Recording: Cry Baby Cry

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

Following a six-hour rehearsal session on 15 July 1968, The Beatles began proper recordings of ‘Cry Baby Cry’ on this day.

The day was divided into two separate sessions, both held in Abbey Road’s Studio Two. The first took place from 4-9pm, and the second from 10pm to 2am.

The group recorded 10 takes of the song, with John Lennon on acoustic guitar and vocals, Paul McCartney playing bass guitar, and Ringo Starr on drums. Take one was released on 1996’s Anthology 3.

Two reduction mixes of take 10 combined the instruments but kept Lennon’s vocals only in the chorus. These mixes were numbered takes 11 and 12, and the latter became the basis for further overdubs.

During the second session Lennon recorded a piano part and George Martin added harmonium, both on the same track. The fourth track of the tape would be filled on 18 July 1968.

The Beatles (White Album) label, side 4

As a sidenote, this was balance engineer Geoff Emerick’s final session with The Beatles until April 1969, excepting a sole stereo mixing session at the end of October 1968. Emerick had grown tired of the The Beatles’ arguments while recording the White Album, and handed in his notice at the end of the session after walking out of the studio.

I lost interest in the White Album because they were really arguing amongst themselves and swearing at each other. The expletives were really flying. There was one instance just before I left when they were doing ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ for the umpteenth time. Paul was re-recording the vocal again and George Martin made some remark about how he should be lilting onto the half-beat or whatever and Paul, in no refined way, said something to the effect of ‘Well you come down and sing it’. I said to George [Martin] ‘Look, I’ve had enough. I want to leave. I don’t want to know any more.’ George said ‘Well, leave at the end of the week’ – I think it was a Monday or Tuesday – but I said ‘No, I want to leave now, this very minute’. And that was it.

I went down to the studio to explain it to the group and John said ‘Look, we’re not moaning and getting uptight about you, we’re complaining about EMI. Look at this place, Studio Two, all we’ve seen is bricks for the past year. Why can’t they decorate it?’ Admittedly the studio did need smartening up a little bit but I knew this was just an outlet for a bigger problem. They were falling apart.

Geoff Emerick
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn
Last updated: 6 July 2022
Recording, mixing: Revolution, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Cry Baby Cry
World première of Yellow Submarine
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