Recording "Oh! Darling", "Come Together"

Tuesday, July 22, 1969 • For The Beatles

Part of


"Abbey Road" sessions

Feb 22 - Aug 25, 1969 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Abbey Road

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Abbey Road LP.
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Master release


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About

As he did on July 17 and July 18, Paul McCartney arrived early at EMI Studios to re-record the lead vocals of “Oh! Darling“. Not satisfied, he would try again on July 23.

Perhaps my main memory of the Abbey Road sessions is of Paul coming into studio three at two o’clock or 2.30 each afternoon, on his own, to do the vocal on Oh! Darling. […] Paul came in several days running to do the lead vocal on Oh! Darling. He’d come in, sing it and say ‘No, that’s not it, I’ll try it again tomorrow’. He only tried it once per day, I suppose he wanted to capture a certain rawness which could only be done once before the voice changed. […]

Alan Parsons, engineer​ – From “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn

The previous day, The Beatles had recorded the basic track of John Lennon’s “Come Together“. On this day, from 2:30 pm to 9:30 pm, they added the first series of overdubs.

John re-recorded his lead vocals and handclaps onto track four, with tape delay being added.

Electric piano was added to track five, as well as a rhythm guitar (played by George Harrison). According to engineer Geoff Emerick, John played the piano part, while Kevin Howlett, in the “Abbey Road” Super Deluxe edition book (2019), states it was Paul McCartney.

Initially, Paul played the electric piano part, but John kind of looked over his shoulder and studied what he was playing. When it came time to record it, John played the electric piano instead of Paul. Paul might have been miffed, but I think he was more upset about not singing on the choruses – John did his own backing vocals.

Geoff Emerick – From “Music Radar” interview

I could see that John was treating Paul in an offhand manner, despite the fact that Paul came up with the electric piano lick and swooping bass line that pretty well define “Come Together.” John even made a point of playing the piano line, once he’d looked over Paul’s shoulder and learned the part. That would have never happened in the old days: both men knew that Paul was the better piano player, and he normally would be
manning the keyboards even if they were recording a Lennon song.

John not only sang the lead, but also did all the backing vocals on “Come Together” by himself. He didn’t ask either Paul or George to join in, and neither of them volunteered. Harrison didn’t seem to care one way or the other, but I could see that it was getting to Paul. Finally, in some frustration, he blurted out, “What do you want me to do on this track, John?” John’s reply was a diffident “Don’t worry, I’ll do the overdubs on this.” Paul looked a bit hurt, then angry. For a moment I thought there was going to be an explosion. Instead, he contained himself, shrugged his shoulders, and simply walked out of the studio—one of the few times he ever left a session early. Paul had to have felt humiliated, but rather than having a fight or an argument about it, he chose to just get up and leave, without any dramatics. The next day, he returned, and nothing further was ever said about it.

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

Some additional guitar, played by John, and a maraca, played by Ringo Starr, were added onto track six.

Work on “Come Together” would continue on the following day.

Last updated on December 26, 2021

Songs recorded


1.

Oh! Darling

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 26


2.

Come Together

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 9

Staff

Musicians on "Come Together"

Paul McCartney:
Electric piano ?
Ringo Starr:
Maraca
John Lennon:
Handclaps, Electric piano ?, Lead vocal, Guitar
George Harrison:
Rhythm guitar

Musicians on "Oh! Darling"

Paul McCartney:
Lead vocals

Production staff

George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Phil McDonald:
Engineer
John Kurlander:
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


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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