Recording "Baby, You're A Rich Man"

Thursday, May 11, 1967 • For The Beatles

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the All You Need Is Love / Baby You're A Rich Man (UK) 7" Single.
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

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About

On this day, The Beatles recorded and mixed the track “Baby, You’re A Rich Man” in a six-hour session at Olympic Sound Studios (from 9 pm to 3 am). This was unusual for the band at the time, as they often spent many hours and days perfecting each track. As a result, it was The Beatles’ first song to be recorded and mixed entirely away from Abbey Road.

This was their second UK session to take place outside EMI Studios, following their February 9, 1967, session at Regent Sound Studio. The balance engineer for the session was Olympic’s manager Keith Grant. The studio was frequently used by The Rolling Stones, and Mick Jagger happened to be in the studio for this Beatles session.

The Beatles couldn’t get into the studio for the next couple of nights, which forced them to record “Baby You’re A Rich Man” — a song which eventually served as a B-side and was used in the Yellow Submarine film — at Olympic Studios.

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

Baby, You’re A Rich Man” was originally intended for the soundtrack of the animated film “Yellow Submarine”, with the project announced to the press in early June, but agreements had already been signed in early May. However, the track was eventually released as the B-side to the next Beatles single, “All You Need Is Love“, released in early July.

One tape reel was filled with rehearsal takes, before twelve formal takes were recorded. The backing track featured John Lennon on piano, Paul McCartney on tambourine, George Harrison on maracas and Ringo Starr on drums.

Take 12 was deemed the best, and received some overdubs. Paul added his bass part, while some other Beatles contributed handclaps. John then sang his double-tracked lead vocals. Some double-tracked backing vocals by Paul, John and George were also added. One of the session’s tape boxes indicates “The Beatles + Mick Jagger?“, suggesting Mick Jagger contributed to either handclaps or backing vocals.

Two tape reduction mixes, labelled take 1 and take 2, were then made, with additional overdubs added onto take 2. Ringo added some snare drums, Paul played rhythm guitar and George played lead guitar. For the final overdubs, John played a clavioline, an electronic keyboard instrument that was a forerunner to the analog synthesizer, and Paul played the piano recorded backwards. Eddie Kramer, the second engineer, reportedly played a single note of vibraphone.

The session ended with a single remix mono created from take 2, which was released on the “All You Need Is Love” single.


We recorded [Baby, You’re A Rich Man] at a rather exciting recording session at Olympic, in Barnes, where Keith Grant mixed it, instantly, right there. He stood up at the console as he mixed it, so it was a very exciting mix, we were really quite buzzed. I always liked that track.

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

I’m a terrible pusher on sessions. I do a lot of orchestral work and you naturally push people along. The Beatles said that this was the fastest record they’d ever made. They were used to a much more leisurely pace. We started the session at about 9pm and it was finished and mixed by about 3am, vocals and everything. They kept playing, version after version, then we spooled back to the one they liked and overdubbed the vocals

Keith Grant – From “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn, 1988

Whenever they did a track at an outside studio, I usually had to do a lot of repair work to the tapes because they simply couldn’t achieve the sound they were used to anywhere else. This time around, though, they actually got the entire song done — including the final mix — in a single session. It was a Lennon song, and a fairly simple one at that, but it had been a long time since they’d been so efficient. I had to admit that the results were pretty good — Olympic’s chief engineer, Keith Grant, did the session himself and he knew what he was doing. In addition, Olympic’s mixing console was a totally different design than ours and was capable of passing lower frequencies, so there was quite a smooth bass sound, which I thought was great.

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

MAL AND NEIL TELL YOU HOW ‘All You Need Is Love’ WAS RECORDED

[…] BABY YOU’RE A RICH MAN was originally intended for the soundtrack of the full-length Beatles cartoon film, which went into production a few weeks ago. You won’t see the film at your local cinema until spring of next year, but this was to have been one of the three new songs which The Beatles arranged to supply to the producers. The song started life under another title. It was “One Of The Beautiful People”.

FIRST OUTSIDE

The Beatles began recording BABY YOU’RE A RICH MAN on May 11 at the Olympic studios in Barnes. In fact this was the very first session they have ever had outside the EMI studios and all their amplifiers, instruments and session gear had to be moved from St. John’s Wood to Barnes. Incidentally Mick Jagger was one of several friends who dropped in that night to watch the recording work.

The instrument heard at the very beginning of BABY YOU’RE A RICH MAN is a Clavioline, which has a keyboard and an amplifier. Unlike a piano, it can’t play more than one note at once, and if you hit two keys the Clavioline always decides to play only the higher of the notes. That’s why it sounds a bit like some sort of pipe instrument and you might not guess it had a keyboard at all. So John plays Clavioline, John and Paul play pianos and a studio engineer at Olympic obliged by playing a bit of vibes! You know by now that the lead voice is John with George and Paul joining in. Paul does the very high falsetto voice bits. […]

From The Beatles Monthly Book, August 1967
From The Beatles Monthly Book, August 1967
From The Beatles Monthly Book, August 1967

From Meet the Beatles for Real: Zebra striped jacket – May 11, 1967 – Another great photo taken by Lizzie. (the full photo can be found in her book if you have it).

Last updated on February 10, 2024

Songs recorded


1.

Baby, You're A Rich Man

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 1


2.

Baby, You're A Rich Man

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 2


3.

Baby, You're A Rich Man

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 3


4.

Baby, You're A Rich Man

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 4


5.

Baby, You're A Rich Man

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 5


6.

Baby, You're A Rich Man

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 6


7.

Baby, You're A Rich Man

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 7


8.

Baby, You're A Rich Man

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 8


9.

Baby, You're A Rich Man

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 9


10.

Baby, You're A Rich Man

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 10


11.

Baby, You're A Rich Man

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 11


12.

Baby, You're A Rich Man

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 12


13.

Baby, You're A Rich Man

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 12 into take 1


14.

Baby, You're A Rich Man

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 12 into take 2


15.

Baby, You're A Rich Man

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 1 from take 2

Album Officially released on All You Need Is Love / Baby You're A Rich Man (UK)

Staff

Musicians on "Baby, You're A Rich Man"

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Tambourine, Piano, Backing vocals, Rhythm guitar
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Handclaps ?, Backing vocals
John Lennon:
Lead vocals, Clavioline, Piano, Handclaps ?
George Harrison:
Maracas, Handclaps ?, Lead guitar, Backing vocals
Eddie Kramer:
Vibraphone
Mick Jagger:
Backing vocals ?, Handclaps ?

Production staff

George Martin:
Producer
Keith Grant:
Engineer
Eddie Kramer:
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.

Shop on Amazon


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


https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/story-clavioline

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