- Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Lady Madonna / The Inner Light 7" Single.
- Timeline More from year 1968
- EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road
Some songs from this session appear on:
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The Beatles spent most of this day recording John Lennon’s “Across The Universe“. However despite their efforts, Lennon remained unsatisfied with the results, and the group decided instead to release “Lady Madonna” as their next single. “Lady Madonna” had been recorded a few days earlier on February 3rd, with final overdubs and mixing taking place on February 6th.
Well aware that their visit to India to study under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was imminent, and they weren’t due to return until mid-April, they decided to take the opportunity to pose for some formal group pictures in the EMI recording studio. These pictures were used as promotional material to accompany the release of “Lady Madonna”. One picture, in particular, being used by Capitol Records to create a pictures sleeve for “Lady Madonna”‘s release in the USA on March 18, 1968.
We started overdubbing onto another track that Ken (Scott) had begun in my absence. “Across The Universe’ was probably the gentlest, sweetest John Lennon song I’d heard to date, and it took me very much by surprise. At around the time of Brian’s death, the four Beatles had been studying with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and on this night it occurred to me that perhaps meditation had done John some good. The song represented a drastic change for him, and it was an eye-opener for me. It was true that in recent weeks the cutting, sarcastic John Lennon had been largely absent; we were seeing a softer side in him, a side I didn’t ever know existed. I knew that McCartney could be a rocker as well as a balladeer, but, up until this session, I’d pretty much just thought of Lennon as a basher. I really loved the song, and John’s gentle, lyrical vocal definitely connected with me.Geoff Emerick – From “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles“, 2006 – Quoted in beatlesebooks.com
The legendary comedian and ex-Goon Spike Milligan (who was one of John’s idols) happened to be at the session that night as a guest of George Martin’s. He was so impressed with what he was hearing that he asked Lennon if the track, in its current state, could be used for to help raise funds for a charity he was involved in. A distracted, aggrieved John simply said, ‘Yeah, whatever,’ and that’s how ‘Across The Universe’ came to be released on a charity record for the World Wildlife Foundation.Geoff Emerick – From “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles“, 2006 – Quoted in beatlesebooks.com
Spike Milligan, who watched the session as George Martin’s guest, asked if he could use ‘Across The Universe’ on a wildlife charity record he was organising and The Beatles agreed.
Miles, Barry. The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years (Kindle Locations 7643-7644). Music Sales. Kindle Edition.
Last updated on September 15, 2021
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.
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