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

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

Following three abortive days of work on ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’, The Beatles started afresh with a remake during this session.

The group recorded 12 takes of the backing track, with Paul McCartney on distorted bass guitar, John Lennon on piano, George Harrison playing an acoustic guitar, and Ringo Starr on drums. Each instrument was recorded onto a separate track on the tape.

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

The song’s distinctive piano introduction came about during this session, after Lennon grew frustrated with playing the song.

After about four or five nights doing ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ John Lennon came to the session really stoned, totally out of it on something or other, and he said ‘Alright, we’re gonna do ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’.’ He went straight to the piano and smashed the keys with an almighty amount of volume, twice the speed of how they’d done it before, and said ‘This is it! Come on!’ He was really aggravated. That was the version they ended up using.
Geoff Emerick
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

A reduction mix, numbered take 13, put all the instruments onto track one of the tape. Initial lead and backing vocals were then overdubbed onto tracks three and four, and maracas and bongos were added to track two.

An unnumbered rough mono mix was created at the end of the session. This was taken away by McCartney to be reviewed, although the next day’s session began with yet another remake. However, they later returned to this night’s take 13, which became the basis for the album version.

Paul McCartney's handwritten lyrics for Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

Last updated: 26 June 2023
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