Recording, mixing, editing: I Am The Walrus, Flying

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Ken Scott

Two songs for the Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack were worked on during this session: ‘I Am The Walrus’ and ‘Flying’.

Before The Beatles arrived, however, copies were made of the songs ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ and ‘Flying’ for the Magical Mystery Tour producer Denis O’Dell. This took place from 4-5.30pm in the control room of Studio Two.

George Martin then turned his attention to ‘I Am The Walrus’. All four tracks on the tape were full after the backing vocals were recorded during the previous day’s session. Furthermore, the rhythm guitar, bass and lead vocals were all on the same track due to reduction mixes made on that day, the last being labelled take 25.

The Beatles filming I Am The Walrus for Magical Mystery Tour, September 1967

To allow greater flexibility, George Martin went back to the earlier take 17, which had a spare track, and dubbed the orchestral and choral overdubs onto it. All subsequent mixing was done from this take.

The Beatles were present for the evening session, which began at 7pm and ended at 3am. It began with four mono mixes, numbered 2-5, of ‘I Am The Walrus’. The second was considered best for the time being, although it was replaced the following evening.

‘Flying’, which at this stage still had the working title ‘Aerial Tour Instrumental’, was then given more overdubs. Ringo Starr played maracas, George Harrison added an acoustic guitar part, and John Lennon played the Mellotron on the flute setting.

Lennon and Starr also prepared some tape loops containing Mellotron, organ and chimes, to replace the previous Dixieland ending. These were added in five separate overdubs: the first lasted from 1’24” until 2’48”, and was played backwards; the second ran from 2’51” to 5’14”; the third appeared from 5’25” to 6’09”; tape four was played backwards from 6’16” to 7’01”; and the final one, also played backwards, lasted from 7’06 to 9’35”.

These were likely assembled as incidental music to be used throughout the film, rather than as a part of ‘Flying’; the final mix fades before the first tape had ended. At the end of the session two mono mixes were made of ‘Flying’, numbered five and six, the latter of which was selected for the soundtrack release.

Last updated: 15 July 2022
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