Recording and mixing "Hey Bulldog"

Sunday, February 11, 1968 • For The Beatles

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Lady Madonna / The Inner Light (UK - 1968) 7" Single.
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Songs recorded


1.

Hey Bulldog

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 1


2.

Hey Bulldog

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 2


3.

Hey Bulldog

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 3


4.

Hey Bulldog

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 4


5.

Hey Bulldog

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 5


6.

Hey Bulldog

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 6


7.

Hey Bulldog

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 7


8.

Hey Bulldog

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 8


9.

Hey Bulldog

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 9


10.

Hey Bulldog

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 10


11.

Hey Bulldog

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 10


12.

Hey Bulldog

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 1 from take 10


13.

Hey Bulldog

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 2 from take 10

Staff

Musicians on "Hey Bulldog"

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Tambourine, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Piano, Vocals, Guitar
George Harrison:
Guitar

Production staff

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

About

The plan for this day was for The Beatles to be filmed in the recording studio, to create a promo clip for “Lady Madonna“, the A-side of the upcoming single. What was not planned is that they would use the filming time to record a brand new song, “Hey Bulldog“, from start to finish, instead of miming “Lady Madonna“. The film was directed by Tony Bramwell, head of Apple Films.

The last session before India took place on Sunday February 11 — and we had a lot of cameramen in from Apple Films to make the film clips The Beatles wanted to have available for TV use here and in America to coincide with the release of the “Lady Madonna” single. But the day wasn’t set aside for filming — an entirely new number was rehearsed and recorded that day — one of the fastest session jobs The Beatles have accomplished in recent years. The number was John’s, one called “Hey Bulldog” made specially for the soundtrack of the colour cartoon film “Yellow Submarine” which we shall be seeing in the cinemas a bit later this year.

Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall – From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°57, April 1968

On February 11, they recorded Hey Bulldog at Abbey Road, while I filmed the entire process. We didn’t need any promo material for Bulldog, but Paul had also recorded Lady Madonna, the song he had written in memory of his mother, which did need some promotional film. I cut the Bulldog shoot, using the bits of the lads playing and sitting about in the studio, and we used that. Then it vanished, completely disappeared. We thought it had been stolen, as things often were if not nailed down. Over thirty years later, in August 1999, my original film was rediscovered and used with a reissue of Bulldog to go with the revamped digital version of Yellow Submarine.

Tony Bramwell – from “Magical Mystery Tours”

Even though it was destined to be given to the ‘Yellow Submarine’ film, ‘Hey Bulldog’ was a really strong song. The vibe that day was great – all four Beatles were in an exceptionally good mood because they knew they would be heading to India in a matter of days. Despite the fact that there was a film crew underfoot, it was a Sunday session, so things were quite relaxed – the Abbey Road complex was largely deserted, and The Beatles could wander around the corridors if they wanted to.

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

At one point, Paul was helping John with the lyrics, but most of the song seemed to have been written and worked out before they got to the studio.

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

This was also the first session attended by Yoko Ono, as John Lennon’s guest (she would be a recurring guest during the sessions for the White Album). At some point, she embarrassed her host by demanding to know why all The Beatles’ songs used exactly the same rhythm, and why they didn’t attempt something more adventurous.


Hey Bulldog” was recorded in 10 takes for the basic track, with John Lennon on piano and guide vocal, George Harrison on rhythm guitar, Paul McCartney playing two tambourines (or bass in the first takes), and Ringo Starr on drums. Take 10 was considered the best one, and the one used to add overdubs.

After the camera crew left (and a dinner break), the overdub process started. Paul overdubbed his bass guitar, joined by George on a distorted guitar and additional off-beat drums from Ringo. John and Paul then added their double-tracked vocals, and Paul finished it up by adding a single-tracking backing vocal.

Once the recording was completed, George Martin and Geoff Emerick made two mono mixes. They decided to leave the dog barks, shouts, and screams in the final recording, at one point adding heavy compression to some of John’s dialogue and dog noises. They raised the song in pitch slightly, running the playback fast.

There’s a little rap at the end between John and I, we went into a crazy little thing at the end. We always tried to make every song different because we figured, why write something like the last one? We’ve done that.

Paul McCartney – from “Many Years From Now”, by Barry Miles, 1997

That was a really fun song. We were all into sound texture in those days and during the mixing we put ADT (automatic double tracking) on one of the “What did he say? Woof woof” bits near the end of the song. It came out really well.

Geoff Emerick​ – From “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn 

The second mono mix would be used on the “Yellow Submarine” animated film. Geoff Emerick would made a stereo mix on October 29, 1968, being released on the original soundtrack LP.

The session, which had started at 4 pm, ended at 2 am.

From Facebook – 11 February 1968 Photo © Apple Corps Ltd. (https://www.thebeatles.com/)
From Facebook – 11 February 1968 Photo by Ringo Starr © (https://www.ringostarr.com/)
From Facebook – 11 February 1968 Image © Apple Films Ltd. (https://www.thebeatles.com/)
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