Recording: Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

5.00pm, Friday 5 July 1968 (45 years ago)

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

This session, which took place from 5pm-1.30am, was an eventful one which saw numerous overdubs added to Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.


Between 6pm and 10.30pm three saxophones and a set of bongos were added to the song. The saxophonists were James Gray, Rex Morris and Cyril Reuben, while the percussionist was Jimmy Scott – whose pet phrase Paul McCartney had used for the song’s title. Scott’s full name was Jimmy Anonmuogharan Scott Emuakpor, and the phrase ‘Ob-la-di, ob-la-da was a Yoruba colloquialism meaning ‘Life goes on’.

Additional percussion – maracas, marimba and claves – were also added, from the second chorus onwards. These were recorded onto track three along with the saxophone and bongos.

Between 10.30pm and 11.45pm a piccolo was overdubbed onto track two, although this was subsequently wiped and replaced by a guitar part played by McCartney. The guitar was added towards the end of the session, and was distorted to make it sound like a bass guitar.

McCartney took away a rough mono mix of Ob-La-Di at the end of the session. After reviewing it over the weekend, he decided the song required a remake, which was begun on Monday 8 July 1968. It was, however, released on 1996′s Anthology 3.

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