Mixing, recording: While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Long Long Long

2.30pm, Monday 7 October 1968 (45 years ago)

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

This lengthy recording session, lasting from 2.30pm until 7am the following morning, saw mono and stereo mixes made of George Harrison‘s While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and the recording of the backing track for Long, Long, Long, another Harrisong on the White Album.

>The day began with copies made of the mono and stereo mixes of Honey Pie and Martha My Dear which had been created at Trident Studios on 5 October 1968. This was so the equalisation system used at EMI, known as CCIR, could be applied to the final masters.

A single stereo mix of While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and two mono ones, were then made. These remained unused, however, as the mixes were redone on 14 October 1968.

John Lennon was absent during this session, and so didn’t perform on Long Long Long. The other three recorded 62 takes of the song onto four separate tape reels, before reusing the first reel for takes 63-67.

The last of these was considered best, and featured Harrison on acoustic guitar and vocals, Paul McCartney playing organ, and Ringo Starr on drums. During this session the song had the working title It’s Been A Long Long Long Time.

During the session, The Beatles discovered that one particular organ note made a bottle of Blue Nun wine rattle on a speaker in the studio. Keen to capitalise on the effect, they overdubbed it onto Long Long Long.

There’s a sound near the end of the song which is a bottle of Blue Nun wine rattling away on the top of a Leslie speaker cabinet. It just happened. Paul hit a certain organ note and the bottle started vibrating. We thought it was so good that we set the mikes up and did it again. The Beatles always took advantage of accidents.
Chris Thomas
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

To increase the effect, Starr added some scattershot drumming on his snare, while Harrison added wailing vocals and played some extra acoustic guitar chords.

Leave a reply