Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 17, 1969

There was nothing newsworthy today to report.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 16, 1969

After recording the "Ballad of John and Yoko" on April 14 1969, all four members of The Beatles met at Abbey Road to record its b-side, George Harrison's song Old Brown Shoe.

There were two separate sessions on this day. From 2.30-5pm Harrison recorded a solo demo of Old Brown Shoe in a single take.

This was the first Beatles recording session at Abbey Road to feature all four members since 8 October 1968, more than six months previously. They recorded the backing track for Old Brown Shoe in just four takes.

Track one contained Ringo Starr's drums, while the second and third featured Harrison's guide vocals and lead guitar. Paul McCartney's piano was recorded onto track four, and John Lennon added rhythm guitar onto track eight.

Lennon and McCartney then overdubbed backing vocals onto track five. Electric guitar and bass parts were added by McCartney and Harrison on six, both instruments doubling up the same riffs. Harrison's lead vocals were the last to be added, onto track eight, for which he positioned himself in a corner of the studio to give an intimate sound.

With work on Old Brown Shoe finished for the night, The Beatles began work on Harrison's most celebrated Beatles song, Something. This, too, had been demoed on 25 February, and had been played during the Get Back/Let It Be sessions on 28 and 29 January.

The Beatles taped 13 takes of the backing track for Something. McCartney's bass guitar was on track one, Starr's drums on two, Harrison's electric guitar was on the third, and George Martin's piano was on track four. The recording, however, was later abandoned in favour of a remake on 2 May 1969.

Before the session ended at 2.45am, three stereo mixes of Old Brown Shoe were made. None of them was used, and further overdubs were added on 18 April 1969.



The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 15, 1969

Nothing much happening today

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 14, 1969

On this date, "The Ballad Of John And Yoko"  recounted the couple's wedding and honeymoon. Lennon wanted to make music an instant snapshot of a moment. The Ballad Of John And Yoko (They're Gonna Crucify Me) was recorded in 11 takes.

Five of the 11 takes broke down because McCartney added an extra snare drum hit prior to the line "Made a lightning trip to Vienna", and the second take ended after Lennon broke a guitar string. The master version was take 10.

The eight-track tape had Lennon's acoustic guitar on track two, McCartney's drums on three, and Lennon's vocals on four, all of which were recorded simultaneously. McCartney then overdubbed bass guitar onto the first track, after which Lennon added two electric guitar parts onto tracks five and six. The second of these also featured McCartney's piano.

McCartney recorded backing vocals onto track seven, and the pair added percussion onto eight. This featured Lennon hitting the back of his guitar, and McCartney shaking a pair of maracas.

The Ballad Of John And Yoko was The Beatles' first single to be released exclusively in stereo. Five remixes were made before work ended at 11pm. This turned out to be a very fast session.

It was a really good record too, helped by Paul's great drumming and the speed in which they did it all.

Source: The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 13, 1969

The Ballad Of John And Yoko was recorded in a single day by just Lennon and Paul McCartney. On this day Lennon arrived at Paul McCartney's London home to work on his unfinished song. After quickly completing the writing, the pair immediately took it to Abbey Road to record. The recent Let It Be sessions had been full of friction - The Beatles steadily unravelling as a unit. The Ballad Of John And Yoko saw Lennon and McCartney collaborating as equals, showing a renewed enthusiasm for recording.

Lennon had said "It was very romantic. It's all in the song, The Ballad Of John And Yoko, if you want to know how it happened, it's in there. Gibraltar was like a little sunny dream. I couldn't find a white suit – I had sort if off-white corduroy trousers and a white jacket. Yoko had all white on."

The song was originally written in the days immediately following Lennon and Ono's wedding. Paul said "John was in an impatient mood so I was happy to help. It's quite a good song; it has always surprised me how with just the two of us on it, it ended up sounding like The Beatles."

Source: Rolling Stone, 1970


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 12, 1969

John Lennon and Yoko Ono go to the offices of Henry Ansbacher & Co. to put order to their accounts.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 11, 1969

UK release of The Beatles' single Get Back / Don't Let Me Down (Apple). 9 weeks on the charts; highest position #1.

1969--The Beatles formally announce their plan to make a counter-offer against ATV's bid for Northern Songs.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 10, 1969

Nothing to report today on the Beatles

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 9, 1969

The Beatles took part in their penultimate photo session together.

It took place in two locations, with three photographers taking pictures of the group. The first location was at the Madingley Club on Willoughby Road in East Twickenham in London, followed by more shots taken at number 4 Ducks Walk where they boarded a boat on the River Thames.

The Beatles and the photographers took three vehicles to the location – John Lennon's Rolls-Royce, a white Mercedes and a Humber Snipe. The first photographs were taken with The Beatles leaning against the Rolls-Royce, with the Thames behind them.

A crowd soon gathered, and The Beatles obligingly signed autographs. Afterwards the group moved to the second location, where they were photographed climing into a rowing boat, the Fritz Otto Maria Anna. They rowed to a small island in the middle of the river, from which they waved to the camera on the river bank.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 8, 1969

The Beatles are taking a break today.