Recording "It's All Too Much"

Wednesday, May 31, 1967 • For The Beatles

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Yellow Submarine (Mono) LP.
De Lane Lea Music Recording Studios, London, UK

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On May 25, 1967, The Beatles began recording “It’s All Too Much,” a song written by George Harrison, which would be used for the soundtrack of the “Yellow Submarine” animation film, at the independent De Lane Lea Studios.

On this day, the group returned to De Lane Lea Studios, to resume work on the track. As for the first session at De Lane Lea Studios, the studio’s in-house engineer Dave Siddle and tape operator Mike Weighell managed the session as George Martin was not present on this occasion.

The session started with two reduction mixes of Take 4, all instruments being merged on a single track. In an EMI Studios session, these mixes would have been designated as Takes 5 and 6 after the four backing track takes, but they were labelled Takes 1 and 2 for this session.

Take 2 was deemed the best and received overdubs. George provided double-tracked lead vocals, while John Lennon and Paul McCartney contributed double-tracked backing vocals and handclaps. Some unknown Beatles then added percussion with tambourine, maracas and cowbell.

The song was still eight minutes long at this point, with a lengthy instrumental section that permitted ad-libbed vocalizations by all. The Beatles chanted “too much” in various ways, which eventually gave way to “tuba, tuba” and then “Cuba, Cuba” before the song’s conclusion. During this time, George recited “with your long blonde hair and your eyes of blue” twice, a line from The Mersey’s hit song “Sorrow“.

Work on “It’s All Too Much” continued on June 2.

Wednesday, May 31, 1967 –  I went with my friend Paula to Cavendish.  She was very excited as she had never seen Paul or any of the others before.  We learned from the girls that Paul, Jane, John and Ringo left in John’s black Mini just before we arrived.  “Stick” (Mr. Kelly, Paul’s housekeeper) went out to walk Martha.  Anthony (John’s chauffeur) arrived driving Cyn’s caramel Porsche.  There was another man inside the car.  The police are chasing us all the time — it’s terrible.  Our feet hurt from walking around the block over and over again.  John and Paul arrived together in one car.  Ringo and Jane were not there.  The gates were closed very quickly and we had to rush to the other side of the road to try to see them going in the front door. Paul was wearing black trousers and his “joker” jacket (green and blue).  John had on red trousers and a short flowered jacket.  We went to EMI to see if they were recording tonight, and the answer is no.

When we went back to Cavendish the girls told us Jane and her mother had just arrived.  After a few minutes the gates were opened and we rushed to see who was coming out, but it was only Mrs. Asher.  We went to the corner of the street to see if all was “clear” (of cops, of course), and as we were returning we noticed the gates were open.  We rushed there.  The front door was open.  Paul came jumping down the steps and got into the car beside Terry Doran, who was driving.  John was already inside, in the back.  Terry had to get out of the car to close the gates, since Mr. Kelly was out.  The car windows are dark, and you can only see faint shadows through them.  We were trying to see them through the windows.  Paula rushed to Paul’s side and was lucky enough that he had left the little side window open.  He had the end of a cigarette in his left hand resting on his thigh.  Paula was in shock — it’s the first time she’s seen him so close.  One of the girls had the cheek to open Paul’s door — he grabbed the door and without looking at her said, “Come on…”  John did something really cute:  he knocked on the window so I knew where he was, and as I got closer to see him, he smiled through the dark glass.  He really melts my heart with these sweet little things he does.  The car finally left and I had to “assist” Paula, who was in the middle of the road, suffering from “total paralysis and amnesia”–a common thing for first-timers.  I know how she feels, for I can well remember the first time I saw John, only a few months ago.  We saw Jane upstairs in their bedroom, apparently making the bed.  Paula left for her hotel and I went home and slept really late.  

Lizzie Bravo – Beatles fan – From Meet the Beatles for Real: Sleepless Nights by Lizzie Bravo, from “With a Little Help From My Friends”, January 1985

Last updated on February 8, 2024

Songs recorded


It's All Too Much

Written by George Harrison

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 4 into take 1


It's All Too Much

Written by George Harrison

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 4 into take 2


It's All Too Much

Written by George Harrison

Recording • SI onto take 2


Musicians on "It's All Too Much"

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals, Handclaps
John Lennon:
Backing vocals, Handclaps
George Harrison:
Lead vocals
Maracas, Tambourine, Cowbell

Production staff

Dave Siddle:
Mike Weighell:
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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