Recording "Good Morning Good Morning", "Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!", "With A Little Help From My Friends"

Wednesday, March 29, 1967 • For The Beatles

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

Songs recorded


1.

Good Morning Good Morning

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Unnumbered take


2.

Good Morning Good Morning

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI of unnumbered take onto take 11


3.

Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 9




6.

With A Little Help From My Friends

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 3


7.

With A Little Help From My Friends

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 4


8.

With A Little Help From My Friends

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 5


9.

With A Little Help From My Friends

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 6


10.

With A Little Help From My Friends

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 7


11.

With A Little Help From My Friends

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 8


12.

With A Little Help From My Friends

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 9


13.

With A Little Help From My Friends

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 10


14.

With A Little Help From My Friends

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 10 into take 11


15.

With A Little Help From My Friends

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 11

Staff

Musicians on "With A Little Help From My Friends"

Paul McCartney:
Piano, Backing vocals
Ringo Starr:
Lead vocals, Drums
John Lennon:
Cowbell, Backing vocals
George Harrison:
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
George Martin:
Organ

Musicians on "Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!"

George Martin:
Lowrey organ

Production staff

George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Richard Lush:
Second Engineer

Visitors

About

During this session, some sound effects were added to “Good Morning Good Morning” and “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!” Additionally, The Beatles began working on “With A Little Help From My Friends“, which was the latest song from “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” to be recorded.

Several visitors were present in the studio that day, including Cynthia Lennon, The Beatles’ press officer Tony Barrow, Terry Doran (Brian Epstein’s friend from Liverpool), Judith Sims from Teen Set magazine, Johnny Dean (the pseudonym of The Beatles Monthly Book editor Sean O’Mahony), and Leslie Bryce, who was the photographer for The Beatles Monthly Book.


The Beatles arrived late to the recording session. According to Geoff Emerick, they had spent the afternoon preparing for the photo shoot of the “Sgt. Pepper” album cover, which was scheduled for the next day. However, Hunter Davies remembers differently and explained that Paul and John had actually written the lyrics of “With A Little Help From My Friends” before coming to the studio.

As a result, the engineering team had to work on the first tasks of the day alone, which involved adding sound effects to “Good Morning Good Morning” and “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!

There was an unusually late start for that night’s session because the Beatles had spent the afternoon and early evening overseeing preparations for the upcoming album cover photo shoot. While we waited for them to arrive, George Martin, Richard, and I filled the time by dubbing on the sound effects tapes that had been previously compiled for “Good Morning, Good Morning” and “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite.”

Despite the late hour, all four Beatles were wide awake, excited by the events of the day; I remember them animatedly discussing the set that Peter Blake had built for them and talking about how much they loved their satin Pepper costumes.

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

Work on ‘Bad Finger Boogie’, its original, working title, began on 29 March. The boys had booked the studio for 7 p.m., as usual, but on this occasion they arrived really late. They had been off doing the photograph for the Pepper album cover, at Chelsea Manor studios in Flood Street. They turned up at about 11 p.m.

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

It was getting near seven o’clock, almost time to go round the corner to the EMI recording studios. They decided to ring Ringo, to tell him his song was finished – which it wasn’t – and that they would record it that evening. John picked up the phone.

From “The Beatles: The Authorised Biography” by Hunter Davies, 1968

On February 8, 1967, The Beatles recorded the rhythm track of John Lennon’s song “Good Morning Good Morning” and added overdubs on February 16March 13 and March 28. John came up with the idea of using sound animals to close the song. Those were carefully selected so that each animal sound could chase or frighten the next animal in line. Those sound animals were taken from the EMI sound library and partly assembled on March 28.

On this day, they perfected the sound collage before overdubbing it onto Take 11 and thus completing the recording of this track.

Good Morning Good Morning” was mixed in mono and stereo on April 6, 1967.


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 February 20, they created sound effects to evoke the vivid imagery of a bustling fairground or a whimsical circus. More than a month later, on March 28, they added various overdubs onto Take 9.

On this day, the sound effects were overdubbed onto both the waltz instrumental section and the close of the song, using some frequency control adjustments. George Martin also added an extra organ part.

Work on “Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!” continued on March 31, 1967.


With The Beatles finally in the studio, work started on “With A Little Help From My Friends,” a song intended for Ringo Starr to sing. Its working title was “Bad Finger Boogie.

The band recorded ten takes of the rhythm track, with Paul McCartney playing the piano (recorded on track one), John Lennon on cowbell (track three), George Harrison on electric guitar (track two), and Ringo on drums (track three). George Martin also contributed a Hammond organ piece during the first three measures (recorded on track four), serving as the link between the tracks “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “With A Little Help From My Friends,” and featuring the opening line “Biiiiilllly Shears!

Take 1 and Take 2 were included in the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” box set released in 2017. Take 1 was a false start which, with the tape still rolling, moved directly into Take 2, which was complete.

Take 10 was chosen as the best recording and was subjected to a reduction mix (named Take 11) to reduce the four tracks into a single one. Ringo then recorded his lead vocals, while John, Paul and George sang backing vocals. Both lead and backing vocals were double-tracked and filled track three and four.

Work on “With A Little Help From My Friends” continued the following day.


I played the smidgin of Hammond organ that underscores the ‘Billy Shears’ introduction just before the song proper begins. Paul played piano, George lead guitar and Ringo drums. Nothing unusual in that. For this track, though, John was relegated to cow-bell.

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

After hurriedly consumed cups of tea, we finally got to work. The backing track for the new song — initially called “Bad Finger Boogie” for some reason — had a real spark to it, and an inspired Ringo was really smacking his tom-toms, so I decided to take the bottom skins off again — something I hadn’t done since “A Day In The Life.” Ten takes were required to get a “keeper”; it was nearly dawn by that time. Richard and I watched an exhausted Ringo begin to trudge up the stairs. That was our signal, as usual, that the session was over, and we began to relax. He was at the halfway point when we heard Paul’s voice call out.

“Where are you going, Ring?” he said.

Ringo looked surprised. “Home, to bed.”

“Nah, let’s do the vocal now.”

Ringo looked to the others for support. “But I’m knackered,” he protested. To his dismay, both John and George Harrison were taking Paul’s side.

“No, come on back here and do some singing for us,” John said with a grin.

It was always a group decision as to when a session would end, and obviously Ringo had jumped the gun a bit. Reluctantly, he headed back down the steps. […]

Fortunately for all of us, Ringo got his lead vocal done relatively quickly: perhaps the shock tactic of having him sing when he was least expecting it took the nervousness away, or perhaps it was just how supportive everyone was being. All three of his compatriots gathered around him, inches behind the microphone, silently conducting and cheering him on as he gamely tackled his vocal duties. It was a touching show of unity among the four Beatles.

The only problem was the song’s last high note, which Ringo had a bit of trouble hitting spot-on. For a while he lobbied to have the tape slowed down just for that one drop-in, and we tried it, but even though it allowed him to sing on pitch, it didn’t match tonally to the rest of the vocal — he sounded a bit silly, almost like one of the Goons. “No, Ring, you’ve got to do it properly,” Paul finally concluded. […]

It took a few tries, but Ringo finally hit the note — and held it — without too much wavering. Amid the cheers of his bandmates and a Scotch-and-Coke toast, the session finally ended.

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

Every time I think of [With A Little Help From My Friends] I think of Ringo standing there in number two on the microphone with John and Paul standing next to him conducting him and egging him on and thumbs up and ‘c’mon’. This was about six in the morning he was told to do that vocal and we dropped the ending, the last ‘friends’ on the track, probably about 15 times. The last note was the problem mainly because it was high. It was a long note, one pitch, it’s quite hard to do, you know, unless you’re Pavarotti or something.

Richard Lush – Engineer – From ABC News, May 25, 2017:

This picture was taken from the stairs leading up to the control room. In the background are Johnny Dean (the pseudonym of The Beatles Book editor Sean O’Mahony), Judith Sims of Teen Set magazine, Terry Doran and Cynthia Lennon. From Facebook – 29 March 1967 Photo by Leslie Bryce © Beatles Book Photo Library (https://www.beatlesbookphotolibrary.com/)
From Recording of With A Little Help From My Friends – The Beatles History (beatles-chronology.ru)
From Facebook – 29 March 1967 Photo by Leslie Bryce © Beatles Book Photo Library (https://www.beatlesbookphotolibrary.com/)
From Recording of With A Little Help From My Friends – The Beatles History (beatles-chronology.ru)
From Facebook – 29 March 1967 Photo by Leslie Bryce © Beatles Book Photo Library (https://www.beatlesbookphotolibrary.com/)
From Recording of With A Little Help From My Friends – The Beatles History (beatles-chronology.ru)
From Recording of With A Little Help From My Friends – The Beatles History (beatles-chronology.ru)
From Recording of With A Little Help From My Friends – The Beatles History (beatles-chronology.ru)
Paul McCartney with Judith Sims from Teen Set magazine – From Recording of With A Little Help From My Friends – The Beatles History (beatles-chronology.ru)

Last updated on January 21, 2024

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