- Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Magical Mystery Tour (US LP - Mono) LP.
- EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road
More from year 1967
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The flute overdubs were recorded separately onto a distinct tape, which meant that the mixing process required two four-track machines to run in sync. The machines played Take 6 and Take 7 with the flutes.
On “A Day in the Life” back on Sgt. Pepper’s, Ken Townsend of the maintenance department had come up with a way to link two 4-track tape machines together, which was a revelation for the time. […] The trouble with the setup was that you couldn’t get both machines to start exactly at the same time, so there was a lot of guessing involved.
Even though these sync problems were experienced on “A Day in the Life,” it was suggested, by whom I know not, that we try it again for “Fool on the Hill,” as by then everyone seemed to have forgotten the anguish the setup had previously caused. We recorded three tracks on to the first machine, then mixed it down to one track on the second 4-track, then overdubbed the rest of tracks from there. It wasn’t until we came to the mix that we realised the machines weren’t all that easy to sync together. The problem was that the music on the second 4-track didn’t actually begin until about a quarter of the way into the song, so you could never tell whether it was in time or not until you were a quarter of the way through when you heard the music from the second 4-track. We’d start the mix, get a quarter of the way through, and then, “Oh, shit! It didn’t start in time,” and we’d have to go back and start again.
As a result, the final mix was more luck than judgement. We’d put a mark with a chinagraph marker on the tape and just try starting it from different places until we got lucky and they ran in sync. It was a real pain in the arse, but it worked out in the end, which is all that anyone ends up remembering.Ken Scott – From “Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust“, 2012
Three attempts to create the mono mix using this technique, numbered RM10 to RM12, were done. Eventually, remix 12 was deemed the best. The team then edited the song’s initial length of 4 minutes and 25 seconds down to 3 minutes, resulting in the final version.
The song was still 4:25 in length at this point and they desired to reduce it to around three minutes. Instead of just fading it down, it was deemed necessary to make an edit at some point in the recording. Although no source stipulates just where the edit is, it seems logical to assume that it occurs right around the 2:40 point of the song where a “flock of seagulls” sound effect appears to camouflage the edit. The sound effect was undoubtedly taken from the same EMI vaults that most other Beatles sound effects came from, these probably added to the mono mix on this day. The length of the song now rested at three minutes exactly.From beatlesebooks.com
“The Fool On The Hill” was mixed in stereo on November 1, 1967.
On this day, a tape reduction of Take 16 was necessary to free up a track for the last overdubs. Four attempts, numbered Takes 18 to 21, were made to create a satisfactory mix. Paul McCartney then added his bass part onto Take 21.
Last updated on April 21, 2023
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 third book of this critically - acclaimed series, nominated for the 2019 Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) award for Excellence In Historical Recorded Sound, "The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 3: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band through Magical Mystery Tour (late 1966-1967)" captures the band's most innovative era in its entirety. 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.
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.