Recording: Piggies, Glass Onion

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: Chris Thomas
Engineer: Ken Scott

The day after they recorded the backing track for ‘Piggies’, the song was completed aside from the string octet, which was added on 10 October 1968.

The four-track recording from 19 September was first transferred to an eight-track machine, and became take 12 in the process. The first overdub in this 7-11pm session was of George Harrison’s lead vocals.

Harrison was joined by John Lennon and Paul McCartney in the final verse. During the bridge, Harrison’s vocals were heavily limited to make it sound as though he was pinching his nose.

George Harrison's handwritten lyrics for Piggies

We fed the microphone signal through a very sharp echo chamber filter, an RS106, so that it chopped off everything above and below the 3.5 kilohertz level, creating a very narrow band of sound.
Ken Townsend, technical engineer
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

In the control room of Studio Two, John Lennon also assembled a tape loop of pigs grunting. This came from an archive tape in the Abbey Road library titled Animals and Bees, and was taken from an EMI 78rpm record. It is likely that the effects were added when ‘Piggies’ was mixed in mono and stereo on 11 October 1968.

Also during this session, a sound effects tape was assembled for use in ‘Glass Onion’. This was recorded on a four track machine: on track one was a telephone ringing; track two had a single organ note; three featured BBC football commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme shouting “It’s a goal!”; and track four featured the sound of a window being smashed.

The tape lasted for 2’35”, but was identical throughout. It was added to the song on 26 September, but was replaced with a string overdub on 10 October. It can, however, be heard on the Anthology 3 album.

Last updated: 26 June 2023
Recording: Piggies
Recording: Happiness Is A Warm Gun
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