Recording: Across The Universe

Studio Three, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Ken Scott, Martin Benge

Work continued on John Lennon's song Across The Universe during two sessions on this day, which took place in Abbey Road's Studio Three from 2.30-5.30pm and 8pm-2am.

Two takes of the song had been recorded on the previous day. During this day's first session they recorded a further four, numbered 4-7; there was no take three. The basic track had Lennon on acoustic guitar, George Harrison playing a tambura, and Ringo Starr on drums.

During the evening session overdubs were added onto take seven. Lennon recorded his lead vocals, with the tape running slower than usual to raise its pitch upon playback. Paul McCartney then decided to invite two young women - Apple Scruffs, as George Harrison later dubbed them - from outside the studio to sing on the track.

The women were 16-year-old Lizzie Bravo and 17-year-old Gayleen Pease. They sang the "Nothing's gonna change my world" refrain a number of times onto the fourth track of the tape, before being escorted back outside.

They were so excited. They couldn't believe they'd actually been invited by Paul not just inside the building but into the studio itself, to sing with The Beatles.
Martin Benge, balance engineer
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

A reduction mix known as take eight was then made to allow more overdubs to be added. Backwards drums and bass guitar were then added onto track four.

Towards the end of the session three separate effects tapes were prepared. Two of these were of guitar and harp, which were intended to be played backwards, and the third contained four tracks of humming lasting 15 seconds, and was known as Hums Wild.

A rough mono mix was also made during this session for John Lennon to take home. This didn't include the backwards bass and drums, although the three tape loops were used.

Also on this day...

Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.

Leave a reply