Recording "Lovely Rita"

Friday, February 24, 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.
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

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On the day before, The Beatles recorded the basic track of “Lovely Rita“. On this day’s session, which lasted from 7 pm to 1:15 am, Paul McCartney added his lead vocals to the song. Take 9 was used to record his vocals onto tracks three and four.

As the four tracks of the tape were full, two reduction mixes, named Take 10 and Take 11, were made using frequency control and created at a slightly slower-than-normal speed. Paul’s two vocal tracks were merged onto track three using ADT (artificial double tracking), his bass remained on track two, and the other instruments remained on track one. Take 11 was considered the best, and received additional overdubs in subsequent sessions.

Some sources (like “That Magic Feeling: The Beatles’ Recorded Legacy, Volume Two, 1966-1970” by John C. Winn) indicate that, during this session, The Beatles were visited by a few notable musicians including Tony Hicks of the Hollies, David Crosby of the Byrds, Shawn Phillips, and the brother of Ravi Shankar, George Harrison’s sitar teacher. The April 1967 edition of Beat Instrumental published a report on the session stating “This particular session was concerned with completing the vocal by Paul, John and George over a backing track.” Additionally, in various interviews, Shawn Phillips claimed that he contributed to the backing vocals of “Lovely Rita“. On March 7, the work on “Lovely Rita” continued with the recording of the backing vocals; these visitors were likely present at this session, instead of the February 24 session. This is however slightly at odds with Geoff Emerick’s recollection that “There were a few visitors to the studio [on March 7], including Davy Jones of the Monkees.”

Even though we had worked so long and so late, we were back in the studio the next evening at seven. Now we set to on Paul’s vocals, with the tape-machine running at forty-six-and-a-half cycles, so that his voice sounded faster and higher in pitch on replay at the normal speed. At this stage the song had a much longer piano introduction, which we cut down later. Although we did nothing other than work on the vocals that night, we still ended up working until 1.15 in the morning.

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

From Meet the Beatles for Real: Catching Paul outside of the Pepper sessions – February 26, 1967 

Last updated on February 10, 2024

Songs recorded


Lovely Rita

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 9


Lovely Rita

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 9 into take 10


Lovely Rita

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 9 into take 11


Musicians on "Lovely Rita"

Paul McCartney:
Lead vocals

Production staff

George Martin:
Geoff Emerick:
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!

Shop on Amazon

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.

Shop on Amazon

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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