Recording "Strawberry Fields Forever" #2

Monday, November 28, 1966 • 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 Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane 7" Single.
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

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On November 24, 1966, after five months spent away from the recording studios, The Beatles were back at EMI Studios, Abbey Road, to start recording their next single and album. They spent the day recording Take 1 of John Lennon’s new song, “Strawberry Fields Forever“.

On this day, November 28, from 7 pm to 1:30 am, they continued the work on “Strawberry Fields Forever“, recording three more takes (numbered takes 2 to 4), with John Lennon on guitar, Paul McCartney on mellotron, George Harrison on maracas and Ringo Starr on drums.

On those takes, the song was arranged slightly differently than on take 1 – whereas Take 1 had begun with the first verse, this time it started with a mellotron introduction followed by the chorus. The key was also changed from C to B flat.

A few days later, we reconvened at Abbey Road and work resumed on “Strawberry Fields Forever,” as the song had been titled. The big breakthrough that night was Paul’s coming up with the stunning Mellotron line that opens the song. Paul’s inspiration really set the stage. In many ways, it was a harbinger of things to come over the next several months — the perfect, unique introduction to a series of near-perfect, near-unique sessions.

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

Take 2 broke down around two and a half minutes. Take 3 was a false start. Take 4 was complete and received some overdubs. John added his lead vocals and some staccato guitar, George added some mellotron and Paul a bass line.

Take 4 was considered worthwhile at this stage and three rough mixes were then done to cut some acetates. It was released on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (50th anniversary boxset) in 2017.

Work on “Strawberry Fields Forever” would continue the following day, November 29, 1966.

Last updated on January 15, 2023

Songs recorded


Strawberry Fields Forever

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 2


Strawberry Fields Forever

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 3


Strawberry Fields Forever

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 4


Strawberry Fields Forever

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto Take 4

Album Officially released on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (50th anniversary boxset)


Strawberry Fields Forever

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 1 from take 4


Strawberry Fields Forever

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 2 from take 4


Strawberry Fields Forever

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 3 from take 4


Musicians on "Strawberry Fields Forever"

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Mellotron
Ringo Starr:
John Lennon:
Guitar, Lead vocals
George Harrison:
Maracas, Mellotron

Production staff

George Martin:
Geoff Emerick:
Phil McDonald:
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 2 - Help! through Revolver (1965-1966)

The second book of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC)-nominated series, "The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 2: Help! through Revolver (1965-1966)" follows the evolution of the band from the end of Beatlemania with "Help!" through the introspection of "Rubber Soul" up to the sonic revolution of "Revolver". 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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