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  • Recording, mixing: You Never Give Me Your Money, Come Together, Polythene Pam, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, Sun King, Mean Mr Mustard, Her Majesty, The End

Recording, mixing: You Never Give Me Your Money, Come Together, Polythene Pam, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, Sun King, Mean Mr Mustard, Her Majesty, The End

Studios Two and Three, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Geoff Emerick, Phil McDonald

Various overdubs and mixes were created during this long day and night, which saw the Abbey Road medley take shape.

Three separate sessions took place in two different studios. The first was from 2-3.30 in the control room of Studio Two, and was for reduction mixes of ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’. Six of these were made, which were numbered takes 37-42.

From 3.30-10.30pm a recording session took place in Studio Three. ‘Come Together’ was completed with an overdub of lead guitar, which was added on track seven of the eight-track tape.

‘Polythene Pam’/‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window’ was up next, with the two songs receiving a number of overdubs. These included backing vocals, tambourine, maracas, cowbell, lead guitar and a whip crack percussion effect.

Of the six reduction mixes of ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’, take 40 was chosen as the best. This was given extra backing vocals, during the “Out of college, money spent” section. More vocals were then added to ‘Golden Slumbers’/‘Carry That Weight’, although these were re-recorded on the following day.

Between 10.30pm and 2.30am a rough mix of the Abbey Road medley – or The Long One/Huge Melody as it was known – was created in the control room of Studio Two. This was primarily to see how the various songs fitted together, and whether any extra recording would be necessary.

Paul McCartney's notes for the Abbey Road medley

The main difference between this rough mix and the final released version was the insertion of ‘Her Majesty’ between ‘Mean Mr Mustard’ and ‘Polythene Pam’. The song was omitted at the request of Paul McCartney during this session.

We did all the remixes and crossfades to overlap the songs, Paul was there, and we heard it together for the first time. He said ‘I don’t like ‘Her Majesty’, throw it away,’ so I cut it out – but I accidentally left in the last note. He said ‘It’s only a rough mix, it doesn’t matter’, in other words, don’t bother about making a clean edit because it’s only a rough mix. I said to Paul ‘What shall I do with it?’. ‘Throw it away,’ he replied.

I’d been told never to throw anything away, so after he left I picked it up off the floor put about 20 seconds of red leader tape before it and stuck it onto the end of the edit tape. The next day, down at Apple, Malcolm Davies cut a playback lacquer of the whole sequence and, even though I’d written on the box that ‘Her Majesty’ was unwanted, he too thought, ‘Well, mustn’t throw anything away, I’ll put it on at the end’. I’m only assuming this, but when Paul got that lacquer he must have liked hearing ‘Her Majesty’ tacked on the end. The Beatles always picked up on accidental things. It came as a nice little surprise there at the end, and he didn’t mind. We never remixed ‘Her Majesty’ again, that was the mix which ended up on the finished LP.

John Kurlander, tape operator
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

This is the reason why ‘Her Majesty’ begins with a crashing guitar chord: it would have been the ending to ‘Mean Mr Mustard’. Additionally, the last note of ‘Her Majesty’ was edited out during this session when it was temporarily joined to ‘Polythene Pam’; when the two songs were split once again, the note had already been removed from the mix of ‘Her Majesty’.

Various other elements of the medley were left out of the final mix. These included an organ note merging ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’ and ‘Sun King’, and some extra Scouse comments by John Lennon during the guitar solo for ‘Polythene Pam’. ‘The End’ was also longer, and was extended at a later date to allow for the lengthy guitar solos.

Last updated: 22 June 2023
Recording: Come Together, Sun King, Mean Mr Mustard
Recording: You Never Give Me Your Money, Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight
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