Recording "Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!", mixing "Good Morning Good Morning"

Monday, February 20, 1967 • For The Beatles

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

Songs recorded


Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Unnumbered take for the creation of sound effects


Good Morning Good Morning

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 1 from take 10


Production staff

George Martin:
Geoff Emerick:
Richard Lush:
Second engineer


On February 17, 1967, The Beatles started recording “Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!”, laying down its rhythm track along with the lead and backing vocals.

On this day, from 7 pm to 2:15 am, they continued working on the song, assembling sound effects to evoke the vivid imagery of a bustling fairground or a whimsical circus.

George Martin’s initial idea was to record the sound of a calliope or steam organ, but they finally opted for the EMI sound effects archive to find what they had in mind. George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick compiled 19 snippets from various marches and steam organ recordings. They then wove these fragments into an intricate sound collage.

Despite the progress made, the sound collage was not immediately overdubbed onto the master tape. Work on “Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!” continued more than a month later, on March 28, 1967.

As the session drew to a close, the focus shifted to “Good Morning Good Morning“, with the creation of a rough mono mix labelled Remix Mono 1, although a previous RM1 had already been made on February 16.

Beatles songs were quite simple in the early days. You couldn’t play around with them too much. But by 1967 we were building sound pictures and my role had changed — it was now to interpret those pictures and work out how best to get them down on tape. Paul was fine — he could express what he wanted, the sounds he wanted to have. But John was less musically articulate. He’d make whooshing noises and try to describe what only he could hear in his head, saying he wanted a song to ‘sound like an orange’. When we first worked on ‘Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!’ John had said that he wanted to ‘smell the sawdust on the floor’, wanted to taste the atmosphere of the circus. I said to him ‘What we need is a calliope’. `A what?’ ‘Steam whistles, played by a keyboard.’

George Martin – From “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn, 1988

John, as usual, was full of creative ideas but was having trouble expressing them in practical terms. “What I want,’ he explained earnestly to George. Martin and me in the control room the next day, “is some kind of swirly music, you know?” George Martin didn’t know.

Lennon persisted. “I want the sound of a fairground around my voice; I want to be able to smell the sawdust and the animals. I want to feel like I’m at the circus with Mr. Kite and the Hendersons and all that.”

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

I started looking for steam organs. They did still exist in 1967. I got really excited, thinking that we could get one and play the accompaniment on that — great! I did a little research, though, and found out that the fairground organs were rather like pianolas: the sequence of the notes was determined bya series of punched cards that went over drums, which in turn opened or closed certain stops.

It was going to be very difficult to make up an original punched card of our own, and it would take up a lot of time. John thought I should get one; after all, the Beatles were famous for leaving no stone unturned in achieving the sound they were after, and the idea of importing a huge steam organ into Abbey Road appealed to their eccentric natures enormously!

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

I knew we needed a backwash, a general mush of sound, like if you go to a fairground, shut your eyes and listen: rifle shots, hurdy-gurdy noises, people shouting and – way in the distance – just a tremendous chaotic sound. So I got hold of old calliope tapes, playing ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’ and other Sousa marches, chopped the tapes up into small sections and had Geoff Emerick throw them up in the air, re-assembling them at random.

George Martin – From “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn, 1988

Eventually, George decided that what John was thinking of was a calliope — a steam organ. Despite their enormous size, a few phone calls were actually placed to see if one was available for hire — to no avail. But as the inquiries were being made, I was starting to get an idea. “How about if we try what we did on ‘Yellow Submarine’?” I suggested. “You know, cutting up some tapes of sound effects to try to create an atmosphere?” […]

George Martin turned to me. “I think you may be on to something there, Geoff Richard Lush was instructed to go upstairs and search through the archives of EMI sound effects for recordings of calliopes and old organs. He came back with a stack of records, and we found a few short snatches of music that seemed like they might work, so I copied them onto some fresh two track tape. The procedure we followed next was similar to what we had done on “Yellow Submarine,” only the bits of tape were longer—this time, several two- or three-second lengths were tossed up into the air and joined together randomly in order to create some thirty seconds of background sound, later overdubbed onto the very end of the song. Interestingly, just as happened in “Yellow Submarine,” a lot of the pieces ended up in the correct order and had to be shifted around before it all sounded jumbled enough.

We were in Studio Three that night because our usual haunt — Studio Two — was in use by another artist. […] As a result, the group’s gear wasn’t in the studio with them; it was still being stored in Studio Two, where we would be returning for most of the rest of the album. Because they couldn’t play and jam, the four Beatles were getting impatient with how long it was taking us to assemble the sounds. They were out in the studio area amusing themselves as best they could, but they kept popping into the control room, saying, “Aren’t you lot done yet?” At one point John came in and he was actually quite aggravated, but Paul calmed him down, saying, “Look, it’s a process and it just takes a certain amount of time. You have to expect that.”

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

I went back to all the recordings of marches and what-not I’d collected, and transferred them on to one tape. Again, a little bit of a brainwave was required. What, though? Finally, an idea came up. I selected two-minute segments of the taped music. Then I got hold of Geoff, who by this stage was more than my engineer on our extraordinary album, he was my co-conspirator. ‘Geoff, I said, ‘we’re going to try something here; I want you to cut that tape there up into sections that are roughly fifteen inches long.’ Geoff reached for his scissors and began snipping.

In no time at all we had a small pyramid of worm-like tape fragments piled up on the floor at our feet. ‘Now,’ I said, ‘pick them all up and fling them into the air!’ He looked at me. Naturally, he thought I’d gone mad. […]

‘Now, pick ’em up and put them together again, and don’t look at what you’re doing,’ I told Geoff. Strangely enough, Sod’s Law being what it is, some of the pieces of tape went back together almost where they’d started. We got round that by turning anything that sounded like it might be in the correct sequence around and splicing it in back to front. In this peculiar way we made up a patchwork quilt of different parts of steam organ recordings, all in roughly one-second segments: lots of different pieces whirling around. When I listened to them, they formed a chaotic mass of sound: it was impossible to identify the tunes they had come from; but it was unmistakably a steam organ. Perfect! There was the fairground atmosphere we had been looking for. John was thrilled to bits with it.

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

From The Beatles History ( – Paul McCartney holds the Loving Spoonful album, February 19, 1967. In 1966, The Loving Spoonful inspired Paul to write “Good Day Sunshine”

Last updated on May 4, 2024

Exit mobile version