Recording: In My Life, Nowhere Man

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Stuart Eltham, Norman Smith

There were three separate recording sessions booked at Abbey Road’s Studio Two on this day. The first took place from 10.30-11.30am, and saw George Martin record the baroque-style piano overdub onto ‘In My Life’.

John Lennon's handwritten lyrics for In My Life

‘In My Life’ is one of my favourite songs because it is so much John. A super track and such a simple song. There’s a bit where John couldn’t decide what to do in the middle and, while they were having their tea break, I put down a baroque piano solo which John didn’t hear until he came back. What I wanted was too intricate for me to do live, so I did it with a half-speed piano, then sped it up, and he liked it.
George Martin

Martin initially tried a Hammond organ solo, but was unhappy with the results. He then attempted to play a part on a piano, but had difficulty playing the complex solo in time. Eventually he instructed engineer Stuart Eltham to slow down the tape to half speed, and played the solo an octave lower, so upon playback it gave the desired effect.

The afternoon session took place from 2.30-7pm. The Beatles continued work on ‘Nowhere Man’, which they had begun the night before. Three more takes, numbered 3-5, were recorded, before overdubs were added during the evening session.

The rhythm track consisted of Paul McCartney’s bass, Ringo Starr’s drums, and John Lennon’s Gibson Jumbo acoustic guitar.

The three remaining tracks of the four-track tapes were filled during a 7-11pm session. Lennon, McCartney and George Harrison double-tracked their three-part vocals, with Lennon taking the lead, onto tracks two and three. The song was complete with electric guitar parts played simultaneously by Lennon and Harrison on Fender Stratocasters.

John Lennon's handwritten lyrics for Nowhere Man

Last updated: 26 June 2023
Recording: Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown), Nowhere Man
Recording: I'm Looking Through You
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