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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: March 20, 1967

Studio Two, EMI Studios in London

The Beatles deliberately kept themselves very much to themselves during the recording of Sgt. Pepper, so an interview by John and Paul to their old mate Brian Matthew this evening was certainly an important coup for BBC Radio. Underlining the Beatles new workshop use of Abbey Road, Brian Matthew had to interview them there - the first time any of the Beatles consented to this - the session recording sheet logging the interview "Beatle Talk" and showing that it was taped at the start on the 7:00 session.

Mathew's purpose was two-fold. He recorded John and Paul's acceptance speech for three 1966 Ivor Novello awards - for Yellow Submarine and for Yesterday. These speeches were broadcast by the BBC Light Program on March 27th. The event was otherwise recorded live, before a music industry audience, at the Playhouse Theatre in London on March 23rd. John and Paul had no wish to attend so their three statuettes were received on their behalf by NEMS' Tony Barrow and by Ron White, the general manager of marketing services at EMI Records. After each presentation, the relevant "Thank You" speech by John and Paul was played over the PA (and dropped into the program), following which the song was performed live at the playhouse by Joe Loss and his Orchestra. (the lead vocal on "Michelle" was sung by Ross MacManus, father of Declan, aka Elvis Costello.

Up to 1970, John and Paul won several Ivor Novello awards too, in presentation ceremonies, also broadcast by BBC radio, but they never again recorded a special interview, nor did they receive the awards in person. George Martin and Dick James accepted them on their behalf and made short speeches. The secondary visit of Brian Matthew's visit to EMI studios this evening was to record a brief addtional interview with John and Paul for exclusive use by the BBC's Transcription service in its weekly best of Top Of The Pops, sold by subscription to overseas stations. It was only a brief interview, for which precisely four minutes were used, although John and Paul had ample time to explain the Beatle's change in direction towards recording and away from touring- John in particular being emphatic about there being no more concert tours, succinctly saying that there be no more "She Loves You".

 

After the interview, John and Paul devoted the remainder of the session to "She's Leaving Home", overdubbing vocals onto take nine (a reduction of the previous night's take one). This lovely song was now complete because there were no overdubs of any of the Beatles playing an musical instrument: the only music playing on "She's Leaving Home" was the strings. The recording was then mixed onto mono before the close of play at 3:30 am.

 

Source: The Complete Beatles Chronicle -Mark Lewisohn

 

 

 

 

 

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