Recording and mixing "Back In The U.S.S.R."

Friday, August 23, 1968 • For The Beatles

Part of


"The Beatles" (aka the White Album) sessions

May 30 - Oct 15, 1968 • Songs recorded during this session appear on The Beatles (Mono)

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the The Beatles (Mono) LP.
Timeline More from year 1968
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Master album


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About

The day before, on August 22, 1968, as work started on “Back In The U.S.S.R.“, Ringo Starr decided to quit the sessions. On August 23, 1968, The Beatles continued the work on “Back In The U.S.S.R.” as a trio.

From Wikipedia:

During the overdubbing on the song, on 23 August, McCartney and Harrison also contributed bass parts, and both also added lead guitar parts. According to author John Winn, the first overdubs were piano, played by McCartney; drums by Harrison, replacing Lennon’s bass part from the previous day; and another electric guitar part.

After these additions were mixed down to a single track, McCartney sang a lead vocal, using what he described as his “Jerry Lee Lewis voice”, and Lennon, Harrison and McCartney added backing vocals, including Beach Boys-style harmonies over the song’s bridges. All three musicians added handclaps. Other overdubs included McCartney’s bass, Harrison on six-string bass, and Lennon playing a snare drum. Harrison played the guitar solo in the instrumental break, while McCartney contributed a high-pitched, single-note solo over the final verse. MacDonald describes the musical arrangement as a “thunderous wall of sound”. For the sounds of the aircraft that appear on the track, a Viscount turboprop, Scott created a tape loop from a recording stored in EMI’s library.

The mono mix of “Back In The U.S.S.R.“, appearing on the mono version of the White Album, was made on this day. The stereo mix would be made on October 13, 1968.

For the mono mix everything came out OK, but the stereo mix took a long, long time and I was holding the pencil to keep the effects tape taught. I guess I must have been leaning back on it and started to stretch it, because the mono has this clear, clean lovely jet sound while the stereo is an abomination of a jet sound.

John Smith, tape operator – from The Beatles super deluxe edition book, 2018

Last updated on May 25, 2021

Songs recorded


1.

Back In The U.S.S.R.

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 5


2.

Back In The U.S.S.R.

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 5 into take 6


3.

Back In The U.S.S.R.

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 6


4.

Back In The U.S.S.R.

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 1 from take 6

Album Officially released on The Beatles (Mono)


5.

Back In The U.S.S.R.

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape copying of remix mono 1


6.

Rocky Raccoon

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape copying of remix mono 1


7.

Wild Honey Pie

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape copying of remix mono 6


8.

Mother Nature's Son

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape copying of remix mono 8


9.

Sexy Sadie

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape copying of remix mono 5

Staff

Production staff

George Martin:
Producer
Ken Scott:
Engineer
John Smith:
Second Engineer

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.

Have a look at https://www.beatlesbible.com/1968/08/23/recording-mixing-back-in-the-ussr/

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