Recording "Don't Pass Me By"

Wednesday, June 5, 1968 • For The Beatles

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the The Beatles (Mono) LP.
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Songs recorded


1.

Don't Pass Me By

Written by Ringo Starr

Recording • Take 1


2.

Don't Pass Me By

Written by Ringo Starr

Recording • Take 2


3.

Don't Pass Me By

Written by Ringo Starr

Recording • Take 3

Album Officially released on Anthology 3


4.

Don't Pass Me By

Written by Ringo Starr

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 3 into take 4


5.

Don't Pass Me By

Written by Ringo Starr

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 3 into take 5


6.

Don't Pass Me By

Written by Ringo Starr

Recording • SI onto take 5


7.

Don't Pass Me By

Written by Ringo Starr

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 5 into take 6

Staff

Musicians on "Don't Pass Me By"

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Drums
Ringo Starr:
Sleigh bell, Lead vocal, Piano

Production staff

George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Phil McDonald:
Second Engineer

About

After three days spent on “Revolution 1“, The Beatles moved on and decided to record the second track of the new album, and the first song written by Ringo Starr, “Don’t Pass Me By“. This song was recorded by only two Beatles – Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney – even if John Lennon was also in the studio on this day.

The ‘White Album’ sessions were full of surprises for me. Usually, a Beatles album project would begin with the recording of one of John’s songs, and this was no exception. But the second song was always one of Paul’s – after all, they were the main songwriters in the band. Ringo would be allocated one song per album, and it was usually done almost as an afterthought, near the end…But this time around, they decided to do Ringo’s song right away…and, even more surprisingly, it was actually a song he’d written.

No explanation was given, and George Martin and I were flabbergasted. The only thing we could come up with was that, behind the scenes, the others must have known that Ringo was getting a bit fed up, and they were trying to keep him happy. That seemed like the only possible reason why time and energy was being expended on a Ringo song so early on…After all, the ‘Pepper’ sessions had begun with ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘Penny Lane’ – a stark contrast… Obviously, tensions and intrigue were already in play, right at the beginning of these sessions.

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

Don’t Pass Me By” was long in the making. The earliest public mention of the track seems to have been in a BBC chatter session introducing “And I Love Her” on the radio show Top Gear in 1964. In the conversation, Starr was asked if he had written a song and Paul McCartney mocked him soon afterwards, singing the first line of the refrain, “Don’t pass me by, don’t make me cry, don’t make me blue, baby.” Still, when recording it in June 1968, it was labelled as “Ringo’s Tune (Untitled)” during this June 5 session, then “This Is Some Friendlyon June 6, before getting its final title.

Three takes of the backing track were recorded on this day, with Ringo Starr on piano and Paul McCartney on drums. At the end of the third take, Paul McCartney said “I think that’s got it!” and Ringo Starr shouted to George Martin in the control room, “I think we’ve got something there, George!

Overdubs were then added – a lead vocal by Ringo, a sleigh bell, two separate bass parts. Through the process, several reduction mixes were made. The later one – named take 6 – was discarded, and work continued on “Don’t Pass Me Byon the following day, with more overdubs added to take 5.

Last updated on September 19, 2021

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