Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith
The Beatles’ second recording session of 1965 involved work on two songs for the Help! album, plus the completion of ‘Yes It Is’, the b-side of the ‘Ticket To Ride’ single.
In the morning The Beatles and Brian Epstein visited EMI’s headquarters in Manchester Square, London, where company chairman Sir Joseph Lockwood presented them with awards, gold discs and gifts from around the world. Among them was the Carl Alan Award, given to the Best Group of 1964, and a set of traditional Japanese dolls from EMI’s Japanese arm.
Two recording sessions took place in the afternoon and evening, both in Abbey Road’s Studio Two. The first lasted from 2.30-5pm, and began with overdubs onto George Harrison’s song ‘I Need You’.
The song’s backing track had been recorded the previous day. During this session, track four – containing vocals by Harrison and Paul McCartney, and cowbell by Ringo Starr – was wiped, and Harrison added a new lead vocal part, with harmonies from McCartney and John Lennon.
Harrison’s guide vocals on track two were replaced with more vocals from Lennon and McCartney, as well as cowbell by Starr and Harrison’s Rickenbacker 12-string guitar, the latter played using a volume foot pedal. The effect was used again for ‘Yes It Is’ during the same recording session.
I could never coordinate it. So some of those, what we do is, I played the part, and John would kneel down in front of me and turn my guitar’s volume control.
As with ‘I Need You’, the basic track for McCartney’s ‘Another Girl’ had been recorded on the previous day and was completed during this session. McCartney overdubbed a solo guitar part onto track two of the multitrack tape. This also had the previous day’s rhythm guitar parts – Lennon on Fender electric and Harrison on Gibson acoustic – and it appears that those parts needed to be performed again during the solo.
Between 7 and 10pm The Beatles recorded ‘Yes It Is’, written by John Lennon as an attempt to replicate the success of ‘This Boy’. The Beatles recorded 14 takes of the rhythm track, after which Lennon, McCartney and Harrison overdubbed their vocal parts simultaneously.
Also added, at the same time as the vocals, were rimshots by Starr and a pedal-controlled guitar part by Harrison.
Also on this day...
- 1972: Wings live: Town Hall, Leeds
- 1968: John Lennon and George Harrison arrive in Rishikesh
- 1967: Recording, mixing: Good Morning Good Morning
- 1964: The Beatles’ second Ed Sullivan Show
- 1963: Live: Carfax Assembly Rooms, Oxford
- 1962: Live: Tower Ballroom, New Brighton, Wallasey
- 1962: Live: Technical College Hall, Birkenhead
- 1961: Live: Litherland Town Hall, Liverpool
- 1961: Live: Cassanova Club, Liverpool
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.
George was wrong when he said that he couldn’t coordinate the volume pedal – if you listen to outtakes on YouTube, he is clearly playing on the basic track and coordinating the volume pedal on his guitar without any problems. Again, he may have been referring to the “Baby’s in Black” session when he didn’t have a volume pedal and so John had to control the volume knobs while he played the notes.
George Martin’s session notes prove that George did in fact play guitar on the basic track to “Yes it Is”.
If one looks at George Martin’s handwritten paperwork, when Paul recorded his lead guitar parts, George was occupied with acoustic guitar and John was on electric guitar, so this was practically the only time that Paul ever “replaced” George on lead guitar except for “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road?”; besides, George and Paul played the double guitar solo on “The Night Before”, so it was really generous of Paul to compromise with George.
For purposes of clarification, I’m not referring to songs where both George and Paul collaborated on twin lead guitars alongside John on rhythm guitar, Ringo on drums and obviously Paul on bass, played either on the basic track or overdubbed.
Even if George’s edit pieces weren’t used on “Another Girl”, I don’t think he was particularly hurt, because he obviously had something else on this mind that day – his new volume pedal.
Contrary to Norman Smith’s recollections of the “Rubber Soul” sessions about John and Paul clashing and Paul thinking George could do no right and Geoff Emerick and Peter Brown in their infamous books, there is no evidence from studio paperwork to suggest that Paul would capriciously and arbitrarily replace George’s lead guitar parts, including solos, with his own, let alone Ringo’s drumming.