Recording and mixing "I Will", "Birthday", "Savoy Truffle", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Long Long Long", "Yer Blues

Monday, October 14, 1968 • For The Beatles

Part of


"The Beatles" (aka the White Album) sessions

May 30 - Oct 18, 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

On this day, The Beatles (minus Ringo Starr) and the production team completed the recordings for “The Beatles” (aka the White Album), by adding some overdubs on “Savoy Truffle“. They also mixed eight tracks of the new album during the 12 hours long session (from 7pm to 7.30am)

Ringo was absent because he flew out to Sardinia to enjoy two weeks off with his family. He, therefore, didn’t participate in the last sessions of the album.


The overdubs on “Savoy Truffle” consisted of another lead guitar part by George Harrison, an organ played by Chris Thomas, and some bongos played by Paul McCartney. As explained in “The Beatles” Super Deluxe edition book (2018), George and Paul McCartney may have re-recorded or double-tracked some of their vocals during that session:

From close listening to track seven of the tape, it seems that George and Paul redid their vocals at Abbey Road. It is possible to hear the song playing through their headphones – with the saxes already present.

From “The Beatles” Super Deluxe edition book (2018)

Savoy Truffle” was also mixed in mono and stereo on this day.

Six attempts at the mono mix were first made, the sixth being chosen as ‘best.’ The startling lead guitar overdub was faded down at the end of the second verse, but not after the first chord is heard. The end of the guitar solo is different from the commonly heard stereo mix here also, extending into where the vocals come back in.

Two attempts of the stereo mix were made on this day as well, the second being the keeper. The lead guitar overdub at the end of the second verse was not faded down this time, but extraneous sounds heard during the solo in the mono mix were properly faded down in this stereo mix. More pains were taken to make the end of the guitar solo sound more concise this time around.

From beatlesebooks.com

When we were mixing [Savoy Truffle], George Martin walks into the control room and says, “Er, isn’t it a bit bright? Isn’t it a bit toppy?” And George just turns ’round to him and says: “Yeah, and I like it”… [The Beatles] were like the kids that have just left home and the parents aren’t looking after them anymore

Ken Scott – from “George Harrison: Living in the Material World” film by Martin Scorsese, 2011

I Will” had been recorded on September 16 and 17. The mono mix had been made on September 26. On this day, the stereo mix released on the White Album was made.

Paul’s “bass vocal” (“a clever baritone ‘dum-dum-dum’ impersonation of a bass guitar” as reported by Mark Lewisohn in “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions“) begins in the second verse in the mono mix but is present from the start in the stereo mix.


Birthday” had been recorded and mixed in mono, on September 18. On this day, the stereo mix released on the White Album was made.

The only noticeable difference between the [mono and stereo mix] is toward the end of the song when Paul screams out “daaaaance” just before the final verse. On the stereo mix, it is heard twice, possibly because of a faulty edit, but in the mono version, one of them is covered over by other elements of the recording.

From beatlesebooks.com

While My Guitar Gently Weeps” had been recorded on September 5 and September 6. Some mono and stereo mixes had been made on October 7, but it was decided that those could be improved. On this day, the mono and stereo mixes released on the White Album were made.

I was given the grand job of waggling the oscillator on the ‘Gently Weeps’ mixes. Apparently Eric insisted to George (Harrison) that he didn’t want the guitar solo so typically Clapton…So we did this flanging thing, really wobbling the oscillator in the mix. I did that for hours. What a boring job!

Ken Scott ​ – From “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn

Eric didn’t want his guitar to sound like an Eric guitar. He wanted it to sound like a Beatles guitar. So, the way we dealt with that was to ADT and flange it during the mix. It’s not as if we always did that with George’s guitar, but we did do it with everything and everyone at some point or another.

Ken Scott – From The Beatles ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ (soundonsound.com)

[Eric Clapton and I] used to hang out such a lot at that period and Eric gave me a fantastic Les Paul Guitar, which is the one he plays on that date. So, Eric played that and I thought it was really good. Then we listened to it back and he said, “Ah, there’s a problem, though; it’s not Beatley enough.”. So we put it through the ADT to wobble it up a bit.

George Harrison – From “The Beatles” Super Deluxe edition book (2018)

The mono mix is a few seconds longer than the stereo mix. Eric Clapton’s guitar also remains at a higher volume after his solo break in the mono version. George Harrison’s “yeah, yeah, yeah” at the end of the song is only heard in the stereo version.


Yer Blues” had been recorded in August and mixed in mono on August 14 and 20. On this day, the stereo mix released on the White Album was made.

While applying ADT and “slap-back” echo, this stereo mix is quite similar to the mono with the exception of the introductory “twooo, threeee” being quieter and the fade out being fifteen seconds shorter.

From beatlesebooks.com

In stereo, traces of other vocal and guitar parts can be heard throughout the song in the left channel, including something shouted over parts of the vocal and what sounds like another different guitar solo. After the edit, the trace lead vocal suggests we are hearing the first part of the song from the other take.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations

Sexy Sadie” had been recorded in August and mixed in mono on August 21. On this day, the stereo mix released on the White Album was made.

Subtle differences in the stereo mix are found in the song’s introduction, an extra tapping sound being heard as well as Paul’s bass which was faded down in the mono mix.

From beatlesebooks.com

Long, Long, Long” had been recorded in early October and mixed in stereo on October 10. On this day, the mono mix released on the White Album was made.

The first attempt at a mono mix was on October 12th, 1968, in the control room of EMI Studio Two by the same engineering team, however this solitary try was deemed not good enough. They tried again on October 14th, 1968, in the same studio with the same engineering team, these two attempts bringing it to a finished state, presumably ‘remix 3’ being the keeper. The acoustic guitar from the rhythm track was substantially higher in the mix while the harmony vocal didn’t kick in until the third “long” this time. More manual oscillator waggling was done on the organ on this mix as well.

From beatlesebooks.com

Relative to the stereo version, the contrast between the song’s quiet and louder moments is less pronounced in the mono mix, where Harrison’s second vocal part also arrives earlier on the opening line.

From Wikipedia

Two stereo mixes of “What’s The New Mary Jane” were then made, but unused as the song was shelved and not included on the final album.

Last updated on September 19, 2021

Songs recorded


1.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Stereo mixing - Remix 1 from take 68

Album Officially released on The Beatles (Stereo)


2.

Birthday

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Stereo mixing - Remix 1 from take 22


3.

Savoy Truffle

Written by George Harrison

Recording • SI onto take 1


4.

Savoy Truffle

Written by George Harrison

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 1 from take 1


5.

Savoy Truffle

Written by George Harrison

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 2 from take 1


6.

Savoy Truffle

Written by George Harrison

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 3 from take 1


7.

Savoy Truffle

Written by George Harrison

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 4 from take 1


8.

Savoy Truffle

Written by George Harrison

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 5 from take 1


9.

Savoy Truffle

Written by George Harrison

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 6 from take 1


10.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Written by George Harrison

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 10 from take 25


11.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Written by George Harrison

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 11 from take 25


12.

Long, Long, Long

Written by George Harrison

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 2 from take 67


13.

Long, Long, Long

Written by George Harrison

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 3 from take 67


14.

Savoy Truffle

Written by George Harrison

Mixing • Stereo mixing - Remix 1 from take 1


15.

Savoy Truffle

Written by George Harrison

Mixing • Stereo mixing - Remix 2 from take 1


16.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Written by George Harrison

Mixing • Stereo mixing - Remix 10 from take 25


17.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Written by George Harrison

Mixing • Stereo mixing - Remix 11 from take 25


18.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Written by George Harrison

Mixing • Stereo mixing - Remix 12 from take 25


19.

Yer Blues

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Stereo mixing - Remix 1 from takes 16 and 17 and edit piece take 1


20.

Yer Blues

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Stereo mixing - Remix 2 from takes 16 and 17 and edit piece take 1


21.

Yer Blues

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Stereo mixing - Remix 3 from takes 16 and 17 and edit piece take 1


22.

Yer Blues

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Stereo mixing - Remix 4 from takes 16 and 17 and edit piece take 1


23.

Yer Blues

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Stereo mixing - Remix 5 from takes 16 and 17 and edit piece take 1


24.

Sexy Sadie

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Stereo mixing - Remix 1 from take 117


25.

Sexy Sadie

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Stereo mixing - Remix 2 from take 117


26.

Sexy Sadie

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Stereo mixing - Remix 3 from take 117


27.

What's The New Mary Jane

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Stereo mixing - Remix 1 from take 4


28.

What's The New Mary Jane

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Stereo mixing - Remix 2 from take 4

Staff

Musicians on Savoy Truffle

Paul McCartney:
Bongos
George Harrison:
Lead guitar
Chris Thomas:
Organ, Electric piano

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/1968/10/14/recording-mixing-i-will-birthday-savoy-truffle-while-my-guitar-gently-weeps-long-long-long-yer-blues-sexy-sadie-whats-the-new-mary-jane/

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