Recording: I’ve Just Seen A Face, I’m Down, Yesterday

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Three songs were recorded on this day, the most notable of which was Paul McCartney‘s timeless classic Yesterday.


The day began at 2.30pm. Between then and 5.30pm The Beatles worked firstly on I’ve Just Seen A Face, an acoustic recording completed in six takes with a maraca overdub.

Afterwards, during the same session, they completed I’m Down, McCartney’s Little Richard-inspired rocker. The group taped the rhythm track in seven attempts – the full instrumentation was drums, bass, organ, lead and rhythm guitar, bongos and vocals.

After a break the day’s second session began at 7pm, and lasted three-hours. This again was dominated by McCartney, who alone performed Yesterday on an acoustic guitar.

McCartney recorded the song in two takes. His vocals were subsequently re-recorded during the string quartet overdub session on 17 June 1965, although some of this day’s vocals leaked into the microphone from the studio speakers, creating a double tracking effect which appears on the final mixes.

On the day, I recorded Paul singing and playing guitar simultaneously. Then we overdubbed the strings while Paul had another go at the vocal. But because we didn’t use headphones there was leakage from the studio speaker into his microphone, giving the impression of two voices or double-tracking.
George Martin
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

Paul McCartney was the only Beatle to appear on the song, although the other members are believed to have been in the studio at the time. George Harrison was certainly present, as his voice was captured on the tape of the session.

After the session ended at 10pm McCartney and Jane Asher went to the Cromwellian Bar & Club at 3 Cromwell Road, London. The Beatles visited the venue on a number of occasions between 1965 and 1967.

Also on this day...

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