Mixing "Happiness Is A Warm Gun", "What's The New Mary Jane", "Glass Onion", "I Will"

Thursday, September 26, 1968 • For The Beatles

Part of


"The Beatles" (aka the White Album) sessions

May 30 - Oct 18, 1968 • Songs recorded during this session appear on The Beatles (Mono)

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the The Beatles (Mono) LP.
Timeline More from year 1968
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Master album


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About

This was the last session produced by Chris Thomas. George Martin was on holiday since the beginning of September, and had delegated production duties to Chris Thomas.

On this day, The Beatles and the engineering team worked on mono mixes of four songs. After three days spent on “Happiness Is A Warm Gun In Your Hand“, they created the mono mix that would be released on the White Album. From beatlesebooks.com:

A decision was now made to shorten the title of the song to “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” since the documentation on this day reflects this change. The tuba was placed lower in the mix this time around, as was the organ overdub. Also, John had originally sang his “I need a fix…” verse twice, the first being heard simultaneously with George’s overdubbed lead guitar solo. On this new mix, they faded out John’s vocals the first time around to accentuate George’s lead guitar. It took the engineering team ten tries to master the mono mix, the results being what appears on the finished mono album.

The stereo would be made on October 15.


Two mono mixes of “What’s The New Mary Jane” were then made, but unused as the song was shelved and not included on the final album.


They also created two mono mixes for “I Will“, the second being the one released on the White Album. ADT (“Artificial Double Tracking”) was applied to Paul McCartney’s vocals to thicken up the sound on the finished master.

Paul’s “bass vocal” (“a clever baritone ‘dum-dum-dum’ impersonation of a bass guitar” as reported by Mark Lewisohn in “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions“) begins in the second verse on this mono mix. It would be present from the start in the stereo mix which would be made on October 14.


The Beatles then switched to “Glass Onion“. John Lennon felt that the song still needed something, and decided that sound effects would enhance it. From beatlesebooks.com:

A four-track tape was created for the purpose of this overdub: Track one contained a telephone ringing, Track Two contained a single note of an organ, Track Three contained BBC television soccer commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme shouting “It’s A Goal!” over and over with a cheering crowd in the background, and Track Four contained the sound of a window being smashed. All four tracks had these elements repeated over and over, the entire tape lasting 2:35, which is just a little bit longer than the finished song so far. After this four-track tape was put together, two attempts at a mono mix of the song was made by Chris Thomas and engineers Ken Scott and Mike Sheady, no doubt with input from John, interjecting these effects at different times in the mix.

This mix of “Glass Onion” with sound effects was released on 1996’s “Anthology 3“:

This mono mix of Glass Onion, made on 26 September 1968, encompasses sound effects compiled by John Lennon for his song: a telephone, an organ note, the smashing of glass and the then BBC-tv soccer commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme acclaiming “It’s a goal!” over the sound of a roaring crowd. George Martin, on holiday at the time, heard the mix on his return and suggested a different approach: he scored the song for a string arrangement, recorded on 10 October, that rendered this mix and the FX ideas redundant and the tape to the vault shelf labelled “do not use”.

From “Anthology 3” liner notes

On his return from holiday, George Martin was played all those new songs and mixes recorded during his absence. For “Glass Onion“, he suggested to John to drop those sound effects, and use a string arrangement instead. This string overdub would be recorded on October 10.

Last updated on September 9, 2021

Songs recorded


1.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 3 from take 65


2.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 4 from take 65


3.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 5 from take 65


4.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 6 from take 65


5.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 7 from take 65


6.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 8 from take 65


7.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 9 from take 65


8.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 10 from take 65


9.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 11 from take 65


10.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 12 from take 65

Album Officially released on The Beatles (Mono)


11.

What's The New Mary Jane

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 1 from take 4


12.

What's The New Mary Jane

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 2 from take 4


13.

Glass Onion

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 1 from take 33


14.

Glass Onion

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 2 from take 33


15.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 1 from take 68


16.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 2 from take 68

Album Officially released on The Beatles (Mono)


17.

Glass Onion

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Unnumbered take of sound effects

Staff

Production staff

Chris Thomas:
Producer
Ken Scott:
Engineer
Mike Sheady:
Second Engineer

The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions • Mark Lewisohn

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!

The Beatles Bible

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.

Have a look at https://www.beatlesbible.com/1968/09/26/mixing-happiness-is-a-warm-gun-whats-the-new-mary-jane-glass-onion-i-will/

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