Recording: Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

This session, which took place from 5pm-1.30am, was an eventful one which saw numerous overdubs added to ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’.

Between 6pm and 10.30pm three saxophones and a set of bongos were added to the song. The saxophonists were James Gray, Rex Morris and Cyril Reuben, while the percussionist was Jimmy Scott – whose pet phrase Paul McCartney had used for the song’s title.

Scott’s full name was Jimmy Anonmuogharan Scott Emuakpor. The phrase ‘Ob-la-di, ob-la-da’ was said to be a Urhobo colloquialism meaning ‘Life goes on’, but was actually just a family phrase.

Additional percussion – maracas, marimba and claves – were also added, from the second chorus onwards. These were recorded onto track three along with the saxophone and bongos.

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da single artwork – Israel

Between 10.30pm and 11.45pm a piccolo was overdubbed onto track two, although this was subsequently wiped and replaced by a guitar part played by McCartney. The guitar was added towards the end of the session, and was distorted to make it sound like a bass guitar.

McCartney took away a rough mono mix of Ob-La-Di at the end of the session. After reviewing it over the weekend, he decided the song required a remake, which was begun on Monday 8 July 1968. It was, however, released on 1996’s Anthology 3.

Recording: Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
The Beatles attend a press screening of Yellow Submarine
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  1. mamawouldbeproud Saturday 5 July 2014

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