Recording and mixing "Not Guilty"

Monday, August 12, 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 Anthology 3 Official album.
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

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The Beatles had worked on George Harrison’s “Not Guilty“ on August 7, 8 and 9. On this day, starting at 7 pm, George added the latest overdub, his lead vocal.

George had this idea that he wanted to do it in the control room with the speakers blasting, so that he got more of an on-stage feel…I remember that John Lennon came in at one point and I turned to him and said, ‘Bloody hell, the way you lot are carrying on you’ll be wanting to record everything in the room next door!’ The room next door was tiny, where the four-track tape machines were once kept, and it had no proper studio walls or acoustic set-up of any kind. Lennon replied, ‘That’s a great idea; let’s try it on the next number!’ The next number was ‘Yer Blues’ and we literally had to set it all up – them and the instruments – in this minute room. That’s how they recorded ‘Yer Blues,’ and it worked out great!

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

“Not Guilty” seems like it was the hardest track to record because George just wasn’t feeling it.

Ken Scott: That’s true…George wasn’t feeling it. It was his song and he wasn’t feeling it. He could not get a vocal that he was happy with. He couldn’t get even into sort of the mood of singing it, that’s why we tried different ways of him singing it, in different places within the studio. That’s when the “Yer Blues” joke came up, whilst we were trying to do the vocal. George wanted to try it in the control room with everything coming back through the speakers to give it more of a live theater-type feel or club feel. It was during one of the playbacks I turned to John and said, “God, the way you guys are going, you are going to want to record in there next” and I pointed to this little room by the side of Number Two control room. Of course, a couple days later he said, “Let’s record in there!” Silly, yes. Difficult, yes. But we always did whatever it took.

Ken Scott – From Beatles’ recording engineer Ken Scott reveals behind the scenes details on working with The Fab Four | Daytrippin’ Beatles Magazine, July 2012

A mono mix was made before the session ended at 4:15 am. No additional time was to be spent on “Not Guilty” and the song got shelved till its inclusion on 1996’s Anthology 3, in an edited form.

Take 102. The Beatles spent three nights recording the basic track of George Harrison’s Not Guilty, until they pronounced the 99th the “best” take and freed space in a tape-to-tape reduction mixdown for George to overdub his vocal. Curiously, though, once he had done so, and the recording was completed, it was decided to leave it off the White Album, the song remaining unheard until 1979, when George recorded an acoustic remake for his album George Harrison. But this Beatles version (Take 102), heavier in approach, has not been issued until now.

From the liner notes of Anthology 3

The unedited and remixed take 102 was released on the 50th Anniversary box set of the White Album, in 2018.

It’s unclear if Paul McCartney joined this session ; especially as, on this day at 2 pm, he entered Trident Studios, to help the young duo Drew And Dy record their first songs.

Last updated on August 30, 2021

Songs recorded


Not Guilty

Written by George Harrison

Recording • SI onto take 102

Album Officially released on The Beatles (50th anniversary boxset)


Not Guilty

Written by George Harrison

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 1 from take 102


Musicians on "Not Guilty"

George Harrison:
Lead vocals

Production staff

George Martin:
Ken Scott:
John Smith:
Second Engineer

Going further

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!

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The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 4: The Beatles through Yellow Submarine (1968 - early 1969)

The fourth book of this critically acclaimed series, "The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 4: The Beatles through Yellow Submarine (1968 - early 1969)" captures The Beatles as they take the lessons of Sgt. Pepper forward with an ambitious double-album that is equally innovative and progressive. From the first take to the final remix, discover the making of the greatest recordings of all time. Through extensive, fully-documented research, these books fill an important gap left by all other Beatles books published to date and provide a unique view into the recordings of the world's most successful pop music act.

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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.

Read more on The Beatles Bible


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