Mixing "Strawberry Fields Forever"

Tuesday, October 26, 1971 • For The Beatles

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Magical Mystery Tour Plus Other Songs LP.
AIR Studios, London, UK

Some songs from this session appear on:

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In September and October of 1971, George Martin undertook a project to remix several Beatles songs into stereo. On September 30, “Penny Lane” was mixed, followed by “Baby, You’re A Rich Man” on October 22, and “Strawberry Fields Forever” on October 26.

These newly-mixed stereo versions were initially released on the German pressing of “Magical Mystery Tour Plus Other Songs“. The stereo mix of “Penny Lane” was released on the UK version of the Blue album in 1973. The stereo mix of “Strawberry Fields Forever” was released in the UK on some reissues in 1976. The three stereo mixes were included in the CD releases from 1987 onwards.

On this day, October 26, George Martin worked on “Strawberry Fields Forever“. From beatlesebooks.com:

[…] A further stereo mix of the song was made nearly four years later, on October 26th, 1971, at George Martin’s AIR Studios in London. Producer George Martin went back to the master tapes and started from scratch, creating stereo mixes of both the slower and faster versions of the song and then editing them together. Some of the noteworthy differences include more vibrant percussion quality, the panning from left to right of the swaramandala as heard at the end of the second and third choruses, and the slightly longer fade out at the end of the song (so you can actually hear “cranberry sauce” repeated twice instead of once in the previously released versions). John can also be heard quietly counting down the bars of the song during these quiet sections. The cello and trumpet track, however, comes in on the right channel this time around just after the main edit, the panning detail probably forgotten by George Martin in the making of this new stereo mix. Nonetheless, this mix is superior to the original stereo mix in many ways and, while it had only been available on German pressings of the “Magical Mystery Tour” album for many years, has become the standard version in subsequent CD releases from 1987 onward.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

[c] stereo 26 Oct 1971 at AIR. edited.
Germany: Hor Zu SHZE 327 (later Odeon and Apple 1C 062-04 449) Magical Mystery Tour 1971.
CD: EMI CDP 7 48062 2 Magical Mystery Tour 1987, EMI CDP 7 97039 2 The Beatles 1967-1970 1993.

[…] The newer stereo mix [c] was once known as the German stereo mix and is now the standard CD stereo mix. It has better percussion sound than the older stereo mix [b] and more stereo separation. The older mix [b] has a nice effect at the edit, quickly moving the cello and trumpet track across the image from left to right, where it stays, distracting the listener from the edit itself; in the newer mix [c] this track just starts suddenly on the right. The swordmandel at the start of both verse 2 and 3, which sounds like a harp, moves from left to right in the newer mix [c], while it’s just centered in the older one [b]. John counts down the rest before the start of verse 2 and 3, properly mixed out in the older mix [b] but heard in the newer one [c]. The fadeout-fadein near the end goes to a moment of silence in the newer stereo mix [c], but comes back immediately in the others. The newer stereo mix [c] has a slightly longer final fade so we hear a second “cranberry sauce” in the drum track, left. The differences in the two stereo mixes helps in working out what is on the 4 tracks although there are still some questions.

Last updated on April 20, 2023

Songs recorded


Strawberry Fields Forever

Written by Lennon - McCartney


Album Officially released on Magical Mystery Tour Plus Other Songs


Production staff

George Martin:

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