Recording: Back In The USSR

7.00pm, Thursday 22 August 1968 (45 years ago)

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Ken Scott

This session, which lasted from 7pm to 4.45am, was most notable for being the day that Ringo Starr quit The Beatles. This took place during rehearsals for the White Album song Back In The USSR.

I remember Ringo being uptight about something, I don’t remember what, and the next thing I was told was that he’d quit the band. But work continued. They did Back In The USSR with what I seem to recall was a composite drum track of bits and pieces, possibly with all of the other three playing drums. Within a few days the differences had been sorted out and Ringo came back. Mal Evans completely decorated studio two with flowers, they were all over his drum kit, ‘Welcome Back Ringo’.
Ken Scott
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

The remaining Beatles opted to continue with the session, recording five takes of the song’s backing track. Paul McCartney played drums, John Lennon was on six-string bass guitar, and George Harrison played electric guitar.

Lennon’s bass part was erased the following day, during a session which also saw the song completed with further overdubs onto take five.

At the end of this session a copy of the mono master version of Baby, You’re A Rich Man was made for George Martin to take away. Its purpose is unknown.

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