Recording "I Will", "Glass Onion"

Monday, September 16, 1968 • For The Beatles

Part of


"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.
Timeline More from year 1968
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Master album


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About

Having spent the three past days recording “Glass Onion“, The Beatles moved on and started working on the next track, Paul McCartney’s ballad “I Will“. George Harrison didn’t take part in this recording and may not have been present at the session. As George Martin was on holiday for most of September 1968, Chris Thomas produced this session.

The three Beatles recorded 67 takes of the basic track, with Paul on vocals and acoustic guitar and Ringo Starr and John Lennon on percussions.

Without hearing the tapes, that high number might lead to a conclusion that recording Paul’s song was a laborious and frustrating process. Far from it. The audio on the tapes reveals this session to be extremely good-natured with many humorous moments, as on take 29, and several excursions into other songs, just for fun. As usual, the logged total of takes includes many false starts and breakdowns. […]

Ringo and John provide percussion. Ringo tapes out a rhythm with rim shots on a snare drum and uses cymbals, kick drum and tom toms sparingly. John alternates between shaking maracas and beating time on a kind of wood block called a skull. […]

From “The Beatles” Super Deluxe edition book (2018)

Take 1 was released on “Anthology 3” in 1996:

From the same session as the Step Inside Love and Los Paranoias jams, this is Take 1 of I Will, in which Paul sang and played acoustic guitar while John and Ringo added a percussive accompaniment. Paul would have realised quite early on – if not beforehand, indeed – that this performance would not be the master (which turned out to be Take 67) but as a first run-through it captures all the essential ingredients.

From the “Anthology 3” liner notes

Take 12 (a false-start which ended in laughter), Take 13 and Take 29 were released on The White Album’s 50th anniversary re-release in 2018. In take 29, Paul, as an ad-lib, sings “won’t” in place of “will” during the first verse before John Lennon replies, “Yes you will”. Paul chuckles after this ad-lib and then the song ends at this point.

The session turned into a jam on a few occasions. Take 19 was not “I Will“, but was identified as “Jam – Unidentified” on the tape box. It lasted two minutes and twenty-one seconds. Later referred to as “Can you take me back”, a 28-second segment of this ended up on side four of The Beatles, at the end of “Cry Baby Cry“.

Before take 28, Paul sang the oldie “Blue Moon“. Just after take 35, when reels were being changed, the Beatles played “Step Inside Love” – written by Paul in 1967 for Cilla Black. A Latin-inspired jam was named “Los Paranoias“. All those ad-lib songs were released on either “Anthology 3” in 1996, or on The White Album’s 50th anniversary re-release in 2018.

During a light-hearted recording session for I Will, Paul frequently slipped into “jamming” mode, sometimes at the behest of John and Ringo who were sitting close at hand providing the percussion that augmented his acoustic guitar track. On of the off-the-cuff pieces was Step Inside Love – written by Paul in 1967 expressly for Cilla Black to sing as the theme tune for her first TV series, Cilla, that began on the BBC on 30 January 1968. The Beatles never recorded a formal studio recording of the song, and this version, performed by the composer many months after Cilla’s recording, was simply an ad-lib re-acquaintance with the piece. Then, prompted by one of John’s comments, and preserving the frivolity of the moment, Paul led the other Beatles into a jam, Los Paranoias.

From Anthology 3 liner notes

Take 36 was another jam, named “The Way You Look Tonight“. Another short jam from this session was issued under the name “Down In Havana“.

Out of the 67 takes, take 65 was considered to be the best. The recording was then transferred to an eight-track tape and numbered take 68.

The work on “I Will” would continue the day after.


At the end of the session, they briefly returned to “Glass Onion” and added an overdub in the form of a brief phrase on recorders played by Paul McCartney and producer Chris Thomas. The final overdubs for “Glass Onion” would be recorded on October 10.

Last updated on September 24, 2021

Songs recorded


1.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 1

Album Officially released on Anthology 3


2.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 2


3.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 3


4.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 4


5.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 5


6.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 6


7.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 7


8.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 8


9.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 9


10.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 10


11.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 11


12.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 12. False start.

Album Officially released on The Beatles (50th anniversary boxset)


13.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 13

Album Officially released on The Beatles (50th anniversary boxset)


14.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 14


15.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 15


16.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 16


17.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 17


18.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 18


19.

Can You Take Me Back

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 1. Labelled as "I Will - Take 19"

Album Officially released on The Beatles (50th anniversary boxset)


20.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 20


21.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 21


22.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 22


23.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 23


24.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 24


25.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 25


26.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 26


27.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 27


28.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 28


29.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 29

Album Officially released on The Beatles (50th anniversary boxset)


30.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 30


31.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 31


32.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 32


33.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 33


34.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 34


35.

Step Inside Love

Written by Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison

Recording • Labelled as "I Will - Take 35"

Album Officially released on Anthology 3


36.

The Way You Look Tonight

Written by Paul McCartney

Recording • Labelled as "I Will - Take 36"


37.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 37


38.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 38


39.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 39


40.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 40


41.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 41


42.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 42


43.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 43


44.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 44


45.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 45


46.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 46


47.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 47


48.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 48


49.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 49


50.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 50


51.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 51


52.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 52


53.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 53


54.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 54


55.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 55


56.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 56


57.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 57


58.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 58


59.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 59


60.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 60


61.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 61


62.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 62


63.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 63


64.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 64


65.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 65


66.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 66


67.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 67


68.

I Will

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape copying of take 65 into take 68


69.

Glass Onion

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 33


70.

Blue Moon

Written by Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart

Recording

Album Officially released on The Beatles (50th anniversary boxset)


71.

Down In Havana

Written by Paul McCartney

Recording

Staff

Musicians on Glass Onion

Paul McCartney:
Recorder
Chris Thomas:
Recorder

Production staff

Chris Thomas:
Producer
Ken Scott:
Engineer
Mike Sheady:
Second Engineer
Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitars, Lead vocal
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Skulls, Maracas

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 Bible

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.

Have a look at https://www.beatlesbible.com/1968/09/16/recording-i-will-glass-onion/

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