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Tuesday, September 17, 1968

Mixing "Helter Skelter", recording "I Will", "Cry Baby Cry"

For The Beatles

Last updated on October 2, 2021

Master session


  • Recording studio: EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Master release


Some of the songs worked on during this session were first released on the "The Beatles (Mono)" LP.

Some of the songs from this session also appear on:

On this day, The Beatles continued working on “Helter Skelter“, “I Will” and “Cry Baby Cry” during a session that lasted from 7 pm to 5 am. As George Martin was on holiday for most of September 1968, Chris Thomas produced this session.

The mono mix of “Helter Skelter“, released on “The Beatles (mono)“, was done on this day. This mono mix fades at 3.36, while the stereo mix – which would be made on October 12 – reaches 4:29. This mono mix, in particular, excludes Ringo Starr’s shout “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!

[The engineering team] went the conventional route by performing a simple fade of the song at 3:36, omitting Ringo’s “blisters” remark entirely. The background vocals were placed somewhat prominently in the mix while care was given to fade out extraneous chatter and sounds when the song comes to a halt at the three minute mark.

From beatlesebooks.com

I Will“, which recording started the day before, was completed on this day, with Paul McCartney overdubbing backing vocals, a second acoustic guitar track, and a vocal bass line (“a clever baritone ‘dum-dum-dum’ impersonation of a bass guitar” as reported by Mark Lewisohn in “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions“). Some maracas were also added but it’s unclear if those were played by Paul, John, or Ringo.

The mono mix would be created on September 26, and the stereo mix on October 14, 1968.

The four-track tape of “Cry Baby Cry“, last used on July 18, was transferred to an eight-track tape in order to add the latest overdubs.

The song was finished two months later when the audio was transferred to tracks five to eight of an eight-track tape. Descending piano bass notes in cavernous echo were recorded on track one, and new drums and a tambourine are heard on track two of the new tape.

From “The Beatles” Super Deluxe edition book (2018)

The mono and stereo mixes would be made on October 15.

Beatles have been extending their nightly sessions into 10- or 12-hour affairs starting at dusk and finishing after dawn. So Mal [Evans] was asked to buy a set of four toothbrushes for the fellows – each a different colour – and these are kept on hand at the studios for pre-breakfast use at the end of each session!

From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°63, October 1968

Session activities

  1. Helter Skelter

    Written by Lennon - McCartney

    Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 1 from take 21

  2. I Will

    Written by Lennon - McCartney

    Recording • SI onto take 68

  3. Cry Baby Cry

    Written by Lennon - McCartney

    Tape copying • Tape copying of take 12 into take 13

  4. Cry Baby Cry

    Written by Lennon - McCartney

    Recording • SI onto take 13


Musicians on "I Will"

Musicians on "Cry Baby Cry"

Production staff

Going further

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!

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The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 4: The Beatles through Yellow Submarine (1968 - early 1969)

The fourth book of this critically acclaimed series, "The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 4: The Beatles through Yellow Submarine (1968 - early 1969)" captures The Beatles as they take the lessons of Sgt. Pepper forward with an ambitious double-album that is equally innovative and progressive. From the first take to the final remix, discover the making of the greatest recordings of all time. Through extensive, fully-documented research, these books fill an important gap left by all other Beatles books published to date and provide a unique view into the recordings of the world's most successful pop music act.

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If we modestly consider the Paul McCartney Project to be the premier online resource for all things Paul McCartney, it is undeniable that The Beatles Bible stands as the definitive online site dedicated to the Beatles. While there is some overlap in content between the two sites, they differ significantly in their approach.

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