- Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Abbey Road LP.
- EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road
- EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road
- EMI Studios, Room 43, Abbey Road
More from year 1969
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On July 30, 1969, when The Beatles built the first assembly of the long medley for the “Abbey Road” album, one of the key challenges was how to properly segue “You Never Give Me Your Money” into the next medley track, “Sun King“. After several trials, the retained idea was to merge the songs on an organ note.
On this day, Paul McCartney arrived in the studio with a plastic bag of tape loops, ready to find a better solution to this challenge. He had prepared those monaural loops at his St John’s Wood home, using a Brenell tape machine.
On this day, 5 August 1969, Paul took a plastic bag containing a dozen loose strands of mono tape into (EMI Studios), where – together with the production staff – he spent the afternoon in the studio three control room transferring the best of these onto professional four-track tape. The effects – sounding like bells, birds, bubbles and crickets chirping – allowed for a perfect crossfade in the medley.From “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn, 1988
At first, a single held organ note was used for the crossfade. Later on, when it came time to sequence the finished mixes, Paul arrived with a plastic bag of tape loops (just as he had done when we worked on “Tomorrow Never Knows” years before) and we used several of them— including recordings of crickets and bells — instead.Geoff Emerick – From “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles“, 2006
Five takes of sound effects were made, between 2:30 pm and 6:30 pm. A first attempt at crossfading “You Never Give Me Your Money” into “Sun King” using those tape loops would be done on August 14. The released version would be made on August 21.
In November 1968, George Harrison acquired a Moog synthesizer, model IIIp. In early August, he had his Moog installed at EMI Studios, with the idea to use it for the “Abbey Road” sessions.
The Moog was set up in Room 43 and the sound was fed from there by a mono cable to whichever control room we were in. All four Beatles – but especially George – expressed great interest in it, trying out different things.John Kurlander, second engineer – From “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn
It was a lot of work to get anything out of it and you could only sound one note at a time, which was a disadvantage. Everybody was fascinated by it. We were all crowding around to have a look.Alan Parsons, engineer – From “Abbey Road” Super Deluxe edition book (2019)
I think The Beatles used the Moog with great subtlety. Others in a similar situation would probably have gone completely over the top with it. It’s there, on the record, but not obtrusively. Perhaps they weren’t sure it was going to catch on.Nick Webb
I first heard about the Moog synthesizer in America. I had to have mine made specially, because Mr Moog had only just invented it. It was enormous, with hundreds of jackplugs and two keyboards.
But it was one thing having one, and another trying to make it work. There wasn’t an instruction manual, and even if there had been it would probably have been a couple of thousand pages long. I don’t think even Mr Moog knew how to get music out of it; it was more of a technical thing. When you listen to the sounds on songs like ‘Here Comes The Sun’, it does do some good things, but they’re all very kind of infant sounds.George Harrison – From “The Beatles Anthology” book, 2000
I also worked with the Beatles on the ‘Abbey Road’ album. My role on that occasion was to program a Moog synthesizer. I had one myself by now – one of the first in the UK – but the one we used belonged to George Harrison. A very small room tucked in at the side of studio 3 became the centre of activity, rapidly filling up with assorted Beatles, and Geoff and George, and myself. A number of the songs received electronic additions from the Moog, and the session went very smoothly, with me setting up hopefully suitable sounds, and making small adjustments while the appropriate Beatle played the keyboard, until everyone was happy.
‘I think you should charge £30’, said George Martin, when he phoned to ask me to do this session. Of course a pound back then would be worth a million pounds now, so I had £30,000,000 to spend, in effect, for an afternoon’s work. Not bad.
Still, who wants money, when all you need is love.Mike Vickers – From “A Week in the Life: working with the Beatles on ‘All You Need Is Love’“, 2019
On this day, in a session starting at 6:30 pm, “Because” was the first song to receive Moog overdubs:
George Harrison filled both tracks two and four with Moog synthesizer overdubs on the session that occurred the following day, August 5th, 1969 in EMI Studio Two. John’s guitar from the rhythm track was first bounced from track two to track five, while Ringo’s hand claps on track four was recorded over, these not being necessary for the finished recording. At a session that began at 6:30 pm on that day, George played the synthesizer that was set up in Room 43, this performance being fed into Studio Two, overdubbing a melody line that mimicked the vocal line of the song and then following suit once again, thus filling all eight-tracks of the eight-track tape.From beatlesebooks.com
At the end of this session, the recording of “Because” was completed and the track would be mixed on August 12, 1969.
At around 9 pm, The Beatles added the final overdubs of the day to “The End” (still under the working title of “Ending“). Paul added some double-tracked lead vocals in the opening section of the song (“Oh yeah, all right…“). He then recorded the line “And In The End The Love You Take Is Equal To The Love You Make” in the final section of the track, and then double-tracked it and added some harmony vocals.
Last updated on April 4, 2023
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!
Acclaimed Beatles historian Kenneth Womack offers the most definitive account yet of the writing, recording, mixing, and reception of Abbey Road. In February 1969, the Beatles began working on what became their final album together. Abbey Road introduced a number of new techniques and technologies to the Beatles' sound, and included "Come Together," "Something," and "Here Comes the Sun," which all emerged as classics.
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.