Studio One, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick
Following the death of Brian Epstein on 27 August 1967, The Beatles regrouped at Paul McCartney’s London home on 1 September 1967, where the decision was made to continue work on the Magical Mystery Tour project.
Four days later they began work on one of the soundtrack’s highlights, John Lennon’s surrealist masterpiece ‘I Am The Walrus’. Sixteen takes of the rhythm track were recorded during this session, which began at 7pm and ended at 1am the following morning.
Lennon played a pianet electric piano, McCartney played bass on the initial takes and later switched to tambourine, while George Harrison was on electric guitar and Ringo Starr played drums. Lennon also sang a guide vocal to help the band follow the song.
At this stage there was an extra bar prior to the “Yellow matter custard” verse, which caused the group some problems when performing. They were supposed to play a C major seventh chord during the bar as a transition back to the verse, as heard on Anthology 2, but had trouble remembering the change. The bar was eventually removed during the editing stage.
Eventually The Beatles recorded a satisfactory version – take 16 – which was given further overdubs on the following day. Take 16 featured tambourine on track one, electric guitar on track two, drums on three, and pianet on four.
Also on this day...
- 2018: Ringo Starr live: Stephens Auditorium, Ames, Iowa
- 1975: UK single release: Letting Go by Wings
- 1968: Recording: While My Guitar Gently Weeps
- 1966: John Lennon flies to Hanover, Germany
- 1964: Live: International Amphitheatre, Chicago
- 1963: Live: Gaumont Cinema, Taunton
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
- 1961: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1960: Live: Indra Club, Hamburg
- 1959: Live: Casbah Coffee Club, Liverpool
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.
That extra measure before the “Yellow Matter Custard” line, was on the 45 version, and I always wondered why that was subsequently edited out. After hearing the “Anthology” version (Take 16), you can plainly hear John coming in too early with that line “Yellow ma…ooh hoo hoo?”, then sings it where it belongs not missing a beat, knowing it will edited out.
I believe this to be the reason for that extra measures existence and subsequent removal as it was never intended to be there in the first place.