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Recording, mixing: I Want You (She’s So Heavy), Oh! Darling

Studio Three, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: Chris Thomas
Engineer: Jeff Jarratt

Work continued on John Lennon’s ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ during this 7pm-12.45am session, which also saw the recording of the backing track for ‘Oh! Darling’.

At the end of the 18 April 1969 session, I Want You (She’s So Heavy) had been given a reduction mix to allow for further overdubs. The backing track was in place, as were massed electric guitar arpeggios played by Lennon and George Harrison.

During this session congas and Hammond organ were added to track six of the tape. The organ was played by Billy Preston.

Following these overdubs the song was considered complete, although white noise and further percussion were added on 8 August.

The Beatles – or Paul McCartney alone – had performed ‘Oh! Darling’ on numerous dates of the Get Back/Let It Be sessions: on 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 22, 23, 27, and 31 January 1969. This, however, was the first day the group attempted a proper studio recording.

They taped 26 takes of the backing track, which was recorded live with McCartney on piano and guide vocals, Lennon on guitar, Harrison playing bass guitar, and Ringo Starr on drums. The last of these takes was considered the best.

The eight-track tape had George Harrison’s bass guitar on track one; Ringo Starr’s drums on two; Billy Preston’s organ on three; Paul McCartney’s piano on four; John Lennon’s guitar on five; and McCartney’s guide vocals on six. Preston only played on some of the takes.

Take seven from this date was a cover version of ‘The Games People Play’ by Joe South, a contemporary hit. The Beatles’ version was led by Lennon.

At the end of the session a first stereo mix was made, although it was never used. At this stage, ‘Oh! Darling’ was known under the working title ‘Oh! Darling (I’ll Never Do You No Harm)’. Conversely, ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ had the simpler title ‘I Want You’.

Last updated: 6 July 2022
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