Studio Three, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick
The second song to be recorded for the White Album was Ringo Starr’s first published composition, ‘Don’t Pass Me By’.
It was initially taped as ‘Ringo’s Tune (Untitled)’, although by the next day it had been given another working title, ‘This Is Some Friendly’. This, despite it having been mentioned as far back as 1963 that Starr was working on a song titled ‘Don’t Pass My By’, which Paul McCartney even sang a snippet of during a radio interview.
The Beatles recorded three takes of the backing track on this day, with Starr on piano and McCartney on drums. Starr’s piano was fed through a revolving Leslie speaker, giving it a wobbly effect.
At the end of the third attempt McCartney exclaimed “I think that’s got it!”, followed by Starr’s call to the control room, “I think we’ve got something there, George!”
More drums, a sleigh bell and a cowbell were then overdubbed onto take three, after which a reduction mix was called for. This was done in two attempts (takes four and five), the second of which was judged to be better. Starr then overdubbed his first attempt at a lead vocal, with the machine running slightly slower – 46 cycles per second rather than the usual 50 – to raise the pitch and tempo upon playback.
McCartney recorded two separate bass guitar parts. The session ended at 1.30am, but not before another reduction mix – take six – was made. This was later discarded, however, and work continued on ‘Don’t Pass Me By’ the following day, with more overdubs added to take five.
Also on this day...
- 2020: Paul McCartney voices support for Black Lives Matter protests
- 2015: Paul McCartney live: Nouveau Stade Vélodrome, Marseille, France
- 2007: US album release: Memory Almost Full by Paul McCartney
- 1989: UK album release: Flowers In The Dirt by Paul McCartney
- 1981: UK album release: Somewhere In England by George Harrison
- 1964: Television: Treslong, Hillegom, Netherlands
- 1963: Live: Odeon Cinema, Leeds
- 1962: Travel: Liverpool to London
- 1961: Live: Top Ten Club, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.
Paul played the drums (Kevin Howlett: Track by Track; White Album 50th anniversary box set). And it really sounds like Paul (unlike the drums in Old Brown Shoe). It’s hard to ignore this new important source.