Recording: Oh! Darling, Octopus’s Garden

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: Chris Thomas/The Beatles
Engineer: Jeff Jarratt

The Beatles began work on Ringo Starr’s second-recorded composition, ‘Octopus’s Garden’, taping 32 takes of the basic rhythm track.

Ringo Starr's lyrics for Octopus's Garden

Before they began, however, Paul McCartney made his first attempt to record a lead vocal for ‘Oh! Darling’. McCartney first erased the Hammond organ part recorded on 20 April 1969.

He then overdubbed his lead vocals onto take 26, plus a second take in a falsetto voice. He then recorded two harmony vocal takes, mainly in the final verse. McCartney would re-record his vocals a number of times on subsequent days before being satisfied.

For ‘Octopus’s Garden’, McCartney played bass guitar, Starr drummed and sang a guide vocal, and John Lennon and George Harrison were on guitars, with Harrison’s guitar put through a Leslie speaker. Thirty-two takes were recorded; the second was included on 1996’s Anthology 3, along with Starr’s dry comment “Well that was superb” which followed take 8.

The eight-track tape had Paul McCartney’s bass guitar on track one; Starr’s drums on two; Harrison’s lead guitar on three; Lennon’s finger-picked rhythm guitar on four; and Starr’s guide vocals on eight.

The session began at 4.30pm and finished at 4.15am the following morning.

Last updated: 6 July 2022
Mixing: John And Yoko
Recording: John And Yoko
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