Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 27, 1969

John Lennon in the recording studio (Studio Three, EMI Studios, London). He does a re-make of the John and Yoko heartbeats.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 26, 1969

The Beatles began work on Octopus's Garden, Ringo Starr's second-recorded composition.

Paul McCartney made his first attempt to record a lead vocal for Oh! Darling. He then overdubbed his lead vocals onto take 26, plus a second take in a falsetto voice. He then recorded two harmony vocal takes, mainly in the final verse. McCartney would re-record his vocals a number of times on subsequent days before being satisfied.

For Octopus's Garden, McCartney played bass guitar, Starr drummed and sang a guide vocal, and John Lennon and George Harrison were on guitars. Harrison's guitar was put through a Leslie speaker. Thirty-two takes were recorded; the second was included on 1996's Anthology 3, along with Starr's comment "Well that was superb" which followed take 8.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 25, 1969

-John Lennon and Yoko Ono's film "Rape" is shown at a television festival in Montreaux, Switzerland.


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 24, 1969

A promotional film for The Beatles' song Get Back is broadcast (in black and white) on UK television, on the program "Tops of the Pops."

The lawsuit between The Beatles and Triumph Investment Trust (owners of Nemperor Holdings / NEMS Enterprises) is settled out of court.

Meanwhile, Paul McCartney announces there is no truth to the rumors that he is dead.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 23, 1969

The song was originally recorded to be included on the aborted album “Get Back”.

“Get Back” becomes The Beatles 16th UK No.1 in 1969

Originally released as a single on 11 April 1969 and credited to “The Beatles with Billy Preston, “Get Back” was the first and only single by The Beatles to credit another artist, Preston played the organ on the song and was by then one of the few people that were privileged to be called a “5th Beatle”. The song was initially thought to be included on their aborted 1969 album “Get Back” that would become “Let It Be” in 1970. The Beatles performed “Get Back” (along with other songs from the album) as part of the Beatles’ rooftop performance, which took place on the roof of Apple Studios in Savile Row, London on 30 January 1969, an edited version of which was included in the “Let It Be” film. During the famous rooftop appearance, “Get Back” was performed in full three times. Due to the increasing popularity of the Stereo formats over Mono, “Get Back” also became the first single release in true stereo in the US by the band. On April 23, 1969, “Get Back” was No.1 at the UK Singles charts, their 16th single to achieve the top position in their home country.


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 22, 1969


John Lennon and Yoko Ono in Studio Two, EMI Studios, London. The couple spends five hours in the studio today. First, John and Yoko record their heartbeats. They also record the track John and Yoko (John repeating "Yoko" and Yoko repeating "John" for 22 minutes), which will be included on their 3rd LP, The Wedding Album.

On another note, John Lennon formally changed his middle name from Winston to Ono, during a brief ceremony held on the roof of the Apple building at 3 Savile Row, London. The ceremony was carried out before Bueno de Mesquita, Commissioner of Oaths. Lennon had never liked his middle name, which had been given to him during a bout of wartime patriotism.

John - "Yoko changed her name for me. I've changed mine for her. One for both, both for each other. She has a ring. I have a ring. It gives us nine 'O's between us, which is good luck. Ten would not be good luck."


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 21, 1969

John Lennon and Yoko Ono form Bag Productions, a film production company, that would function separately from Apple for their personal projects. They appoint Anthony Fawcett as their assistant.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 20, 1969

-The Beatles in the recording studio (Studio Three, EMI Studios, London). Recording organ and conga overdubs for I Want You (She's So Heavy). Then 26 takes of Oh! Darling, plus an organ overdub.


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 19, 1969

The April 19-25, 1969 issue of TV Guide featured a two-page article entitled “Four cats on a London roof” which got many American Beatles fans very excited.  The magazine made mention of a “TV documentary” that The Beatles had filmed, the contents of which was “to let the world – all over which The Beatles hope to sell the documentary in a few months – know just how The Beatles go about their work.”

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 18, 1969

The Beatles finished "Old Brown Shoe" today (George Harrison's song), then worked on the Abbey Road song I Want You (She's So Heavy).

Harrison worked alone on the song, recording a guitar solo onto track seven. The instrument was fed through a Leslie speaker. He then erased John Lennon's rhythm guitar by overdubbing a Hammond organ part.

The recording session was in Studio Three and quite long. Harrison and producer Chris Thomas then mixed Old Brown Shoe in stereo in 19 attempts, which were numbered 5-23, in the studio control room. They completed the work at 1am.

Studio Two had also been booked for work on I Want You (She's So Heavy). Harrison, Lennon, Thomas, balance engineer Jeff Jarratt and tape operator John Kurlander were present for the overdubbing of guitars, in a late session lasting from 1-4.30am.

Source: Jeff Jarratt - The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn