Spread the love! If you like what you are seeing, share it on social networks and let others know about The Paul McCartney Project.
Neill Joseph Sanders (24 November 1923 – 19 April 1992) was a British horn player, principal horn of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and for 29 years a member of the Melos Ensemble. He was a professor at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan and founded the Fontana Ensemble and the Fontana Concert Society with its summer festival.
In February of 1967, Neill Sanders was one of four French horn players who recorded overdubs on the track “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” He also played on “A Day In The Life” and “I Am The Walrus,” which were recorded the same year.
“A Day In The Life” session
The orchestra overdubs for “A Day In The Life” were recorded on February 10, 1967. The Beatles decided to use a symphony orchestra to fill the 24-bar gap between the two sections of the track. To allay concerns that classically trained musicians would not be able to improvise the section, producer George Martin wrote a loose score for the section. It was an extended, atonal crescendo that encouraged the 40-piece orchestra to improvise within the defined framework.
Paul McCartney had the idea to turn this unconventional session into a sort of happening. The musician were asked to attend in full evening dresses and were given accessories like red false noses, flowery paper spectacles or large gorilla paws…
In addition, the session was filmed for use in a planned television special. But given the BBC’s ban of “A Day In The Life“, because of what they assumed were drug references, the idea was abandoned. In 2015, portions of the film were released in the “A Day in the Life” promotional film, included in the three-disc versions of the Beatles’ 2015 video compilation 1+.
The orchestra and George Martin had been asked to attend in full evening dress, which the Beatles also promised they would wear. The Beatles did not keep their word but the orchestra and George Martin looked very smart in their tuxedos. In order to get them into the mood to play something unconventional and to encourage in them an element of playful spontaneity, the Beatles went among the players handing out party favours. Mal Evans had been sent to a joke shop on Great Russell Street and returned with plastic stick-on nipples, plastic glasses with false eyes, rubber bald pates, some with knotted handkerchiefs balanced on them, huge fake cigars, party hats and streamers: David McCallum, the leader of the London Philharmonic, wore a large red false nose; Erich Gruenberg, the leader of the second violins, had on a pair of flowery paper spectacles and held his bow in a large gorilla paw; the bassoon players, Alfred Waters and N. Fawcett, had balloons attached to their instruments which inflated and deflated with each note, raising a laugh from George Martin.From “Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now” by Barry Miles, 1997
And if that wasn’t unorthodox enough, they were even more bemused, if not downright aghast, by Paul’s instructions that they all play as out of tune and out of time as possible. This twist was added during the taping of “A Day In The Life”‘s cosmic crescendo, for which Paul had assumed – with obvious relish – the role of “conductor.”Pete Shotton – From “The Beatles, Lennon, And Me“, 1984
It was quite a chaotic session. Such a big orchestra, playing with very little music. And the Beatle chaps were wandering around with rather expensive cameras, like new toys, photographing everything.Alan Civil – Horn player – From “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn, 1988
Only the Beatles could have assembled a studio full of musicians, many from the Royal Philharmonic or the London Symphony orchestras, all wearing funny hats, red noses, balloons on their bows and putting up with headphones clipped around their Stradivari violins acting as microphones.Peter Vince, studio engineer – From “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn, 1988
Last updated on January 7, 2024
Mar 03, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)
Sep 27, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Magical Mystery Tour (US LP - Mono)