McCartney had been arriving at the studio early each day for several mid-July 1969 sessions, in an attempt to capture a suitably raw take. He taped just one performance on each day before setting Oh! Darling aside for another day. On this afternoon, however, the final attempt was recorded.
The Beatles began by rehearsing the song a number of times, before recording seven takes of the backing track. The best, take seven, was 1’20” long, but was later extended by editing and repeating part of the section which later contained the sparring guitar solos.
After take seven, the tape contains outtakes numbered 23-33. These were likely to have been rehearsals, the early ones of which were recorded over with the proper takes.
Ringo Starr’s drums were recorded on tracks one and two of the eight-track tape, which later allowed them to be mixed in stereo; John Lennon’s rhythm guitar was on track three; George Harrison’s guitar was on four; and Paul McCartney’s bass guitar was on five.
The recording of Ending ended at the point where the piano later entered; the final words and orchestral finale were recorded later. Take three from this first session can be heard on some formats of the 50th anniversary reissue of Abbey Road.
The day ended with an hour-long playback of songs recorded so far, held in the control room of Studio Two.
Also on this day...
- 2018: Paul McCartney live at Abbey Road Studios, London
- 2013: Paul McCartney live at Plains of Abraham, Quebec City, Canada
- 1968: Recording, mixing: Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey, Good Night
- 1967: The Beatles go sightseeing in Greece
- 1965: UK single release: Help!
- 1964: Live: The Night Of A Hundred Stars
- 1963: Live: Odeon Cinema, Weston-super-Mare
- 1962: Live: Kingsway Club, Southport
- 1961: Live: Blair Hall, Liverpool
- 1960: Live: Grosvenor Ballroom, Wallasey
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.