collaboration, followed by two minutes of silence.

Despite being ridiculed by critics and the public alike, "Unfinished Music No. 1:  Two Virgins" would reach 124 in the United States, but like George's album preceding this one, it failed to chart in the UK. 



Apparently the time-delay camera was set up by Apple employee Tony Bramwell, but the actual photos were taken privately by John & Yoko where they were staying at on Montaqu Square (Ringo's flat.) 





I like showing the American Apple label here to illustrate the differences between this and, say George's UK release of his LP earlier.  I've always found, in particular, the 'B' side apple slice to be more revealing on the American version of it.  I've never read anywhere why there was the difference between the two.  (The UK version always seemed more 'white washed'.)

There's no denying the recording itself would always be overshadowed by the photographs of John & Yoko naked, but it needs to be looked at as more of a "total" piece of art, and as a whole, one aspect of it compliments the other.  It was what came out of John & Yoko's first truly intimate night together, artistically and then sexually.

Paul:  "It was the real thing:  them baring it all to the world.  I know it was shocking, but I'm not sure whether us lot were too shocked by it -- we just knew he'd have a bit of a flak.   Quite an oppressive campaign started against them and it probably began with that cover.  It's weird, isn't it?   Our mothers and fathers all had to get naked to conceive us, and yet we're still very prudish about nudity, even in this day and age.  But John & Yoko were looking at nudity as artists.

"I was slightly shocked but, seeing as I wrote a liner note for the sleeve, I obviously wasn't too uptight."

George:  "...it's just two not-very-nice-looking bodies, two flabby bodies naked.  It's harmless, really..."

Ringo:  "I said, 'Ah, come on, John.  You're doing all this stuff and it may be cool for you, but you know we all have to answer.'  He said, 'Oh, Ringo, you only have to answer the phone.'  ...it was true. The press would be calling up, and just at that point I didn't want to be bothered... It was fine.  Two or three people phoned and I said: 'See, he's got the Times on the cover.'"

Derek Taylor:   "...of course, the Sunday papers were at us, and at this photograph.  This filthy thing!  'Look at These Filthy People!' and there was a big circle over the naughty part and an arrow:  'This is where the naughty part would be if people like us were not so decent.  We wouldn't dream of showing it to you -- but aren't they awful!'

"So I found something -- I got a Bible.  There's always something to hand, isn't there?  And there was a bit in the book of Genesis which said:  'The man and his wife were naked and not ashamed,' or something like that, which I thought was suitable.  John & Yoko were not married -- but hey."

John:  "It was insane!  People got so upset about it -- the fact that two people were naked.  I didn't think there'd be such a fuss.  I guess the world thinks we're an ugly couple."



November 1968 - George's stay in America, I am beginning to learn, was so eventful it may be worthy of small book itself.  Although he was largely there to produce the new Apple LP for Jackie Lomax, there were other interesting encounters and happenings while he was there for his near seven week visit.



Photos include George Harrison in Los Angeles producing Jackie Lomax with Joe Osborn (top), pianist Larry Knechtel (center) and drummer Hal Blaine (below).

There would be a visit to a Frank Sinatra session (which is said to have been around November 12th) with wife Pattie by George's side and Mal Evans in the background.

In the latter part of the month, George would visit Bob Dylan at his home in Woodstock, New York.




With Robbie Robertson at Bob Dylan's home in Woodstock, NY, late November 1968.





In mid November, George made a walk-on cameo appearance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (which was broadcast on November 17th, 1968).



 In that very short few seconds George was appearing, the topic of censorship came up.  Tommy mentioned the difficulties of trying to say something important on American Television and what the consequences are for doing so.

George Harrison responded:  "Well whether you can say it or not, keep trying to say it!"




That short cameo can be seen on this video uploaded to YouTube.


Bernie Krause was to first influence George Harrison, which in turn would affect The Beatles music to come in 1969.

Also, while in America, George met electronic music expert Bernie Krause.  It was through Mr. Krause George learned about the newly-invented Moog synthesizer.  Not only would Mr. Krause contribute to the new Jackie Lomax LP George was producing, at some time in November he and George got together and recorded a 25 minute long instrumental piece which would be called "No Time Or Space" made up entirely of electronic sounds.  

George was so interested in the synthesizer that he bought one while in America and took it to his home in England where sometime in February of 1969 he would work on his own 19 minute track "Under The Mersey Wall" which, along with the previous effort with Mr. Krause would be released on a 2nd George Harrison LP that same year.