Recording: Getting Better

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Malcolm Addey, Ken Townsend

The Beatles began recording a new Sgt Pepper song during this session: Getting Better.

The group recorded the song’s rhythm track in seven takes. Paul McCartney‘s rhythm guitar and Ringo Starr‘s drums went onto track one of the tape, and McCartney’s guide vocals were on the second. George Martin hit the strings of an electric keyboard called a pianette on track three, and Starr added more drums to the fourth.

The tape was then subjected to a reduction mix to free up more space. This took five attempts, numbered takes 8-12, with the guide vocals omitted.

This was one of the few Sgt Pepper sessions in which Geoff Emerick did not work as the studio balance engineer. He and tape operator Richard Lush were given the night off, and were replaced by two other EMI staffers, Malcolm Addey assisted by Ken Townsend.

Geoff had been doing a lot of late-night work and was getting very tired. I remember the session was booked to begin at 7pm but there was barely a Beatle in sight before midnight, and we were sitting around waiting. They eventually straggled in one by one. Ringo came in about 11 and ordered fish and chips. The others arrived later, they all hung around and finally started work at about one in the morning. The ego trip of the big-time artists had started to set in.
Malcolm Addey
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

The session ended at 3.30am on the morning of 10 March 1967. Work continued on Getting Better on the evenings of 10, 21 and 23 March.

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