- Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Abbey Road LP.
- EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road
More from year 1969
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The day began with Paul McCartney recording the demo of a new song – “Come And Get It“. This demo was released on “Anthology 3” in 1996 (using a fake stereo mix done prepared by Geoff Emerick in the 80s for the aborted “Sessions” album) and re-released on “Abbey Road (50th anniversary boxset)” in 2019 (using the original mix done on this day):
Ahead of the Beatles’ latest session for Abbey Road, Paul McCartney arrived at EMI early this July afternoon and assembled a solo demo of a new composition, Come And Get It, that he was offering exclusively to be Apple label group the Iveys. First he sang and played the piano, then he double-tracked his vocal and shook maracas, then added drums and, finally, overlaid bass guitar. The process took less than an hour, and nine days later Paul produced the Iveys’ version, almost identical to his, which – released after they changed their name to Badfinger – became a Top Five single and the main theme for the Peter Sellers/Ringo Starr movie The Magic Christian.From Anthology 3 liner notes
[The day before], just before leaving, Paul sat down at the piano and started playing a new song. He explained that it wasn’t one he wanted to do for the album. Instead, he planned on giving the song to a new group that Apple had recently signed, a band called Badfinger. It was quite late and Paul was tired, so he asked me to set up all the sounds for him so that he could come in fresh first thing the next morning and record it straight away. I knew that I’d be a little late coming in the next day because I had a meeting scheduled at Apple, so Phil ended up doing the actual recording. The song turned out to be the million-seller “Come And Get It,” and Phil told me afterwards that Paul knocked off the demo in under an hour, while John and Yoko sat quietly in the control room, offering no input or assistance.Geoff Emerick – From “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles“, 2006
This session, which started at 2:30 pm and was attended by John Lennon, ended at 3:30 pm.
The Beatles session of the day started at 3:30 pm and ended at 10:30 pm. It saw the recording of two additional songs, written by John, for the long medley. “Sun King” and “Mean Mr. Mustard” had been rehearsed during the “Get Back” sessions in January 1969. On this day, they were recorded as one song (they were not segued during an editing process), under the working title “Here Comes The Sun King“.
A few days later we recorded the backing tracks to Lennon’s “Here Comes The Sun King” and “Mean Mr. Mustard,” both recorded together in a single pass. There is a slight gap between the two songs, so they could have easily been recorded separately, but knowing in advance that they would be sequenced in that order, John made the decision to play through both of them in one go, which made it a little more of a challenge to the band’s musicianship. But they pulled it off — it really was a group effort, and all four Beatles played with energy and enthusiasm, each making his own unique contribution to the sound and arrangement. Even Ringo came up with a strong idea, draping his tom-toms with heavy tea towels and playing them with timpani beaters in order to give John the “jungle drum” sound he was after.Geoff Emerick – From “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles“, 2006
The vibe was so good that, this time around, Paul was invited by John to participate in both songs, which seemed to lift his spirits greatly. They even disappeared behind the screens at one point for a puff on a joint, just the two of them, and when they came out they had a fit of giggles as they sang the pseudo-Spanish gibberish at the end of “Here Comes The Sun King”; in fact, they found it impossible to get through a take without dissolving into laughter.Geoff Emerick – From “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles“, 2006
Thirty-five takes of the rhythm track were recorded, with John on rhythm guitar recorded through a Leslie speaker (track three) and on guide vocals (track six), Paul on bass (track one), George Harrison on lead guitar with a tremolo echo (track four) and Ringo Starr on drums (track two).
Take 7 is in fact a cover version of “Ain’t She Sweet” led by John and played like Gene Vincent. It was followed by versions of other Gene Vincent’s songs: “Who Slapped John?“, “Up A Lazy River” and “Be Bop A Lula“. This version of “Ain’t She Sweet” was released on “Anthology 3” in 1996:
Later in the day, during the recording of the Abbey Road song Sun King, the Beatles ambled into a lighthearted jam that encompassed three Gene Vincent songs – Be-Bop-A-Lula, Who Slapped John? and, most enticingly, Ain’t She Sweet, the standard from 1927 that Vincent had covered in 1956 and the Beatles themselves recorded in 1961 (issued on Anthology 1). Then they had performed an arrangement that vocalist John Lennon described as “a march”, but in this 1969 jam they duplicated the softened style of Vincent’s recording.From Anthology 3 liner notes
Take 20 was released on “Abbey Road (50th anniversary boxset)” in 2019.
Take 35, the final one, was considered the best. Work on “Sun King / Mean Mr. Mustard” would continue on the following day.
Last updated on December 26, 2021
Musicians on "Come And Get It"
Musicians on "Sun King"
Musicians on "Mean Mr. Mustard"
Musicians on "Ain't She Sweet"
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!
Acclaimed Beatles historian Kenneth Womack offers the most definitive account yet of the writing, recording, mixing, and reception of Abbey Road. In February 1969, the Beatles began working on what became their final album together. Abbey Road introduced a number of new techniques and technologies to the Beatles' sound, and included "Come Together," "Something," and "Here Comes the Sun," which all emerged as classics.
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.