Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 24, 1969

In the morning, John Lennon writes the song Cold Turkey. In the afternoon he rehearses it. By the end of the evening, the gut-wrenching song has been recorded.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 23, 1969

The Beatles are not in the recording studio today.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 22, 1969

It’s a been a booming era for rediscovered Beatles photos, from the famous lost Beatles photographs taken by their tour manager to Linda McCartney’s tender portraits to Harry Benson’s luminous black-and-white photos of the Fab Four.

On this day in 1969, two days after their final recording session, the Beatles gathered at Tittenhurst Park, where John Lennon and Yoko Ono resided, for a photo shoot they didn’t realize would be their last — an instance of those bittersweet “unknown lasts” that wedge themselves between our lived experience and our memory, sometimes violently and other times with the tender wistfulness of nostalgia.

The cast of characters on that fateful August 22, captured by photographers Ethan Russell and Monte Fresco and Beatles assistant Mal Evans, included the Fab Four, Yoko Ono, a very pregnant Linda McCartney (a photographer herself), Apple Corps’ press officer Derek Taylor, Paul McCartney’s sheepdog Martha, and two donkeys Lennon and Ono kept on the property.

Linda shot some 16mm footage on my camera. That turned out to be the last film taken.” ~ Paul McCartney






The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 21, 1969

Paul McCartney changes the name of his company from Adagrose Ltd. to McCartney Productions Ltd. (MPL).

Meanwhile, the studio session for the Abbey Road album was in the full edit stage. Between 1pm and 2pm, balance engineer Phil McDonald edited the orchestral overdub for The End. He began by making a copy of the tape, before editing the passage then reinserting it back into the multitrack tape.

Then in the control room of Studio Two from 2.30pm until midnight, the final attempt at a crossfade from You Never Give Me Your Money into Sun King/Mean Mr Mustard was made. Paul McCartney had prepared tape loops for this purpose on 5 August 1969, and an early version of the crossfade had been made on 14 August. On this day it was completed in a single attempt, which was known as stereo crossfade remix 12.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 20, 1969

The date was August 20, 1969. The Beatles were recording what was to be their final album, Abbey Road. The date is important (and historic), although the boys probably had no idea of its significance.

August 20, 1969, was the last time the four Beatles were together in the recording studio.

They were recording the final over-dubs of John's song "I Want You (She's So Heavy)," a stark, raw love song written by John. The band's final session was spent working on a fervent love song to Yoko Ono.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 19, 1969

The Beatles in the recording studio (Studio Two, EMI Studios, London). A synthesizer overdub for Here Comes the Sun is recorded.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 18, 1969

The Beatles in the recording studio (Studio Two, EMI Studios, London). Paul McCartney records a piano overdub for The End. The Beatles Anthology 3 includes a remix of The End that includes many of the overdubs that were edited out of the final Abbey Road version (Disc two, Track 23).

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 17, 1969

Mary Hopkin's had two hit Apple singles, Those Were The Days and Goodbye. Paul McCartney wanted to produce her second album after the completion of The Beatles' Get Back album, but plans were far behind because the group began recording Abbey Road.

McCartney eventually selected the Doris Day classic Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be), a choice which Hopkin didn't care for. However, she agreed to record it, with the folkier The Fields Of St Etienne on the b-side. Both songs were recorded at EMI Studios in between sessions for the Abbey Road album.



The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 16, 1969

The Beatles are taking a break today.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: August 15, 1969

Today there were five Abbey Road Songs  - Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight, The End, Something and Here Comes The Sun. Orchestral overdubs were added and although the 30-piece orchestra was stationed in Studio One, the sound recording was overseen in Studio Two. The engineers and tape operators monitored proceedings via closed-circuit television, which gave a visual link between the two studios for the first time.

The first overdub was for Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight, which was added to track eight of the tape. The recording was doubled via artificial double-tracking during a later mixing session. The End was next but his was not the song's final overdub. Paul McCartney added an extra piano part towards the song's end during a session three days later.

While George Martin was conducting the orchestra in Studio One, George Harrison was in Studio Two simultaneously recording a new guitar part for Something. The final song was Harrison's Here Comes The Sun, the score for which required just 17 musicians. The song's recording was completed on 19 August 1969 with a Moog overdub.

The orchestral players were as follows: Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight and The End: 12 violins, four violas, four cellos, string bass, four horns, three trumpets, trombone, bass trombone. Something: 12 violins, four violas, four cellos, string bass.
Here Comes The Sun: four violas, four cellos, string bass, two clarinets, two alto flutes, two flutes, two piccolos.