- Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Abbey Road LP.
- EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road
- EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road
More from year 1969
Some songs from this session appear on:
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During the first session of the day, from 2:30 pm to 6 pm, ten stereo mixes of “Come Together” were made but, in the end, the first of those mixes was considered to be the best, and was released on the “Abbey Road” album.
On this day, solo guitars by Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon were recorded onto take 7 (all onto track four).
There were quite a few empty bars to fill after Ringo’s drum solo — Paul had left them bare in a spirit of “we’ll think of something eventually,” just as we had done with the middle section of “A Day In The Life” — and there was a long discussion about what to add on top to flesh it out.
“Well, a guitar solo is the obvious thing,” said George Harrison.
“Yes, but this time you should let me play it,” said John jokingly. He loved playing lead guitar — he’d often mess about doing lead parts during rehearsals — but he knew that he didn’t have the finesse of either George or
Paul, so he rarely did so on record. Everyone laughed, including John, but we could see that he was at least half-serious.
“I know!” he said mischievously, unwilling to let it go. “Why don’t we all play the solo? We can take turns and trade licks.” Long guitar solos with dueling lead guitarists were becoming the vogue at the time, so it was a suggestion that clearly had merit.
George looked dubious, but Paul not only embraced the idea but upped the ante further still: “Better yet,” he said, “why don’t all three of us play it live?”
Lennon loved the idea—for the first time in weeks I saw a real gleam in his eye. It didn’t take long for John’s enthusiasm to rub off on George Harrison, who finally got into the spirit of things.Geoff Emerick – From “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles“, 2006
The idea for guitar solos was very spontaneous and everybody said, ‘Yes! Definitely’ – well, except for George, who was a little apprehensive at first. But he saw how excited John and Paul were so he went along with it. Truthfully, I think they rather liked the idea of playing together, not really trying to outdo one another per se, but engaging in some real musical bonding.
Yoko was about to go into the studio with John – this was commonplace by now – and he actually told her, ‘No, not now. Let me just do this. It’ll just take a minute.’ That surprised me a bit. Maybe he felt like he was returning to his roots with the boys – who knows?
The order was Paul first, then George, then John, and they went back and forth. They ran down their ideas a few times and before you knew it, they were ready to go. Their amps were lined up together and we recorded their parts on one track.
You could really see the joy in their faces as they played; it was like they were teenagers again. One take was all we needed. The musical telepathy between them was mind-boggling.Geoff Emerick – From MusicRadar.com, 2014
While they were practicing, I took great care to craft a different, distinctive sound for each Beatle, so it would be apparent to the listener that it was three individuals playing and not one just person taking an extended solo. They were each playing a different model guitar through a different type of amplifier, so it wasn’t all that difficult to achieve. I had Mal line the three amps up in a row—there was no need for a great deal of separation because they were all going to be recorded on a single track. Because there was little overlap between each two-bar solo, I knew that I could balance the levels afterward simply by moving one fader.
Incredibly, after just a brief period of rehearsal, they nailed it in a single take.Geoff Emerick – From “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles“, 2006
Also on this day, were recorded the “love you, love you” vocals sung by Paul and heard after the drum solo and throughout the guitar solos. Paul recorded those vocal parts multiple times, included once with the tape machine running slower than normal, which increased the pitch when played back normally.
More overdubs would be added to “The End” on the following day.
Last updated on December 27, 2021
The definitive guide for every Beatles recording sessions from 1962 to 1970.
We owe a lot to Mark Lewisohn for the creation of those session pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - the number of takes for each song, who contributed what, a description of the context and how each session went, various photographies... And an introductory interview with Paul McCartney!
Acclaimed Beatles historian Kenneth Womack offers the most definitive account yet of the writing, recording, mixing, and reception of Abbey Road. In February 1969, the Beatles began working on what became their final album together. Abbey Road introduced a number of new techniques and technologies to the Beatles' sound, and included "Come Together," "Something," and "Here Comes the Sun," which all emerged as classics.
If we like to think, in all modesty, that the Paul McCartney Project is the best online ressource for everything Paul McCartney, The Beatles Bible is for sure the definitive online site focused on the Beatles. There are obviously some overlap in terms of content between the two sites, but also some major differences in terms of approach.