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1967, May

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 31, 1967
The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 31, 1967

De Lane Lea Recording Studios, London

Back to Kingsway for a 7:00 to 12:00 pm session (George Martin still absent; the May 26th team operative again) in which George's lead vocal, John and Paul's backing vocal, additional percussion and handclaps were overdubbed onto a new reduction mixdown of "It's All Too Much". (This session was incorrectly reported in the Recording Sessions book as May 26th).

 

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 30, 1967

The Beatles in-between recording at De Lane Lea Recording Studios in London.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 29, 1967
The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 29, 1967

Actress Jane Asher and boyfriend Beatle Paul McCartney pictured at Heathrow Airport.

 

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 28, 1967
The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 28, 1967

The Beatles attend a party at Brian Epstein’s country house

The Beatles, minus Paul McCartney, attended a party at Brian Epstein's country house, Kingsley Hill in Warbleton near Heathfield in Sussex on this day.

Epstein had recently bought the house for £25,000, and the party was a joint housewarming and a celebration for the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The roads leading to the house were adorned with balloons for the occasion.

In addition to The Beatles and their wives, it was attended by a number of friends and celebrities including composer Lionel Bart and The Beatles' former press officer Derek Taylor.

This was Taylor's initiation to LSD; he was given the drug by John Lennon. The pair spent much of the party in Lennon's Rolls-Royce listening to Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade Of Pale. It was also Cynthia Lennon's third and final experience taking LSD.

Brian was having a party at the country house he'd bought in Sussex and John and I traveled down in the Rolls with a group of friends. On the journey everyone took LSD and I, against my better judgement but carried away by the jolly atmosphere in the car, decided to join in. Again, it was an awful mistake.

At Brian's house I followed John around, hoping he would comfort me as I went through what was, for me, a horrible experience. But he was not in a good mood: he glared at me and treated me as if I were a stranger. I felt desolate. Upstairs I found an open bedroom window and contemplated jumping out. For a few minutes, ending it all seemed like an easy solution: a chasm had opened between John and me, and I had no idea how to bring us back together.

Someone called my name, I turned back into the room and the fleeting thought passed. But I was low. For the first time I had to consider the very real possibility that my marriage might not survive.

Cynthia Lennon

 

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 27, 1967
The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 27, 1967

John Lennon’s Rolls Royce, 27th May 1967

 

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 26, 1967
The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 26, 1967


The Beatles masterpiece, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was released in the UK, one week before its American debut. The album took over 700 hours to record under the direction of George Martin and cost $75,000 to produce. A then state-of-the-art four track recorder was used to build each song layer by layer. The LP spent 22 weeks at the top of the UK albums chart and 15 weeks at number one in the US. The iconic album cover, depicting the band posing in front of a collage of celebrities and historical figures, was designed by English pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth based on a sketch by Paul McCartney.

 

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 25, 1967
The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 25, 1967

Recording: It’s All Too Much

De Lane Lea Recording Studios, London
Engineer: Dave Siddle

The Beatles recorded away from EMI Studios once again on this day, moving to the independent De Lane Lea Studios, then situated at 129 Kingsway, London.

The purpose of the session was the recording of George Harrison's song It's All Too Much for the Yellow Submarine film soundtrack. Neither producer George Martin nor balance engineer Geoff Emerick were available, so the studio's in-house engineer Dave Siddle and tape operator Mike Weighell did the honours.

Following considerable rehearsals the backing track for It's All Too Much was recorded in four takes on this day, though at this point the song was known simply as Too Much. It featured organ, bass guitar, distorted lead guitar and drums. The session took place from 7pm-2.30am.

Work on It's All Too Much continued at De Lane Lea on May 31st and June 2, 1967.

 

Source: Beatles Bible

 

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 24, 1967
The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 24, 1967

The Beatles watch Procol Harum perform in London

All four members of The Beatles went to the Speakeasy in London on this day to watch new band Procol Harum perform.

The Speakeasy was a nightclub situated in the basement of 48 Margaret Street, W1. Managed by Roy Flinn and Mike Carey, it opened on 4 January 1967, and The Beatles often visited.

Procol Harum's debut single A Whiter Shade Of Pale was released on 12 May 1967. John Lennon, in particular, was a big fan of the song.

 

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 23, 1967

The Beatles in-between recording

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 22, 1967
The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 22, 1967

On May 22nd 1967 it was announced that The Beatles would represent the BBC (and ultimately England) in the World's first worldwide television satellite link-up, to take place on the 25th June. They would be shown working "live" on a new song.
At this time in May, the song hadn't even be written ... then just one month later a finished piece that encapsulated the Summer of Love, Flower Power, the entire period, and would be an anthem to the sixties.

First thing to note on the label, is the very first time George Martin received credit as the producer on a single.

 

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 21, 1967
The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 21, 1967

During the recording of Sgt. Pepper, Brian Epstein spent time trying to kick his drug habit, including spells in the Priory in Putney, London. Today, Brian temporarily leaves Priory Hospital, in Putney, for an afternoon tea with his parents at 24 Chapel Street.

 

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 21, 1968

The Beatles working on their next album.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 20, 1967
The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 20, 1967

The BBC bans A Day In The Life

BBC disc jockey Kenny Everett gave the official preview of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on this day, on the radio show Where It's At, broadcast on the BBC Light Programme from 4pm.

Where It's At was hosted by Chris Denning, but included a pre-recorded two-part feature by Everett about the album. This feature included pre-recorded interviews with John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

The feature sections were heard at the beginning and end of Denning's 90-minute show. Lennon spoke about the title track and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, and mentioned the group's use of artificial double tracking (ADT) in the studio. Starr discussed The Beatles' past year, and McCartney spoke about why the album had taken so long to appear.

Extracts from every Sgt Pepper song were broadcast, apart from one. Everett was unable to play the album's final track - A Day In The Life as the corporation had banned it the previous day on the grounds that it promoted a permissive attitude towards drug taking.

Also on this day, John and Cynthia Lennon, George and Pattie Harrison and Brian Epstein took afternoon tea at Sunny Heights, the house owned by Ringo Starr and his wife Maureen.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 19, 1967
The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 19, 1967

Press launch for Sgt Pepper

Shortly ahead of the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, a press launch was held at Brian Epstein's house at 24 Chapel Street, London.

Epstein had bought the house on  December 20, 1964, and lived there until his death on August 27, 1967. He hosted many parties at the house, the best-remembered of which was this press party for The Beatles' masterpiece.

Around a dozen selected journalists and broadcasters were invited to attend the event. Several photographers were also present, among them Linda Eastman, who had met her future husband Paul McCartney just four days previously.

I took my portfolio over to Brian Epstein's office and left it with his assistant, Peter Brown... Peter Brown got back in touch and said that Brian had liked my portfolio and invited me to a press launch for Sgt Pepper at Brian's home. Peter also said that Brian wanted to buy copies of two of my photos - one of Keith Moon wearing a lace cravat and one of Brian Jones at The Rolling Stones boat party.

So I went to the press launch where Sgt Pepper was played for the first time to the media, to take my first photographs of The Beatles. Because I was so used to working almost exclusively with black-and-white I didn't have any color film with me, and had to get some from another photographer. I eventually sold a color print of The Beatles from this session for $100 and I thought that I had it made!

The Beatles were photographed in Epstein's drawing room and on the steps outside the front door. The guests were served champagne, poached salmon and caviar. (Linda McCartney)

 

 

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 18, 1967
The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 18, 1967

The Serpentine, Hyde Park May 18th 1967

On May 18, 1967, The Beatles had a photo session in Hyde Park with Marvin Lichtner from Time Magazine. Mal Evans was along for the ride, and a couple of his photos can be seen in The Beatles Monthly Book no. 49. This photo session was overshadowed at the time by the next day's event: The press party for the release of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
But they are nice, these photos, and they only pop up occasionally, so today's blog will be about them.
Paul was driven to the location by Terry Doran, while the three others arrived from the suburbs in John Lennon's psychedelically painted Rolls Royce. Or did they? The photo underneath is dated as May 18th. The car had recently been painted, so this may have been one of it's first outings in the new design - or is it too early? In fact, the invoice for the work and materials used are dated May 24th. The artist responsible for the painting, Steve Weaver worked on the car over at J.P. Fallon Painters, and there are photos of the car being unveiled on May 26th, so the inclusion of the photo here is a puzzle.

 

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 17, 1967
The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 17, 1967

Recording: You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Recording began for one of The Beatles' most bizarre songs on this day. You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) was taped, mixed and edited over a number of sessions between this day and November 1969, and it remained unreleased until March 1970.

The Beatles arrived at Studio Two on this day with no songs in mind, and without the presence of producer George Martin; in his place the session was supervised by balance engineer Geoff Emerick.

You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) was inspired by a telephone directory that John Lennon saw at Paul McCartney's London home. It was originally envisaged as a 15-minute mantra.

The final recording was made up of five discrete parts, and during this session the first part was recorded. The Beatles taped 14 takes of the rhythm track, with guitars, bass and drums, and take 10 was labelled the best for the time being. The song was then set aside until June 7, 1967, when overdubs were added to take nine.

 

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 16, 1967

The Beatles in-between recording at EMI Studios in London.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 15, 1967
The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 15, 1967

Paul McCartney meets Linda Eastman

On this evening The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein hosted a dinner party to mark the completion of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Afterwards Paul McCartney went to the Bag O'Nails nightclub to see Georgie Fame performing. At the club McCartney had his first encounter with his future wife, Linda Eastman.

The Bag O'Nails was situated in the basement of 9 Kingly Street in Soho, London. The Beatles were regular visitors, particularly in 1967 and 1968, and McCartney had his own private table there.

The night I met Linda I was in the Bag O'Nails watching Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames play a great set. Speedy was banging away. She was there with the Animals, who she knew from photographing them in New York. They were sitting a couple of alcoves down, near the stage. The band had finished and they got up to either leave or go for a drink or a pee or something, and she passed our table. I was near the edge and stood up just as she was passing, blocking her exit. And so I said, 'Oh, sorry. Hi. How are you? How're you doing?' I introduced myself, and said, 'We're going on to another club after this, would you like to join us?'

That was my big pulling line! Well, I'd never used it before, of course, but it worked this time! It was a fairly slim chance but it worked. She said, 'Yes, okay, we'll go on. How shall we do it?' I forget how we did it. 'You come in our car' or whatever, and we all went on, the people I was with and the Animals, we went on to the Speakeasy.

Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

The Speakeasy was a club on Margaret Street, where they heard Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade Of Pale for the first time.

We flirted a bit, and then it was time for me to go back with them and Paul said, 'Well, we're going to another club. You want to come?' I remember everybody at the table heard A Whiter Shade Of Pale that night for the first time and we all thought, Who is that? Stevie Winwood? We all said Stevie. The minute that record came out, you just knew you loved it. That's when we actually met. Then we went back to his house. We were in the Mini with I think Lulu and Dudley Edwards, who painted Paul's piano; Paul was giving him a lift home. I was impressed to see his Magrittes.

Linda McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

 

The pair met again four days later, on May 19, 1967, when Eastman attended the press party for Sgt Pepper at Brian Epstein's house at 24 Chapel Street, London.

 

 

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 14, 1967

The Beatles enjoying a little break between recording.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 13, 1967

The Beatles in-between recording at EMI Studios in London.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 12, 1967

Recording, mixing: All Together Now

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Perhaps inspired by having recorded Baby You're A Rich Man during a six-hour session on the previous day, The Beatles recorded another song in just five and a half hours.

The song was All Together Now, which was written by Paul McCartney specifically for the Yellow Submarine film. It was a straightforward recording, made even without the presence of producer George Martin.

All Together Now was recorded in nine takes. The backing track had McCartney and George Harrison playing acoustic guitars, John Lennon playing harmonica, and Ringo Starr on drums and percussion.

McCartney overdubbed a bass guitar part, followed by his lead vocals, for which he was joined by Lennon and Harrison in the chorus. The final track on the tape was filled with Lennon's lead vocals in the bridge, more bass drum and finger cymbals, and the final singalong.

Six mono mixes were then made, and the song was complete and ready for inclusion in the film, and for release on the accompanying soundtrack LP.

 

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 11, 1967
The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 11, 1967

Studio One, Olympic Sound Studios, London

Recording, mixing: Baby You’re A Rich Man

This was The Beatles' second UK session to take place outside EMI Studios, following their February 9, 1967 visit to Regent Sound Studio. It took place at Olympic Sound Studios, an independent studio situated at 117 Church Road, Barnes, London.

The balance engineer was Olympic's manager Keith Grant. The studio was often used by The Rolling Stones, and Mick Jagger was a visitor on this occasion.

The Beatles were working on Baby You're A Rich Man, intended for the Yellow Submarine soundtrack, but which was eventually used as the b-side to All You Need Is Love. It was The Beatles' first song to be recorded and mixed entirely away from Abbey Road.

I'm a terrible pusher on sessions. I do a lot of orchestral work and you naturally push people along. The Beatles said that this was the fastest record they'd ever made. They were used to a much more leisurely pace. We started the session at about 9pm and it was finished and mixed by about 3am, vocals and everything. They kept playing, version after version, then we spooled back to the one they liked and overdubbed the vocals
Keith Grant

Source: The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

One tape reel was filled with rehearsal takes, before 12 takes were recorded. The last of these was the best attempt, and featured piano, drums, maracas and tambourine. Paul McCartney then overdubbed a bass guitar part and John Lennon sang lead vocals, with harmonies by McCartney and others in the chorus.

Two reduction mixes were then made to free up space on the tape. The second, known as take two, had George Harrison's lead guitar and Lennon's Clavioline introduction overdubbed onto track three. Track four was filled with more vocals, some backwards piano in the final verse, and a single note of vibraphone played by tape operator Eddie Kramer.

A mono mix was then made. It took just one attempt, and became the version released on the All You Need Is Love single.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 10, 1967

The Beatles in between recording at EMI Studios in London.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 9, 1967

Studio Two, EMI Studios in London

A long (11:00 pm to 6:15 am) but decidedly unproduction session in which the Beatles committed to tape a mere sixteen minutes of an out-of-tune untitled instrumental jam comprising two guitars (one with vibrato effect), drums and a harmonium.

 

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 8, 1967

The Beatles are enjoying their break before recording again.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 7, 1967

The Beatles are in-between recording at EMI Studios in London.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 6, 1967

The Beatles are in-between recording at EMI Studios in London.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 5, 1967

The Beatles are in-between recording at EMI Studios in London.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 4, 1967
The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 4, 1967

Studio Three, EMI Studios, London

Seven mono mixes of "Magical Mystery Tour", made from 7:00 to 11:15 pm.

There was some uncertainty whether mix five or seven was the best, though eventually the latter was selected to be used during the Magical Mystery Tour television special. Several sound effects were later added during film editing, including applause and coach noises.

None of the day's mixes were issued on record, however, as new mixes - and an additional vocal overdub - were made on 7 November 1967. At this stage, though, the song was considered complete.

 

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 3, 1967
The Beatles - A Day in The Life: May 3, 1967

Studio Three, EMI Studios, London

The overdub of trumpets onto "Magical Mystery Tour", played by David Mason (his third Beatles session in as many months), Elgar Howarth, Roy Copestake and John Wilbraham. Each musician was paid £30: £15 for the basic session and an additional £15 because it ran over time, starting at 7:00 pm, but not finishing until 12:15 am.

Source: The Complete Beatles Chronicle - Mark Lewisohn

 

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