- Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Magical Mystery Tour (US LP - Mono) LP.
- EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road
More from year 1967
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On August 22 and 23, 1967, The Beatles recorded a version of “Your Mother Should Know” at Chappell Recording Studios, as Abbey Road’s EMI Studios were fully booked. Subsequently, they travelled to Bangor in North Wales for a week-long Transcendental Meditation training session with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. However, two days into the retreat, they were informed of the death of their manager, Brian Epstein.
Despite the tragic news, The Beatles decided to proceed with the production of their “Magical Mystery Tour” TV special. On this day, they worked on a remake of “Your Mother Should Know” at Abbey Road. This session marked the first time Ken Scott worked as a balance engineer for The Beatles. He had previously been a tape operator on some of their prior sessions. The group’s former engineer, Geoff Emerick, had opted to step aside by this time. Later, Ken Scott became a renowned producer for acts such as David Bowie.
For the very first session that I ever did as an engineer, which happened to be “Your Mother Should Know,” I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I’d never sat behind the board and pushed up a fader before. Because we had a relationship going, they allowed me to learn and gave me the time just to figure out what I was doing without giving me a hard time or having me kicked off, which was quite amazing. That within itself was, I guess, one of the biggest compliments they could pay me – to allow me to learn what I was doing.Ken Scott – From Beatles’ recording engineer Ken Scott reveals behind the scenes details on working with The Fab Four | Daytrippin’ Beatles Magazine, July 2012
My first session as a second engineer for the Beatles had been scary, but my first session as an engineer with them was absolutely terrifying. Up until then, not allowed to touch mics or anything, I’d learned recording techniques by mostly sitting and watching. There were three pop engineers at Abbey Road during the time I was assisting — Norman Smith, Malcolm Addey and Peter Bown — and then the great thing was I got to see how three incredible classical engineers worked as well: Chris Parker, Bob Gooch and Neville Boyling. Still, once I got the call to engineer, it was as if I’d been dropped in the fire, especially since I was now on my own to record the biggest band in the world. It was a case of sink or swim, and luckily I swam.
The Magical Mystery Tour project came just after the death of [Beatles manager] Brian Epstein and the whole thing was un-together. I hate to use the word ‘floundering’, but that’s almost what was going on, whereas for the White Album their heads were a little straighter. Considering the drugs that were being taken, this may seem hard to believe, but I think by then they’d come to terms with Brian’s death and they appeared to have a much better idea as to what they should be doing.Ken Scott – From The Beatles ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ (soundonsound.com)
I think Geoff Emerick had burnt himself out doing Sgt Pepper, and he had got bored by the whole Magical Mystery Tour situation. I’d been cutting for a while and as I was the next one for promotion I was lumbered! By this time the Beatles had taken over things so much that I was more their right-hand-man than George Martin’s. They half knew what they wanted and half didn’t know, not until they’d tried everything. The only specific thought they seemed to have in their mind was to be different, but how a song might reach that point was down to their own interpretation and by throwing in as many ideas as possible, some of which would work and some wouldn’t.Ken Scott – From “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn, 1988
During the session, The Beatles recorded eleven takes of the rhythm track, numbered 20 to 30, with Paul McCartney on harmonium and lead vocals, John Lennon on harpsichord, George Harrison on bongos, and Ringo Starr on drums. Although Take 27 was initially considered the best, and later included in 1996’s “Anthology 2“, ultimately The Beatles reverted to using the August recordings.
“Do you want us to do it again, George?” mocked Paul to the Beatles’ producer [George Martin] at the start of this recording. Your Mother Should Know had already been on the blocks for a month, initial sessions taking place at a different venue – Chappell Studios, just off New Bond Street in Central London – on 22 and 23 August (the last time that the Beatles saw their manager Brian Epstein, who died on the 27th). Now Paul was embarking on a new arrangement, with snare drum, harmonium, jangle piano and vocal.
The Beatles recorded eleven such takes of Your Mother Should Know during this 16th September session, the one featured here, Take 27, being marked “best”, albeit only temporarily.From the Anthology 2 liner notes
The remake was eventually abandoned, and The Beatles returned to the original takes at Chappell to add more overdubs on September 29.
Last updated on April 8, 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!
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.
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.