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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.

 

 

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