"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 The Beatles (Mono) LP.
- EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road
More from year 1968
Some songs from this session appear on:
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On the day before, The Beatles had rehearsed John Lennon’s song “Cry Baby Cry“. They spent this day recording it.
From 4 pm to 9 pm, they recorded 10 takes of the basic track with John Lennon on acoustic guitar and vocals, Paul McCartney on bass, and Ringo Starr on drums (If George Harrison contributed to this basic track is not clear). Take 10 was considered to be the best and two reduction mixes were done.
Take 1 was released on the Anthology 3:
The basic master of John Lennon’s Cry Baby Cry was captured at the end of a mid-evening recording session in Abbey Road on 16 July 1968. Five hours earlier this Anthology selection – Take 1 – was laid down, performed live at the studio, without overdubs. Although never used, it proved that the players were immediately on the right track.From the liner notes of Anthology 3
From 10 pm to 2 am, the first overdubs were added onto take 12 – George Martin played harmonium, and a piano contribution was also added. Mark Lewisohn, in “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions“, reported the piano was played by John, while “The Beatles” super deluxe book, 2018, says Paul played it.
The night we started making this one I jotted in my diary “That George sure wields a mean blues axe. That Paul tools a real smooth heavy-axe that is”. This is John’s number all the way with strong, heavy and very Lennon vocal. He also plays piano and organ. I suppose you could call this a Beatles-type nursery rhyme – all about the King of Marigold, his wife and kids, The Duchess of Kirkcaldy and her Duke. With a midnight seance round the table put into the last verse for good measure! George Martin plays harmonium.Mal Evans – From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°64, November 1968
But the highlight of the session was engineer Geoff Emerick announcing he was leaving:
I lost interest in the ‘White Album’ because they were really arguing amongst themselves and swearing at each other. The expletives were really flying. There was one instance just before I left when they were doing ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ for the umpteenth time. Paul was re-recording the vocal again and George Martin made some remark about how he should be lilting onto the half-beat or whatever and Paul, in no refined way, said something to the effect of ‘Well you come down and sing it.’Geoff Emerick – From “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn
The next afternoon, I walked dejectedly into the control room, where both Richard (Lush) and George Martin were sitting quietly. None of The Beatles had arrived yet: they were late as usual. I took a deep breath and at last the words came out. ‘That’s it, George,’ I announced. ‘I’ve decided I can’t take it anymore. I’m leaving.’… ‘What are you talking about?’ he said. ‘You can’t leave in the middle of an album.’ ‘I can, George, and I am.’Geoff Emerick – From “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles“, 2006 – Quoted in beatlesebooks.com
Oh, it was a nightmare. I was becoming physically sick just thinking of going to the studio each night. I used to love working with the band. By that point, I dreaded it. Getting out was the only thing I could do.Geoff Emerick – From MusicRadar, 2014 interview
Geoff Emerick would work again with The Beatles on April 14, 1969 for the recording of “The Ballad Of John And Yoko” and on the “Abbey Road” album. He was replaced by Ken Scott for the rest of the White Album sessions. Ken Scott had a less harsh recollection of those days than Emerick:
Over the years there has been so much written about the animosity that supposedly pervaded the studio. It’s all been blown way out of proportion. Of course, there was some strife, but there always is during any project, and what The Beatles experienced during the making of the ‘White Album’ just wasn’t that different from what I’ve experienced on most projects at some time or another.Ken Scott
The Beatles would continue working on “Cry Baby Cry” two days after, on July 18.
Last updated on December 30, 2021
Recording • Take 1
Album Officially released on Anthology 3
Recording • Take 2
Recording • Take 3
Recording • Take 4
Recording • Take 5
Recording • Take 6
Recording • Take 7
Recording • Take 8
Recording • Take 9
Recording • Take 10
Tape copying • Tape reduction take 10 into take 11
Tape copying • Tape reduction take 10 into take 12
Recording • SI onto take 12
Musicians on "Cry Baby Cry"
- Paul McCartney:
- Piano ?, Bass
- Ringo Starr:
- John Lennon:
- Acoustic guitar, Lead vocal, Piano ?
- George Martin:
- George Martin:
- Geoff Emerick:
- Richard Lush:
- Second Engineer
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 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.
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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