Recording: Lovely Rita

7.00pm, Friday 24 February 1967 (47 years ago)

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

Work continued on the Sgt Pepper song Lovely Rita during this session, which began at 7pm and finished at 1.15am the following morning.

The Beatles were visited in the studio by Tony Hicks of The Hollies and David Crosby of The Byrds. Also present was Leslie Bryce, the staff photographer from The Beatles Book Monthly magazine. A report on the session appeared in its sister publication Beat Monthly.

From this we know several key details of Lovely Rita’s development. John Lennon and Paul McCartney took themselves off to a corner of Studio Two, together with Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans, and completed the song’s lyrics.

In one of Bryce’s photographs McCartney is seen holding the original lyrics sheet, which had only the opening chorus and verse. It also had Rita “filling in a ticket with her little blue pen”. Below, in Evans’ handwriting, were two more rough verses including an unused line, “Now I go to meet her”.

Once the words were complete, McCartney recorded his lead vocals. As with the previous session, this was done with the tape machine running slower – at 46.5 cycles per second rather than the usual 50 – raising the pitch and speed upon playback.

Beat Monthly reported that David Crosby assisted with the vocals, but these cannot be heard on the final version.

At the end of the session two reduction mixes was made to free up space on the tape. These were numbered takes 10 and 11, the latter of which was used for further overdubs on 7 March 1967.

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