While producing sessions for Jackie Lomax’s debut album Is This What You Want in Los Angeles, George Harrison was introduced to synthesizer player Bernie Krause.
Harrison met Krause on 11 November 1968. Krause had been hired to perform his Moog III on five of Lomax’s songs at Sound Records Studio in Los Angeles.
Harrison was intrigued by the early synthesizer, and after the session ended asked him to demonstrated its range of sounds. Krause duly remained in the studio with Harrison into the early hours of 12 November.
Krause’s demonstration was recorded, and was later edited down to a 25-minute piece featuring two tracks of Moog sounds. The recording was subsequently released by Harrison as ‘No Time Or Space’ on his second solo album Electronic Sound.
We did the [Lomax] session, it was very normal, and we finished in the wee hours of the next morning. Harrison asked me to stick around and show him some more things on the synthesizer. Paul [Beaver] and I were just preparing some new material for our second Warner Brothers album, and I was showing Harrison some of the patches and ways in which we were thinking of doing our work. What I didn’t realise, because it was late and I was tired and I wasn’t paying attention, was that he had asked the engineer to record the session that I was demonstrating. I didn’t think anything of it at the time.
Behind The Locked Door, Graeme Thomson
Krause demanded that his name be taken off the record, claiming that the recording was made without his knowledge or consent, and was issued without due acknowledgement. His name had originally featured on the cover of Electronic Sound, but was painted over at Krause’s insistence. The album did, however, carry the words “Assisted by Bernie Krause”.
I wrote to Apple and said, ‘Take my name off it, I don’t want to be on it.’ I wasn’t litigious, I just let it go, but it was my stuff. It’s an incredible story, but it’s incredible too about [him plagiarising] ‘My Sweet Lord’ – and Randy Newman has stories too. I had no control over any of it. I didn’t know it was being recorded, I didn’t want it out, and I felt very badly that he had to do that. I guess spirituality comes to different people in different ways. An expression of his seemed to be, ‘Trust me, I’m a Beatle’.
Behind The Locked Door, Graeme Thomson
Also on this day...
- 2014: Paul McCartney live: HSBC Arena, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- 2013: Paul McCartney live: Kyocera Dome, Osaka, Japan
- 2012: UK release: The Beatles’ stereo vinyl box set
- 2008: Eleanor Rigby signature to be auctioned
- 2001: UK album release: Driving Rain by Paul McCartney
- 1973: US single release: Helen Wheels by Wings
- 1966: Paul McCartney meets Mal Evans in Bordeaux, France
- 1963: Television: Day By Day, South Today
- 1962: Live: Star-Club, Hamburg
- 1961: Live: Hambleton Hall, Liverpool
- 1960: Live: Kaiserkeller, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.
Joe, it’s bothered me for years how this page doesn’t report the situation very accurately or fairly, in that it takes Krause’s complaints as fact and as the only viewpoint to consider (which, I know, is what Graeme Thomson does also). The first thing is, Krause’s credit on the cover was not “painted over at Harrison’s assistance [insistence?]”. It was done so at *Krause’s* insistence, further to what’s written in the previous sentence here (and according to, say, page 446 of Thomas Holmes’ 2012 book Electronic and Experimental Music).
Also, nowhere here does it state that Krause and Beaver were Moog *salesmen*. They were the first US West Coast representatives for Robert Moog’s company. As much as Krause portrays himself as a composer/artist in this episode, it’s his role as a sales rep and technician that Harrison was engaging with: Harrison (the customer) figured he’d got a demonstration tape of noise and Moog doodling from the sales rep. Krause’s various accounts always downplay this. From books about the growth of the Moog and electronic music, it’s clear that Krause and Beaver supplied education courses in the Moog system (in California) where customers learnt how to use the beast; in Krause’s complaints about being summoned to the UK in early ’69, though, he completely omits to acknowledge that Harrison, like any European customer, was entitled to some sort of support network. (Mick Jagger, for instance, had got one of the very first Moogs in the UK, in late ’68, and the company sent a member of staff there to give him a week of tuition.)
And Krause’s description doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny on other fronts. Over the years, he seems to have become more and more emotional about this, and his version of events becomes more and more self-serving. I’ve no doubt that, as Thomson says, there was a major case of Beatle self-entitlement on George’s part, but Krause’s relentlessly bitter account of their interactions in LA and then the UK defies belief, at least compared with recollections that people like Hal Blaine, Robbie Robertson and Jackie Lomax have of dealing with George on that US trip. Krause has also long complained about how the Deep Note sound logo used by George Lucas/THK was stolen from Beaver & Krause; he does paint himself to be 100% the victim (and actually, for years, would attempt to rewrite pages on Wikipedia to reflect his claims as fact, with regard to Deep Note, “No Time or Space”, etc). He may well be right about Deep Note (although its creator credited the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” as his inspiration), and he has my sympathy on that, as he does with the Electronic Sound episode to an extent. But a) Harrison appropriated a recording of a sound demonstration, first and foremost; it’s just that Krause fails to contextualise events with the important detail that he was a Moog salesman. And b) it’s ridiculous that Krause (and then Thomson) compares this with the My Sweet Lord/He’s So Fine saga – Krause was fully credited with Harrison on the cover, originally, and in fact the green-faced figure in George’s cover painting is Bernie at work with the crazy Moog monster. Krause was never *not* going to receive some financial benefit either – basically, there was no financial benefit. If the album’s no. 191 US chart peak made any money at all, that was swallowed up surely by the cost of running Zapple, eg Miles’ office space in New York. In Krause’s account, though, he makes Electronic Sound out to be a major Harrison solo album on Apple Records. Strictly speaking, you could say it was, but he elevates the record’s significance out of all proportion. As we know, Zapple was about “disposable”, “paperback” records – avant-garde noise and spoken works; “guerrilla recording”, I think someone called it.
I think it’s disappointing that Beatles Bible presents such a narrow version of events and one dictated by one voice. I’m not saying the episode should be whitewashed over at all, just that some context be introduced, and a modicum of scrutiny be applied to Bernie Krause’s account, which over the decades before Thomson spoke to him, has become inconsistent and self-contradictory anyway. Writing in the early 2000s, Alan Clayson (hardly the most sentimental or Harrison-apologist of biographers) and Bill Harry don’t give him the time of day. I think it’s Harry who comments that, given how in demand Krause was in the LA and San Fran music scenes and how many Moogs he and Beaver sold, why didn’t Krause launch legal proceedings? Those machines cost a fortune. In Krause’s narrative, he was small fry and couldn’t possibly take on the supposed might of the Beatles. But that’s pretty unconvincing: earlier in the ‘60s, Epstein buckled at the slightest hint of a scandal, eg dishing out money to silence accusations of the Beatles’ fathering children with fans/friends in Hamburg; the copyright holders’ of Glenn Miller’s arrangement of “In the Mood” successfully chased down royalties for “All You Need Is Love”; Jimmy Scott went public with his claim about McCartney stealing his on-stage catchcry for the chorus of “Ob-La-Di”, and an agreement was reached whereby McCartney or Apple bailed out Scott financially from a separate legal entanglement.