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in the end, the love you take
is equal to the love you make" (Paul
McCartney, The End, Abbey Road.)
engineer Geoff Emerick described the making of Abbey Road
as "walking on eggshells." After the tense moments
during the recording of the White Album and Let It Be, the
Beatles seemed to do their best to avoid falling into arguments.
start too well though. In the summer of 1969, John and Yoko
had been in a car accident while in Scotland, and the doctor
had ordered Yoko to stay in bed for some time.
could not believe their own eyes when, on July 9, John and
Yoko turned up in the studio with a big bed for Yoko to
rest in! For the next several weeks, Yoko practically lived
in that bed. John even requested a microphone to be set
up for her so that he could hear her through the headphones.
July 1, when the Lennons were still in hospital, McCartney,
Harrison and Starr had started working on two songs intended
for the new album: Golden
That Weight and Maxwell's
Silver Hammer. It's worth noting, however, that some
of the songs on Abbey Road were well on their way before
this time. Early takes of I
Want You (She's So Heavy), Oh
Darling!, Something and Octopus's
Garden had in fact been recorded between February and
May 1969, but underwent numerous perfections during the
Abbey Road sessions, which lasted from the beginning of
July to August 25.
was McCartney's idea to link some of the songs on Abbey
Road together to one continues piece, using You
Never Give Me Your Money as a medley. The result was
quite astonishing, and the songs really flow into one another
Road also benefited from having producer George Martin back
in a more proactive role. Martin at times been absent during
the recording of the White Album and Let It Be.
not as proactive as in earlier days, Martin was now back
doing what he did best; arranging classical scores and vocal
harmonies that fitted the songs perfectly. Engineer Geoff
Emerick had also returned. He had walked out on the group
the year before, but Paul McCartney had personally asked
him to come back to help out on the new record.
point, however, it was rare that all four Beatles were in
the studio at the same time, and they did quite a lot of
recording separately, as they had done on the White Album
were some good team efforts though, such as the wonderful
vocal harmonies on the Because,
on which John, Paul and George spent hours working until
it was considered done.
were also tense moments at times. One example of this is
the infamous "biscuit incident." One day, Yoko
Ono had gained some strength and jumped out of her "sick
bed" to nick one of George Harrison's biscuits from
a packet he had put on his guitar amplifier (it was considered
a taboo to touch any of the food in the studio that belonged
to the Beatles.) Harrison made it clear that Yoko had crossed
the line, to put it mildly, and an argument broke out between
him and Lennon. Fortunately it died out pretty quickly.
the biscuit incident pretty much summed up how fragile the
relationship between the four Beatles was at this point.
had taken quite a passive role during the Abbey Road sessions,
and it was Paul who was running the show most of the time.
At times, Lennon seemed to distance himself from the project,
and there are several songs in which he doesn't participate
on at all. It has since been suggested that he was addicted
to heroin at this stage, which can explain his mood swings.
He still delivered some excellent tunes for the album though,
Together, I Want You (She's So Heavy) and Because.
Harrison was peaking as a songwriter at this point, and
delivered two of the album's many highlights: Here
Comes The Sun and Something. The latter song was admired
by both McCartney and Lennon and became the first Harrison
composition to feature on the A-side of a Beatles single.
It was released together with Come Together, as a double
A-sided single (no 1 in the US, no 2 in the UK.) Harrison
also shaped many of the sounds on Abbey Road with his Moog
synthesizer and slide guitar technique.
Starr's drumming was excellent throughout, and he even reluctantly
agreed to do a drum solo after Paul McCartney had convinced
him to do it. Octopus's
Garden, his second main song writing effort, also deserves
its place on the record.
Road was released in September (US) and October (UK) 1969,
and shot straight to number one on the charts around the
world. And what an album it was! It was a superb last effort
from a group that gave and achieved so much over the years,
ever since their first recording session that September
day in 1962.
Beatles had grown apart, they were shattered and exhausted,
disillusioned and fed up. But they had managed to finish
the fairy tale on a high note - at least musically.
10 1970, Paul McCartney announced the break up of the Beatles.
ten years later, on December 8, 1980, John Lennon was shot
dead by Mark David Chapman, a mentally ill fan. Lennon's
death buried any hopes of a Beatles reunion.
1994 and February 1995, Paul McCartney, George Harrison
and Ringo Starr reunited to finish two songs, Free As A
Bird and Real Love, which had been recorded on a home demo
by Lennon in 1977 and 1979. They had been given the tapes
by Yoko Ono.
29 2001, George Harrison also passed away. Both Paul and
Ringo played at his memorial concert the same year.
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Emerick and Howard Massey:
There and Everywhere
My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles (2006)
the story about the Beatles told by somebody who was there,
working closely with the band over several years.
Emerick had just turned 16 when he worked on his first Beatles
session, and at the age of 18 he had become the group's
tells it like it was; the good times, the bad times, why
he walked out on the group - and why he came back. It's
a subjective account, and some readers may at times dislike
the way he portrays the personalities of Lennon, Harrison
and Starr. However, the fact that Emerick shares his personal
views ultimately adds value to the book.
There and Everywhere is a must read for every Beatles fan.
Beatles Recording Sessions (1988)
really want to find out how the Beatles made their records,
then this book is for you.
has compiled data from every Beatles session at EMI studios,
and interviewed people who participated on the recordings;
engineers, producers, session musicians and so on.
day-by-day account, from the first Beatles session in 1962,
to the last some seven years later.
also includes an interview with Paul McCartney.
The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song (1994)
is a good introduction for those who want to find out more
about the songs of the Beatles.
Turner has managed to track down several real-life people
who are portrayed in their songs; Polythene Pam, the girl
in She's Leaving Home and Lucy from Lucy In The Sky With
Diamonds, to name a few.
Beatles fans are likely to be surprised by some of the information
In The Head
The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (1994)
that Ian MacDonald could dismiss so many great Beatles tracks:
Truffle is described as "pointless", Lady Madonna
as a "moderately entertaining let-down" and Day
Tripper as "musically uninspired."
will most certainly provoke many readers, although to the
author's defense it should be said that he does take time
to explain his often controversial views.
is still useful though, since it comes with a who-plays-what
section for every song.
has a good historical overview of the Beatles period.
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