Recording "A Day In The Life" #2

Friday, January 20, 1967 • For The Beatles

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono) LP.
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Songs recorded


1.

A Day In The Life

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 4 into take 5


2.

A Day In The Life

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 4 into take 6


3.

A Day In The Life

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 4 into take 7


4.

A Day In The Life

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 6

Album Officially released on Anthology 2

Staff

Musicians on "A Day In The Life"

Paul McCartney:
Vocals, Bass
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Vocals

Production staff

George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Phil McDonald:
Second Engineer

About

The Beatles had begun recording “A Day In The Life” on the previous day. On this day, they continued working on the track during a session that lasted from 7 pm to 1:10 am.

The next night’s session began with an intensive review of what had been laid down on tape. Our job was to decide which of John’s lead vocals was the “keeper.” We didn’t have to necessarily use the entire performance, though. Because we had the luxury of working in four-track, I could copy over (“bounce”) the best lines from each take into one track — a process known as “comping.” […] Lennon sat behind the mixing console with George Martin and me, picking out the bits he liked. Paul was up in the control room, too, expressing his opinions, but George Harrison and Ringo stayed down in the studio; they just weren’t involved to that extent.

Geoff Emerick – From “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles“, 2006

Three reduction mixes of Take 4, which were numbered Takes 5 to 7, were then created in order to reduce the number of tracks from four to two. After reviewing the mixes, they decided that Take 6 was the best and used it as the basis for subsequent work.

Paul attempted to record the vocals for the middle-eight section onto track three (“Woke up, got out of bed…“). During this first attempt, he made a mistake by singing “everybody spoke and I went into a dream” instead of “somebody…“. This recording was preserved in a rough mix released on Anthology 2 in 1996. Paul re-recorded his vocals on February 3.

In what could only be described as pure serendipidity, it happened to begin with the lyric “Woke up / Fell out of bed…” which, incredibly, perfectly fit the alarm clock ringing. If ever there was an omen that this was to be a very special song in the Beatles canon, this was it.

Geoff Emerick – From “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles“, 2006

On track four, Paul McCartney then recorded his bass part, and Ringo Starr played the drums. However, both of these performances would be re-recorded on February 3.

John Lennon also made some changes to his vocals, double-tracking them during the phrases “I’d love to turn you on,” as well as the quick falsetto words that precede these passages.

Work on “A Day In The Life” continued on February 3, 1967.

Last updated on February 17, 2023

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