- 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 this day, The Beatles started recording “Glass Onion“. In this 7 pm to 3:30 am session, 34 takes of the basic track were recorded, with John Lennon on acoustic guitar and guide vocal, Paul McCartney on bass, George Harrison on electric guitar and Ringo Starr on drums.
Mostly John’s idea this one and he does the lead vocal with Paul joining him. John plays his acoustic Gibson and Ringo works with two drum kits instead of just one. Quite a nostalgic number this in that the lyrics include the titles of a few earlier Beatles Goodies like “Strawberry Fields”, “Lady Madonna” and “The Fool On The Hill”. What’s more John lets the cat out of the bag at last – we find out who The Walrus really is!Mal Evans – From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°64, November 1968
When Mal Evans wrote “Ringo works with two drum kits instead of just one”, he made reference to the new drum set, a Ludwig Hollywood kit, Ringo had just acquired.
I knew we weren’t going to play live anymore, and the others were getting different things to use in the studio, so I thought I would get a proper kit, real drums with real skin heads.Ringo Starr – from “Beatles Gear” by Andy Bakiuk
This new drum kit arrived in EMI Studios on this day, and a decision was made to set is up along with Ringo’s current black oyster pearl kit, creating a hybrid double-bass drum set for use on “Glass Onion“.
So we set them all up, and when I was to play the fill, the break came and I just froze, looking at all these drums!Ringo Starr – from “Beatles Gear” by Andy Bakiuk
Most takes recorded on this day lasted around 1 minute 50 seconds, with the exception of take 15 which turned into a 6 minutes long jam. In the end, the penultimate take – take 33 – was considered to be the best, and would be overdubbed on the next day.
Take 10 was released on the 2018 reissue of “The Beatles” album.
Listening to all those takes indicate the lyrics were not finalized as John tried out some word variations. For instance, “The fool on the hill” was either “standing,” “sitting” or “living” there still, and the “walrus” was either “nice,” “cool,” “keen” or “close” as can be. The third verse didn’t yet refer to the song “Fixing A Hole“, the lyric at this point consistently being “looking through a hole in the ocean” instead of “fixing a hole in the ocean” in the final version.
As George Martin was on holiday for most of September 1968, Chris Thomas produced this session.
Last updated on September 19, 2021
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 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.