Recording, mixing: Yesterday, Act Naturally, Wait

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

Yesterday was completed on this day with the recording of a string quartet, and a new lead vocal by Paul McCartney.


The session began at 2pm and lasted two hours. Onto take two from the 14 June session, McCartney re-recorded his lead vocals, as the string quartet performed the score written by McCartney and George Martin.

We agreed that it needed something more than an acoustic guitar, but that drums would make it too heavy. The only thing I could think of was strings but Paul was unsure. He hated syrup or anything that was even a suggestion of MOR. So I suggested a classical string quartet. That appealed to him but he insisted ‘No vibrato, I don’t want any vibrato!’ If you’re a good violin player it’s very difficult to play without vibrato. Paul told the musicians he wanted it pure. But although they did cut down the vibrato they couldn’t do it pure because they would have sounded like schoolboys. I think Paul realised in later years that what he got was right.

Paul worked with me on the score, putting the cello here and the violin there. There is one particular bit which is very much his – and I wish I’d thought of it! – where the cello groans onto the seventh the second time around. He also liked the idea of holding the very high note on the first violin in the last section. To be honest, I thought that was a bit boring, but I acceded to his request. The rest of the arrangement was pretty much mine.

George Martin
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

The musicians were Tony Gilbert (first violin), Sidney Sax (violin), Kenneth Essex (viola) and Francisco Gabarro (cello). After recording was complete the song was mixed for mono.

From 4-5.30pm The Beatles recorded Act Naturally, a country and western song and Ringo Starr‘s vocal spot on the Help! album. The rhythm track was completed in 13 takes, after which Starr overdubbed his vocals, with harmonies from McCartney.

Between 7pm and 9.30pm The Beatles recorded Wait, which they intended to use on Help!. In the end, however, it was held over until December 1965, when it was released on Rubber Soul.

Although additional instruments and vocals were overdubbed later in the year, on this day they recorded guitars, bass, drums, and Lennon and McCartney’s lead vocals.

Also on this day...

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