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

Wednesday, February 1, 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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About

On this day, from 7 am to 2:30 am, The Beatles began recording “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” the title track of their album of the same name. During this session, there was a change in the engineering team. Second engineer Phil McDonald had been promoted and he was replaced by Richard Lush.

Richard’s first encounter with Paul was particularly memorable, though it occurred when both George Martin and I were out of the room. He was sitting by the tape machine, fiddling with one of the controls when Paul wandered in. “Hello, who are you?” he asked. “I don’t remember seeing you here before.”

Paul was asking the question in a good-natured way, but Richard detected an undertone of suspicion, too — Phil had already warned him that the Beatles did not like seeing unfamiliar faces at their sessions. Without anyone around to vouch for him, he nervously stammered a reply.

“Erm, my name is Richard… I’m a button-pusher here.”

Paul immediately strode across the room and got right in Richard’s face.

“Oh yeah?” he sneered, assuming a puglistic stance, both fists at the ready. “Wanna fight??”

Needless to say, this very nearly caused Richard to have an unfortunate accident — one that would have certainly become studio lore had he not quickly recovered and realized that Paul’s challenge to his manhood was really just a joke, just an example of Liverpudlian humor. All four Beatles were pranksters at heart. They enjoyed doing the unexpected, just to see what kind of reaction they could get out of the unwary.

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

The Beatles recorded nine takes of the basic track. Paul McCartney and George Harrison played electric guitar, while Ringo Starr played the drums. All those instruments were recorded on only one track of the four-track tape.

According to Geoff Emerick, John Lennon also played bass, but Jerry Hammack, author of “The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 3: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band through Magical Mystery Tour (late 1966-1967)“, questions this as there is no visual evidence that a bass for a right player was available in the studio. Regardless, if John did play bass, it was recorded on a separate track from the guitars and drums, so it could be replaced later by Paul’s bass work.

Out of the nine takes, only Take 1 and Take 9 were complete. Track one of Take 1 was released in the 2017 “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” box set.

For Take 9, Paul overdubbed his bass guitar onto track two. This was recorded by direct injection (DI) straight into the recording desk, bypassing the use of an amplifier. This was a new method that had not been used before in a Beatles session.

The Beatles continued working on “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Bandthe next day.


We started recording the title song on 1 February. Ironically for what was Britain’s first ‘concept album, it was two months or so after we had first started work on the album. We did nine takes of the rhythm track that night, including the rehearsals. When we listened back we reckoned number nine was the best we had completed.

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

‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ had quite a different feel to all the other laid-back songs we’d done so far – this one was a real rocker, more like the kind of cover songs the band did in their live set earlier in their career.

There was another surprise: Paul wanted to play rhythm guitar on the backing track instead of bass – the first time I’d known him to do that. He simply told John, ‘Let me do the rhythm on this; I know exactly what I want.’ John accepted Paul’s instruction without a word of protest and simply picked up a bass guitar. He didn’t have any feel for the instrument, though, so we decided to record him on a separate track, using a DI box instead of a bass amp – this way, his guide bass part could be replaced later by Paul, without any problem of bleed or leakage onto any of the microphones.

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

I think direct injection was probably used on Beatles sessions for the first time anywhere in the world. We built our own transformer boxes [called DIT boxes] and plugged the guitars straight into the equipment.

Ken Townsend – From “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn, 1988

Pepper became a theme, I would say, right at the beginning. We may have been a week into the album before we decided, ‘Let’s get into that.’ Paul wrote a song with Mal Evans called ‘Sgt Pepper’. I think Mal thought of the title. Big Mal, super roadie!

Ringo Starr- From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman, 2008

Last updated on December 27, 2023

Songs recorded



2.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 2


3.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 3


4.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 4


5.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 5


6.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 6


7.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 7


8.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 8


9.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 9

Staff

Musicians on "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"

Paul McCartney:
Electric guitar, Bass
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Bass ?
George Harrison:
Electric guitar

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!

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


https://beatles-chronology.ru/1967/02/01/zapis-pesni-sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band/

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