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

Tuesday, September 17, 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

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

Last updated on October 2, 2021

Songs recorded


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

Staff

Musicians on I Will

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocal, 'Sung bass'

Musicians on Cry Baby Cry

Paul McCartney:
Piano
Ringo Starr:
Tambourine, Drums

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/1968/09/17/recording-mixing-helter-skelter-i-will/

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