Recording: Lady Madonna, Across The Universe

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

The Beatles began recording their first single of 1968, ‘Lady Madonna’, during two sessions on this day, from 2.30-6pm and 7pm-1.30am.

The group was keen to prepare music to be issued during their imminent two-month stay in India, where they were to study Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Lady Madonna single artwork - France

Three takes of the rhythm track were recorded in the afternoon session, with Paul McCartney on piano and Ringo Starr playing drums with brushes. In the evening a range of overdubs were added to take three: Rickenbacker bass guitar by McCartney, more drums by Starr, and fuzz guitars by John Lennon and George Harrison both fed through the same amplifier. These overdubs were recorded onto tracks two and three of the four-track tape.

McCartney then recorded the first of two lead vocal tracks, with harmony backing by Lennon and Harrison, onto track four. At the beginning of the overdub Harrison and Starr were captured munching on a bag of crisps.

John Lennon’s nomination for the single was ‘Across The Universe’, although it was to remain unreleased until the following year. During the late session this evening, two takes of the song were recorded. The second of these was given overdubs and phasing effects, and was released on 1996’s Anthology 2.

Paul McCartney's handwritten lyrics for Lady Madonna

Last updated: 23 June 2023
Ringo Starr rehearses for Cilla Black's television show
Recording: Across The Universe
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