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 A major.
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.
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.
Also on this day...
- 2012: Paul McCartney live at Rexall Place, Edmonton, Canada
- 1974: John Lennon joins Elton John onstage at Madison Square Garden, New York
- 1969: Recording, mixing: Blue Turning Grey Over You, Stardust by Ringo Starr
- 1968: John Lennon pleads guilty to cannabis possession
- 1967: Recording, mixing: Christmas Time (Is Here Again)
- 1964: John Lennon is interviewed for New Musical Express and BBC
- 1963: Live: ABC Cinema, Lincoln
- 1962: Live: 527 Club, Lewis’s, Liverpool
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
- 1961: Live: Merseyside Civil Service Club, Liverpool
- 1960: Live: Kaiserkeller, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.