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

Tuesday, March 28, 1967 • For The Beatles

Part of


Recording "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"

Nov 24, 1966 - Apr 20, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)

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

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On this day, from 7 pm to 4:45 am, The Beatles continued working on two tracks from the upcoming “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album, “Good Morning Good Morning” and “Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!


On February 8, 1967, The Beatles recorded the rhythm track of John Lennon’s song “Good Morning Good Morning” and added overdubs on February 16 and on March 13

On this day, John double-tracked his lead vocals recorded on February 16 on some parts of the song. Those new vocals were added onto track three of Take 10. A reduction mix named Take 11 was then made to combine the two vocal tracks and freed up track three for further overdubs.

Paul McCartney then added a guitar solo and sang backing vocals along with John.

Paul overdubbed a lead guitar part on the song, which didn’t do anything to improve George Harrison’s mood. It seemed to me as if George was aggrieved a lot of the time… with good reason: Paul was playing a lot of his leads, and he had precious little to do. In addition, the one song he’d brought to the album [“Only A Northern Song”] had been rejected. As we got into our fourth and fifth month of recording, the preparatory meetings at Paul’s house started to tail off, so the four Beatles began arriving at Abbey Road separately. Paul was almost always the first to come in, since he lived nearby, and George Harrison was often the last, so if Paul got an idea for a guitar part and Harrison wasn’t around, he’d sometimes say, “Well, let’s get on with it—I’ll just play the part myself.”

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

John came up with the idea of using sound animals to close the song. Those were carefully selected in a way that each animal sound was capable of chasing or frightening the next animal in line. They included a cock crowing, a cat mewing, dogs barking, horses neighing, sheep bleating, tigers roaring, an elephant trumpeting, a fox being chased by a hunt – with some sheep and cows added – and a hen clucking.

Those sound animals were taken from the EMI sound library, curated by Stuart Eltham. “Volume 57: Fox-hunt” was used for the chase, and all other sounds were taken from the “Volume 35: Animals and Bees” collection. They were partly assembled on this day, and more work was done the following day, March 29.

John said to me during one of the breaks that he wanted to have the sound of animals escaping and that each successive animal should be capable of frightening or devouring its predecessor! So those are not just random effects, there was actually a lot of thought put into all that.

Geoff Emerick – From “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn, 1988

To follow the sound of the ‘Kellogg’s’ cockerel at the end of ‘Good Morning’, John had the idea of putting animal noises on it, and of putting these sounds in sequence. The idea was that we always had an animal that could swallow up the animal that came immediately before it. It was a bit like the old Burl Ives hit, which John would have known as a boy, “The Spider And The Fly’. We used ‘Volume 35: Animals and Bees’ from EMTs sound effects library for our noises.

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

It was the middle of the night by the time he finished, and I thought we were about to knock things on the head, but instead he came up to the control room and initiated a long conversation with me. Apparently he had been fretting about how to end the song — a simple fadeout was too “normal” for him, so he had come up with a concept. The idea was that as the music was fading away, the sounds of various animals would be heard, with each successive animal capable of chasing or frightening the next animal in line. John had actually thought this through to the extent that he’d written down a list of the animals he wanted on there, in order. I loved the idea, and despite the late hour Richard was sent off to the EMI sound effects library to fetch the appropriate tapes. We sat up with John until nearly dawn dubbing them on, George Martin and the others having long gone home. True, the premise kind of breaks down at the end —there’s a sheep chasing a horse and a cow chasing a hen — but it’s all in good fun.

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

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 a sound collage to evoke the vivid imagery of a bustling fairground or a whimsical circus. Then, they shifted their focus to other songs, allowing more than a month to elapse before revisiting the track.

At this late hour, they returned to “Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!” and enriched Take 9. The vacant third track of the four-track tape received all the overdubs of that night. George Harrison, Neil Aspinall, Mal Evans, and, according to certain sources, Ringo Starr played harmonicas.

During the waltz in the middle, John Lennon and George Martin played some organs, Paul McCartney added some electric guitar and Ringo Starr some tambourine. These instruments were recorded with the tape machine operating at half speed, a deliberate choice that, upon playback, transformed their sounds, making them resonate higher and faster, further enriching the track’s whimsical qualities.

“We always loved ‘The Morton Fraser Harmonica Gang’ when we were kids”. It was a little TV thing… but it was those giant big bass (harmonicas), and John used to play harmonica, so we always liked that. But, when I heard them on ‘Pet Sounds’ – there’s a lot of bass harmonica, [Brian Wilson] uses that. It’s the instruments he uses and the way he places them against each other. It’s very cleverly done. It’s a really clever album. So we were inspired by it, you know, and nicked a few ideas.”

Paul McCartney – From “The Making Of Sgt. Pepper” documentary, 1992

When we came to the middle section of the song, where ‘Henry the Horse dances the waltz’, we obviously had to go into waltz-time, and John said he wanted the music to ‘swirl up and around,’ to give it a circus atmosphere. As usual, having written a great song, he said to me, ‘Do what you can with it,’ and walked away, leaving me to it.

In order to get a hurdy-gurdy effect, I got Mal Evans, the roadie, to play his enormous bass harmonica, John and I did our thing on two electric organs, a Wurlitzer and a Hammond. John was to play the basic tune, and around it I was to play the swirly noises – chromatic runs based on it. Unfortunately, my digital capacities on an organ fall short of spectacular, and I found that I couldn’t achieve the speed I wanted for these runs. So I told John: ‘What we’ll do is to slow the whole thing down by a half. You play the tune twice as slow and an octave down, and I’ll do my runs as fast as I can, but an octave down as well. Then, when we double the tape speed, it’ll come out all nice and smooth and very swirly.’

George Martin – From “All You Need Is Ears“, 1979

Work on “Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!” continued on March 29, 1967.


Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!

Recording started February 17. Solo Vocal by JOHN. John’s lyrics for this one are based on the wording he found on an old poster advertising a special benefit performance of a travelling show. The guitar solo is by PAUL and to give a sort of fairground effect there’s a quartet of harmonicas played by RINGO, GEORGE and yours truly (NEIL & MAL). John wanted to use the authentic sound of an old steam organ but there isn’t one anywhere in the world which can be played by hand — all existing models work on punched cards like a pianola works from a long roll which has holes punched in it. Instead George Martin played Hammond Organ and built up an electronic tape to give the effect John had described — using various organ recordings speeded up. slowed down, electronically distorted, played backwards and dipped in a bottle of coke. Or something. Anyway it worked.

From The Beatles Monthly Book, June 1967
From The Beatles Monthly Book, June 1967

Last updated on January 21, 2024

Songs recorded


1.

Good Morning Good Morning

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 10


2.

Good Morning Good Morning

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 10 into take 11


3.

Good Morning Good Morning

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 11


4.

Good Morning Good Morning

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Unnumbered take


5.

Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 9

Staff

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

Paul McCartney:
Electric guitar
Ringo Starr:
Tambourine, Bass harmonica ?
John Lennon:
Organ
George Harrison:
Bass harmonica
George Martin:
Lowrey organ
Mal Evans:
Bass harmonica
Neil Aspinall:
Bass harmonica

Musicians on "Good Morning Good Morning"

Paul McCartney:
Lead guitar, Backing vocals
John Lennon:
Backing vocals, Lead vocals

Production staff

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

Going further


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!

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The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 3: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band through Magical Mystery Tour (late 1966-1967)

The third book of this critically - acclaimed series, nominated for the 2019 Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) award for Excellence In Historical Recorded Sound, "The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 3: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band through Magical Mystery Tour (late 1966-1967)" captures the band's most innovative era in its entirety. 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.

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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.

Read more on The Beatles Bible

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