- Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the The Beatles (Mono) LP.
- Timeline More from year 1968
- EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road
Some songs from this session appear on:
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After a week spent at Trident Studios, The Beatles were back at Abbey Road (minus John Lennon who was still absent). This was a long, long, long session (lasting more than 16 hours, from 2:30 pm to 7 am!), mostly spent on recording the backing track of a new George Harrison song, “Long, Long, Long“.
The day began with copies made of the mono and stereo mixes of “Honey Pie” and “Martha My Dear” which had been created on October 5, 1968 at Trident. Those were made to convert the Trident recording created with the American NAB equalisation to the UK standard CCIR.
Then work started on George Harrison ‘s “Long, Long, Long“. At this stage, the song was known as “It’s Been a Long, Long, Long Time”. It was a relaxed session; the burning of Indian incense helped to create the requisite atmosphere in the studio.
They used to burn several [joss-sticks] at once, sticking them into the slots of the acoustic screens. I’d go home at night my clothes reeking of them! I’ve never smelt joss-sticks of quite the same quality that they used. They had them specially brought in from IndiaAlan Brown – From “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn
The Beatles recorded 67 takes of the rhythm track, with George on vocals and acoustic guitar, Paul McCartney playing Hammond organ, and Ringo Starr on drums. The drum part includes a series of loud fills that serve as a commentary beside the vocal line, in the manner of Starr’s playing on “A Day in the Life” in 1967.
I don’t mind how long it takes at the moment. That intro was great.Paul McCartney, after take 29 – From “The Beatles” Super Deluxe edition book (2018)
George Harrison: The one before that, I really felt that one was it.
Paul McCartney: Now, now, don’t be defeatist.From “The Beatles” Super Deluxe edition book (2018)
If we don’t get this one then fuck it. Use the one before.
George Harrison, before take 53 – From “The Beatles” Super Deluxe edition book (2018)
Come on, lads. Any of those will do me. Any of them.George Harrison, after take 63 – From “The Beatles” Super Deluxe edition book (2018)
At the end of take 65, whenever McCartney played a certain note on the organ, a wine bottle sitting on a Leslie speaker began to vibrate, producing an eerie clattering sound that the Beatles decided to incorporate in their subsequent performances of the track. To compound the effect on the selected take, Starr played a fast snare drum roll and Harrison vocalised a prolonged, high-pitched wail.
There was a bottle of “Blue Nun” wine on top of the Leslie speaker during the recording and when our Paul hit some organ note the Leslie started vibrating and the bottle rattling. You can hear it on the record – at the very end.George Harrison, from “I Me Mine” book, 1979
There’s a sound near the end of the song which is a bottle of Blue Nun wine rattling away on the top of a Leslie speaker cabinet. It just happened. Paul hit a certain organ note and the bottle started vibrating. We thought it was so good that we set the mikes up and did it again. The Beatles always took advantage of accidents.Chris Thomas – From “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn
Just before starting take 67, George Harrison declared “Let this be the one!“. Paul McCartney replied “I suppose it’s been a long, long, long time” (quotes from “The Beatles” super deluxe book, 2018). Nine hours after this all-night session, the band returned to the studio to add overdubs to Take 67.
Last updated on September 30, 2021
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.
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