Recording, mixing: Strawberry Fields Forever

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

The Beatles recorded three more takes of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ during this second session for the song. The takes were numbered 2-4, and the studio time lasted from 7pm-1.30am.

The song was arranged slightly differently – whereas take one had begun with the first verse, this time it started with a Mellotron introduction followed by the chorus. The key was also changed from C to B flat.

John Lennon's handwritten lyrics for Strawberry Fields Forever

The line-up on take two was the same as in the previous session: Paul McCartney on Mellotron and bass guitar, John Lennon and George Harrison on electric guitars, and Ringo Starr on drums – this time with the addition of maracas.

Take two was largely complete, despite some guitar errors during the second chorus. It ended after the final chorus, and so missed the extended coda of the later versions.

Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever single artwork - Brazil

Take three broke down during the introduction, after Lennon complained that the Mellotron was too loud. The fourth take was complete, however, and featured Mellotron, drums and maracas on track one; Lennon’s electric guitar on track two; McCartney’s bass guitar on three, along with Harrison’s Morse code-style notes played on the Mellotron’s guitar setting; and Lennon’s lead vocals on track four. The vocals were recorded with the tape running faster than normal, so it was slower upon playback.

Take four was marked ‘best’, albeit temporarily. Three rough mono mixes were then made for reference purposes, but after further reflection, The Beatles decided to re-record the rhythm track on the following day.

Take four of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ can be heard on the 2017 super deluxe box set edition of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Last updated: 22 June 2023
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Recording, mixing: Strawberry Fields Forever
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