Recording and mixing "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)"

Saturday, April 1, 1967 • For The Beatles

Part of


Recording "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"

Nov 24, 1966 - Apr 20, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono) LP.
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road

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About

On this day, from 7 pm to 6 am, The Beatles recorded the final song for the “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album. The song was a reprise of the title track. They were under time pressure to complete the album, especially as Paul McCartney had planned to take a ten-day break from April 3 to April 12 in the United States to visit his girlfriend Jane Asher.

Since EMI Studio 2 at Abbey Road was already booked, they had to relocate to the enormous Studio One. They recorded nine takes of the rhythm track with Paul McCartney on organ and guide vocals, John Lennon and George Harrison on electric guitars, and Ringo Starr on drums. All these instruments were recorded on track one of the four-track tape.

Four takes were false starts, five were complete. Take 5 was released on “Anthology 2” in 1996, and take 8 was released on the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (50th anniversary boxset)” in 2017.

Getting very near the end, the Beatles recorded the last new number for Sgt. Pepper just two days before Paul was committed to fly out to America, the sessions over. Possibly for this reason, but also because it was technically less complicated than the other tracks, this final song – the reprise version of the title cut – was started, completed and mixed in a single session, albeit one that didn’t finish until six o’clock the following morning. The master was Take 9, with overdubs – the version here is a basic track, Take 5, with Paul’s guide vocal.

From Anthology 2 liner notes, about alternate take 5:

Take 9 was deemed the best and received some overdubs. Paul added his bass part on track two, recorded through a direction injection box instead of using a microphone and amplifier. On track three, each Beatle added a lead vocal part. Then, on track four, Ringo Starr added some tambourine, and another Beatle played some maracas.

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” was the only song from the album not to be given a reduction mix. The four tracks were filled with the initial instruments, the overdubs were added, and then it was ready to be mixed for the album.

Nine mono mixes of Take 9, augmented with audience noises prepared on March 6, 1967, were made and labelled Remix Mono 1 to 9. RM9 was deemed the best and served as the mono release version of the track.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” was mixed in stereo on April 20, 1967.


The reprise of ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ was another Neil Aspinall brainwave. ‘You’ve given a concert,’ he commented. ‘Why don’t you wrap up the concert with another version of “Sgt. Pepper”?’ Everyone thought that was a great idea. So, on 20 April [sic April 1], that was what we did.

This time, we really went hammer and tongs for a live performance. This version of the song is much better — up-tempo, faster, pulsating with energy, much livelier. The Beatles knew the song inside out by now, and there was a sort of end-of-term feeling in the studio. We had never made a second recording of a song on an album before, and that was exciting in itself. We finished the whole recording — vocals, solos, the lot — in one overnight session of eleven hours’ straight work, from seven in the evening until six o’clock the next morning.

We were in the big studio at Abbey Road, No.1, for this one, and the natural acoustics of this vast, cavernous room lent something to the live, bright quality of that recording. Geoff Emerick had a problem sorting out the balance between the various vocal and instrumental inputs, but he fixed it, and the electrifying, football stadium atmosphere comes through.

George Martin – From “With A Little Help From My Friends: The Making of Sgt. Pepper“, 1995

The reprise I remember fondly because it was just one of those special nights when they were playing great. They were all there together, which didn’t always happen. And we were in a different studio, we were in studio one, which is the main classical studio which normally didn’t have pop music done in it. We built little houses for everybody to be close to each other in. It was just great. The vibe of them playing that night was just fantastic.

Richard Lush – From ABC News, May 25, 2017

And so it was that a full month after the Sgt. Pepper theme was initially recorded, the four Beatles returned to the studio to reprise their performance, but with several differences. The first was that, with the end of the album in sight, everyone was really energized… and in a hurry to get it done quickly. Paul, in fact, was scheduled to fly to the U.S. just two days later — a trip he had no intention of postponing because it would reunite him with his girlfriend Jane Asher after several months apart.

The second difference was that, on such short notice, George Martin had been unable to book Studio Two. […] As a result, we were forced to use the cavernous Studio One, which was probably the least conducive place in the Abbey Road complex to recording a high-energy rock song.

Finally, we all had to come in on a Saturday. As long and as crazy as the Pepper sessions had been over the past four months, the Beatles had stuck rigidly to a weekdays-only schedule, usually working three to four nights a week. […]

The acoustics of Studio One were far too reverberant for a loud rock band, so I knew that I had to make some special arrangements in advance. First, I had Richard and the maintenance engineer on duty gather up all the available tall screens and build a kind of hut, thus creating a smaller room within a room. Then I asked Mal and Neil to set up the drums and amplifiers very near one another so that there would be minimal delay on the signal that would inevitably spill between the mics, and I arranged the Beatles themselves in a semicircle so they could all see one another. […] As it is, whatever reverb exists on the “Sgt. Pepper” reprise is actually the sound of the huge room itself — there was no need to add any echo chamber when the tracks were mixed.

Everybody was really upbeat that day, and it shows. The vibe was fantastic and the energy was even higher than in the first version. It was a great rhythm track, and I could feel the excitement building from the very first moment, even in Paul’s count-in, which had a tremendous energy of its own. The Beatles played the whole thing live, just two guitars, bass, and drums — the old-school lineup they had used for years — with just a single keyboard overdub. Ringo was pounding the hell out of his drums — he was even stomping on the bass drum pedal harder than usual. In fact, everyone was playing full-out. Considering that they’d all been cloistered in the studio for so long, pouring their hearts and souls into the album, it really was incredible how good and tight their playing was.

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

For the first time on a Beatles album, Paul’s bass guitar was recorded not with a microphone and an amplifier, but through a direct injection box, plugged directly from his guitar into the recording board. It was a lash-up, cobbled together by our unsung behind-the-scenes technical genius, Ken Townsend. DI was a first for us, a real breakthrough. It meant we could ‘cook’ the bass guitar any way we wanted.

George Martin – From “With A Little Help From My Friends: The Making of Sgt. Pepper“, 1995

From Recording of a reprise of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles History (beatles-chronology.ru) – A page from George Harrison’s diary.

Last updated on February 11, 2024

Songs recorded






5.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 5

Album Officially released on Anthology 2






10.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 9


11.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 1 from take 9


12.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 2 from take 9


13.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 3 from take 9


14.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 4 from take 9


15.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 5 from take 9


16.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 6 from take 9


17.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 7 from take 9


18.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 8 from take 9


19.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 9 from take 9

Album Officially released on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)

Staff

Musicians on "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)"

Paul McCartney:
Lead vocals, Organ, Bass
Ringo Starr:
Tambourine, Drums, Lead vocals
John Lennon:
Lead vocals, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison:
Lead guitar, Lead vocals
?:
Maracas

Production staff

George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Richard Lush:
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!

Shop on Amazon


The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 3: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band through Magical Mystery Tour (late 1966-1967)

The third book of this critically - acclaimed series, nominated for the 2019 Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) award for Excellence In Historical Recorded Sound, "The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 3: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band through Magical Mystery Tour (late 1966-1967)" captures the band's most innovative era in its entirety. 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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