- Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Mono) LP.
- EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road
More from year 1966
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From RollingStone, May 26, 2017:
[…] To flesh out the arrangement [of “When I’m Sixty Four”], Paul asked producer George Martin to arrange a breezy clarinet part. Martin immediately got the musical reference. “‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ was not a send-up but a kind of nostalgic, if ever-so-slightly satirical tribute to his dad,” he explained in 1994. “It is also not really much of a Beatles song, in that the other Beatles didn’t have much to do on it. Paul got someway ’round the lurking schmaltz factor by suggesting we use clarinets on the recording, ‘in a classical way.’ So the main accompaniment is the two clarinets and a bass clarinet, which I scored for him. This classical treatment gave added bite to the song, a formality that pushed it firmly towards satire.
The song itself is perhaps the least complex on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, but it does contain one notable instance of studio slight-of-hand. “During the mix, Paul also asked to have the track sped up a great deal – almost a semitone – so that his voice would sound more youthful, like the teenager he was when he originally wrote the song,” writes Emerick. However, McCartney himself disputes this, maintaining it was done to make the track more buoyant. “I think that was just to make it more rooty-tooty; just lift the key because it was starting to sound a little turgid.”
The song was mixed down before the New Year, making it the first track on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to be completed – though it nearly didn’t make it onto the album. “When I’m Sixty-Four” was provisionally earmarked as a potential B side to either “Strawberry Fields Forever” or “Penny Lane,” which were being produced concurrently. But after a lengthy stretch of no new Beatles releases, and whispers in the press that the band’s bubble had finally burst, Brian Epstein wanted to make a splash with their next single. “Brian was desperate to recover popularity, and so we wanted to make sure that we had a marvelous seller,” explains Martin in the Anthology. “He came to me and said, ‘I must have a really great single. What have you got?’ I said, ‘Well, I’ve got three tracks – and two of them are the best tracks they’ve ever made. We could put the two together and make a smashing single.’ We did, and it was a smashing single – but it was also a dreadful mistake. […]
Last updated on September 16, 2022
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!
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.
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.