- 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
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This new day in the studio began with copies made of the mono and stereo mixes of “Honey Pie” and “Martha My Dear” which had been created at Trident Studios on October 5, 1968. Then, mono and stereo mixes of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” were done. Those remain unused as final mixes were done on October 14.
The working title for the song was “It’s Been a Long, Long, Long Time”. Recording began at EMI Studios (now Abbey Road Studios) in London on 7 October 1968, during the final week of sessions for the White Album. Since the start of the project, in late May, the album sessions had been fraught with disharmony, partly as a result of the constant presence of Yoko Ono, Lennon’s new partner, and disagreements within the band over their new business venture, Apple Corps. While noting the context of the song’s recording, MacDonald describes “Long, Long, Long” as Harrison’s “touching token of exhausted, relieved reconciliation with God”.
The recording session was a relaxed occasion; the burning of Indian incense helped to create the requisite atmosphere in the studio. The Beatles recorded 67 takes of the rhythm track, with Harrison on vocals and acoustic guitar, 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. The idea for the end of the song was inspired by the sound created by a wine bottle sitting on a Leslie speaker, through which the organ was connected. Whenever McCartney played a certain note on the keyboard, the bottle 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. Chris Gerard of PopMatters comments on the “palpable spiritual longing” conveyed in the song and describes this coda as a “weird spectral ending, with Harrison wailing like a wounded ghost while the band members rattle their instruments ominously”. In his book on the history of ambient music, Mark Prendergast cites the song as a ballad “noteworthy for its Ambient production”.
Nine hours after this all-night session, the band returned to the studio to carry out overdubs.
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
Just before starting the 67th take of the song, 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). The day after, The Beatles would add overdubs to Take 67.
Last updated on May 29, 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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